Understanding our own privilege is very difficult. For one thing the culture disguises it. For another, if we are white or male or rich we probably do not want to see it. Is their anyway to get past these defenses?
To understand the systemic nature of oppression, pretend that you were born on a monopoly board. Pretend you are a poor black female Muslim lesbian, which for our purposes, is like being born on Baltic Avenue or some other square that does not derive automatic value in the game. Now, imagine your opponent is a rich white Christian heterosexual male, which is a bit like being born Boardwalk or Park Place. Imagine further that your opponent has inherited the houses and hotels of his parents.
Your opponent insists you are being treated fairly because you get the same number of dice rolls, and the same two hundred dollars when you cross “go.” He speaks of competition, but refuses to look down at the Monopoly Board and admit his advantage. You can work much harder than he does, but if he lands on your property it is a minor inconvenience. If you land on his property, even once, the game is over.
Your opponent may speak of freedom and initiative but you both know that unless there is some strange twist of fortune, he was born to win and you were born to lose. That, in a very small and trivial way, is what it is like to be born into systemic oppression.
You, sir, are ignorant, and a coward who will delete this message:
Your black lesbian is in dire straits because her forbears were black. That explains Haiti. That explains all of Subsaharan Africa. That explains Detroit (and every other black majority location in the world).
They are on Baltic Avenue because they are not as bright as the white people who built Park Place.
How else can you explain the UNIVERSAL situation of the Negro?
David, please check out the history of those regions. French and American exploitation explains Haiti, European colonization and exploitation explains Africa. Centuries of slavery and unequal opportunity explains Detroit. Perhaps you could read the history of the great Kingdoms of Africa before it was raided and plundered.
I posted your comment because you tried to make a point, but name calling is not rational conversation so your comments will be deleted in the future if you cannot keep it civil.
Wow. Are you familiar with the concept of Occam’s razor?
You are saying that every time, in all of human history, that black people have not achieved greatness it has been because of white people being mean to them?
I think you are a good man with a good heart. But, c’mon!
Quit wielding Occam’s butterknife.
David, I’m not saying that every black person has failed because of a white person. I’m saying we can’t leave out the historical setting of an ethical question. Slavery and colonization cannot be left out of the political question of black poverty because they still have consequences today. Africa is one of the richest continents on earth, but it has been pillaged for centuries by European nations. When these “third world” nations try to nationalize their assets so the people can be economically responsible for their own fate, invasion has never far behind. Same thing in much of Central and South America. Read the history of Haiti and it will break your heart. France and the U.S. have robbed them naked, and then pointed to their poverty as a sign of our own superiority.
Occam’s razor is about parsimony, not denial.
P.S. “Occam’s butterknife” is a good line.
I am about to rock your world.
Sir, read: Nicholas Wade’s “A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race, and Human History,.”
He points out that “brain genes do not lie in some special category exempt from natural selection. They are as much under evolutionary pressure as any other category of gene.”
You are a man of reason. Humans separated 10,000 years ago. Some of us bred with Neanderthals. Some of us did not. Some of us eve loved blond hair and blue eyes. Some of us did not. Norwegians do not give birth to Indians.
We are different subspecies! Black people are different from white people. They have different brains. This is SCIENCE.
Black people have a sorrier lot in life because, they are, on average, less intelligent.
Helluva a thing to say EVRY TIME they build their hellholes it’s whitey’s fault. They’ve been in charge of Detroit and Birmingham for 40 years. IN CHARGE. As Bill Cosby said, “it’s time to quit blaming the white man.”
As a a man of God, you should be the one to explain why he gave black people the short end of the stick.
I don’t know how you can say it is science. It is true books like The Bell Curve have scientific appearance, but the American Psychological Association studied and dismissed its contentions that differences in test scores were genetic. Can you name one major national scientific organization that embraces this theory? Of course not. There may be small bands of race theorists, but no University studies or anything resembling them.
Um, Nicholas Wade IS a legitimate, scientific source:
He’s pretty mainstream.
It’s not ME saying it’s science. It’s the science reporter for the New York Times.
The New York Times, Jim. For Chrissake.
I know this is a hard reality for you to face.
David, quoting a reporter isn’t science. What studies are you referring to that trump the APA?