White Privilege is a common term today, it is something that we are told we must guard against and seek to destroy. But what is it really?
Wikipedia tells us:
White privilege (or white skin privilege) is the societal privilege that benefits people whom society identifies as white in some countries, beyond what is commonly experienced by non-white people under the same social, political, or economic circumstances.
This means, those of us who are white must have rights and privileges others do not based on our skin hue….but when we become privileged? And how does it apply to our lives?
We were not always thought of to be unfairly privileged. In 2008 a Pew Research Study only 44% of Black Americans thought racism was a “huge problem.” Even less ( 22%), of white people felt the same.
Eight short years later…..81% of Black Americans saw racism as a “huge problem” and 52% of whites agreed.
How did we get here?
We got here by thoughts and feelings, perceptions of what is….not facts and data. In this post I hope to explore and fully understand the real numbers behind race and privilege.
Claim: Police injure and kill more Black Americans than any other race, and they do it unprovoked and because of a racist system
Facts: [Pew Research]
- In 2015 the police were 18.5% more likely to be killed by a black male then were to kill a black male
- 42% of all police murders were committed by black males in 2016 ( at that time black males were 6% of the population)
- In 2016 233 Black Americans were shot and killed by the police(only 16 of them were unarmed when they were shot).
- 0.08% of Black Americans were seriously injured in an altercation by police, white Americans were injured at the same rate.
Do police kill more Black Americans than White Americans?
no, they don’t.
At first glance the raw numbers show that in 2016 Black Americans were 3.5 times more likely to be killed by police than white Americans. However, when you adjust the statistics to account for the percentage of police that are killed in these instances (which makes it a felony assault on an officer and not a police murder, which happens with Black Americans at a rate of 4.2% higher than whites).
- After taking all the numbers into account the data shows that whites are 1.7 times more likely to be killed by police than Black Americans.
According to many liberal and mainstream news sources we have a massive problem in the United States of America, and that problem is “mass incarceration.” They will fervently argue that we incarcerate individuals for profit and the gains of privately owned prisons, and that we do on the base of a racist motivation to people of color locked in cages.
A recent article from the New York Times claimed that one in three black males will go to prison in their lifetime. While one in six Hispanic males, and one in seventeen white males will be imprisoned at sometime in their lives.
Taking their statistics at face value, I have to ask myself why is that?
Is it really a nationwide vendetta against Black Americans? Even when the polls show that over half of white Americans feel that race is a significant issue, there are still that many racist police, public defenders and judges all colluding to lock people of color away?
Or is something else? Is it a challenge with impulse control, a failure to comprehend cause and affect, a inability to truly think beyond the moment at hand?
And more importantly, does it matter? When someone commits a crime, out of intent or lack of impulse control does it matter why it happened, or that it happened?
Well, according to the FBI and the Bureau of Justice Statistics….the why might be more important than the what.
In 2008 the Bureau of Justice Statistics of Criminal Victimization Report showed a serious issue with sexual assaults of white women by black males.
2008 Bureau of Justice Statistics of Criminal Victimization in the US-135 pages. Table 42 showed: 19,293 white women were raped in 2008 by black males 45,580 Black women were raped ( 0% committed by white males)
The mass hysteria caused by the releasing of this information caused the department to remove the offensive facts seven months after putting them online. The new report that is issued now is only 16 pages in length and glosses over the racial attributes.
Now, when one searches certain online data bases on the FBI website you can expect to a see pop window reminding you that “rough rankings provide no insight int the variables that mold crime.”
In other words they want you to to take into the factors that might lead someone to commit crime….. They want you to take into account the culture of “systematic racism” that the US has become, because if you listen to the powers that be, that is cause of the mass incarceration.
What is Systematic Racism?
According to a popular and accepted author Joe Feagin: Systemic racism is simply deep-rooted racism in all levels of the society. Sociologist Joe Feagin, in his book “Racist America: Roots, Current Realities, & Future Reparations”, developed the Systemic Racism theory and summarized it as racism in all the social, political, and economic institutions, structures, and social relationships within a society.
