If you are swimming among the many fish in the ocean, ask one of the fishes: “How is the water?” “What water?” the incredulous fish is likely to respond. The fish will not be aware that it is swimming in water. I could not in good conscience resist responding to Rita Dunaway’s viewpoint: ”The Myth of White Privilege” (Dec. 7).

White privilege is the experience in which all the millions of people who are born white, not just in America but in the world, automatically enjoy certain advantages and opportunities because they are white without their making an effort or even being aware of the advantages.

Peggy MacIntosh, in a 1988 classic article, lists 20 examples of privileges that whites enjoy: in housing, dealing with police and the justice system, education curriculum, media, history books, travel, job applications, and overall ease of choices in their personal lives, whites enjoy to mention just a few. White privilege is real. The biggest misinterpretation is that white privilege says that all whites are lazy, racist, have it easy and don’t work hard for what they have, don’t struggle in life, are given everything on a silver platter, don’t experience poverty and hardship, that all whites are rich and well off. The argument about white privilege says none of these things.

Another distortion is that white privilege says blacks and other minorities never get opportunities to succeed in life. Many minorities succeed in education, in business, and other achievements. Certain individual minorities may be more successful than many whites. That’s why we have LeBron James, Tiger Woods, Beyonce, and Obama as examples of those minorities who have achieved success in this atmosphere of white privilege. But white privilege argues that these minorities achieve this success in spite the obstacles that they continue to face often because of white privilege, power and control. Many of the minorities have to work twice as hard to achieve the same levels of success compared to their white counterparts in exactly the same situations.

Robin Diangelo, in “White Fragility,” identifies 15 life spheres in which whites totally dominate and control. These include: 10 richest Americans are 100% white and full time college professors 84% white. People who decide what TV shows we watch 93% white, teachers 8% white, U.S. Congress is 90% white just to mention a few of the 15. This means the vast majority of whites are born and live their lives in a world in which whites are in control of the world that the rest of us nonwhites also live in trying to get a job, get a loan, drive without cops pulling us over because of our race. The white supremacy that creates the white privilege is so pervasive that like the proverbial fish swimming in water in the ocean, most whites might not even be aware or conscious of their white privilege. They take it for granted.

Mwizenge S. Tembo lives in Bridgewater.

(53) comments

mattnamyj

Mwizenge S. Tembo is completely ignorant of the real world. Try applying for college and see who receives preferential admission, financial aid or Pell Grants. Our current system is based on skin color alone and punishes exceptional students who happen to be something other than of color! We should be truly color blind and allow the cream to rise to the top, regardless of color. This will never happen as long as skin color remains a criteria. Why not have an honest discussion? The truth and statistics are where our faith should fall!

DeftCurmudgeon

In a stroke, 52 years of Democratic history vanishes.

There is no reference to the number of Democratic Party platforms supporting slavery. There were six from 1840 through 1860.

There is no reference to the number of Democratic presidents who owned slaves. There were seven from 1800 through 1861

There is no reference to the number of Democratic Party platforms that either supported segregation outright or were silent on the subject. There were 20, from 1868 through 1948.

There is no reference to "Jim Crow" as in "Jim Crow laws," nor is there reference to the role Democrats played in creating them. These were the post-Civil War laws passed enthusiastically by Democrats in that pesky 52-year part of the DNC's missing years. These laws segregated public schools, public transportation, restaurants, rest rooms and public places in general (everything from water coolers to beaches). The reason Rosa Parks became famous is that she sat in the "whites only" front section of a bus, the "whites only" designation the direct result of Democrats.

There is no reference to the formation of the Ku Klux Klan, which, according to Columbia University historian Eric Foner, became "a military force serving the interests of the Democratic Party." Nor is there reference to University of North Carolina historian Allen Trelease's description of the Klan as the "terrorist arm of the Democratic Party."

There is no reference to the fact Democrats opposed the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments to the Constitution. The 13th banned slavery. The 14th effectively overturned the infamous 1857 Dred Scott decision (made by Democratic pro-slavery Supreme Court justices) by guaranteeing due process and equal protection to former slaves. The 15th gave black Americans the right to vote.

There is no reference to the fact that Democrats opposed the Civil Rights Act of 1866. It was passed by the Republican Congress over the veto of President Andrew Johnson, who had been a Democrat before joining Lincoln's ticket in 1864. The law was designed to provide blacks with the right to own private property, sign contracts, sue and serve as witnesses in a legal proceeding.

