Unethical High School Assembly Video Of…What? The Month? The Year? Eternity?

This video, purportedly a defense of affirmative action, was mandatory viewing for students at Glen Allen High School in Henrico, Virginia:

This isn’t education. This is anti-American, race-baiting indoctrination, political in intent and orientation, and absolutely irresponsible for use in a high school. This school, of course, has students of both races, so the video also encourages racial distrust, divisions, and hate.

Naturally, many parents object, though I doubt any are objecting more than I would.

The school was unapologetic:

“The students participated in a presentation that involved American history and racial discourse. A segment of the video was one component of a thoughtful discussion in which all viewpoints were encouraged. As always, we are welcoming of feedback from students and their families, and we address concerns directly as they come forward.”

A classic of  double-speak spin from incompetent, power-abusing educators. You don’t teach children about complex issues by reducing them to simple-minded cartoon agitprop, but then, education, however, is not the objective. The clear motives are racial spoils, white guilt, black entitlement, and partisan advantage.

164 thoughts on “Unethical High School Assembly Video Of…What? The Month? The Year? Eternity?

  1. Holy Shit!!!

    WTF is wrong with those people!!!!

    Propaganda indoctrination “education” camps are right around the damn corner in Virginia; oh wait, it looks like they’re already there!

  2. Next year, consider awarding this video some sort of ethic alarms prize. How about the Ministry of Propaganda, US Dept. Of Ed. Pravda New Think Education Award?

  3. This was a bad video, but you are simply attempting to shoehorn your political opinions into a claim that the presentation of it is “unethical”. You are an idiot, and I am no longer interested in this site as a source of mature discussion.

    • That is not what I am “simply” doing, and if the video were not unethically used to indoctrinate children, I wouldn’t cover it at all.

      My opinion of affirmative action has absolutely nothing to do with calling this atrocity what it is. I would write exactly the same thing, exactly, if the video was a brilliant constitutional screed against affirmative action. You apparently can’t read and are infected with bias, and you project your deficiencies on me. Moreover, if you had read many posts here, you would know I don’t operate that way. I can’t even tell what political opinion you think is being expressed here/ That listing every racial or ethnic disaster in US history without context or exposition is un-American? The showing kids a video that represents whites as oppressive cheater and blacks as hapless victims is either fair or responsible?

      My criticism was : “This is anti-American, race-baiting indoctrination, political in intent and orientation, and absolutely irresponsible for use in a high school. This school, of course, has students of both races, so the video also encourages racial distrust, divisions, and hate.”

      That isn’t a political assessment—of if you have some reason to say otherwise, jerk, you weren’t capable of articulating it—and indoctrinating students using a partisan, racial political propaganda IS unethical. It is not consented to by parents, the school is neither competent nor authorized to do it, and it is political indoctrination, not education. All unethical., you ignoramous.

      You don’t comprehend what unethical is in the context of education, and you call me an “idiot” because you are addled. Sad, but obnoxious. And hit and run insults are rude and cowardly, but as you are ethically ignorant, this isn’t surprising conduct at all.

      Good riddance. Smarter, fairer people argue here.

      • And may I add, I view your despicable comment as among the most insulting, unfair and cowardly I have encountered in 7 years writing this blog, as a public service. To paraphrase City Slickers, if my contempt were a country, it would be China.

    • Oh dear me! David is no longer interested in this site! I don’t want to stay here if all the cool kids are leaving. Nothing personal.

    • David,
      You call Jack and idiot and then turn around and say you want mature discussion; not freaking likely from a cyber stalking troll like yourself, you’re just trying to start arguments. If that’s the kind of “intelligent” wing-nut Liberal attack the messenger commentary we can expect from you then, good reddens doofas.

      There are many sites full of your ilk out there; madison.com is always looking for Liberal sheeple to attack Conservatives.

  4. I was expecting something far worse. I disagree with affirmative action, which seems to create more problems than it solves, but I think this video made the best case possible for an inherently discriminatory policy. If the school is telling the truth, and the other side was portrayed fairly and accurately, then I see nothing unethical here. As a teacher, I might use such a video to illustrate the pro-affirmative action side. (Though possibly only if I could find an equally interesting anti-affirmative action video that would have the same type of emotional effect–which would be difficult.)

    Up until the endorsement for affirmative action, I find little objections about the actual content. Certainly you can’t dispute the fact that most of the obstacles listed exist, and that whites as a social group have had unfair advantages throughout most of America’s history? Some of the problem, such as racial profiling, can be argued, but those arguments can be had between reasonable, decent people–to declare any of them “unethical” seems to be a way of shutting down necessary and valid conversations.

    “That listing every racial or ethnic disaster in US history without context or exposition is un-American?”

    Why is that “un-American?” I don’t see a whole lot of context that could justify clear wrongs such as slavery, segregation and Manifest Destiny.

    “The showing kids a video that represents whites as oppressive cheater and blacks as hapless victims is either fair or responsible?”

    I didn’t see the white runners as “oppressive cheaters”–it was the RACE that was rigged and corrupt, not the individual participants. That’s the metaphor, and it’s a good one; most white people in America aren’t individually evil, and we shouldn’t feel any guilt. But we should acknowledge that we have advantages others don’t. I grew up in a conservative household, but the idea that white people and advantages as a race in America was never something I even knew was controversial when I was younger. Ironically, it wasn’t until I got to college that I heard people challenge the idea of white privilege. It just seemed obvious to me. But then, I also grew up poor in a majority Hispanic town. Where are all these people from who don’t know that being white is a social advantage? Have they only ever met and compared themselves to other white people?

    Jack, you talk a lot about biases here, but have you considered that maybe you yourself harbor biases that could cloud your judgment on this issue? The video is interesting and a good argument for the position it advocates, even if the position itself is wrong. To declare it unethical–without much in the way of reason (and yes, I read your entire article)–strikes me as unfair. Why not argue against the position, or the arguments expressed, instead of calling the whole argument out of bounds?

    • Horseshit. Sniveling, whining, victim-worshiping, woe-is-me horseshit. The game is NOT freaking rigged against black people; FAR from it. Quotas, curves on public service pre-employment exams,preferential hiring, scholarships, black-only clubs, affirmative action? Even IF there was truth to that, why in God’s name do people think that planting the idea that the system is rigged against you feel this is a sound motivational strategy? Why do people think that all of society’s ills can be legislated away? Anyone, ANYONE that applies themselves can make it in this country. The message to kids should be “winners see obstacles as challenges, and your victory will be that much sweeter if you encounter difficulties”, not this garbage. For more reasons than I can count, I’m living proof of that, which is why I have ZERO patience for this crap anymore.

      Further, if this propaganda was played in any of my kids’ classrooms, I would be APESHIT!

    • The only privilege white people have is that, generally speaking, most aren’t raised by jackals like so many unfortunate kids in the inner-city are. That has nothing to do with skin color, and everything to do with choices and their consequences.

      • “The only privilege white people have is that, generally speaking, most aren’t raised by jackals like so many unfortunate kids in the inner-city are.”

        Jesus Christ. If this is you trying to prove that racism against blacks barely exists…you, sir, have failed magnificently.

        • I ran away from an extremely violent and abusive childhood where we were made to split and stack cordwood dawn till disk, 6 days a week,and I lived in the woods until I was 17, finishing high school nonetheless. I then joined the navy, serving on submarines, and as a combat (fmf) corpsman with a marine infantry batallion, getting severely wounded in Somalia in the process. After 14 years of stellar service I was med-boarded out due to bipolar disorder, PTSD, and what later turned out to be Parkinson’s. I lost my second marriage at about this time, and went off the deep end. I was again homeless, and complicated matters by abusing my pain meds. At one point after I’d gotten myself together I got sloppy with what was supposed to be a legal process for building a gun, and ended up doing 4 very difficult years in prison. Afterwards, I got out, worked as both a household goods mover and a roofer, then finally back into an over-the-road tractor/trailer job, finishing most of my second bachelor’s degree in the truck’s sleeper on the side of the NJ turnpike. I’m currently in a lot of pain, have a great deal of difficulty concentrating, a shit memory, have horrible sleep problems and mood swings, but I’m nonetheless in MEDICAL SCHOOL, not pissing and moaning about my slave ancestors and how the system failed me. So, after reading this, can I ask you where the fuck my white privilege card is?

          • White privilege is a rhetorical trap, and a clever one. It wins an illicit argument by unfairly defining it so only one conclusion is possible: a white individual can take no pride in individual success, and a black individual can blame all failures on race. Gotta hand it to whoever came up with that.

            • Jack: “a white individual can take no pride in individual success, and a black individual can blame all failures on race.”

              Strawman argument. Find me any prominent academic or SJW activist who interprets white privilege this way. You’re making this up.

              • Do you count?

                I mean, I know that you don’t come right out and say it, but it doesn’t take a very long bridge to get from here to there with what you say. For instance, you talk about white privilege a lot. White privilege assumes that all white people have a certain amount of privilege in society. You also talk about black disenfranchisement, that is… That all black people face a certain amount of stigma in society.

                Logically, whenever a white person succeeds, they have to wonder… Was my success because of my own merit, or was it because of my privilege? And if a black person was to be arrested, they could just as easily wonder, “Is this my fault, or is the man keeping me down?”

