The Myth of White Privilege


By: Selwyn Duke

Something must be wrong. My finances are in shambles; mainstream newspapers won’t publish my pieces; and, no matter how much I try to convince Fox News that they need male eye candy as well, they just won’t give me a show. Then I gaze into the mirror at my alabaster complexion and say “What’s wrong with this picture? I’ll have to address this at the next White People’s Meeting.”

Of course, it isn’t really true that all we Caucasians get together in a big conference hall somewhere and, rubbing our hands together with devilish glee, conspire as to how we’re gonna get ourselves some ‘a that there white privilege. Yet you wouldn’t know it listening to egghead academics, media mouths and uncivil-rights agitators.

Put “white privilege” into a search engine and no small number of results will be for “.edu” URLs, which means that our mental institutions of higher learning are busy teaching “critical race theory” and ideas such as “Whites are taught not to recognize white privilege” and that, as this University of Dayton site informs, white persons have a “special freedom or immunity from some [liabilities or burdens] to which non–white persons are subject….” There is also something called “The White Privilege Conference” and a website devoted to it (I actually had to log on to make sure it wasn’t a spoof site, but truth is stranger – and stupider – than fiction). And American Thinker recently wrote about an event called “Erasing White Privilege,” during which whites sat around in a room confessing their collective oppressor sins while “people of color” discharged rage, “yelling at them” and “preaching.” Ain’t Obama’s post-racial America grand?

Of course, I don’t imagine there are many plumbers, supermarket workers or forklift operators at such meetings – and not just because they actually have to work. It’s also because they know something:

White privilege is a myth.

Let’s look at the facts. Because of the fashionable discrimination known as affirmative action, whites (males especially) are often untouchables in the job market. And examples are legion. Talk-show host Michael Savage has often mentioned that after he earned his Ph.D., he had trouble finding a job in his chosen field and was told in so many words that “white men need not apply.” I could also mention a junior-high-school friend of mine whose test score was too low to qualify for the specialty high school I attended and the black student who gained admission with the exact same score. Or read this essay by Professor Louis Pojman, who cites the case of a brilliant Ph.D. philosopher who was denied a tenure-track position because the university in question had to hire a “woman or a Black.” Then there is the Dayton, OH, police department, which recently discarded its recruit exam and the scores of 748 people who passed it because not doing so would have resulted in too many whites being hired.

And there is social discrimination as well. While black comedians can use derogatory terms for whites such as “cracker,” white comedians who use corresponding anti-black racial epithets risk career destruction. And a racial slur isn’t even necessary for a white person to incur the thought police’s wrath. Sportscaster Jimmy “the Greek” Snyder lost his job in the 1980s for, while tipsy at a restaurant, offering an unsophisticatedly stated opinion as to why blacks are great athletes. Even more ridiculous, Washington, DC, mayoral staffer David Howard was pilloried and had to resign his position (he was later rehired) for using the word “niggardly,” which is of Scandinavian origin and means “cheap,” during a staff meeting. Golf commentator Kelly Tilghman was suspended for two weeks for innocently using the term “lynch” when describing what young players might have to do to beat Tiger Woods. And university student Keith John Sampson was charged with “racial harassment” for reading a book about the Ku Klux Klan in the presence of black colleagues. It didn’t matter that it was an anti-KKK book.

There is also a trove of government programs designed to aid minorities – such as those geared toward minority-owned businesses – but no corresponding help for whites. And, as whistleblowers recently revealed, our Department of Justice has long been ignoring voting-rights cases when the victims have been white.

This is where the white-privilege propagandists may say, “But, wait, whites are wealthier than other racial groups and occupy most positions of power and prestige. Why do you think that is?!” This is the same reasoning leftists use when claiming that the large number of blacks in prison proves discrimination in the criminal/justice system. But let’s see how valid this circumstantial argument really is.

The median income of Jewish Americans is approximately twice that of their non-Jewish countrymen. Additionally, while only about 40 percent of high-school graduates attend college, the rate among Jews is 85 percent. Jews also occupy positions of power at a rate greatly in excess of their two percent of the population. Yet should we speak of “Jewish privilege”? It would be more instructive to note a secret of Jewish people’s success: They place great emphasis on education and workplace achievement.

And what about blacks’ dominance in mainstream sports? Wouldn’t it be ridiculous to talk about “black athletic privilege”?

Group-specific success isn’t just an American phenomenon, either. As Professor Walter Williams wrote:

“[D]uring the 1960s, the Chinese minority in Malaysia received more university degrees than the Malay majority — including 400 engineering degrees compared with four for the Malays, even though Malays dominate the country politically. In Brazil’s state of Sao Paulo, more than two-thirds of the potatoes and 90 percent of the tomatoes produced were produced by people of Japanese ancestry.”

So while we could prattle on about Chinese privilege in Malaysia or those privileged Japanese boys from Brazil, it would be wiser to accept a simple truth: There is simply no evidence that all groups can succeed equally in every endeavor.

And this brings us to the real prejudice at work here. Whether it’s Jewish Nobel Laureate winners, blacks in the athletic arena or something else, we generally give credit where it is due.

Except when the relatively successful group is white people.

Then they are guilty – of discrimination, oppression and victimization – and will never be proven innocent. Their success just must have come at the expense of others, no matter what the facts say.

As for oppression, what is the end game here? Many foreign nations have enacted hate-speech laws predicated on the idea that expressing negative sentiments, true or not, about a group can ultimately lead to its persecution. Well, another privilege whites don’t have is a dispensation from the laws of man’s nature. And when they are constantly and unfairly maligned as deserving not their successes but only contempt for being the source of the world’s woes, it’s not hard to figure out what the consequence will be.

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