There is no reference to the Democrats' opposition to the Civil Rights Act of 1875. It was passed by a Republican Congress and signed into law by President Ulysses Grant. The law prohibited racial discrimination in public places and public accommodations.

There is no reference to the Democrats' 1904 platform, which devotes a section to "Sectional and Racial Agitation," claiming the GOP's protests against segregation and the denial of voting rights to blacks sought to "revive the dead and hateful race and sectional animosities in any part of our common country," which in turn "means confusion, distraction of business, and the reopening of wounds now happily healed."

There is no reference to four Democratic platforms, 1908-20, that are silent on blacks, segregation, lynching and voting rights as racial problems in the country mount. By contrast the GOP platforms of those years specifically address "Rights of the Negro" (1908), oppose lynching (in 1912, 1920, 1924, 1928) and, as the New Deal kicks in, speak out about the dangers of making blacks "wards of the state."

There is no reference to the Democratic Convention of 1924, known to history as the "Klanbake." The 103-ballot convention was held in Madison Square Garden. Hundreds of delegates were members of the Ku Klux Klan, the Klan so powerful that a plank condemning Klan violence was defeated outright. To celebrate, the Klan staged a rally with 10,000 hooded Klansmen in a field in New Jersey directly across the Hudson from the site of the convention. Attended by hundreds of cheering convention delegates, the rally featured burning crosses and calls for violence against African-Americans and Catholics.

There is no reference to the fact that it was Democrats who segregated the federal government, at the direction of President Woodrow Wilson upon taking office in 1913. There \is a reference to the fact that President Harry Truman integrated the military after World War II.

There is reference to the fact that Democrats created the Federal Reserve Board, passed labor and child welfare laws, and created Social Security with Wilson's New Freedom and FDR's New Deal. There is no mention that these programs were created as the result of an agreement to ignore segregation and the lynching of blacks. Neither is there a reference to the thousands of local officials, state legislators, state governors, U.S. congressmen and U.S. senators who were elected as supporters of slavery and then segregation between 1800 and 1965. Nor is there reference to the deal with the devil that left segregation and lynching as a way of life in return for election support for three post-Civil War Democratic presidents, Grover Cleveland, Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt.

There is no reference that three-fourths of the opposition to the 1964 Civil Rights Bill in the U.S. House came from Democrats, or that 80% of the "nay" vote in the Senate came from Democrats. Certainly there is no reference to the fact that the opposition included future Democratic Senate leader Robert Byrd of West Virginia (a former Klan member) and Tennessee Senator Albert Gore Sr., father of Vice President Al Gore.

Last but certainly not least, there is no reference to the fact that Birmingham, Ala., Public Safety Commissioner Bull Connor, who infamously unleashed dogs and fire hoses on civil rights protestors, was in fact--yes indeed--a member of both the Democratic National Committee and the Ku Klux Klan.

I'm glad we've ascertained the root of the racism problem in this country.

DeftCurmudgeon

Oh, and Merry Christmas all.

LVW

And to you, Deft'HO.

LVW

And to you, Deft'HO.

prodigalson

Merry Christmas to you as well Deft, and thank you for pointing out the racist history of the Demokkkrat party. Unfortunately, things haven't changed at all. Go to any large city and you will see the devastating effects of Demokkkrat policies on minority communities. One of their current racists, Klansman Governor Ralph Northam, promotes these very policies. Anyone who votes for Demokkkrats is knowingly voting for these things. It's very sad.

LVW

No reference where?

DeftCurmudgeon

You would just try to invalidate the facts by arguing against the source.

It's tactic I encounter often at the Pravda on the Potomac so I don't provide sources anymore.

But the points made are easily validated.

Google is your friend.

LVW

No, not the source of the cut-and-paste, the place they are talking about when they say, "There is no reference to the Democrats'...". Who is not referencing these things and where are they not referencing them? That's what I meant.

bknjholl

Sources: American Thinker; sebgorka.com; Jeffery Lord; The Independent Sentinel; a veritable who's who of white supremacy... Google is indeed your friend.

DeftCurmudgeon

And it's all... verifiable fact.

But pray proceed to show otherwise.

prodigalson

So, anyone who proves you wrong is a white supremacist. Got it. 😀

bknjholl

Yes, the root. Also thanks for affirming the writer's point because along with racism comes white privilege.