                It’s kind of the Schrodinger’s Cat of privilege, because we can’t know if we got to the situation we’re in as a function of relative privilege or merit, we have to assume both are true, and in that, it is correct to say that white success is always a function of privilege and black success is always a function of discrimination.

                That’s why it’s important to discuss having privilege as an individual, as opposed to as a group. If you start saying things like “All (race) have (privilege status)” You run the risk of 1) saying something racist. and 2) Defending ridiculous situations like saying the white transient living on the street has white privilege, while the wealthy black debutante is disenfranchised by it.

          • Joed — are you in medical school in the US? I thought having a criminal record disqualified applicants — unless schools have relaxed that rule.

        • Oh yes, my bad:most inner-city households look just like the set of “Leave it to Beaver”, with the exception of the chaos, drugs, lack of a dad, a mother that’s no more mature than her kids, the filth, the acting like animals, and so on. I’ll just pretend that I’ve never personally and repeatedly observed any of this while living in an inner-city halfway house and being a household goods mover with them as a primary clientele. Whatever you say, pal. Don’t want anyone to think I’m racist.
          No, actually, I could give a rat’s ass if you or anyone else thinks that’s racist.

    • What can be far worse than a purely metaphorical, cartoon “explanation” of a complex, multifaceted problem as no more than “the whites get all the breaks” and “black people are kept back by a racist country.”

      I’m astonished at your comment.

      There was no film countering this, nor, from all reports, was anything in it rebutted in any way by the program. Why would you presume otherwise–that canned dodge from the school board? Best case, are you kidding? That’s not a case at all. Are those individuals racing, the race itself, what? All whites have an advantage today, even poor ones, all black are handicapped today…what? What kind of “case” is that? Little rain clouds that teach black kids that the world and nature is out to get them—that’s a case? Where were the self-created obstacles, Chris? Fatherless homes, 75% black kids born out of wedlock, disproportionate crime, drug addiction—was that the shark? The video made a case that everything is rigged against blacks and all is hopeless, that whites rig the race in their favor—yes, Chris, if you are lapping adversaries who are blocked from starting the race YOU are cheating. YOU.

      Your white privilege argument is not something to be assumed, and it is certainly not something that a high schooler can comprehend or evaluate fairly. Sure, being white is an advantage. So is being tall, smart, male, clever, diligent, ethical, canny, frugal and responsible. My mother was a poor duaghter of two Greek immigrants with 8 kids. My father was raised by a single mother during the Depression in abject loneliness and poverty. He succeeded by fighting in Europe for four years, having his foot half-blown off, becoming a war hero and surviving. Then he worked two jobs to put himself through law school, and my parents together clipped coupons and spent little on themselves to give their kids chances and advantages that they didn’t have. How does that film acknowledge their experience, sacrifice, and values? They are lumped with the victimizers, and children of parents who neglected their kids, ended up in jail, spent money foolishly, are portrayed as inevitable victims, the innocent oppressed.

      As one parent said, give me 20 minutes on stage with someone trying to defend that simple-minded rationalization and I’ll leave them in the dust. categorizing people by race is simplistic, unfair and misleading, and I’m sorry you have been brainwashed, or something, to feel shame at your “white privilege.” The only shame anyone, white or black, should feel is not taking full responsibility for their own success or failure. Yup, I got a good hand, thank to the fact that my parents played two rotten ones brilliantly. That video says that all blacks have bad hands and can’t do a thing about it. Wrong, and worse than wrong, toxic. Divisive. For kids, envy and anger-producing.

      Moreover, I did not say the video was unethical. Read the title: It is an outrageously unethical video to show at a high school assembly. Anywhere else, its is just a dumb, biased, unfair and misleading video. The issue was indoctrination, if you really believe that the almost completely Democrat, progressive, maleducated teachers would show this and then present a balanced counter argument, I have some swamp land to sell you, a real good deal. My kid’s private school showed “A Inconvenient Fact” as an assembly, and made the same lame excuse—well, it was for discussion only, and all views were welcome. Baloney. When the school screens a political piece, the message is clear. There is no evidence that this high school was presenting fair versions of multiple views, and the video is so prejudicial, lazy, and Presentist that it is inappropriate on its face.

      And yes, the film is explicitly slanted to be un-American. You can’t mention slavery and not mention the civil war. You cannot lump the entire Westward movement as “genocide”—the United States never had the policy of eradicating Native Americans: this was not the Holocaust, and yes, presenting it as such is anti-American. Dred Scot? How about Brown vs Board of Education? You really call that a fair representation? Dred Scott is still holding back today’s runners, but Brown is irrelevant?

      Unbelievable. Incredible that you would call this anti-white, anti-US, distorted history and social policy agitprop “a good argument for the position it advocates.”

      If you read the article, then you missed the point. “This isn’t education. This is anti-American, race-baiting indoctrination, political in intent and orientation, and absolutely irresponsible for use in a high school. This school, of course, has students of both races, so the video also encourages racial distrust, divisions, and hate.”

      What more needs to be said? It’s obviously indoctrination—this is the product of a black grievance advocacy group, and no more belongs at an assembly than a PETA film or Palestinian propaganda. Indoctrination is wrong. When you show me the counter video that attempts to rebut this poison that was shown right after it, then I’ll concede that I was wrong. But there wasn’t one.

      As I say, I’m astonished. This isn’t even a close call.

      • Jack: “Sure, being white is an advantage.”

        Then I’m not sure what’s wrong with the video portraying being white as an advantage. That’s literally the entire point of the video.

        You bring up lots of other advantages that people have in life, but how does that make this video wrong? Do you really think one video should either address the intersectionality of every single aspect of privilege and oppression, or none at all? “Either acknowledge that it’s also an advantage to be tall, or shut up about white privilege!” is a terrible, unserious argument.

        “I’m sorry you have been brainwashed, or something, to feel shame at your “white privilege.”

        For someone who gets very upset at the idea of someone responding to you without reading what you’ve written in full, you don’t seem to have a problem with doing that to others. I specifically said this:

        “That’s the metaphor, and it’s a good one; most white people in America aren’t individually evil, and we shouldn’t feel any guilt. But we should acknowledge that we have advantages others don’t.”

        There is no evidence of “shame” in my comment; you’ve simply imagined it. You are above these types of blatant strawman arguments.

        “You can’t mention slavery and not mention the civil war.”

        I’ve never heard of this rule before, but it strikes me as ridiculous. You’re also ignoring that the video does address the Civil Rights Act, what with the black runners taking off in 1964, so your argument that the video does not acknowledge any positive moves in race relations in America is flat-out false.

        I agree with you that this video should not have been shown at a school assembly. Be outraged at the school for presenting only one side of a political issue for the purposes of advocacy, and then (probably) lying about it. But your outrage at the video itself is unearned. There are valid arguments within, and your immediate dismissal of them is unfair.

        • “Then I’m not sure what’s wrong with the video portraying being white as an advantage.”
          Because it’s an exaggerated, incoherent, phony portrayal. Every black get lapped twice before getting out of the gate? No whites are slow or fall down? No blacks say, “Screw this” and run around the lights? How in God’s name do you think that’s a fair, accurate and useful way of portraying anything? How was my Dad running rings around any black kid? I’m stunned that you, or anyone, would defend this. It’s in the language of editorial cartoons—simplistic, dishonest, and dumb.

          The post was 100% about the video in the context it was used! It is not appropriate in that setting, and for that audience. I wrote…

          This isn’t education. [THIS= Showing agitprop like this to high school students in an educational setting] This is anti-American, race-baiting indoctrination, political in intent and orientation, and absolutely irresponsible for use in a high school. This school, of course, has students of both races, so the video also encourages racial distrust, divisions, and hate.

          The film is by definition anti-American: if one cherry picks only negative US race-related conduct and leaves out the remedies and the positive steps, that is a slur. It is asbolutely race-baiting, as portrays US society as a race-determined relay team, white against blacks. You really think that’s what’s going on, Chris? That’s fair? That’s what children, especially black youths, should be taught in school? No wonder they resist arrest and get shot, if they are taught that whites are part of a team dedicated to keeping them disadvantaged.

          The film is fine to be shown to the activist, anti-white group that made it, Al Sharpton, Melissa Harris Perry, Rev. Wright, Spike Lee and Black Lives Matter. It plays to their biases, and will make them feel warn all over.

          • ““Then I’m not sure what’s wrong with the video portraying being white as an advantage.”
            Because it’s an exaggerated, incoherent, phony portrayal. Every black get lapped twice before getting out of the gate? No whites are slow or fall down? No blacks say, “Screw this” and run around the lights?”

            It’s possible that including such examples would strengthen the metaphor. I don’t think their absences necessarily hurt the metaphor, though. The individuals in this cartoon are clearly standing in for social groups, as a whole. There is no way to account for every single individual in such a video, and there doesn’t need to be for the message to be clear and poignant. You are taking what is clearly a metaphor far too literally. If the video should include poor whites, why not also LGBT blacks? Disabled Asians? Wiccan Filipinos? The video is an entry point, not a master’s thesis.

            “It’s in the language of editorial cartoons—simplistic, dishonest, and dumb.”

            If you’re of the opinion that political cartoons are inherently an invalid medium, then I suppose your objection to the video makes sense. That’s not an opinion we’re ever going to share; I think political cartoons have their place, as do more complex treatments of topics.

