Tag Archives: tim wise

THIS IS YOUR NATION ON WHITE PRIVILEGE

September 13, 2008, 2:01 pm

By Tim Wise

For those who still can’t grasp the concept of white privilege, or who are looking for some easy-to-understand examples of it, perhaps this list will help.

White privilege is when you can get pregnant at seventeen like Bristol Palin and everyone is quick to insist that your life and that of your family is a personal matter, and that no one has a right to judge you or your parents, because “every family has challenges,” even as black and Latino families with similar “challenges” are regularly typified as irresponsible, pathological and arbiters of social decay.

White privilege is when you can call yourself a “fuckin’ redneck,” like Bristol Palin’s boyfriend does, and talk about how if anyone messes with you, you’ll “kick their fuckin’ ass,” and talk about how you like to “shoot shit” for fun, and still be viewed as a responsible, all-American boy (and a great son-in-law to be) rather than a thug.

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Whose reality is it?

The other week I blogged about attending a Roosevelt School District Board Meeting.  I mentioned feelings of validation because the board president and district superintendent both sought me out after the meeting adjourned.  I had been so nervous to speak in that forum about the topic I wanted to address:  the growing reports of hiring and firing practices that favor one racial group over others.  This is a topic I feel strongly about, for obvious reasons… but even stronger than my fear of public speaking was my fear about how I would be perceived in addressing what was sure to be an overwhelmingly non-white audience about racial conflict.

I confided in a friend that I once made a very passionate commentary about stereotyping interracial relationships as being between black men seeking white women as status symbols.  I made these comments in a largely black forum where they weren’t well received.  The feedback I got included a response that basically accused me of thinking I was the Great White Hope.  That phrase, like AmeriKKKa and others I’ve heard since, didn’t have a historical or cultural significance to me at the time.

Ironically, “Fight of the Century” occurred on July 4, 1910… 86 years ago today. Continue reading