Please continue your history lesson into the 80's and beyond. You can start with Ronald Reagan's speech in Philadelphia, Mississippi, assuring all the white folks that the Republicans were the white-friendly party now. Don't forget about welfare queens and the end of the war on poverty. Remember, my point is simply that the KKK and Jim Crowe were the product of RACISTS. Party affiliation is inconsequential. Thanks for sharing.

Merry Christmas.

DeftCurmudgeon

"Party affiliation is inconsequential."

LOL... I'll bank that quote for later use.

DeftCurmudgeon

Linky:

https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB121856786326834083

newshound

Plenty of uncleansed dirty laundry over the decades left by Democrats yet Robert E Lee and others are blamed for all of it. Apologists want to dredge up selected former injustices that only fit ONE narrative.

Social "wrongs" of past generations should not define 2020 & beyond.

LVW

Funny, the same people that say white privilege doesn't exist also say racism doesn't exist, and for the same reason: they don't notice it. What a coincidence!

Whalebroc

LV, I know one thing, racism is definitely on the wane. Otherwise, Smollett, and many others would not have to make up episodes.

It will never be eradicated totally....from any race or culture. Humans are not angels, remember.

Donald

In response to your questions below, Mr. Holl:

Intellectual violence is not the expressing of an opinion but rather the suppression of opinion and the enforcement of a particular view, Mr. Holl. I have tried to do neither.

The ancient Egyptians made good mummies and were also good at piling rocks one atop another in a very mathematically precise manner. There was also that whole papyrus thingie. Almost all civilizations have something praiseworthy about them. I leave it to others to extol them.

Do I consider Western Civilization to be superior to all current and previous civilizations? Yes. Should it hold dominion over the world’s other civilizations? No. But, it should dominate within Western nations.

Do you believe in the ‘white privilege’ myth, Mr. Holl?

bknjholl

This is the essence of white privilege.

"...rich tapestry of Western Man -- progenitor and progeny of Western Civilization, the greatest civilization ever known..."

This is indeed an opinion that does violence to all other civilizations on earth. Please watch last night's show, Saturday Night Live and most importantly, Eddie Murphy's sketch, "Mr. Robinson's Neighborhood." Then you tell me if I'm wrong to think white privilege is a thing.

https://youtu.be/whfQf3Pd5bU

Donald

You do indeed seem to set a very low bar for what you consider to be intellectual violence, Mr. Holl. However, I fully support your right to do so and would oppose any attempt by anyone to prevent you from setting such a bar.

As to whether I think you are wrong to “think white privilege is a thing”, I never think it is wrong for anyone to think, though I may think what they are thinking is wrong.

bknjholl

I actually don't believe in "intellectual violence." That was your usage. I would think that intellectual violence is more like non-violent debate, which most times is a healthy thing. Rhetorical violence is more dangerous as we've seen with Mr. Trump's incitement to real violence at his rallies.

Whalebroc

Wow, hats off, you really locked this one up BK.

Using Eddie Murphy as a source, ...super.

What’s next, Colbert proving anthropogenic Global warming is real???

bknjholl

Yep. I think Colbert has a pretty good handle on it.

https://twitter.com/i/status/1067956309180461056

Whalebroc

Fool me once, shame on you.......

Sorry, BK, I suffered through Eddie Murphy (I usually think he’s funny)....but I won’t do Coal Bert....actual original pronunciation. He is a mental midget (imho).

bknjholl

Nope. Colbert is one very intelligent comedian. He's also smart. It takes a special kind of intellect to accuse a smart person of being a mental midget.... amusing that is...

Whalebroc

He may be intelligent, but I know he is not smart and does not have common sense. There’s a big difference.

sbsheridan

I don't mean to barge into your conversation, but I simply have to stand up for Stephen Colbert. Not only is he an extremely intelligent, quick-witted, and worldly wise comedian, he is a very generous human being. He has used much of his wealth to do good deed for others, and he encourages all of us to care for our fellow humans. God bless Stephen Colbert!

Whalebroc

Why is it that the “intelligent people” are always the ones that lib/progs agree with?

Just asking for a friend.