            “The film is by definition anti-American: if one cherry picks only negative US race-related conduct and leaves out the remedies and the positive steps, that is a slur.”

            Again, the video didn’t do that. The reference to 1964 clearly addresses positive steps.

            The video probably would have strengthened its point if it had had the black runners start moving forward after 1865, though, with less and less overt obstacles as they went on. But again, that’s asking for a level of complexity that this medium just isn’t expected to achieve. It’s already very complex for its kind–there’s an unnecessary feint toward gender inequality among whites toward the end, and it sticks out like a sore thumb.

            Overall, you’re mistaking creating division with pointing out already existing division. This video, IMO, does the latter. Reasonable people can disagree. But your insistence that there are no reasonable defenses of the video, and your immediate conclusion that this is a black-and-white ethical issue, just strikes me as unreasonable.

            • Yes, I believe, and I’ve written here, that political cartoons have no substantive value except as ultra-partisan or ideological satire. They distort facts and issues, and lead to gross misunderstanding.

              The issues raised express a defensible, though slanted, point of view that would be worth discussing and would have value in a neutral teaching environment with skilled instructors. The visuals are inexcusable and inflammatory, and grossly misrepresent the progress of African Americans and relationship of blacks to whites. Race issues are complicated, and making them less complicated with advocacy devices like this is both counter-productive and deceptive.

              I defy you or anybody to make a persuasive argument that in 2016 Whites vs blacks on the track of life is anything but a hateful and false representation of US society designed to create and exacerbate racial division and distrust. Us vs them, a zero sum game. Reasonable people can disagree is not an excuse for turning young Americans against each other on the basis of skin color. There are topics that must either be taught with nuance and sensitivity as well as objectivity, or not taught at all. Race is one of them. (Religion is another.)

              • Does anyone else remember the brown eye, blue eye experiment?

                http://study.com/academy/lesson/group-prejudice-jane-elliotts-brown-eyes-vs-blue-eyes-experiment.html

                “The Blue Eyes/Brown Eyes Exercise

                One morning after King’s assassination, Elliott informed her class that they were going to change the way things were done. Blue-eyed children were given pride of place in the classroom. They were given extra recess time, a second helping of food at lunch, and they were allowed to sit at the front of the classroom and participate in class discussions.

                Brown-eyed children, meanwhile, were forced to sit at the back of the class and were more severely reprimanded for the same type of behavior that blue-eyed children got away with. Elliott even made up a scientific ‘fact’ that the melanin that caused blue eyes had been found to be linked with a higher intelligence.

                The results were stunning. By the end of the day, the blue-eyed children viciously put down the brown-eyed children. Not only that, but the quiet, struggling blue-eyed students did much better on class assignments, and the louder, successful brown-eyed students did not do as well.

                The next day, Elliott reversed the exercise, promoting brown eyes as better than blue eyes. Much of the same results happened, though the brown-eyed students didn’t taunt their blue-eyed classmates quite as viciously. By the end of the second day, when the exercise ended, the blue-eyed and brown-eyed children hugged and cried with each other. A class of all-white students had learned what racism felt like.”

                A few observations:

                1) ICK ICK ICK. Using children as lab rats is unethical, and it hits me as no surprise that the ultra authoritarian left did it. The Eyes Experiment has been heralded as a breakthrough in psychology, never mind that we traumatized children to do it.

                2) It highlights that children are malleable, they promoted that certain demographics act a certain way and in a stunning example of social engineering, caused discriminatory attitudes in the course of a single day by enforcing and then reinforcing those differences.

                3) Note that although the second set of privileged children didn’t “taunt their blue-eyed classmates quite as viciously”, they still taunted them, and both groups saw their grades, behavior, and outlook completely reverse themselves.

                4) Note also that the children in this class did not behave differently towards each-other based off eye color until the difference was pointed out to them and one group was treated differently. It wasn’t shown in this ‘study’, but various other studies show that kids basically get it right, that they start out basically unbiased and to an extent colorblind. (At least until their maliciously progressive teachers and society in general, drill into them that black people are disenfranchised and need help, and white people are everything wrong with the world.)

                5) This has parallels to the track race. The messages it sends to black kids and white kids, and the most probable outcomes. Without a second set of experiences though, there isn’t even the empathy lesson. There isn’t any redeeming features to that movie.

                • Humble Talent:

                  “It wasn’t shown in this ‘study’, but various other studies show that kids basically get it right, that they start out basically unbiased and to an extent colorblind. (At least until their maliciously progressive teachers and society in general, drill into them that black people are disenfranchised and need help, and white people are everything wrong with the world.)”

                  You’re right. Until a progressive teacher tells kids that black people are treated unequally, white kids have no other influences making them have negative stereotypes of black people, and black kids have no reason to think they are disenfranchised; both grow up in a utopian world of racial harmony until liberals come along and ruin that for them.

                  Are you fucking kidding me? This is insane. As if actual racism never happens, as if black disenfranchisement is just something liberals made up because we were bored one day?

                  The track race metaphor works because these divisions already exist. The basic argument I’m seeing here is that racism wouldn’t be a problem if no one ever talked about it. That’s ridiculous, and works on “He who smelled it dealt it” logic. “It’s not a problem if we don’t bring it up” is a juvenile, stupid, and lazy mindset, promoted mainly by people whose primary experience with racism is being tired of hearing about it, not, you know, actually experiencing it.

                  • You have this horrible habit of stopping halfway through my sentences and rage writing against what you think I said. You should get that checked out. It’s going to be debilitating in the long run.

                    “You’re right. Until a progressive teacher tells kids that black people are treated unequally, white kids have no other influences making them have negative stereotypes of black people, and black kids have no reason to think they are disenfranchised; both grow up in a utopian world of racial harmony until liberals come along and ruin that for them.”

                    For instance… That’s obviously not what I meant. And while teachers in particular hold an amazing amount of sway over young minds (Often spending more time with them than their parents, sad as it is.) there was also the line “and society in general” I mean… You even quoted me. My point wasn’t even about the evils of progressive teachers, but more the blank slate that children are. We project so much onto those young minds, we should be very… careful… with that power.

                    “Are you fucking kidding me?” In the style of The Scarecrow

                    I could while away the hours,
                    conferrin’ with the flowers
                    Consultin’ with the rain.
                    And my head I’d be scratchin’ while
                    my thoughts were busy hatchin’
                    “This is insane.”
                    I’d unravel every riddle for any individ’le,
                    In trouble or in pain.
                    With the thoughts I’d be thinkin’
                    I could be another Lincoln
                    If I only had a brain.
                    “As if racism ne’er happens,
                    as if black dis’franchisement is just something
                    liberals made up because
                    we were bored one day?”

                    Ah… Music to my ears.

                    “The track race metaphor works because these divisions already exist. The basic argument I’m seeing here is that racism wouldn’t be a problem if no one ever talked about it. That’s ridiculous, and works on “He who smelled it dealt it” logic. “It’s not a problem if we don’t bring it up” is a juvenile, stupid, and lazy mindset, promoted mainly by people whose primary experience with racism is being tired of hearing about it, not, you know, actually experiencing it.”

                    You need to stop projecting. No one is saying that racism doesn’t exist. I challenge you to find a single example of someone saying it doesn’t. What we’re saying is that indoctrination of the young, especially in this kind of ineffective way, is… just… awful. If you want to have a discussion on black disenfranchisement throughout history, you owe it to yourself, your charges, and black history to do it in a format that is honest, comprehensive, and fair.

                    The problem is that would take effort. More effort than you’re obviously willing to put out there, because if you were willing to do it, we wouldn’t be talking about grade school agitprops.

                    • I apologize–I clearly missed the phrase “society in general,” and thus attacked a strawman argument, which I’ve been very hard on others doing in this conversation. I should have noticed that and taken your argument more seriously. Sorry.

                      I still think you’re putting too much emphasis on the fault of progressive teachers, who are generally trying to counter-act the effects of “society in general,” but it’s true that sometimes this is done in a counter-productive way that increases division rather than reducing it.

              • And by the way, please justify “school to prison pipeline.” So we send kids right from school to prison, with nothing else involved, do we? You really think that term is fair, descriptive and not absurdly inflammatory? See, those students have to commit serious crimes first. They won’t go to prison for a first offense, either, unless its a serious crime. As a public defenders and an attorney in the DC system, I saw young black men with double figures in arrests and plea deals. No prison.

                Again, Chris—you’re a smart guy: why would you defend this?

                • Well, that’s not accurate either. Must of the crimes involve drugs, but under current law, offenders get huge sentences. And while it IS a crime, there is no “school to prison” pipeline in white communities with drug problems, so it still is an indication of white privilege. Here, the white privilege being that you don’t go to prison even though you commit the same crime because you aren’t being arrested in the first place.

                  • This is interesting. To juxtapose: Women face significant privilege in the same field. They are less likely to be arrested, less likely to be charged, less likely to be convicted, and then if convicted, face less time in jail.

                    “The study found that men receive sentences that are 63 percent higher, on average, than their female counterparts.

                    Starr also found that females arrested for a crime are also significantly more likely to avoid charges and convictions entirely, and twice as likely to avoid incarceration if convicted.

                    Other research has found evidence of the same gender gap, though Starr asserts that the disparity is actually larger than previously suspected because other studies haven’t looked at the role of plea bargains and other pre-sentencing steps in the criminal justice system.”

