White Privilege

This is fantastic article outlining mainstream present moment examples that we are experiencing as a nation in regards to White Privilege. There is white priveledge in the US and around the world for that matter. It is unmistakably true about the US as it is for Brazil, my current vantage point. It is disgusting and unfortunately most people still don’t see it. We are taught in the US to not see the racism and built in biasness that runs so deep in the United States. Like a lot of things, it is hard to see something that is right in front of our eyes every day, especially if we have always been taught to look at other things. We, as Americans, try to hide it, try to make up for it in some sectors, but if you actually research the issues you will see that minorities and women generally come out on bottom… while white men, continue to be on top… We live in a White World and as my white friends will probably dispute this, it is absolutely true.

I got this article from a friends site www.myspace.com/portuguese_poetress – Thank you Amy.

Here is the article:
White Privilege

This is Your Nation on White Privilege
By Tim Wise

For those who still can’t grasp the concept of white privilege, or who are looking for some easy-to-understand examples of it, perhaps this list will help.

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 when you can call yourself a “fuckin’ redneck,” like Bristol Palin’s boyfriend does, and talk about how if anyone messes with you, you’ll “kick their fuckin’ ass,” and talk about how you like to “shoot
shit” for fun, and still be viewed as a responsible, all-American boy (and a great son-in-law to be) rather than a thug.

White privilege is when you can attend four different colleges in six years like Sarah Palin did (one of which you basically failed out of, then returned to after making up some coursework at a community college), and no one questions your intelligence or commitment to achievement, whereas a person of color who did this would be viewed as unfit for college, and probably someone who only got in in the first place because of affirmative action.

White privilege is when you can claim that being mayor of a town smaller than most medium-sized colleges, and then Governor of a state with about the same number of people as the lower fifth of the island of Manhattan, makes you ready to potentially be president, and people don’t all piss on themselves with laughter, while being a black U.S. Senator, two-term state Senator, and constitutional law scholar, means you’re “untested.”

White privilege is being able to say that you support the words “under God” in the pledge of allegiance because “if it was good enough for the founding fathers, it’s good enough for me,” and not be immediately disqualified from holding office–since, after all, the pledge was written in the late 1800s and the “under God” part wasn’t added until the 1950s–while if you’re black and believe in reading accused criminals and terrorists their rights (because the Constitution, which you used to teach at a prestigious law school, requires it), you are a dangerous and mushy liberal who isn’t fit to safeguard American institutions.

White privilege is being able to be a gun enthusiast and not make people immediately scared of you.

White privilege is being able to have a husband who was a member of an extremist political party that wants your state to secede from the Union, and whose motto is “Alaska first,” and no one questions your patriotism or that of your family, while if you’re black and your spouse merely fails to come to a 9/11 memorial so she can be home with her kids on the first day of school, people immediately think she’s being disrespectful.

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 and the fact that she lives close to Russia–you’re somehow being mean, or even sexist.

White privilege is being able to convince white women who don’t even agree with you on any substantive issue to vote for you and your running mate anyway, because suddenly your presence on the ticket has inspired confidence in these same white women, and made them give your party a “second look.”

White privilege is being able to fire people who didn’t support your political campaigns and not be accused of abusing your power or being a typical politician who engages in favoritism, while being black and merely
knowing some folks from the old-line political machines in Chicago means you must be corrupt.

White privilege is when you can take nearly twenty-four hours to get to a hospital after beginning to leak amniotic fluid, and still be viewed as a great mom whose commitment to her children is unquestionable, and whose “next door neighbor” qualities make her ready to be VP, while if you’re a black candidate for president and you let your children be interviewed for a few seconds on TV, you’re irresponsibly exploiting them.

White privilege is being able to give a 36 minute speech in which you talk about lipstick and make fun of your opponent, while laying out no substantive policy positions on any issue at all, and still manage to be
considered a legitimate candidate, while a black person who gives an hour speech the week before, in which he lays out specific policy proposals on several issues, is still criticized for being too vague about what he would do if elected.

White privilege is being able to attend churches over the years whose pastors say that people who voted for John Kerry or merely criticize George W. Bush are going to hell, and that the U.S. is an explicitly Christian
nation and the job of Christians is to bring Christian theological principles into government, and who bring in speakers who say the conflict in the Middle East is God’s punishment on Jews for rejecting Jesus, and
everyone can still think you’re just a good church-going Christian, but if you’re black and friends with a black pastor who has noted (as have Colin Powell and the U.S. Department of Defense) that terrorist attacks are often the result of U.S. foreign policy and who talks about the history of racism and its effect on black people, you’re an extremist who probably hates America.

White privilege is not knowing what the Bush Dotrine is when asked by a reporter, and then people get angry at the reporter for asking you such a “trick question,” while being black and merely refusing to give one-word answers to the queries of Bill O’Reilly means you’re dodging the question, or trying to seem overly intellectual and nuanced.

White privilege is being able to go to a prestigious prep school, then to Yale and then Harvard Business school, and yet, still be seen as just an average guy (George W.Bush) while being black, going to a prestigious prep school, then Occidental College, then Columbia, and then to Harvard Law, makes you “uppity,” and a snob who probably looks down on regular folks.

White privilege is being able to graduate near the bottom of your college class (McCain), or graduate with a C average from Yale (W.) and that’s OK, and you’re cut out to be president, but if you’re black and you graduate near the top of your class from Harvard Law, you can’t be trusted to make good decisions in office.

White privilege is being able to dump your first wife after she’s disfigured in a car crash so you can take up with a multi-millionaire beauty queen (who you go on to call the c-word in public) and still be thought of as a man of strong family values, while if you’re black and married for nearly twenty years to the same woman, your family is viewed as un-American and your gestures of affection for each other are called “terrorist fist bumps.”