LVW

As I said before, white people who say they don't notice white privilege are not very convincing.

brokenanvil

Perhaps you find them unconvincing because they are not privileged. Tucked away in Wikipedia’s screed on “White Privilege”:

“A 2019 study published in The Journal of Experimental Psychology had socially liberal people read about white privilege, and then read about a poor person who was either black or white. They found that reading about white privilege did not increase empathy for either, and decreased it if the person was white. One of the study's authors said that this demonstrates the importance of nuance, and recognizing individual differences, when teaching about white privilege”

newshound

Because in the 21st century, it's all a sickening fraud only promoted by liberal apologists.

Sane Man

After carefully reading this article I developed a few serious questions. Mwizenge Tembo is a professor at Bridgewater College. If he believes what he writes, can he be fair and objective toward white people in the classroom? Is he spewing this divisive rhetoric to his persuadable students? Does he believe that any "black privilege" exists? Affirmative action, Congressional Black Caucus, NAACP, Black History Month to list a few. Does "white privilege" exist all over the world or just in the U.S.? I believe culture is a major factor determining how people are treated or perceived.

newshound

Add in the NBA and NFL where African-Americsn athletes have plenty of "privilege" because they have physical gifts that allow them to compete at a high level--but it still takes work and dedication. Many other people have special artistic and material gifts that give them the ability to succeed--regardless of skin color.

bknjholl

Yes. They are truly the 1% of elite athletes that have power over their own lives, yet most have still suffered the consequences of white privilege. Even Mr. Obama, for 8 years the most powerful person in the world, told stories of his youth and childhood about the special care he (and all POC children) was forced to take as he negotiated the world.

This is much like the "I have black friends, so I'm not a racist" argument. How can the elite and powerful persons of color be affected by white privilege? Even as they overcome its affects, they still suffer on the journey.

Harvey Yoder

In my own lifetime I've personally witnessed Jim Crow style apartheit and inferior schools and limited employment opportunities for African-Americans. Do we really believe that that mindset and culture has just totally and magically disappeared?

newshound

Not with folks like you fanning your liberal gibberish

Whalebroc

Harvey, I am asking because of curiosity; not because of disbelief.....

Approximately how many times did you see these occurrences, and when did most of them occur? When was the last one you saw? Thanks.

Whalebroc

HY, Any numbers and timeframes for us yet?

prodigalson

LOL. Give him tme Whalebroc. He is still talking to his EMU professors, trying to come up with examples.

bknjholl

LIsten to the song, "Strange Fruit" by Billie Holliday.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Web007rzSOI

Listen carefully for the roots of white privilege. Know that this epic American artist was destroyed by the FBI for exposing the real racism that is the root of white privilege. Don't even think about using the argument that "That was in 1939." White privilege was dominant in American culture then, and things have only improved incrementally. More work to do.

https://www.biography.com/news/billie-holiday-strange-fruit

Whalebroc

So.....the FBI was doing shady stuff back then too. Huh, but now the media and its (redundant) strongly support their shady deeds. Well, probably back in 1939, FDR and his people supported them also.....some things never change.

Merry Christmas everyone.

moondoggie1951

The thing about Jim Crowe and The KKK they were both tools of The Democrats.

bknjholl

Nope. The thing about Jim Crowe and the KKK was that they were both tools of racists.

prodigalson

Demokkkrat racists.

Donald

First, Mr. Tembo, might I request that if anyone ever sees me in the ocean attempting to engage a fish in conversation, please get me out of the water. Secondly, if anyone sees someone who thinks a fish is talking to them or thinks a fish can express incredulousness, quickly but gently also get them out of the water. And, thirdly, even if a fish could talk there would only be unintelligible bubbles coming out of its mouth, so I do not see the point of attempting to engage in dialog with a fish.

Now, to borrow from your analogy, if people are swimming through a sea of ideologically manufactured false victimhood created for them through a Marxian-based oppressor/oppressed societal paradigm, would they respond with, “What false paradigm?”

As for Ms. McIntosh’s “invisible knapsack” of perceived or conjured slights, I would suggest she instead look at the rich tapestry of Western Man -- progenitor and progeny of Western Civilization, the greatest civilization ever known – and identify the threads that provided her an audience susceptible to her “white ally” laments (as well as her major career advancement in the political ideology of multiculturalism). Chief among those threads would be Western Man’s peculiar susceptibility to hyper-altruism, hyper-empathy, and a dubious secularized universalism – characteristics to which Western women are especially prone. These characteristics, along with a sense of Christian charity, are a primary driver behind Western Man’s penchant for assisting non-Western peoples and cultures the world over through the use and sharing of Western technology, science, medicine, charitable works, etc. Perhaps that is the real water in which the world swims, Mr. Tembo.