                    With that in mind, are women keeping men down? Is there an institutional bias against men? Is if female privilege that you can in some cases literally get away with murder? Accept your privilege Shitlord!

                    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/11/men-women-prison-sentence-length-gender-gap_n_1874742.html

                    (I’m proud of that link, finding a reference on HufffPo that reinforces my point. I have shivers.)

                  • Deflection. There is still no pipeline. You have to commit a crime first, no matter what color you are. It’s simple: don’t break the law, no problem. Am I privileged because I obeyed the law all my life? Go ahead, make that case.

                    • You are privileged if you and your black friend both commit the SAME EXACT CRIME and he goes to jail and you don’t.

                    • Beth, that phrase “Same, exact” is a very strong one, at least if you include surrounding factors. Just as an example, if we both get caught, and I am cooperative and remorseful while my black friend is extremely confrontational, I would expect him to get a higher sentence. Is that entirely inappropriate? I would argue that patterns of behavior tell you something about likelihood of re-offending, and this isn’t caused privilege.

                      Statistics tend to lump a number of similar but not quite equivalent things into one label in a misleading manner.

                    • It’s a good point. I have seen enough studies indicating that black defendants get harsher sentences than white ones to accept the idea that there is race bias, but as with the “equal pay” argument, there are a lot of biases and holes in the data. In the “Affluenza” debate, several critics compared Couch’s sentence to the same judge’s harsher sentence of black teen who killed a man while driving drunk. But they were not good comps. The black kid had stolen the vehicle involved, while Couch had not. The black teen’s parents were in jail and missing, so he was being raised with dubious supervision by a grandparent. Having his family pay for expensive rehabilitation in a clinic wasn’t an option. You can’t prove bias with such a comparison.

                    • Phlinn: Especially when the offender answers the judge with “Yeah”, “naw”, general surliness,or has his prison khakis hanging below his ass. I’d also be inclined to levy a harsher sentence.

    • “I didn’t see the white runners as “oppressive cheaters”–it was the RACE that was rigged and corrupt, not the individual participants.”

      That white guy on the moving walkway during a footrace with the smarmy grin isn’t cheating? Not a single white looks over at the blacks behind the traffic lights and tries to help but instead they continue to run laps and gain ground while the blacks are stopped artificially? None of these things make them cheaters or corrupt? I can’t imagine any kid watching that and having good feelings about those whites…

  5. Having watched the video, having read the post, and having read Chris’ comment, people are still confused why, in past, I was compelled to call people “idiots” very soon into a discussion. I’m flabbergasted.

    Chris’ comment is about the most willfully self-deluded nonsense I’ve read in a while. So bad that I don’t know if Chris was forcing most of it to try to be a devils advocate. There’s really no honest defense of that video.

  6. Watching the video again, I can see how the video would have been improved if at least some of the white runners were shown trying to help the black runners, and some black runners were shown finishing the race. That would be a more accurate reflection of reality.

    That said, I think it’s revealing that so many watched this video–which lists dozens of ways life is unfair to African-Americans–and their first thought was “This video is so unfair…to white people!”

    • “That said, I think it’s revealing that so many watched this video–which lists dozens of ways life is unfair to African-Americans–and their first thought was “This video is so unfair…to white people!””

      I think it’s revealing that you wrote that like you were having an epiphany. It is unfair to white people. The answer to discrimination cannot be discrimination, because otherwise we devolve into warring tribal factions more interested in tearing each other down than doing anything constructive, waiting for their turn to eat.

      • The video is not advocating discrimination against white people Humble. It is explaining that there IS discrimination against black people.

        • Oh, really? Wow, I bet the black kids and white kids never heard that before.

          The film argues for systemic, intentional, culture, society and history-wide discrimination with malign intent and without change or reduction.

          So your idea of responsible public education is to show dumb videos to dumb students who won’t recognize they are dumb, and believe the dumb videos because we stupidly entrust the education of our offspring to dumb teachers. Got it.

          • “The film argues for systemic, intentional, culture, society and history-wide discrimination with malign intent and without change or reduction.”

            I don’t know why you keep saying this. Again, the video does clearly show a change and reduction in the level of racism, in 1964. Prior to that, would you really argue that the discrimination wasn’t “systemic, intentional, culture, society and history-wide with malign intent?”

            Most of the white runners don’t seem to be operating with malign intent; there are a few especially crappy ones, but most seem to just be passing the black runners by without much thought. (That seems to be an accurate portrayal of how most people react to privilege.) The obstacles that show up aren’t even shown to be the direct cause of the white runners in most cases. Again, I think the video could have been improved by showing some white runners helping out the black runners (and the more I think about it, the more I think this should have been done) but that just makes the video flawed, not irredeemable.

            • I’m sorry Chris, I can’t argue with this fanciful interpretation of a biased and dishonest piece of agitprop. Whatever you think you’re seeing, its not there. This is clinical confirmation bias.

              • I don’t understand what you mean, Jack. You’re not seeing the black runners start running the race in 1964? You think it’s a “fanciful interpretation” to read that as a clear sign that there was a reduction in systemic racism, however slightly, in that year?

                • 1. I caught that the third time through it, and no, it is not clear, and in fact makes little sense. How does the Trail of Tears, post 1964, or “Manifest destiny” “stop” any “runner” over a hundred years after those episodes? They don’t. Now, if the video has shown the starting line for the “disadvantaged” runner set far, far back from the line for the “privileged” runners, that would at least have a cause/effect argument.

                  2. Since the video was unclear, its not a clear sign of a damn thing.

                  3. If you think the 1964 legislation was merely a “slight” change to cultural racism, you’re beyond help. As I said, confirmation bias.

                  • “I caught that the third time through it, and no, it is not clear, and in fact makes little sense. How does the Trail of Tears, post 1964, or “Manifest destiny” “stop” any “runner” over a hundred years after those episodes? They don’t. Now, if the video has shown the starting line for the “disadvantaged” runner set far, far back from the line for the “privileged” runners, that would at least have a cause/effect argument.”

                    I agree that the video had some unclear points. But your original argument was that the video showed no change or reduction in racism. That was not true, and it was clearly not true.

                    “Since the video was unclear, its not a clear sign of a damn thing.”

                    It is clear that the video shows a change in the degree of racism in society. “Running, but with obstacles” is clearly a change from “not being able to run at all.” If it took you three times to catch that, that’s a failure of comprehension.

                    “If you think the 1964 legislation was merely a “slight” change to cultural racism, you’re beyond help. As I said, confirmation bias.”

                    I don’t think that. The video seems to be arguing that it was only a slight change, since the obstacles that appear after the black runners are able to run are so overtly oppressive.

                    • “I agree that the video had some unclear points. But your original argument was that the video showed no change or reduction in racism. That was not true, and it was clearly not true.”

                      How does starting the race at 1964 show that? You know, I’m a director: I would call that hopelessly unclear.

                      Blacks made no progress from 1865 to 1964? You can’t be that confused. Tell that to James Baldwin, Jackie Robinson, Nat King Cole, Richard Wright, Lorraine Hansbury, Sidney Poitier, Hattie McDaniel, Joe Louis, Marcus Garvey, W.E.B. DeBois, Booker T. Washington, and Adam Clayton Powell.

                    • “How does starting the race at 1964 show that? You know, I’m a director: I would call that hopelessly unclear.”

                      I can’t agree. It’s extremely clear to me that being “able to run the race” starting in 1964 meant that blacks were now able to compete with whites, when that wasn’t possible before; that’s a reduction or change in the level of racism.

                      “Blacks made no progress from 1865 to 1964?”

                      Of course they did, which is why I said the video would be stronger if they had started running in 1865. You’ve convinced me that the video has a lot of problems and is way too simplistic. I still don’t think it’s racist or bigoted towards whites.

    • Exactly.

      Apparently teaching kids about white privilege is race baiting. Who knew?

      For the record, I did think the video was dumb — but so are most kids. There is only one point to be taken from the video and that is that white privilege exists. If the kids walk away from the video mulling that over in their brains, then maybe that’s a good thing.

      Many people believe racism/discrimination ended after the Civil War, others after the integration of the military, others after the Civil Rights Act and desegregation. It still exists people. I do think it’s improving, but it is still alive and well. Having a conversation about white privilege only translates into race baiting to white people who are unable to recognize their privileged status or feel threatened that they are going to lose it.

      • “Having a conversation about white privilege only translates into race baiting to white people who are unable to recognize their privileged status or feel threatened that they are going to lose it.”

        Real question, and I would prefer a straight “yes” or “no” answer to it before any kind of explanation that you want to follow it with. Do you think that this video being shown to children is synonymous with the phrase “conversation about privilege.”

        Because our hang up is that I don’t. I’m on record here saying that the concept of privilege is a valid one, and that if everyone walked through life thinking graciously of all the ways they were privileged, we’d generally be a more happy, tolerant people. But I don’t see things like this video as being constructive towards that goal. I can’t imagine a circumstance where someone is shown that and they take something positive away from it, especially at the kind of ages we’re talking about here. I think you might be approaching it from the position of it being well intentioned… But the road to hell is paved in those, what’s important is the outcomes.

        • Lawyers never give yes or no answers Humble.

          I don’t think the video is synonymous with the phrase “conversation about privilege,” but I do believe that it will start that conversation.

