Racism makes me uncomfortable because it’s illegal where I live. But racism always and every day makes me uncomfortable because it’s an attack. Or it’s an unfair restriction that’s put on a person or onto a group of people because of their race.
Racism is done interpersonally by one person to another, or it’s a set of unfair restrictions imposed on a race of people by a country’s institutions (government, schools, etc.), which is through its laws, rules and policies.
“White Privilege” has lately irked and bothered me because of the word “White”.
“White” and “Privilege” are put together, and is understood as a truth that is true now and will forever be immutably true. It’s a static fact that will be a fact 100 years from now.
White Privilege targets and accuses people of European descent, or who are seen as White. It unfairly puts restrictions on White people because they are assumed to be privileged in any and all situations. People perceived as White are accused by “White Privilege” as having privilege in any country, society, or location in the world.
These restrictions of White Privilege, which are accusations of privilege, cause the experience of discrimination.
Interpersonal discrimination, or racism, would be this example:
The idea of White Privilege has accused me.
That restriction would be the discrimination I experienced in the above example.
So White Privilege is racist.
It’s racist because it negatively simplifies, categorizes and accuses White people as being privileged despite poverty, geographic location, natural disaster, and the list goes on.
Poverty is a universal human experience.
Natural disaster is a universal experience.
But White Privilege classifies White people’s experience of poverty, natural disaster, or war as privileged.
This is a plain sight racist belief to even assume that a poor White person in Canada or the United States has a better time or a privileged time compared to a poor African American person, or a poor South Asian person living in Canada, etc.
In the United States, White people, Black people and Hispanic and Native American people experience poverty without famine. The idea of White Privilege doesn’t cause one group to experience famine during poverty while the other ethnicities avoid famine during their poverty. Neither race in the U.S. experiences famine while being poor.
But being poor in a country like Ukraine during 1932 to 1933 meant suffering a famine. The native Ukrainians were starved by another group of White people (the Russians) because Soviet Russia did not want the Ukrainian people to be their own independent country. Soviet Russia subjugated Ukraine to grow food to be only available for the Soviet Russians to collect and eat. Those harvests were always collected by the Soviets and shipped to Russia. The White Privilege of White Skinned Ukrainians did not exist. Instead White Privilege is an invented word by a White American Woman named Peggy McIntosh.
Read Peggy McIntosh’s White Privilege essay titled, “WHITE PRIVILEGE AND MALE PRIVILEGE: A Personal Account of Coming to See Correspondences Through Work in Women’s Studies,” or her essay titled “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” today in 2017 instead of in 1988 and 1989.
Her checklist is much less relevant in 2017 simply because decades of time have elapsed since the woman wrote her first essay in 1988 and then a revision in 1989.
I will go through her checklist right now:
1. I can if I wish arrange to be in the company of people of my race most of the time. — No. No because I am living in a multicultural and multiethnic Canadian city.
2. If I should need to move, I can be pretty sure of renting or purchasing housing in an area which I can afford and in which I would want to live. — No. The Housing Market is expensive in the city where I live, but less expensive than Toronto. Toronto’s real estate is much more unaffordable.
3. I can be pretty sure that my neighbors in such a location will be neutral or pleasant to me. — No. Our neighbour complains about our pet cat.
4. I can go shopping alone most of the time, pretty well assured that I will not be followed or harassed. — No. Stores have video cameras. I’m recorded by video when I shop. Also the self-checkouts at grocery stores like Safeway have employees who will check my bags to see that I’m not leaving without paying. My race won’t privilege me from avoiding getting my grocery bags checked. So my bags get looked through.
5. I can turn on the television or open to the front page of the paper and see people of my race widely represented. — Yes, but No. People with my skin colour are represented, but represented alongside with other people of various skin colour and ethnicities. This is because I live in a multicultural and multiethnic Canadian city.
6. When I am told about our national heritage or about “civilization,” I am shown that people of my color made it what it is. — No. Canada is an immigrant country. Indigenous Canadians or First Nations (Dene, Blackfoot, etc.) are the first people who had settled and made their communities on North and South America. Second came the Europeans who made contact with the First Nations. Or the history is being revised to include the oral stories and archeology of First Nations people in Canada. Also, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission includes the history of the Residential Schools that were operated in Canada.
7. I can be sure that my children will be given curricular materials that testify to the existence of their race. — Yes, but also No. Western Civilization is a lump sum topic on White people that is taught, but is also not taught. You have to find the high school or university that teaches Western Civilization as a subject because not all high schools and universities include Western Civilization in their curriculum.
8. If I want to, I can be pretty sure of finding a publisher for this piece on white privilege. — Yes. Example: Peggy McIntosh got her White Privilege essay published.
9. I can go into a music shop and count on finding the music of my race represented, into a supermarket and find the staple foods which fit with my cultural traditions, into a hairdresser’s shop and find someone who can cut my hair. — Yes, and No. A business can be very specific, or can be a store or restaurant that specializes in Afghan food, or specializes in threading eyebrows. So there are businesses that cater to a specific ethnicity. But all franchise grocery stores (Save On Foods) and stores with pharmacies (Shoppers Drugmart) have changed since 1988 and they now include Asian foods, Muslim foods that are Halal, and hair care products for African hair.
10. Whether I have checks, credit cards, or cash, I can count on my skin color not to work against the appearance of financial reliability. — No. My credit rating determines my financial reliability. Bad credit rating will make things, like a loan, or trying to rent from a new landlord, a lot less accessible. Also Number 10 from the checklist doesn’t include asking a homeless White person if they still have privilege that allows them to skip being judged when they have a bank account but only a homeless shelter as their address. Where in this checklist is the question of Homelessness?
