Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘white privilege

Pop culture, white privilege and widening the lens

This aspect of white privilege has bubbled under the surface of recent debates about college admissions policies and unpaid internships.

As a recent post on the Web site Journos of Color noted, for instance, “The only people who can afford to work full-time for free come from wealth, and generally, if you’re wealthy in America, you’re white.”

Outlook published this July 27, 2013 on the WP Opinions section:

Ron Koeberer/AP – Michael B. Jordan as Oscar Grant in a scene from “Fruitvale Station.”

Many people, especially white people, don’t realize the extent of the disparities that persistent structural privilege creates. According to some estimates, whites on average possess 6 times the accumulated wealth — in the form of home equity, savings and retirement accounts — of blacks.

That discrepancy is explained Not by financial savvy or luck, but by the legacy of now-illegal practices in housing, education and employment that formed the foundation of America’s enduring — and widening — wealth gap between non-Hispanic whites and minorities.

As mortified as some white people may be at the suggestion that we’ve enjoyed career advancement at someone else’s expense, we need to acknowledge that one can benefit from privilege even if it isn’t explicitly claimed.
Indeed, perhaps the ultimate marker of privilege is Not having to be conscious of it.
Thanks to other people’s positive projections and expectations, I’ve often been able to view the world as a welcoming, or at least benignly neutral, meritocracy.
I’ve never been followed in a department store by anyone other than an aggressive perfume lady with a spritzer.
I haven’t had to pay an “anxiety tax,” expending untold physical and psychic energy managing other people’s reflexive fears.
Obviously, gender, geography, economic and social class, and temperament play a part in my outlook as well.
No one’s experience, positive or negative, can be reduced to just one characteristic. But it didn’t always occur to me, nor was I ever taught, to consider race as part of my personal bundle of x-factors.This is where popular culture can be particularly helpful. Granted, the 1947 film “Gentleman’s Agreement” didn’t eradicate anti-Semitism. Nor did “Tootsie” stamp out sexism or “Philadelphia” erase homophobia. But each of those films reframed its subject matter in ways that galvanized audiences into reaching “aha” moments about prejudice.Perhaps it’s time to make a modern-day “Black Like Me,” the 1964 film based on John Howard Griffin’s memoir of impersonating a black man in the Jim Crow South, this time for the 21st century: a story that throws the condition of whiteness, with its myriad unseen, unspoken advantages, into clarifying relief.

The challenge is creating characters that can transcend polarized and entrenched perceptions of race. This past week, a Washington Post poll found that a sobering 86% of African Americans say blacks and other minorities do not get equal treatment under the law, whereas a majority of whites — 54 percent — say there is equal treatment for minority groups.

In a recent interview about their book “Justice in America: The Separate Realities of Blacks and Whites,” political scientists Jon Hurwitz and Mark Peffley described a “gulf” between African Americans, who largely lack faith in the criminal justice system, and white citizens, who consider it essentially color-blind.

Just as the roots of blacks’ mistrust of the system lie in their unfair treatment over generations, the roots of whites’ optimism can be found in our own history.

Like compounded interest from an investment we never made, the advantages white people enjoy derive from past racist practices and present-day unconscious behaviors that create channels no less wide, deep and real for being largely invisible.

If movies are equipped to do anything, it’s to make those channels visible. And the best films can show viewers how to navigate them.

“Fruitvale Station” does that, in just one brief encounter. The San Francisco street scene may begin with an acute observation of separate realities, but it ends by suggesting a possible bridge, in the simple act of a black character taking the business card of a white man he’s just met.

 

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White privilege?  What it mean to you? How about other colored privileges?

Under Our Skin grew out of conversations about how we at The Seattle Times cover race at a time when national and local events — the furor over police shootings, the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement, protests on college campuses and charged campaign rhetoric — dominate headlines.

In our newsroom, we’ve found ourselves talking more candidly about race and racism, subjects that simmer beneath the surface even when they’re not on the front page.

As a news organization, we’ve covered the local events as they’ve occurred, but we have a desire to probe the issues more deeply.

And there have been instances when our stories have caused offense or led to misunderstandings. This project is just one effort under way in the newsroom to do things differently.

Andrew Bossone shared this link

Racism and white privilege are institutionalized in society

What do we mean when we talk about race – and what do others hear?
projects.seattletimes.com

Discussions about race, inclusiveness and sensitivity clearly aren’t new. They can leave us feeling depleted and wondering whether anything has really changed.

But we believe the personal reflections and stories from the people who participated in this project will inspire all of us to think and talk about these issues in a deeper way.

For those who freeze up at the prospect of talking about race, we hope this project will help break the ice.