          • And that’s why no one trusts them.

            I also don’t buy that. We’re having this conversation as two rational people who already understood the base concepts. The unwashed masses are going to hear about this story, splinter into groups and yell at each other. The kinds this was aimed at will either forget about it or take it to heart as only kids can do, and that doesn’t really help anything either.

              • I disagree. Lawyers are trained in a system that rewards semantic satiation and weasel language to avoid accountability. And for the purposes of a courtroom, that makes sense… But out here in the real world, most questions are just that simple.

                For instance… To the question: “Is this video synonymous with a conversation” Your answer was no. You wrote it in a pained, tortured way to avoid saying no. But the answer was no. And then as follow up, you thought it might start that conversation.

      • Also: “Many people believe racism/discrimination ended after the Civil War, others after the integration of the military, others after the Civil Rights Act and desegregation.”

        Beth… No one thinks like that. Outside, perhaps, the local closeted chapter of the KKK, and even they don’t actually think that, they just don’t think it’s a problem. That’s a straw man, and beneath you.

        • Bullshit. LOTS of people think that. Normal, everyday, smart people think that. They think that everyone now has an equal shot at the American dream.

          • Nuh uh uh…. There’s a world of difference between “People think racism ended after the civil war” and “People think everyone has an equal shot at the American Dream.”

            But on that note… People might say the latter. But I think they mean “A” chance at the American Dream. On a visceral level, we all know that outside the paradigm of race, rich people tend to have rich kids and remain rich, and poor people tend to have poor kids and remain poor.

          • Yes, under law at least, we all do have an equal shot, but there are innumerable other factors that weigh into the likelihood of its fruition that can’t be neatly categorized along racial lines or other generalities. One thing that was mentioned above, and is a far more empowering message to give to kids, is that at any moment of our lives, no matter how bad we THINK we have it, ALL of us can compare our circumstances to someone or some group that has it much worse than we do, and find gratitude and encouragement from that. To me, that’s a key component to being happy and fulfilled. It’s one of the secrets of living a happy life. I’ve gotten so good at it that I’m rarely, if ever, discouraged anymore. “Do not pray to have easier lives, pray to be stronger men” JFK

      • ” There is only one point to be taken from the video and that is that white privilege exists.”. I seriously doubt that that’s the intended takeaway, and as you said, kids are dumb, and thus unlikely to distill this into a conceptualization of privilege as it may apply to life in general. You’re probably familiar with it, but Kohlberg’s “Stages of Moral Development” sheds some light on how they’re likely to interpret this video, and the behavior of its characters, I believe.
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lawrence_Kohlberg%27s_stages_of_moral_development

        • Also, did you miss the quote about Affirmative action at the end? This is clearly not intended to just get people to talking about “White privilege”, which does not exist.

    • That wasn’t my first, second or third thought, you know. I didn’t begin looking at that aspect of the film until you felt the film had to defended. My first four thoughts were…

      1. School political indoctrination is absolutely vile, and needs to be called out and condemned wherever it raises its ugly, Hitler Youth head.

      2. The racial divisveness in the culture—and the sudden comfort the left has with employing it as a weapon— sparked by the entire trend and tactics of the Obama administration really is cultural poison, and this is one more example of it.

      3. Teachers, with rare, rare exceptions, are not skilled or unbiased enough to presume to teach this topic. All it will do is devolve to the most simple-minded level: Blacks are victims, whites are responsible.

      4. The film is more devastating to black students than anyone else. If gives them an excuse to fail, indeed not to try. It also gives them leave to be resentful against their fellow students, and to view America as a conspiracy against them, when in fact there are more prominent, wealthy, successful blacks in the US than any Western nation.

      5. And finally, “I wonder what Charlie Green and Urbanregor think about this.”

      • Those are five thoughts, not 4.

        1. It’s not “political” indoctrination; at best, it’s “social” indoctrination — and I don’t even agree that is the case. It is teaching the “fact” that white privilege exists, nothing more.
        2. There has always been racial unrest in our culture. Indeed, for the first few hundred years of our country’s existence, it was entirely one-sided with one group powerless to object. The only difference now is that both sides have enough power to discuss it. It is a necessary conversation to have and speech only equals “divisiveness” for threatened whites.
        3. That’s just a ridiculous statement. Do you know “most” teachers? Do you know the teachers in question? Sure, schools have problems, but the answer is not to take a list of subjects off the table. Are you advocating that race relations not be taught at all? How does it help to graduate students who will be ignorant on a very important issue? Should they get their views on race relations solely from Trump’s speeches?
        4. I’m not black, so I will not speak for black students. But I am female and I will say — speaking only for myself — that learning about gender discrimination (also a real thing) only made me more aware of my position and drove me to work harder. I have never had a victim mentality.

        • See? I had better than average teachers, and they couldn’t even teach me to count.

          1. The point is that it is indoctrination, and I don’t want schools indoctrinating students. In addition, social indoctrination like this is by nature political, and indeed this is the product of an activist group…political. “White privilege” is a lazy, racist, political tool to reduce people who shouldn’t be into sniveling, cringing, guilt-ridden allies of schemes like black reparations. I know liberals love it, but it’s a gross and destructive generalization that says “all whites are better off than all blacks, everywhere, always, forever.”

          2. Sneaky, Beth—you changed the topic. Racial unrest, yes. The level of racial distrust and anger is at the highest level since the Sixties, and this is designed to increase it.

          3. I know that based on my own educational experience, the experience I have had with my own son in the Alexandria public school and private schools, the outrageous things I see that supposedly trustworthy teachers do and say every day, all over the country, and the fact that the best and the brightest do not, with exceptions, go into public school teaching, and thus are not trustworthy to be telling our kids how to think.

          4. And what makes you think that these teachers have the objectivity, knowledge, scholarship and skill to teach about any form of discrimination? Wanna take bets? Wanna bet your child’s mind on it?

          • I have to disagree about your indoctrination point. It’s not indoctrination to teach FACTS. And the fact is that there is white privilege — you acknowledged it yourself. Are we also indoctrinating kids with algebra, history, and science? We have to teach facts. The next step is for kids to make logical conclusions based on those facts throughout their lives.

            I also disagree with your second point. Perhaps I’m too young, but I have seen the same level of racial unrest — or divisiveness — throughout my lifetime. I think the only difference now is that the 24 hours news cycle has more opportunities to cover it.

            I can’t grasp what you are advocating in your last two points. I think you are saying that certain subjects should just be off the table because teachers lack “objectivity, knowledge, scholarship and skill.” I really hope you are not suggesting that we just don’t teach students AT ALL because you don’t think they bring a Jack Marshall-level of ability to the table. And, as this very thread suggests, even smart minds can disagree on how to approach this topic.

            • But those terms in the movie weren’t facts…. Those weren’t even whole concepts. They were contextless bumper stickers designed to rile up pre-existing biases. We teach Algebra, history and science through a process of explanation, not flashing them numbers and letters and expecting them to perform complex algebra.

              • I don’t understand why Beth would make such an obviously false statement. It’s as if there’s some kind of loyalty oath progressives have to take to defend the indefensible. This film is not defensible.

            • You call that video teaching facts? There is factually a pipeline straight from school to prison, unrelated to any conduct or choices by the individual involved? Whites are entirely responsible for the shorter life spans of black Americans? Sickle Cell anemia—my fault? It’s fair to just state the “fact” of lower life span without mentioning, as the Times pointed out recently, that

              “This is the smallest proportional and absolute gap in mortality between blacks and whites at these ages for more than a century,” Dr. Skinner said. If the past decade’s trends continue, even without any further progress in AIDS mortality, rates for blacks and whites will be equal in nine years, he said.”

              It’s a fact that blacks have no chance, and that whites blithely run rings around them while they struggle, without being concerned, offering aid, or including them? That the system is rigged to defeat blacks? Those are facts in your view? Teaching facts incompletely is a form of deceit. Cherry picking only negative facts is advocacy, not education.

              I managed to go through secondary school with only one teacher, a pompous, right-wing history jerk, trying to teach ideology and politics. Holding moderated discussions to examine critical thinking? Sure, that would be nice. It takes a lot of training and intelligence, though. No, most teachers don’t have it, and the film is res ipsa loquitur: any teachers or administrators who see that crapola of a video and say, “Ooooooh! The discovered truth!” are incompetent to do anything more than teach grammar, writing and math–and most don’t do that well.

          • Jack:

            “White privilege” is a lazy, racist, political tool to reduce people who shouldn’t be into sniveling, cringing, guilt-ridden allies of schemes like black reparations. I know liberals love it, but it’s a gross and destructive generalization that says “all whites are better off than all blacks, everywhere, always, forever.”

            Yes, that is of course a gross and destructive generalization. It’s also not even close to any definition of “white privilege” I’ve ever heard a proponent of the idea use. It is, in fact, yet another strawman argument. “White privilege” means that whites, as a group, have advantages that blacks, as a group, do not have. This is obvious, and has been pointed out many times; I don’t know why you continue to claim it means that “all whites are better off than all blacks, everywhere, always, forever,” when absolutely no one has said that. It makes you look like you’re not confident in addressing the actual argument put forth.

            • It is exactly what it is. “White privilege” means that whites, as a group, have advantages that blacks, as a group, do not have. By framing it like that, the intent is to focus guilt and a need for reparations for stating that life’s benefits are unequally and randomly distributed. I also implies systemic oppression.

