DONATE NOW TO HELP UPGRADE LIBCOM.ORG

White Privelege Article

20 posts / 0 new
Last post
Croy's picture
Croy
Offline
Joined: 26-05-11
May 26 2013 17:55
White Privelege Article

http://riseresistandrevolt.wordpress.com/2013/05/25/understanding-white-...

So I read this article today and shared it on facebook. I agreed with it for the most part but I couldn't help but disagreeing with its whole "racism does not exist ever ever ever ever if its against anyone non black". It proceeded to define, or perhaps redefine, racism as structural oppression etc against blacks. Now, whilst I am not in any doubt that society is not geared towards the structural oppression of white people, I still don't think this definition is really useful. I was wondering what other people might think of this.

My friend, a non white comrade, said this
"This is unbelievable bullshit. Words mean what they fucking mean, some leftist stating that racism is only structural privilege doesn't make it true. Just mental gymnastics to make their white guilt/victimhood fetish seem rational."

RedEd's picture
RedEd
Offline
Joined: 27-11-10
May 26 2013 18:58

It's also a staggeringly Eurocentric definition of racism. What about structural racism against Tamils in Sri Lanka? Or structural racism against mixed race people (carried out by Whites and Blacks alike) in South Africa? etc.

It's definitely worth pointing out the difference between structural and individual/subjective racism, and pointing out that in Europe and many of it's colonial offshoots that means privileging whites and oppressing non-whites, but to define all racism as structural racism and all structural racism as white-privileging racism seems hopelessly blinkered and, as I say, Eurocentric (oh the irony).

georgestapleton's picture
georgestapleton
Offline
Joined: 4-08-05
May 28 2013 12:24

Yeah "racism does not exist ever ever ever ever if its against anyone non black".

An argument against this stated in two words: Irish Travellers.

Entdinglichung's picture
Entdinglichung
Offline
Joined: 2-07-08
May 28 2013 13:07

there is in fact also a kind of "anti-white racism" in West-African countries like Senegal, Gambia or Ivory Coast which is however not directed against Europeans but against people of Middle Eastern or North African origin, e.g. the chapter about Lebanese people in a document of the left-wing pan-africanist group MOJA-Gambia which I read showed strong similarities with European anti-semitism ... of course, "Black supremacist" thinking in the "North" by some groups in the US or some Rastafarian branches is politically a negligible force

wojtek
Offline
Joined: 8-01-11
May 28 2013 15:00

.

Devrim's picture
Devrim
Offline
Joined: 15-07-06
May 28 2013 14:50
georgestapleton wrote:
Yeah "racism does not exist ever ever ever ever if its against anyone non black".

An argument against this stated in two words: Irish Travellers.

I hear that there were a few incidents against the Armenian population in Turkey in the late Ottoman period too.

Devrim

syndicalistcat's picture
syndicalistcat
Offline
Joined: 2-11-06
May 30 2013 01:49

The treatment of the Irish by the English in the 1500s and 1600s was sort of a template for the origin of the racist ideology that arose in North America, created by the colonial elite (who were usually younger sons of English gentry families).

The very entrenched form of racializing that has existed in North America since the colonial period had its origins in the treatment of native Indians & after the early 1700s the construction of a separate, life-time form of slavery for Africans. Previously most of the slaves were Europeans.

But in the USA racializing practices were later applied to Mexicans and to Chinese immigrants and groups conquered circa 1898 (Spanish-American war, conquest of Hawaii).

So in the USA racism is certainly not only applied against blacks, tho anti-black racism is the worst & most entrenched form of it.

However, just skimming thru this article, it doesn't seem to me to say that racism can only be directed against blacks. Also, there is the problem that "black" is used differently in UK than in USA. In the USA people of Pakistani or Asian Indian ancestry (Desis) are not called "black." "Black Americans" are very distinct group, descended from the West African origin slave population. Moreover, Indians & Pakistanis are not treated in the same was as blacks. Moreover, it often happens that Indian immigrants internalize anti-black prejudice. I had a black American office mate who was jacked around due to the race prejudice of our dark complected Indian boss.

Entdinglichung's picture
Entdinglichung
Offline
Joined: 2-07-08
May 30 2013 08:25

when the first Italians arrived in Mississippi around 1870, they weren't considered to be white because they didn't share on of the most important elements of white Mississippian culture: Protestantism

Black Badger
Offline
Joined: 21-03-07
May 30 2013 17:30

One of the largest mass lynching in the US was in Louisiana against Italians falsely accused of killing a police chief in 1891.

petey
Offline
Joined: 13-10-05
May 30 2013 21:14

there's a quote i wish i could find the cit for: union boss is surveying the shape-up on the west side docks sand says "look at 'em - and not a white man among 'em", 'em being italians.

i won't read the article because race-identity/privilege (in fact any identity/privilege) stuff sets my teeth on edge, but (following up on a comment of syndicalist's) is there really another population in the states that has been targeted with the same racialist categories as africans and their descendants? i mean beyond white/nonwhite. (irish too were considered not white there for a while, and swedes were "niggers turned inside-out.") chinese in the mid 19th-c on the west coast? would aborigines in australia have been categorized in the same way?

syndicalistcat's picture
syndicalistcat
Offline
Joined: 2-11-06
May 30 2013 22:48
Quote:
is there really another population in the states that has been targeted with the same racialist categories as africans and their descendants?

well, if you mean is there another group who are regarded as "black", called "nigger" etc, obviously not. but if that was your question, it would be trivial, so I won't interpret it that way. As I said in my post, I don't think other groups treated (in recent times) as "non-white" have been racialized & oppressed to the same degree as blacks. And this is reflected in all sorts of social indices. and the fact that other European groups were racialized in the past shouldn't be used to diminish or take away from the particular oppression of black Americans.