White privilege is when you can develop a pain-killer addiction, having obtained your drug of choice illegally like Cindy McCain, go on to beat that addiction, and everyone praises you for being so strong, while being a black guy who smoked pot a few times in college and never became an addict means people will wonder if perhaps you still get high, and even ask whether or not you ever sold drugs.

White privilege is being able to sing a song about bombing Iran and still be viewed as a sober and rational statesman, with the maturity to be president, while being black and suggesting that the U.S.should speak with other nations, even when we have disagreements with them, makes you “dangerously naive and immature.”

White privilege is being able to say that you hate “gooks” and “will always hate them,” and yet, you aren’t a racist because, ya know, you were a POW so you’re entitled to your hatred, while being black and insisting that black anger about racism is understandable, given the history of your country, makes you a dangerous bigot.

White privilege is being able to claim your experience as a POW has anything at all to do with your fitness for president, while being black and experiencing racism and an absent father is apparently among the “lesser
adversities” faced by other politicians, as Sarah Palin explained in her convention speech.

And finally, white privilege is the only thing that could possibly allow someone to become president when he has voted with George W. Bush 90 percent of the time, even as unemployment is skyrocketing, people are losing their homes, inflation is rising, and the U.S. is increasingly isolated from world opinion, just because a lot of white voters aren’t sure about that whole “change” thing. Ya know, it’s just too vague and ill-defined, unlike, say, four more years of the same, which is very concrete and certain.

White privilege is, in short, the problem.

Yes, I can vote from abroad…

I have had many people say that they didn’t know that one could vote from abroad… and to be honest, neither did I until I moved here and decided to find out. There is even a Democrats Abroad group here in São Paulo that I have become affiliated with through the elections. It is wonderful to be around other Americans, expatriates like myself who know what it is like to live in a different culture, living a different reality. It is different, very different yet oddly similar in the same vein…

I Voted for Barack Obama

I voted for Barack Obama. I sent in my Absentee Ballot the night of the 2nd Presidential Debate between he and Senator McCain. Since the reality is that we live in a two party system and if I want to make change I see that you have to go a bit mainstream and have done so this round. So of the two major candidates I can certainly say that Barack Obama is my choice. He is an intellectual and this is apparent. He seems to take the high ground and looks out for the middle class that has been totally beaten down in the last few years.

He embodies the “American Dream” with all odds against him, yet he has been able to get to this point and I am cheering him on to continue. Can you imagine having the name Barack Obama growing up in school? Kids are ruthless and cruel, we all know this is the truth, and it is much easier to pick on the one that doesn’t fit in than to pick on our own crowd… I imagine that Barack Obama has faced a lot of ridicule over things that he could not change in his life. Along with that he is was born to a white mother and black foreign father, who left his life at an early age. All odds were against him. Living abroad with his mother for a short time when he was young and then returning to Hawaii to be raised by his grandparents must have been hard. He has had to face adversity in every aspect. His family didn’t have much money, they even had to rely on the government at one point in order to make it through tough times. Dispite all of this, he rose above and realized that he could change his life and his situation, so he did.

He worked his way up to the Ivy League graduating from Columbia University and then Harvard Law School. Along the way he used scholarships and loans to pay for his education, like most of us have to. He became the first black President of the Harvard Law Review. After graduating he wrote a book and then decided to move to South Chicago to work for the people, creating jobs and opportunities, revitalizing the area. He taught at University of Illinois as well, another major feat. Then came his US Senate career, short as it may be, but then had the guts and the drive to run for President of the United States. He has let nothing hold him back, in fact it seems as though it has made him stronger in a variety of ways. He has faced adversity and has pushed forward to get to this point. I believe in someone who has this much drive and will to succeed.

A natural born leader, he spreads inspiration and hope. He is a motivator and can see the big picture. He understands what America is about now, where we have been and where we should go. He has had quite a life which has shaped him to be who he is today. I want someone like that, who has exposure, breadth and depth to lead our great nation. The time for change is now.

Politics – Is Palin just a diversion?

I don’t want to be the one who thinks that everything is a huge conspiracy, but I have to wonder. Why is it that in the last few months of Bush’s Presidency he is pushing all kinds of things through while the media is totally focused on Sarah Palin. Is it part of McCain’s and Bush’s plan to divert the attention so that Bush can do just a little bit more to mess up our nations economy and relations?

Is it because Bush knows that McCain is his buddy and will do what he asks because McCain and the Bush family have been close for years? Is it a big master plan that the general public is totally unaware of? I am so confused and appalled that McCain has picked Palin as his running mate anyway, so is it too far off base to question the bigger motives of the Republican Party who are in fear of a sure loss of power?

Are the Republicans setting up the nation in such a way that the Democrats have to try to come in and save the day against the odds like Clinton had to? Until something happens under the Democratic reign that then leads the general public to think that going Republican again is the answer… Each party has to deal with the effects from the last. It is like any job really, but on a bigger scale, obviously. Think of how many times you have stepped into a new position where you have had to deal with all of the stuff that the last person didn’t do right or did in a different way than you would have? It takes time to reverse and reform anything.

If the McCain and Palin come into power it will be more of the same for sure and they will have to deal with the poor decisions that the Bush Administration made. If Obama and Biden come into power they will have such a huge project to undertake, that will overwhelm them to no end. They will be criticized eventually for not bringing the change that was promised because of the odds that they have had to play against. It will paint them in such bad light, until later when the bigger picture becomes clear…