              I’m very confident addressing it. You are denying the way the argument is used, which is indeed to say if one is white, one is privileged, which means, being bestowed with a special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group of people.White privilege literally means that whites–as in all whites—have unfair advantages all blacks do note, since those privileges are assigned on te basis of race. It also assigns those benefits special status, which is the rhetorical trap. I reject “privilege’ as a fair word, for the reasons I identifies. Yes, in many ways, it’s an advantage in a majority white society to be white. It’s a disadvantage to be poor, lazy and stupid. Is a white person who is poor, lazy and stupid still privileged? Only if you willfully ignore all the other strokes of pure luck, which you have to to assign guilt. No, a white person who is poor, lazy and stupid is, on balance, fucked—there’s no privilege. How about Can Newton? Is he “privileged” because he has a special talent that allows him to make millions before he’s 30? Does my white “privilege” trump his physical gifts that are equally arbitrary? They do NOT, and thus there is nothing privileged about it.

              White privilege is an intentionally misleading construct that uses a pejorative term for ” a member of the majority” in order to claim automatic victim status for all blacks. I reject the term, the concept and the argument as manipulative and intellectually dishonest. I’m sorry you’ve swallowed it. I can’t be clearer than that.

              • For the love of ….

                You don’t understand this at all Jack. We’re not talking about the “poor, lazy, and stupid.” We’re talking about people who are otherwise the same and are approaching the same challenge at the same time with the same initiative and ability. I know, for example purposes, let’s use a foot race. Now let’s imagine that the white runners get to take off first, and the black runners have to wait a few minutes before they can begin running. And then — let’s have the black runners have to clear hurdles while the white runners do not. In this instance, the white runners are benefiting from white privilege.

                Damn it. If only there was a video that could illustrate my point.

                • You can’t seriously have misunderstood my comment that horribly. You (and Chris) are just insisting that “privilege” is a fair and accurate characterization of a one particular luck of the draw advantage…a big one historically, but getting smaller all the time. It is no different, as an advantage, from being born brilliant, talented, strong, beautiful, or from dozens of other life edges. I could make a track video using any of those, and it would be just as valid, indeed more so. The stupid runners in the “Brain Privilege” video would run in the wrong direction…

                  • Plus, Beth, you might not have noticed, but there is no legislation today that ” black runners have to wait a few minutes before they can begin running” or that ” black runners have to clear hurdles while the white runners do not”. Privilege arises from law, and any law that does what you claim would violate the 14th Amendment.

                    • I hope you don’t believe this. Because only one of two things can be true: you’ve lost your mind or you are ignorant.

                      You can have laws on the books and have them not be followed. Conversely, you can practices that evolve that are contrary to law and are impossible to punish.

                    • Michael Ejercito seems to live in a parallel universe where everyone follows laws exactly as they were written at the time they were written, to the direct intent of those who wrote them. That’s not even how law is practiced in the U.S., let alone not how human behavior works, but it’s the basis of most of his arguments.

                    • “If the actions are outside the law, then by definition it is not privilege.”

                      In what dictionary? “Legal privileges” are a type of privilege; they aren’t the only type. Social privileges exist. I know you don’t believe society exists outside of legal documents and arcane court decisions, but it does.

                  • Is this really all because you object to the word “privilege” but not “advantage?” Because those seem like synonyms to me, and it would reduce your argument to mere semantics.

                    • Chris,
                      “Is this really all because you object to the word “privilege” but not “advantage?” Because those seem like synonyms to me, and it would reduce your argument to mere semantics.”

                      So those seem like synonyms to you; really, that’s your excuse for your opinion and now you try to shift your own ignorance upon those you argue with claim their argument is nothing but semantics, really? It’s utter nonsense that privilege and advantage are synonyms! You’re trying to worm your way out of your position with the introduction of nonsense based semantic BS.

                      Excuses are like assholes, everyone’s one and they all stink.

                    • I would object to “White Advantage” as if it were something materially different from all other advantages and disadvantages, and some how rendered all other factors irrelevant. Meanwhile, the words aren’t synonyms, or even close. The fact that I am an extraordinarily fast first-draft writer is a great advantage, as is the fact that I am articulate in extemporaneous speaking. They confer no special privileges whatsoever, nor did I receive either ability as a privilege.

                    • Thesaurus.com lists the very first synonym for “privilege” as “advantage.”

                      http://www.thesaurus.com/browse/privilege?s=t

                      Now obviously, that doesn’t prove that most people use the terms interchangeably, but I have certainly heard them used that way. Advantages don’t have to be inborn or even learned, like being a great first-draft writer or good at speaking extemporaneously. They can be given, and they can be given unfairly, much like privileges can be.

                      “I would object to “White Advantage” as if it were something materially different from all other advantages and disadvantages, and some how rendered all other factors irrelevant.”

                      And I would object to “white privilege” if it were the same.

                      It isn’t, and what you’re describing is nothing like white privilege as I or any other progressive I’m aware of understands the term. I’ve never heard, for example, that white privilege renders class privilege or male privilege irrelevant.

                      Why do you keep insisting that “white privilege” means something that every defender of the term here has told you it doesn’t mean? Have you considered that you have misinterpreted the term, and that it is used in a very different way than you understand it?

                    • 1. “but I have certainly heard them used that way.” I have heard all sorts of words used imprecisely and confusingly, often intentionally. That’s not an excuse.
                      2. I am only using the term as it is illustrated in the film.

              • “White privilege literally means that whites–as in all whites—have unfair advantages all blacks do note, since those privileges are assigned on te basis of race.”

                Yes, that’s correct.

                But that’s not what I objected to. You said that white privilege is the belief that “all whites are better off than all blacks, everywhere, always, forever.”

                Do you see the (IMO, very clear) difference between those two interpretations of white privilege?

                “Yes, in many ways, it’s an advantage in a majority white society to be white. It’s a disadvantage to be poor, lazy and stupid. Is a white person who is poor, lazy and stupid still privileged? Only if you willfully ignore all the other strokes of pure luck, which you have to to assign guilt.”

                And if liberals believed that white privilege was the only kind of privilege out there, you’d have a point. But we also talk about class privilege, and male privilege, and able-bodied privilege, and cis privilege, etc. Intersectionality is a thing. Your argument is an attempted “gotcha” that only really works if you’re completely unfamiliar with the body of work on this subject, which has addressed this argument over and over.

                • “White privilege literally means that whites–as in all whites—have unfair advantages all blacks do not”

                  means “all whites are better off than all blacks, everywhere, always, forever”—because they always have those advantages.

                  Yes, I know, you shift privileges around to avoid accountability for a weak argument, ignoring thousands of other privileges that cancel out or make irrelevant the others. I had the privilege of being born to two married parents and growing up in a stable household, or, stated properly, black parents that do not give their children the same “privilege” are 100% responsible for handicapping their offspring and the black community. Handicaps are the mirror image of advantages.

                  • Jack: “White privilege literally means that whites–as in all whites—have unfair advantages all blacks do not”

                    means “all whites are better off than all blacks, everywhere, always, forever”—because they always have those advantages.”

                    No, it doesn’t, because even if all whites always have the advantages of being white, that doesn’t mean they will always end up “better off” than blacks who do not have those advantages. There are other factors, such as class, gender, parenting, and of course, personal responsibility. The existence of white privilege does not mean those other factors don’t exist. To say that I am only bringing up other privileges as an excuse is just a way to avoid my actual argument, and continue holding a strawman version of white privilege in your head that no actual user of the term believes.

                    You seem to believe that those of us who use the term “white privilege” believe it is the only factor in an individual’s success or failure. I don’t know why you believe that; you haven’t cited anyone who says that, or even implies it. You’re literally making it up.

                    • That’s what the film says, Chris!!! Where do you see those other factors? Where are “class, gender, parenting, and of course, personal responsibility” given recognition in the cartoon? How can you say nobody says that, when the basis of the post is a cartoon that says exactly that!

                      Are you gaslighting me? Is that it?

                    • I’m not trying to gaslight you, Jack. I said before that the video is overly simplistic and would be improved by showing other factors–have a few white runners fail because they’re just not good runners, show some black runners winning the race through sheer determination, show some white runners helping black runners. But again, this is a simplistic, metaphorical treatment of a complex topic. I don’t think the flaws in this video are enough to dismiss the theory of white privilege completely–especially when more academic treatments of the concept do address the issues you’ve brought up, and do not pretend that white privilege is the only factor that matters. White privilege is still *a* factor.

                    • Michael Ejercito said, “So it is just random acts by private individuals?”

                      Michael you’re not playing this game correctly; when Chris calls you a dork, you’re supposed to react in a negative way and lash out at him so you can be smeared. You’re rewriting the game directions by asking a question requiring Chris to support his claim. Read Chris’s game directions and get with the program.

    • It’s revealing of the fact that some people can recognize a steaming pile when they see one, and are willing to say so. If the point is valid, why lie and exaggerate to make it? The facts should speak for themselves, and not need to be embroidered by depicting whites as cheating jerks. You’d scream bloody murder at a video depicting all blacks as lazy thugs, why not at a video depicting whites as cheating oblivious idiots, indifferent to the unfair treatment of others? Discrimination in hiring, in college acceptance, and ‘housing segregation’ (are you seriously saying that legal housing segregation still exists?) are all illegal and have been for decades. There are many causes of ‘underemployment’ and all of them are the fault of whites?

