Monday, September 22, 2008

White Privilege

I received this as an email recently and thought "I'm the F$%K it List and I approve this message". Thanks K-lah.

For those who still can't grasp the concept of white privilege, or who
are constantly 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 "f$5kin' redneck,"
like Bristol Palin's boyfriend does, and talk about how if anyone
messes with you, you'll "kick their f$%kin' 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 believing that reading accused criminals and
terrorists their rights (because, ya know, the Constitution, which you
used to teach at a prestigious law school requires it), is a dangerous
and silly idea only supported by mushy liberals.

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 was "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 a20small 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.

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 all of a sudden 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 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 Doctrine 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 claim your experience as a POW has
anything at all to do with your fitness for president, while being
black and experiencing racism is, as Sarah Palin has referred to it a
"light" burden.

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 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.

UPDATE: Thanks to Shelly Shell( click her name over there-->) we have more information on the origin of this email.

"The dude who wrote this is Tim Wise. He's white and he has several essays that are very interesting. His site is" --Shelly Shell

Thanks Girl!


Eb the Celeb said...

White privilege is when you can walk into a black church and take pictures and videotape and point and laugh and everything that is going on like we're there to entertain you.

ShellyShell said...

The dude who wrote this is Tim Wise. He's white and he has several essays that are very interesting. His site is

PCD (Pretty Circle Drawer) said...

everybody say HOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

Miss P said...

i completely missed the part at the start when you said it was an e-mail you got and thought to myself, if this is what we get when you get a chance to sit down and breathe, then girl, you need to breathe more often!

Ms. Jones said...

I went to church Sunday and the pastor used some of those examples, they are from some book (I can't remember the name) but they are the truth...sad but oh so true!

Big Cheekz said...

my homeboy sent this to me, it was pretty deep and interesting and sad all at the same time.

Bangs and a Bun said...

This is exceptionally well written and sadly oh, so true.

The Jaded NYer said...

ooh girl, you gonna mess around and convinve me to vote for Obama if you keep this up! lol

Anonymous said...

HELL YEAH...I'm liking this blog...the fuck it list is definitely a daily read

Check out the All NEW

dejanae said...

right there in black and white
pun intended

lanibear said...

This article just gave me chills... Always being the eternal optimist, I have to say that the fact that a white man wrote the article is showing that change is happening...not as fast as we folk would like--but I guess that means that white privilege has taken CPT away from us too....

Kate said...

Love this article (a friend sent it to me a few days ago) and your blog. So much so that I've linked both on my blog. Kudos to you!

(¯`·._.·[***Fresh&Fab***]·._.·´¯) said...

sum1 sent this to me, and all I cud remebEr thinking was beautiful, fantastic peice of writing

A Go Bytch said...

I enjoyed this post f&$k it....

Hell you could have went on forever with that list and still be able to add on.. it's crazy!

Go B.

Keith said...

That was right on time..I'm standing and applauding Tim Wise for writing it and you for posting it. This was great.