I stumbled across this site today and was truly chagrined by the blithe culturalism being expounded as the means by which to “end racism”: http://unfaircampaign.org.
In particular, the following “definition” set forth as a sweeping dismissal of pluralists who actively seek harmony, unity, and equal rights and treatment:
“Denial – Refusal to acknowledge the societal privileges (see the term “privilege”) that are granted or denied based on an individual’s ethnicity or other grouping. Those who are in a stage of denial tend to believe, “People are people. We are all alike regardless of the color of our skin.” In this way, the existence of a hierarchical system or privileges based on ethnicity or race can be ignored.”
So, apparently, anyone who doesn’t immediately take up the lockstep of repeating this vulgar cycle of culturalism by embracing the dichotomous mandate of being just as unjust “to whites” on the matter of some unilateral and absolute “white privilege” is “in denial”.
Personally, I am horrified. All the more so to see that the entire sight is splattered with pictures of “white” people to present this bigoted view OF “white” people, all the while with a teeny little disclaimer that reads, “This model is being used for illustrative purposes only.”
Wow. Really. Just… wow. How do these people NOT understand they are accepting, embracing, and engaging in precisely the same type of dichotomous mentality that causes the very issue they claim they are trying to resolve?
But to tackle that ridiculous definition head on, the following:
1. It is unjust, inequitable, and “unfair” to both assume and presume upon someone’s color, ethnicity, or other grouping as AUTOMATICALLY making them someone who (a) approves of, (b) embraces, (c) endorses, or (d) supports the historically hierarchical system that IS biased, bigoted, culturalist, and non-pluralist.
2. It is unjust, inequitable, and “unfair” to paint people as being disinterested, unable to comprehend, and unconcerned with correcting the profound lack of pluralism in today’s world JUST BECAUSE THEY HAVE A PARTICULAR COLOR OF SKIN OR ARE OF A PARTICULAR ETHNICITY OR OTHER GROUPING.
3. It is this VERY MANNER of over-simplification and aversion to true pluralism that causes ALL of these issues.
4. The only true cure is to refuse to engage the dichotomy whatsoever; to wit, to be someone who DOES say, “People are people. We are all alike regardless of the color of our skin.”
But beyond #4, to say as well that:
- ANYONE who focuses more on the culture, ethnicity, or “color” of a person over their being, traits, and self-presented behaviors is actively engaging in culturalism and non-pluralistic behavior.
- ANYONE who justifies a position that takes a dichotomous stance FOR OR AGAINST another human being based solely upon their culture, ethnicity, or “color” is JUST AS GUILTY.
- ANYONE who asserts or otherwise supports these types of behaviors IS BEING non-pluralistic (at best), and is ensuring the continuance OF non-pluralism and the dichotomy upon which it is founded and from which it is nourished.
The mistake I think groups like this make is that they err in the very behaviors and stances that they claim to be most vehemently organized against. In the doing, not only do they sow further unrest and thus, SUSTAIN the problem, they are planting the seeds from which this particular weed re-appears season after season.
I take particular exception to the notion that “white privilege” as such exists in the manner it is currently being bandied about; particularly in that it is utterly fallacious that “white people never…” any more than it would be to say “[culture/enthicity/"color"] always…” – as a “white” person (actually, Cherokee and Irish, thank you very much!) I have had every, single thing this this site outlines as “examples of white privilege” happen to me AS WELL AS every, single thing it outlines as “never happening to “white” people”. To wit:
1. “I can walk around a department store without being followed.”
I have had many instances of NOT being followed just as I have had many instances OF BEING FOLLOWED. I credit neither to my “skin color” or “culture” or “ethnicity” as I see many of “other” cultures and enthnicity and “color” experiencing BOTH, depending on circumstance and behavior.
In particular, I have been followed and even stopped in stores on numerous occasions because detectives thought I was “taking too long” or “didn’t see me put something down” or “thought I put something into my purse” and, while they were wrong every time, yes, it annoyed the crap out of me; I didn’t, however, immediately attribute it to my “being female” or “being Cherokee” or “being Irish” any more than I would attribute any instance of these things NOT happening to “white privilege”.
