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White men and Privilege

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#1
Skagens

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I hear about this topic a lot on social media. It's been made up to be this giant issue in our society, primarily western culture, that somehow white heterosexual middle-aged men have some sort of societal privilege that makes them have a much easier life in general compared to minority groups or other groups that do not fit this bill. I've never had a problem with this topic because I've never encountered it in real life.

Now, I understand this is a very sensitive topic to a lot of folks on here, which is why I would like everyone to keep a respectful discussion without namecalling and insults, but I'd like to hear where people are coming from with this. Is this something you've encountered and experienced to be a problem in your lives? This could be related to work and socially.



#2
HeyYou

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As I see it, it's basically specific minority groups whining about how 'unfair' life is, when they will not do anything to help themselves. They expect everyone else to take care of them, and provide for their every need, out of some sense of guilt for things that happened over 100 years ago. Hence, we get all sorts of odd legislation, that is supposed to 'help' these folks, but, in the end, all it does is hurt other folks.

 

Yes, I am a white guy, and I have been passed over for jobs, simply because the company had quotas to fill, to meet their affirmative action obligations. So, the job I wanted actually went to a less qualified individual, simply because he was a minority. (and yes, that is exactly what my manager told me when I asked why I didn't get the job.)



#3
Skagens

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As I see it, it's basically specific minority groups whining about how 'unfair' life is, when they will not do anything to help themselves. They expect everyone else to take care of them, and provide for their every need, out of some sense of guilt for things that happened over 100 years ago. Hence, we get all sorts of odd legislation, that is supposed to 'help' these folks, but, in the end, all it does is hurt other folks.

 

Yes, I am a white guy, and I have been passed over for jobs, simply because the company had quotas to fill, to meet their affirmative action obligations. So, the job I wanted actually went to a less qualified individual, simply because he was a minority. (and yes, that is exactly what my manager told me when I asked why I didn't get the job.)

 

I'm sorry, that must have felt really shitty. Do you think this is a problem mostly in the states or do you think it's more in general? As I said in the post, I've never experienced something like this and I live in Europe.



#4
HeyYou

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As I see it, it's basically specific minority groups whining about how 'unfair' life is, when they will not do anything to help themselves. They expect everyone else to take care of them, and provide for their every need, out of some sense of guilt for things that happened over 100 years ago. Hence, we get all sorts of odd legislation, that is supposed to 'help' these folks, but, in the end, all it does is hurt other folks.

 

Yes, I am a white guy, and I have been passed over for jobs, simply because the company had quotas to fill, to meet their affirmative action obligations. So, the job I wanted actually went to a less qualified individual, simply because he was a minority. (and yes, that is exactly what my manager told me when I asked why I didn't get the job.)

 

I'm sorry, that must have felt really shitty. Do you think this is a problem mostly in the states or do you think it's more in general? As I said in the post, I've never experienced something like this and I live in Europe.

 

Well, I KNOW it's a problem in the states. :) As for other places, I don't know, as I have no experience with them.



#5
RGMage2

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It's been made up to be this giant issue in our society, primarily western culture, that somehow white heterosexual middle-aged men have some sort of societal privilege that makes them have a much easier life in general compared to minority groups or other groups that do not fit this bill.

I see it basically as an expression of prejudice against people who are perceived to be in the mainstream by those who, for various reasons - age, education, ethnicity, sexual orientation, see themselves as being on the fringe.

 

Like most prejudices, it paints with a very broad brush, and feeds into the common human desire to pull oneself up by pulling someone else down.

 

If you are heterosexual you are in the vast majority and swimming with the current, thus the mainstream.  But because it is the vast majority there is no perceptible advantage when comparing your prospects with those of most of the people you will deal with in your lifetime.

 

If you are not heterosexual you are disadvantaged, but it isn't anyone's fault.  You are what you are, deal with it.  No one owes you anything.

 

If being middle aged is an advantage, it isn't the age itself but rather the number of years you've spent in the work force fighting to better your position in life that is the advantage.  By middle age you should have earned some privilege, however not everyone has, and the privilege is measured in degrees with a lot more people at the bottom of the scale than the top.

 

Is being white an advantage?  Probably.  People are tribal, and more accepting of other people they believe to be like themselves.  My skin is white, I wont apologize for it.  It's the only skin I've got, I was born with it.  I'm fortunate my parents chose to immigrate to a country where my skin color is in the majority.  Even so, they faced prejudice when they arrived here from Scotland.  My mother tells me they they were referred (sneered) to as DPs (displaced people) by native born Canadians, and it was meant in a derogatory way.  But prejudice is everywhere.  One of the reasons my parents were happy to leave Scotland behind was to escape the religious prejudice.  My mother's family being Roman Catholic and my father's being Scottish Presbyterian, well... from what I'm told the hatred in those years was extreme.

 

The advantage of being male?  I'm not sure about that.  Politically and financially it is easy to say that men hold the power, and yet I as a white heterosexual middle aged male have no political power and limited financial resources.  I think it is safe to say that most men in this world have no political or financial power.  On the other hand, in interpersonal relationships, the power that a woman holds is at least equal to the power that men have, and perhaps the power balance in those relationships is the most meaningful indicator of true power.

 

Bottom line, when I hear or read the phrase "white male privilege" it goes in one ear and out the other.  We are all born with varying degrees of advantage and disadvantage, and it is up to each of us to make the most with what we have, though most of us will fail to do that.

 

Those who, for whatever reason do well in life, will be resented by those who don't for whatever reason do well in life.

 

I have a theory that the human race first invented language for the purpose of complaining.  Complaining about many things, the weather, food, the smell, but mostly complaining about other people.



#6
Mktavish

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When you say in the media ... what side of the argument do you see most ?



#7
Mktavish

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Chances are you are talking about the reaction of anger against what happened 2 decades ago.

 

And then the question is ... do white men have a legitimate grievance about a system rigged against them ?   Something comparable to 7 decades ago ?

 

Was there a point of past grievance becoming equal ... then it went to far and caused grievance the other direction ?   When was that ?  What should we do about it ?



#8
Skagens

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When you say in the media ... what side of the argument do you see most ?

 

Mostly news-articles about certain protests and/or rallies related to the subject but also about businesses being in hot water because they excluded a more qualified white dude over a less qualified African-American or the like. I don't really see arguments, what I see is shouting. The movement known as "Black Lives Matter" is often seen together with this topic.

 

Chances are you are talking about the reaction of anger against what happened 2 decades ago.

 

Well, no. The news articles reporting about it are regarding it as an issue today. Was this also an issue back in the day?



#9
Mktavish

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Chances are you are talking about the reaction of anger against what happened 2 decades ago.

 

Well, no. The news articles reporting about it are regarding it as an issue today. Was this also an issue back in the day?

 

 

To clarify what I meant by 2 decades ago ... I don't mean a pivotal moment happened regarding it. Just choosing the late 90's as a snapshot for how far civil rights had come since say the 50's. But no , it wasn't as much of an issue either way back then as it is 2 decades later.

And I would keep the possibility in mind for what you are seeing today ... That much of it may in fact just be hyperbole , not intended to fix anything ... but just intended to cause more extremes of division , from both sides ... cuz sad to say ... political strife has become a new way to make money.







Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: white men, caucasian, privilege, bias, black, minority, society, barriers, structures

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