      ” That said, I think it’s revealing that so many watched this video–which lists dozens of ways life is unfair to African-Americans–and their first thought was “This video is so unfair…to white people!”

      It certainly isn’t unfair to blacks, is it? It depicts them as the victims of whites at every turn, anything and everything in their lives the fault of someone else. What negative things about blacks are portrayed in this video? None. While whites (white males) are depicted as cheating coat tail riders. Blacks have no free will, but are simply buffeted by the winds of fate and the nastiness of whites? How patronizing!

      I’d complain just as much if I saw a video depicting blacks in a poor light, but that isn’t what we saw here, is it? A video painting blacks in as poor a light would be the center of a storm of outrage.

      • “There are many causes of ‘underemployment’ and all of them are the fault of whites”

        White liberals that increased and want to further increase the minimum wage… For starters.

      • To be fair: the video is unfair to blacks in that it displays whites as financially responsible enough to leave their children a modest inheritance. The subtle implication when it depicts blacks not doing so is that they aren’t intelligent or frugal enough to do so. It’s a pretty racist video all around.

          • I think that is supposed to be symbolic of their enslavement. The countdown timer is roughly equivalent to years.

            Of course, if we hadn’t engaged in the evil of slavery, they wouldn’t even be on the track. But that’s irrelevent. Slavery was an abhorrent evil. But claiming it effects individual blacks today is asinine.

            I have to assume of course that the other minority is an Indian… As some of the bumper sticker evils that flew by involved the native Americans. In which case a stop light is inaccurate. It would be more fair to have him running… Just with no shoes oh… And shooting at the white people while the white peoples shoot back. The Indians, despite liberal rewriting, we by no means the most neighborly types.

            • I’ve watched the damn thing three times, and it gets worse, not better. You do puzzle out some of these things, but I’m a bit smarter and more experienced than the typical Virginia high school student: what are the odds that that this communicates to students anything more sophisticated than “Whites bad, people of color victims, can’t catch up, failure inevitable, whites don’t care”?

              • OH no doubt. And that’s the only purpose of the video. Further convincing black people they are perpetual victims and all failures are probably because of that and convincing young malleable white kids that they are evil even when they aren’t trying to be.

                I won’t lie: I laughed when the cartoon person fell in the hole. But that’s because prat falls are always hilarious. I have to change the channel on America’s Funniest Home Videos when they get to the fall compilations. I’d die of laughter otherwise.

  7. After reading (most) of the above, I have only this to say: The video taught nothing. It was indeed agitprop. There is no way to tell what kind of discussions were had among students and teachers after the viewing, but there is a way to teach and discuss the horrible history of blacks in the US — and the video is not one — without making it look as if old Jim Crow laws, lynchings, and lesser things (like institutionalized roadblocks for blacks and special treatment for whites) is an ongoing fact of life for black Americans. Most think-tanks (including black ones) estimate that 60% of black Americans are now considered middle-class. Guess they jumped the roadblocks and made it on wit and intelligence.

    PS If this is what high schools are teaching, it’s no wonder we have a full quota of knee-jerk, thoughtless ideologue college graduates, who spend four years with just a slightly different kind of indoctrination.

  8. Let us assume that this white privilege meme is true.

    It is human nature to maximize privilege, just as it is feline nature for cats to lick themselves.

    Whites are human. Therefore, it follows if they perceive white privilege to exist, they would seek not just to defend, but to expand their privilege.

    To expect humans to do otherwise would be like expecting cats to stop licking themselves.

    • For once, I agree. We can certainly expect privileged groups to defend their privilege–and one way to defend it is to pretend it doesn’t exist, thus dismissing challenges to it as silly and hysterical.

      We can also hope for people to rise above tribalism and help others who are not part of their privileged groups, and to fight against privilege itself. The video would be far more effective–and less controversial–if it showed at least some of the whites doing that. Perhaps then those objecting to the video wouldn’t see it as so divisive and inflammatory.

      • Your obsession with privilege is illogical and close to pathological–you just accept the construct as if it really means something. I am probably not a practicing attorney because when I was in the final interview process at the age of 28 to be an Asst, US Attorney, I was told that of the 8 finalists who were male, only blacks would be hired. If being white was a “privilege,” for me, that wouldn’t happen. Privileges that are real don’t suddenly disappear and come back again–it’s not a privilege, its one of many features of this human being that sometimes helps and sometimes hurts. I’m not bitter about this episode: like “The Road Not Taken,” I ended up where I belong. But being white isn’t the Golden ticket to success and happiness just because you find it advantageous to say it is to place whites on the defensive. Well, gullible, easily intimidated whites anyway.

        • 1. If that were true, why were they interviewing any white males at all? It doesn’t make sense.
          2. The black male applicants may have had a tougher path through school, jobs, etc., so don’t assume that they hadn’t been disadvantaged at some point.
          3. Assuming the interviewer was telling you the truth, the reason why they needed to hire only black males probably is because they didn’t have any already … because of white privilege.

          • 1. I’m sure he was disadvantaged, but we reached the same place at the same time. Disadvantage over. (one of them was a Harvard classmate. He’s a judge now. I’d LOVE to be a judge…)
            2. What happened was that we started out with 8 vacancies and 8 finalists. Then the budget cut the jobs down from 8 to four, and the white male candidates were given the bad news—very transparently, I must say. It was DC,and they needed more black and female AUSAs. I got it. Made sense. It wasn’t really even affirmative action.
            3. No, because bar-passing black law grads in DC were far and few between. Small pool. Too many admitted by affirmative action.
            4. I must say, it’s striking how based on only casual knowledge of my career, you would choose to denigrate whatever I have accomplished a simply part of a rigged system. I have some friends who started exactly where I was, and are assistant librarians, dead-end bureaucrats or living in a basement. I resent the implication that everything has been handed to my family, which was in poverty one generation ago, just as I resent a whole component of society being taught that my life is part of a fraud. Except for brainwashed social justice warriors who enjoy the self-flagellation and racist slander, I think the white privilege tactic just drives the races farther apart. You want to turn off potential supporters and allies, that’s the way.

            • Jack: I’d LOVE to be a judge…

              Think of all those missed baseball games. (And don’t tell me you’d record them to watch later — you know the losing attorney would mumble the results just as you were on your way out of the courtroom)

            • “I must say, it’s striking how based on only casual knowledge of my career, you would choose to denigrate whatever I have accomplished a simply part of a rigged system. I have some friends who started exactly where I was, and are assistant librarians, dead-end bureaucrats or living in a basement. I resent the implication that everything has been handed to my family, which was in poverty one generation ago, just as I resent a whole component of society being taught that my life is part of a fraud.”

              You’re resenting things that were never said and implications that were never made. No one believes that your own individual merits have nothing to do with your success. We’re saying that for blacks, individual merit is often not enough.

              • To which I say b.s. (as a black man). I have no doubt, no doubt whatsoever, that I have succeeded (and failed at times) solely based on my merit, talents, and desire. I have not been unemployed for even a second, since the age of 18 (I am 37). I have applied to many, many jobs that I have desired, and been hired for many of those jobs. I have been accepted and attended 8 (8!) different colleges, earning 3 different degrees. I have spent the last 20 years working in education, from ECE to college, and spent 3 years as a preschool director (a black male preschool director is about as rare as a unicorn that poops gold).

                None of this is meant to be taken as bragging, as my story is no more successful than anyone else on this blog. Nor am I more successful then any average black man, who grew up with loving, educated parents, who forced me to have a good head on my shoulders, taught me the importance of education, and did not teach me to be distrustful of whites, or to blame shift my failures elsewhere. I find it patronizing to be told that individual merit is not enough for me to succeed, when compared to whites; that if I truly want to compete on an even playing field, I need those same whites to level the field.

                No. I. Don’t.

                While that may (MAY) be true for some blacks, that is also true of the homeless white lady for whom I bought McD’s for a few weeks ago. And the (many) panhandling white males I often encounter on the mean streets of Frederick, MD. Where’s their privilege? Why am I (gasp), put in a position to help them? Has something gone wrong with the privilege system?

                • “While that may (MAY) be true for some blacks, that is also true of the homeless white lady for whom I bought McD’s for a few weeks ago. And the (many) panhandling white males I often encounter on the mean streets of Frederick, MD. Where’s their privilege? Why am I (gasp), put in a position to help them? Has something gone wrong with the privilege system?”

                  Class privilege also exists. It’s also a generality, and thus cannot be applied to every single person that exists. The fact that some blacks do better than some whites does not disprove white privilege. Nor does the apparent fact that you’ve lived your entire life without experiencing any type of roadblocks caused by racism or discrimination prove that this is not a common experience for other black people.