With that in mind, let us explore the various attributes of the “racist attributes of the United States culture.”
For a country that is supposedly steeped in racial hatred, the United States seems to go to great lengths to offer educational opportunities to the minority population.
The minority college population continues to rise( by how much I am unsure, because for some reason this information is challenging to find online?). It is only reasonable to assume that while more minorities are attending college, more of them are applying fro financial resources to do so.
While only 30% of scholarships are received by minorities, minorities only apply for about 1/3 or 33.3% of the scholarships available. So this means that only .3 of minorities who apply for scholarships are turned down.
Only 21% of white students who apply for scholarships are awarded a scholarship. This means that 79% percent of them are turned down. Compared to .3%. It is challenging to see the racism in these numbers.
Additionally, scholarships specifically available for minority students make up about 27% of the scholarships available. There are currently no scholarships available for white males, on the bases of race alone. Again, this hardly seems to support claims of racism against minorities.
Examining Pell Grants:
- White students have a 20% chance of receiving a Pell Grant from the government
- Minorities have a 38% chance of receiving a Pell Grant
This is only the financial aspect of minorities in college, the application process has also recently been received public criticism for being biased towards admitting minority students.
Systematic Racism in the Workplace:
We are told by Google that “diversity hiring” is simply the consideration to take into care not to consider a persons race or other attributes when considering their skills.
I would beg to differ.
If you are hiring specifically for diversity then you have to account for race gender and other attributes, you are unable to only hire the best if you are looking for “diversity first and skill second.”
Can one be hired or promoted based on being a member of a protected class?
Well here is what the Equal Employement Opportunity Commission (EEOC) says about it in Title VII:
“All things being equal between two applicants a choice can (legally) be made to hire or promote a member of a protected class over one who is not”
The challenge is only when: “ the member of the protected class is promoted or hired based on their status in a protected class not because of their equal or superior skills”
With government agencies asserting that hiring and promotions can be awarded on the bases of race, I would argue that if anything this policy is racist towards non-minorities in this country.
While it is true that technically welfare or the more PC “social safety net” is avaibale to all Americans ( and many who are not Americans as well) regardless of race. It is no secret that Welfare is more commonly used by minorities than non minorities.
While yes, by manipulating the statistics one can create data that shows whites “ receive more social safety net programs” …..that is not an accurate presumption.
Here are the numbers: (gathered from Pew Research data)
- Despite having the lowest unemployment rate, whites did receive more assistance in the category of unemployment benefits (13.9 more in the first quarter of 2019).
- However, in the categories of Medicaid, food stamps and Cash Assistance ( as well as benefits for single mothers)
- Blacks received assistance at a rate of 30.8 % more than their white counter parts.
- Hispanics received aid at a rate of 28.1 % more when accounted for per capita numbers (office of labor and the office of Human Resources)
However, when those who seek to mislead others present the numbers they tend to use the unemployment benefits be the only category they use and deceptively claim that proves that whites take more from the system.
- I would argue that there is no way that can be true by simply looking at the undisputed facts:
The US Census Department Reported in 2016 the following populations were living in poverty in the US:
Whites: 15.7% Blacks: 48.2% [including immigrants and refugees] Hispanics: 42.3% [including migrants and asylum seekers]
- These stats are not disputed by those who claim “racial inequality” in fact they are frequently cited as something out country should be ashamed about. Given those numbers, it is reasonable to assume that the groups with larger amounts of individuals living in poverty would be using benefits at a greater amount.
In conclusion, after exploring these systems, it seems unreasonable to claim that the US is run by “systematic racism” when all of the systems are currently set up to promote and give an edge to minorities. We must be allowed to speak openly and address the facts honestly, or we will never come to a real solution that makes a difference and our entire country will continue to suffer the consequences of lying to itself in the name of not discussing difficult and hurtful topics