Might I also point out that it might be contradictory in today’s acceptable sociological milieu to write that one is born ‘white’ when we have been informed that ‘whiteness’ is a social construct with no biological basis. Thus, one cannot be born ‘white’, but rather once born one is socialized into ‘whiteness’. Which is it?

Now, for the sake of argument let us take Mr. Diangelo’s statistics as being accurate. Why would it be strange that Western Man would hold many positions of power in a nation that was founded by and its institutions established and built upon by him? How many ‘white’ or ‘black’ faces do you see in the Japanese, Chinese, Nigerian, India, or Indonesian governments? Perhaps ‘whites’, as a result of the Western penchant for individual egalitarianism, are simply more likely to have a greater racial/cultural diversity in positions of power and leadership than can be found in the non-Western world?

I think I will repeat myself and just write that “white privilege” is nothing more than a rephrasing of Marx’s oppressed/oppressor narrative, in this case white oppressor vs non-white oppressed. It is still meant to do one thing – create an ever greater divide between whites and non-whites with the political intent of destroying the social fabric of America (which is already in tatters so I am not sure how much more damage can be done to it).

sbsheridan

Donald -- I tried ... I really tried ... to understand what you are saying, but I'm afraid you lost me with the fish talking, the sea of ideologically manufactured false victimhood, and Western Man's peculiar susceptibility to hyper-altruism, hyper-empathy, and dubious secularized universalism mostly seen in women. Huh?

Donald

Ms. Sheridan, I seriously doubt that a woman of your intellect would not understand what I wrote. But, to clarify, I was trying to be humorous concerning Mr. Tembo’s use of the trite fish-in-water analogy. It is most often used not to clarify but to silence in that it implies that unless something is one’s “lived reality” one cannot comment on or have anything valid to contribute to a particular discussion. It is almost always used only against whites in general and white, heterosexual males in particular. We have become bored with it.

I turned the analogy around by suggesting that those who have been immersed in a world of perceived victimhood would not realize that the ‘sea’ in which they have been immersed does not really exist – it is a false social construct being used as a weapon against anyone opposing the ideology of multiculturalism. People who are most susceptible to wallowing in this ‘sea’ are those who have suffered the intellectual violence directed at them through years of exposure to portions of academia and the various media and ‘cultural’ outlets (e.g., ‘music’, television, movies, ‘news’, etc.).

As to “Western Man's peculiar susceptibility to hyper-altruism, hyper-empathy, and dubious secularized universalism”, I must correct your misperception of what I actually wrote. I did not write that it was mostly seen in women. It permeates the character of Western Man in general – both Western men and Western women. I simply pointed out that they were “characteristics to which Western women are especially prone”, meaning that Western women in general tend to have an elevated level of these emotional or psychological attributes. Unfortunately, this is why political zealots are eager to show a picture of a dead or distressed child (or manufacture one, if need be) whenever it can advance their political agenda – they know it has a good chance of emotionally influencing Western men and women.

Hopefully I have clarified those points to your satisfaction, Ms. Sheridan, and I apologize for any confusion I may have caused.

bknjholl

"...those who have been immersed in a world of perceived victimhood would not realize that the ‘sea’ in which they have been immersed does not really exist..."

Bravo, but not the way you intend. Your impressive, intellectual writing is self described as "intellectual violence" pointed to those who don't embrace your world view. For example, can you extoll the benefits or value of any of the rest of the world's great civilizations? Is there really a "superior" civilization that is entitled to have dominion?

DW222

”Many minorities succeed in education“

Elizabeth Warren and the writer have trashed that notion.

newshound

White privilege is a liberal myth rubbish and fanned by racially-obsessed idiots, the lame-stream media and possibly those lazy-brained folks who think the world owes them someting.

moondoggie1951

I think that 2 of The Greatest Racists of our time was Barrack and Michell (Michael) Obama yet he is Half White. Obama definitely enjoyed Black Privilege seeing as He was From Kenya but yet got to be President of The United State.

sbsheridan

A recent article in The Atlantic magazine referred to a lack of empathy that seems to exist in modern society. As commerce and culture grow globally, many citizens choose to retreat into the familiarity of home. There's nothing wrong with making a comfortable home for oneself, but that does not give one the right to find fault with those who choose to live otherwise, or to ignore the suffering of those unable to find comfort in their current situations.

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