2. “I can come to meeting late and not have, my lateness attributed to your race;”
I have been late and had cracks made about “Irish laziness” and I have been late and had no cracks made at all. Interestingly, the persons who leapt on the bandwagon to chaztise me about my “Irish laziness” were NOT “white” people. So much for it only “being a ‘white’ thing”.
3. “being able to drive a car in any neighborhood without being perceived as being in the wrong place or looking for trouble;”
I have been forcibly stopped by four men while one tried to intimidate me out of money because I was “white” and in “their neighborhood” and I have had pretty much the same thing happen when walking through areas where “white” people, apparently, are not commonly seen. I have been attacked “for being white” in these areas, and I have twice fought off such attacks, once having to resort to actually drawing my weapon.
On the flipside, I have had many, many days in which such things didn’t happen at all.
4. “I can turn on the television or look to the front page and see people of my ethnic and racial background represented.”
Depending on the channel, I can manage this. If I turn to any network station, most cable or satellite networks, yes. If I turn to a cultural or ethnically specific channel, rarely if ever. Oddly enough, I do not feel discriminated against because no one is forcing cultural and ethnically specific channels to carry “more ‘white’ people”.
(Edit to add: A clarification here — I am THRILLED to see more pluralism in this regard; I am particularly pleased that the fundamental lack of pluralism is slowly being address BY the presence of culturally and ethnically specific channels and offerings. That said, it is ludicrous to pretend that this particular situation is hopelessly non-pluralistic in and of itself as, frankly, the path to pluralism is NOT “separate but equal stations”, it is truly pluralistic offerings across ALL stations. Needless to say, that progress is yet to be seen and likely will never be seen so long as groups like the above mentioned continued to insist upon activities that support the dichotomy in its continued writhing rather than its utter decimation.)
5. “I can take a job without having co-workers suspect that I got it because of my racial background.”
Actually, I have held three jobs in my career where I endured oft-voiced suspicions that I got my job “because I am a ‘white’ person”. In fact, I had one person (the hiring manager) tell me this directly. Needless to say, I turned my notice in and departed.
6. “I can send my 16-year old out with his new driver’s license and not having to give him a lesson how to respond if police stop him.”
Frankly, I find this one the most ludicrous of all; I wouldn’t dare send my child out with a new license without giving them a lesson in how to appropriately respond to law enforcement. First and foremost because it’s something any child needs to know and likely would have no experience in relation to otherwise, but also because, as intrusive and antagonistic as law enforcement is becoming, I want my child to know their rights and to know what they are and are not allowed to say or do to maintain their civil rights.
Am I saying this never happens to people BECAUSE of their culture, ethnicity, or “color”? Not at all; the world is filled with ignorant, bigoted, non-pluralistic people who take great pleasure in dominating others. It is demonstrated that much of humanity has an incessant need to find something about which to “feel superior” and over which to attempt to make others “feel inferior” and culture, ethnicity, and “color” are favored because they are easy to assume or discern; indeed, they become frequent “reasons” precisely because they do not require a lot of thought and because humans often are completely STUPID when it comes to knee-jerk bias, bigotry, and worse for no other reason than “that person is different from me”.
Do I seem like I am “in denial” of this reality? Assuredly, I am not. But, as someone who has been refused service because “I am white”, been asked to leave establishments “because I am white”, and been straight up insulted in public for daring to enter a cultural or ethnically specific business “while being white”, I’m telling you this: To pretend that “it’s just ‘white’ people” is simply disingenuous.
I do not believe, feel, or think that groups like the Unfair Campaign are doing ANY OF US any good by pretending that it’s any more “ok” to broadly generalize and stereotype and denigrate based on “culture”, “ethnicity”, and “color”; the point here is: IT IS NOT OK FOR ANYONE, EVER.
Sadly, until groups like this get over the need to play the same cards while trying to distance themselves from the FACT that they ARE THE SAME CARDS, they just are not going to have my support.