Hi there! I’m new to this forum, so let’s hope I’m doing this right. Warning: long-winded post!
I saw a twitter post from Hank regarding white privilege. I’m somewhat conflicted about certain aspects of this topic, and for a while I’ve been curious about Hank’s opinion on this. I believe this is a topic which needs more civil discourse, so I hope this post can positively add to the overall discussion. Three points I want to nail down before I continue:
1.What is privilege? More or less, it’s: “a special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group of people.” (dictionary). Essentially, a privilege is some advantage you have in life because of some quality about you or your life.
2.There are many different kinds of privilege (probably too many to post) and each different kind of privilege grants differing amounts of privilege (IE differing quantities of advantage to your life, if you follow me).
3.Racial privilege positively affects a person born to a particular race because being a certain race makes a person more likely to be born affluent, and certain areas of the country (referring to the US here) treat certain races differently, such as employment. In a lot of ways, this is a subjective privilege, because it’s dependent on where you live/work.
(Note: this post IS an oversimplification of the issue, but I don't want to write a book here)
Based on these points, I want to make the argument than while racial privilege exists, it’s not as effective (is that the right word?) a kind of privilege as socio-economic privilege. In other words, the advantages gained by a person for being born a particular race is not as effective an elevator of the quality of your life as being born into a wealthy family.
A good piece of evidence to support this assertion is compare the quality of life for a poor white family with that of a wealthy black family. In this case, the poor family DOES have white privilege, but the improvement felt by this privilege is much less influential than the privilege experienced by the wealthy family. Someone who’s poor will always have less privilege than someone who's wealthy, regardless of race or gender, at least in western society as it exists today. This is an important point to make, because it illustrates how the most determinant factor for a person's privilege is their wealth, not their race, and this fact goes against the narrative you sometimes see online. Not to say that these other privileges don't exist; I’m saying I don’t think their impact is as significant.
I’m still new to the whole privilege thing, so it might be that I used the term incorrectly. I know there is a lot here that’s debatable, but I thought this at least was a good addition to the discourse at large. I'd love to hear what you guys think!