Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Wise's White Privilege:

I was a single mom in the late 60's, and life was not easy. I've always looked younger than I am (until recently, anyway) and when I'd get on the bus with my infant daughter, I probably looked fifteen, not twenty. People's eyes would often glance at my hand to see if I was wearing a wedding ring: subtle shift in attitude. Then they'd look at my daughter, with her beautiful curly black hair and her light coffee skin: less subtle shift. But I, the mom, was white, and that's smoothed many a road in my life.

Tim Wise has identified 14 ways in which white privilege is playing out in this country's current race for the presidency. Two that hit me personally:
  • 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 being able to make fun of community organizers and the work they do--like, among other things, fight for the right of women to vote, or for civil rights, or the 8-hour workday, or an end to child labor--and people think you’re being pithy and tough, but if you merely question the experience of a small town mayor and 18-month governor with no foreign policy expertise beyond a class she took in college--you’re somehow being mean, or even sexist.

You can read the rest of his insights at Red Room or hear and see him at YouTube.

2 comments:

Mary E.Carey said...

Thanks for pointing this out, Michaelann.

Michaelann Bewsee said...

Thanks, Mary. Tim Wise hits the nail on the head so often...