11. I can arrange to protect my children most of the time from people who might not like them. — Yes, and No. My kids could be subjected to racism. I certainly experienced racism in a parking lot.
12. I can swear, or dress in second hand clothes, or not answer letters, without having people attribute these choices to the bad morals, the poverty, or the illiteracy of my race. — No. There is such an idea as “Poor White Trash”.
13. I can speak in public to a powerful male group without putting my race on trial. — No. Al Qaeda, or the groups of Muslim men who claim that Islam means they have to be disgusted with Western White women because they don’t wear a niqab (face veil), hijab (head scarf), or a burqa (full body covering) have made it clear to me that I will be judged by those men as representative of my race when we meet.
14. I can do well in a challenging situation without being called a credit to my race. — Is this relevant?
15. I am never asked to speak for all the people of my racial group. — I have been a Token or a minority. I was the Token White Girl during Grade 8 & 9 while friends with Asian girls in Vancouver. That wasn’t a bad experience for me because they were friends with me while other students would bully me.
16. I can remain oblivious of the language and customs of persons of color who constitute the world’s majority without feeling in my culture any penalty for such oblivion. — This is such an outdated statement coming from a White American Woman in 1988 & 1989. Lol. The answer is No.
17. I can criticize our government and talk about how much I fear its policies and behavior without being seen as a cultural outsider. — No. Example would be Jordan B Peterson.
18. I can be pretty sure that if I ask to talk to “the person in charge,” I will be facing a person of my race. — Yes, and No. A person of any race will be supervisor or manager where I live because I live in a multicultural and multiethnic Canadian city.
19. If a traffic cop pulls me over or if the IRS audits my tax return, I can be sure I haven’t been singled out because of my race. — I can’t speak about Canada Revenue Agency’s auditing because I don’t know. As well, it’s only traffic cameras, or photo radar, that ticket me.
20. I can easily buy posters, postcards, picture books, greeting cards, dolls, toys, and children’s magazine featuring people of my race. — Yes. The answer is Yes in 2017 for all ethnicities being represented in library books, etc.
21. I can go home from most meetings of organizations I belong to feeling somewhat tied in, rather than isolated, out-of-place, outnumbered, unheard, held at a distance, or feared. — No and also Yes. A Christian will get dismissively snorted at when that person answers “the Bible” as their favourite book to the question of “What’s your favourite book?” in a university classroom that has a majority of students who are dismissive of Christianity or of Islam. A Christian is made to feel not welcomed and out of place in a public Canadian university classroom.
22. I can take a job with an affirmative action employer without having co-workers on the job suspect that I got it because of race. — I can’t answer this because all employers I ever worked for didn’t state in their job posting that they were an affirmative action employer.
23. I can choose public accommodation without fearing that people of my race cannot get in or will be mistreated in the places I have chosen. — I can’t answer this because I haven’t lived in a government subsidized apartment or townhouse.
24. I can be sure that if I need legal or medical help, my race will not work against me. — Yes, and No. Many Male Muslim Middle Eastern medical doctors assume that all or most Western White Women are sexually promiscuous. So they profile White Women in their teens and 20s as often at risk of being STI carriers or of getting infected. The same doctors don’t profile Muslim women who are teenagers or young adults.
25. If my day, week, or year is going badly, I need not ask of each negative episode or situation whether it has racial overtones. — “White Privilege“?
26. I can choose blemish cover or bandages in “flesh” color and have them more or less match my skin. — In 2017, there is makeup for any and all skin colours.
The above was Peggy Mcintosh’s 1989 “Unpacking The Invisible Knapsack” checklist for White Privilege.
Passage of time has meant that race relations change, and change fast.
It hasn’t been 1988 & 1989 for a while.
Authors of essays have to publish again and again their ideas so as to keep relevant. Authors have to republish because the people they were accusing no longer have privilege.
White Privilege is, in other words, a Racist Belief. It’s racist towards any and all people who are visibly White or perceived as having European descent.
White people like Peggy McIntosh and Jane Elliot are vastly different but are still out of date. Both White women assume and accuse any and all White people as being privileged. But both White women haven’t edited and updated their ideas for 2017. Their ideas of White Privilege is dated 1988, 1989 and dated 1968.
White Privilege irks me because you or I can’t be trans race. I can’t move out of my race and immigrate into another race when my race is perceived as privileged and as a problem because of privilege.
I can’t move to a country where White Privilege wouldn’t be an accusation used against me. I can’t move out of my body and skin to another body and skin to avoid an Indigenous Canadian being racist to me in a parking lot.
So what if I was born in Canada? I’m perceived as White, the descendant of White European settlers, and therefore a person in a parking lot to be racist to.
This is why White Privilege is racist, and I just cannot support it and celebrate it as social justice.
Race is immutable, and that’s why people like myself and you will stand up against ideas and statements that are racist towards the race you’re member of.
Or you wouldn’t get offended and make a stand if you could just change your race when your life got more difficult because of racism.
You can try to be trans race, but today you would be rejected.
One such example is: Rachel Dolezal.
You can try to tan or bleach your skin, but your features of nose, eye lids, type of hair would get harmed by cosmetic surgery. Example of cosmetic surgery gone wrong would be Michael Jackson‘s rhinoplasty surgeries. His nose became deformed.
In all, when “Privilege” is coupled together with the word for the skin colour of a group of people, those people become the target of racism.
White Privilege is racist.