Fleur
Offline
Joined: 21-02-12
May 30 2013 23:40

petey asked

Quote:
is there really another population in the states that has been targeted with the same racialist categories as africans and their descendants? i mean beyond white/nonwhite.

I would suggest that the indigenous peoples of North America (and elsewhere) have been subjected to systematic oppression ever since Europeans arrived. I don't think that it's hyperbole to describe what happened to the native population as genocide. Here in Canada it is estimated that the native population in pre-colonisation was 500,000, which had been reduced to 10,000 in a century. Certainly a lot of this was due to diseases to which the local population had no immunity like smallpox and measles, but displacement played a role in this too, most notably clearing Native people from their lands during the expansion into the American West as well as actual massacres.
I don't know about the US, but here in Canada when I first moved here I was staggered at the levels of racism against First Nation people. Certainly people love the idea of Native People, Native art and symbols are appropriated into Canadian culture, for example the Vancouver Olympic mascots, so many people have bits of Native art in their houses, go to Pow Wows etc. People are very proud that there was no Trail of Tears here but some of the worst racism I've ever come across has been directed at First Nations people.
I'm no good at math and wouldn't know how to compare the statistics but in much the same way there is a disproportionate percentage of African Americans in prison, in Canada Indigenous people make up 23% of the prison population, while making up just over 4% of the general population.
I don't know how to directly compare the experiences of the indigenous populations and those people who are descendants of people who were brought to the continent as slaves, they were different experiences, nor do I want to put it in terms of a hierarchy of oppression, but as a group of people who have and still do experience racism, Native Americans must be fairly high up thae list.

Chilli Sauce's picture
Chilli Sauce
Offline
Joined: 5-10-07
May 31 2013 07:04

Also, at points in US history, Mexicans were considered white and Germans (Germans of all people!) weren't.

Has any read The Wages of Whiteness?

petey
Offline
Joined: 13-10-05
May 31 2013 14:16

i read that, but a long time ago.
also roediger's "how the irish became white."
people associated with Race Traitor did some very good research, tho' i'm still chary of claims that race trumps class (see recently walter been michaels' articles and books).

e2a: i know in WW1 there were tremendous attacks on germans, but when and where were they called nonwhite?
and, in the everything old is new again category:

Quote:
Americans renamed sauerkraut "liberty cabbage"; dachshunds "liberty hounds"; and somewhat paradoxically, even German measles as "liberty measles."

http://www.uta.fi/FAST/US1/REF/germ-ww1.html

Chilli Sauce's picture
Chilli Sauce
Offline
Joined: 5-10-07
May 31 2013 18:40

Re: Germans

I don't remember specifically, but it was covered in a labor history class I took, part of the class dealing with Roediger's book in fact. But don't take it as gospel.

syndicalistcat's picture
syndicalistcat
Offline
Joined: 2-11-06
May 31 2013 21:57

Re: Germans: there is a comment of Benjamin Franklin from 1750 to the effect that Germans (and Swedes) were not white. "White" apparently was used exclusively to refer to the English I guess at that time. by the way, when I ran across this quote from Franklin in the L.A. Times, I burst out laughing. My father's ancestors were among the Germans there in Pennsylvania in the 1700s Franklin was talking about. My father was a very Nordic looking blue-eyed blonde. Indicates the bizarre political character of "white" in USA.

Germans in the U.S. tended to be concentrated in certain locales & were thus able to maintain their language & culture until roughly World War 1 in the USA. My father told me that when he visited his grandparents on their farm near Easton, PA around World War 1 when he was a boy, they spoke German & so did their neighbors. Even tho their family had been in America for 200 years. The book "The Pig & the Skyscraper" (a history of Chicago) basically talks about how the anti-German prejudice during World War 1 brought an end to things like German taught in the schools & forced Anglo assimilation on the German-American enclaves.

But these forms of ethnic prejudice against various European nationalities were not the same thing as the systematic racializing of the black population.

re: Mexicans: in the late 1800s lynching of Mexicans in Texas and nearby areas was common. Up through the World War 2 area & beyond, racism towards people of Mexican ancestry by the police & sheriffs in Los Angeles was common. Of course there were the famous zoot suit riots during World War 2 which were a kind of anti-Chicano pogrom. This forged a certain Chicano identity as "not white" (since they were treated as not white). About half the Mexican origin population in the U.S. will say on their census forms they are "white" and about half will not.

the old hyphenated ethnic identifications for people of Euro ancestry seem to have gone by the board, dropped out, in the USA. this happened as the era of Euro immigration faded into the distant past & as inter-marriage became endemic in the white population. Europe just seems so distant & irrelevant, in a cultural sense. similar tendencies seem to be happening to some extent for the lighter complected people of Asian and Latin American origin more recently, that is, assimilation to the dominant white culture, inter-marriage.

Khawaga's picture
Khawaga
Offline
Joined: 7-08-06
Jun 1 2013 14:50

Arabs or rather Muslim looking (so anyone with a turban), but the discrimination of them is still not even close to the treatment of black people and aboriginals.

radicalgraffiti
Offline
Joined: 4-11-07
Jun 2 2013 00:48

why people taking this guy seriously? hes clearly trolling you all, just ban the fucker

Edit: i'm too slow

Croy's picture
Croy
Offline
Joined: 26-05-11
Jun 2 2013 14:27

Ban him, bin the thread. Racist sexist clearly not anarchist in any sense. Thanks for ruining my thread buddy tongue

Harrison
Offline
Joined: 16-11-10
Jun 2 2013 20:16

deleted.