The Absurdity of Saying "White Privilege'

Fikremariam, Lij Teodrose
http://ghionjournal.com/white-is-the-privilege/

Publisher:  Ghion Journal
Date Written:  14/05/2017
Year Published:  2017  
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX23985

Using rhetoric like "white supremacy" and "white privilege" is a way of stereotyping the whole of "white" people and lumping everyone into one group. This is the surest way to turn potential allies in the struggle for justice into adversaries; by doing so we end up perpetuating the very divides that the "system" depends on to splinter people apart.

Abstract: 
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Excerpt:

I will admit, I was a part of the same crowd I'm now picking up a pen to speak against. I, too, once went around foolishly talking about "white privilege" this or "white people are evil" that. This was not too long ago; a time when I used to see justice through colored binoculars. I was part and parcel of the very divisive culture I thought I was speaking against. It took two years of hardship to finally shed my blinders and see injustice as it is without putting an adjective in front of it.

This is the wisdom I earned through hardship. Using rhetoric like "white supremacy" and "white privilege" is a way of stereotyping the whole of "white" people and lumping everyone into one group. This is the surest way to turn potential allies in the struggle for justice into adversaries; by doing so we end up perpetuating the very divides that the "system" depends on to splinter people apart. Moreover, it is a blatant lie that being "white" automatically confers some type of privilege. Just because some or even most might have it easier being a certain complexion does not mean all enjoy that privilege. True enough we have it hard being "black" and institutional racism is no joke; but there are tens of millions of "white" people who suffer generational poverty in the Appalachians and beyond that matches the poverty faced by "African-Americans" and "minorities" in the inner cities.

Do we have to negate the suffering of others in order to show that we suffer?

I used ascribe to the narrow-minded rhetoric of statements like "white privilege" and "white supremacy" until I had a dance with misfortune and resided among the broken and impoverished for more than two years. What I witnessed were "white folks", along with everyone else, who were so stuck in poverty that struggle became their normal. Can you imagine if I told some guy who did not have a high school diploma and was a vagabond begging for change on street corners that he had "white privilege" because he was able to collect more loose change than the "person of color" next to him. Do you see how absurd this sounds? Anyone who says people who are poor on this level is out of choice is just as myopic as the worst bigot who says "black people" are lazy. Poverty is not a choice; in most cases it is a sentence -- a life sentence that "white people" serve along with the rest.
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