For those who tend to take sides right away when the issue of race comes up, we hope Under Our Skin will challenge assumptions and build common ground

We decided to examine words and phrases that we noticed people using — and interpreting — very differently.

Then we invited 18 people who represent a mix of backgrounds and perspectives to our video studio to talk about what those expressions mean to them. In a few cases, our subjects suggested terms we hadn’t included and we added them in subsequent interviews.

Our conversations went well beyond the words into the experiences in each of the interviewees’ lives. They often lasted several hours, and were insightful, thought-provoking, honest, at times funny — and sometimes uncomfortable.

We invite you to share the videos with friends, family, colleagues, students — and let us know what results from that. We’d also like to hear your ideas for future coverage because this is the beginning of what we hope will be an ongoing conversation with you, our viewers.

You can reach us at underourskin@seattletimes.com.

 

 St. Patrick’s Day Weekend: And being a White in Philly…

As j.n. salters walked down 15th Street in Center City this past Saturday night, amidst drunken white girls in green mini skirts and green heels with green bows in their hair, and belligerent white boys wearing green beaded necklaces and funny-shaped glasses yelling and chasing after the girls…

She I could not help but think, this is what it actually means to be white in Philadelphia.

j.n. salters,  black feminist writer and PhD candidate, posted this March 18, 2014 on The Blog:

Being White in Philly St. Patrick’s Day Weekend

In February 2013, Philadelphia Magazine published the now-infamous article “Being White in Philly: Whites, race, class, and the things that never get said,” in which author Robert Huber asked select, anonymous white from Philadelphia to share their “race story” (in other words, their individual feelings about black people).

According to Huber:

[E]veryone might have a race story, but few whites risk the third-rail danger of speaking publicly about race, given the long, troubled history of race relations in this country and even more so in this city. Race is only talked about in a sanitized form, when it’s talked about at all, with actual thoughts and feelings buried, which only ups the ante. Race remains the elephant in the room, even on the absurd level of who holds the door to enter a convenience store.

In keeping with Huber’s purported aim to get rid of the elephant in the room, I offer some of the thoughts that crossed my mind Saturday night as I passed a young blond girl in a “Kiss Me, I’m Irish” T-shirt peeing on the sidewalk while a redheaded boy with freckles pinched her.

You cannot be fucking serious. But, of course you’re serious.

You’re white in Center City.

As I continued to make my way down the shit show covered in shamrocks, I asked myself, what if all these people outside were black?

If we are to go by recent Philadelphia policies and legislation — many of which disproportionately target people of color (e.g., stop and frisk, “zero tolerance” policies, curfew ordinances, voter ID laws) — I am almost certain that had these been masses of drunken black teenagers and young adults decked in matching colors, they would have been deemed gang members, looters, flash mobsters, and subsequently stopped and frisked, beaten, and/or arrested.

I am thinking about the Philadelphia “flash mobs” that garnered much media attention in the summers of 2010 and 2011, during which the media created a moral panic around black youth, violence and crime organized via social media sites after hundreds of black kids spontaneously appeared on South Street in downtown Philadelphia.

Newspaper headlines read “Black-mob violence flooding Philadelphia” and “Another Flash Mob Rocks South Street: In the ‘Tsunami,’ chants of ‘Burn the City!‘” — the menacing language reminiscent of the alleged “wilding” that, most infamously, was purportedly behind the 1989 vicious rape-beating of the “Central Park jogger” in Manhattan.

Though some Philadelphia teens did engage in acts of vandalism, the majority were nonviolent kids just hanging out, some watching break-dancing performances.

Nevertheless, Philadelphia mayor, Michael Nutter, imposed a stiffer curfew for people under 18 and delivered a Bill Cosby Pound-Cake-esque lecture from a pulpit at Mount Carmel Baptist Church in which he told black youth: “You have damaged your own race,” and instructed them to “Pull your pants up and buy a belt.”

In addition, social-media networks were monitored with assistance from the FBI, news crews and Philadelphia police flooded the streets, and dozens of people were arrested.

Thus, as I watched the white mobs in green on Saturday night, I was struck by the lack of law enforcement. I can personally recall several family cookouts, block parties, birthday parties and informal gatherings of black and brown family members and friends in which multiple men and women in uniform and police cars and even police dogs showed up.

How over 100 drunk people could be loitering on a major street and not one police officer be noticeably present was astonishing. It was also a reminder of the kind of society that we live in.

To most of America, more than one Black/Latino standing next to each other wearing the same color equals gang, threat, flash mob. Not drink specials, themed parties, and excused belligerence.

You call it St. Patrick’s Day

I call it white privilege — or being white in Philadelphia and America.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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