                  • But if this discrimination is based solely on race, and the most outwardly obvious indicator of a person’s race is skin tone, why am I (and most of the blacks in my life) the exception? Speaking solely about skin tone, I look no different than every other black man in Baltimore, where I went to school, have worked, and currently work. If the knee-jerk discrimination that many blacks face has has nothing to do with education level, desire, discipline, temperament, how one dresses, how one speaks, how one presents and carries oneself, one’s decision making (y’know, differences that we all have that affect how others see us)….if it’s simply because how how we look, not how we think and act, not black pathology….then why am I the exception? Why, as a student at Towson U, just outside of Baltimore City, when I was young, very poor, living in a terrible neighborhood, and (at the time) lacking a college degree, was I able to land 16 different jobs while I paid my way though school? According to the residents of Baltimore during the riots, there are no jobs available for blacks, right? How was I even able to get into school? I’m black! My skin tone is supposed to be an impediment!! Isn’t it true that there aren’t educational opportunities for blacks in Baltimore? Didn’t we learn that in the riots?? It’s amazing how conservatives are the ones traded as racists. Simply amazing.

                    One of the jobs I had in Baltimore (not as a college student, but since) was to visit high school classrooms at inner city schools to video tape new teachers who were in the process of attempting a career change (from the business world to becoming a classroom teacher); part of their certification was to have a lesson video taped. The level of disrespect, disengagement, vulgarity, etc. that these teacher candidates faced daily was IN-FREAKING-SANE. Some of the teachers were in over their head, many had their hands tied by ineffective discipline options (the students all knew that the second a teacher raised their voice or disrespected them, they could easily have them suspended or fired), but most of the students just…did…not…care. And the ones that do, get lost in the shuffle. Students wandering the halls, wandering out front of many schools, cursing, goofing off, etc. Who’s fault is that? And when these students aren’t hirable for anything beyond the level of fry cook, or unable to earn an academic scholarship, is it a “lack of jobs” or “educational opportunities” to blame?

                    I am privileged. Privileged that my parents made damn sure I knew right from wrong. I was a snarky, sarcastic, kid who hated schoolwork, and hated school…no different from many of these teens. The difference is, I knew where to draw the line (with regards to being disrespectful to adults), and knew that the school that I hated was the only way to a future where I’d have options. Society didn’t install this in me as much as my parents, and the parents of friends did. If I were growing up in this generation, exposed to videos like the one above, I doubt I’d see the world the same way, for the worse.

                    “Class privilege also exists. It’s also a generality, and thus cannot be applied to every single person that exists. ”

                    The generality that I took issue with in your post was that “for blacks, individual merit is often not enough”. “Often”? Your implication that to be successful, financially, professionally successful, blacks need more than just merit. I disagree. Thats way too broad a generalization.

                    But for generalizing about class? Rich people are often financially and/or professionally successful, and poor people aren’t. Thats much closer to the truth than ‘blacks need more than merit in order to be financially/professionally successful’.

                    “The fact that some blacks do better than some whites does not disprove white privilege.”

                    I find ‘some’, used in this way, to be a weasel word. MANY blacks (47.7% of black households are middle, upper middle, or upper class as of 2009) are doing as well or better than MANY whites.

                    (http://blackdemographics.com/households/middle-class/)

          • Assuming the interviewer was telling you the truth, the reason why they needed to hire only black males probably is because they didn’t have any already … because of white privilege.

            And how was white privilege the cause?

            • Well, it’s just one of those self-evident truths. It had to be the cause because there were no black male candidates. A tidy solution looking for a problem.

      • For once, I agree. We can certainly expect privileged groups to defend their privilege–and one way to defend it is to pretend it doesn’t exist, thus dismissing challenges to it as silly and hysterical.

        Please explain how you can defend something by pretending it does not exist. Has that ever been shown to work.

        We can also hope for people to rise above tribalism and help others who are not part of their privileged groups, and to fight against privilege itself.

        We can also hope for cats to rise above territorialism and to fight against territorialism itself.

        It would be just as effective.

  9. ” I resent the implication that everything has been handed to my family, which was in poverty one generation ago, just as I resent a whole component of society being taught that my life is part of a fraud. ”

    Exactly! My great-grandparents and grandparents were (those I have info on)
    A newly-immigrated bricklayer and housewife
    A worker for the railroad and an antique dealer
    A ship’s cook and his wife who ran the farm in his absence
    A lumberjack
    Chocolate factory workers (Baker’s, Milton Lower Mills)
    A company man
    A secretary

    They busted their behinds to get ahead…none went to an elite college, no one was handed a fortune. I worked as a checker and bagger to earn money for school. We weren’t poor, but there wasn’t enough money to put three kids through college. My contemporaries were much the same. The kids who went on to Harvard and other great schools for their scholarships be being the best in their region. I hate the ‘white privilege’ accusation. There are plenty of poor whites in the world as well, in case no one’s noticed…

    • The whole privilege construct is to relieve African Americans of any responsibility or accountability for their own problems, failures, defeats and disappointments, by framing all success as illegitimate and not earned. As I say, it’s clever—it also is a form of denial. Yup, I’ve had some breaks. Lots of people have had more, many have had less. That’s life; it’s not an alibi. I acknowledge that being black in a white majority country can be a handicap. n te other hand, having been to Africa, any black individual is privileged to life here.

      • It’s supposed to be the top 1% that own 80% of America’s wealth if we’re talking about the Occupy Movement, but talk about race and it’s all whites who are privileged…

        • Well, that remaining 20% is shared among all of us remaining slightly less wealthy whites. It gets doled out to us at local BMW dealerships whenever we get our periodic maintenance done.

  10. WHEW! It’s been a long slog all the way down to the bottom of the page (if indeed this is the bottom) just to make a small point.

    What is it about exposure to mass media that produces group-think? Without denying racial discrimination, I do firmly deny that these four categories have anything to do with race. They are class distinctions.

    Connections. Privilege. Wealth. Old Boy Network.

    How many public high school students could look at their own and their classmates’ black, brown, yellow, white or green families and find any of these? Any one of them? I would estimate few or none. Perhaps among the majority of a private school assembly, among a group of connected, priviledged, wealthy offspring of money-bagged alumni … (including a minority of black, brown, yellow, white and green scholarship students who would, in generations to come, be “old boys” themselves). Not from the average high school class though. (To forestall the nitpickers, average = excludes both 90% ghetto and “gated” ones) And not from the average American either.

    Are there differences between the positions and conditions of the students in the majority of regular high schools ? Absolutely. All four points in the video are not applicable to race. Rather, they would be capped at the level of the ordinary, or rather, the non-extraordinary. The connections and privilege come from different places, places as diverse (if I may use the word before it slides into perdition) as references from church or community; parent standing or achievement; ethnic or religious background; both promising or actual academic record; convincing letters from applicants (including ill-written ones), and teachers; the applicant’s geographical location: state, rural/urban (there are quotas on these!); employment history: voluntary or paid internship or training; non-academic talent or skill (athletic, artistic, technical); prizes; application letter . . . Any or all of these can and do influence the choice of some admissions person at some institution of higher ed somewhere — that’s why we (Americans) have such a wide choice in the first place.

    There is no “wealth” in this average school — certainly not in terms of inherited, influential money, not in the majority of schools in the USA. The financing comes, if not from the rare and far from complete scholarlship, from the saving up of non-essential income, part-time jobs, and parents’ bank loans and student loans — both of which mean a willingness to sacrifice present and future economic stability. Daddy, Mommy or Uncle Doody went there? Okay, that’ll get you points, but you’d better have funding to back them up, and every generation sees more Parents of Colors Alumni.

    This has been said before, but … There are many who do not want, nor need, a “higher” education of the kinds currently on offer. Even more kids do not have the slightest concept of having options.

    But they DO lack many of the options they should have: technical schools, for one; early childhood education – including healthcare — at the other end, for another. Both are dissed: The one is not respected (not compared to academia, the lowest college degree therefrom); the other’s fairness and necessity are dismissed out of hand. Both are virtually unfunded [Big Business sponsors a few technical schools for their own particular requirements]. Here the concept of Race remains a subset of the Class divide. It is the Class part that withholds the money from the poor(er) people, not the Race. Head Start, for instance, is vastly underutilized, under-promoted, undervalued and made just as shameful to its families as all the other government “handouts.”

    (No, I am not in favor of Big Government, folks, but if we don’t want a growing group of illiterate, uneducated, unhealthy, unhappy, unemployable people around, we …. need to do …. what?)

    Class differentiations: Teachers and nurses are underpaid, little respected: is this a racial problem? (no, and it’s not a gender one either) Apart from computer techies — bright babies who forced their own way up by dint of their individual mathematical imaginations; artists the same for their talents — how do we treat plumbers and electricians and other (expensive) skilled people? — none of them brought their families with them on their way up, by the way: their college-going kids still aren’t the ones chosen as frat pledges (I know, who cares!) And talk about Old-Boy-networks: Unions! … “If you don’t get good grades and go to college, you could end up doing that.” There’s a shortage of skilled labor and it has nothing to do with skin color, it has everything to do with the class-consciousness of everyday uppity folks. It’s a matter of attitude and stubborness and having to be right (or “correct” – sometimes the same thing), and sociability, just as much as money and politics and race-baiting and traditions. Same across the spectrum!

    That’s why race is such a problem. It grew out of our class system. Until (ha!) and unless (hardeeharhar!) that changes, it will keep getting worse — because the disparities between the haves and knows and the have-nots and know-nots is growing. … Except in Texas, which has the highest Head Start enrollment – twice that of any other state, what’s that about?

      • Thanks. I’m not sure where it came from. I think it was getting really annoyed by the narrowing focus on race and racism: “everything about black lives matters more than anything else in the world to all of us.”

      • (sorry to be late getting here; I don’t often have time to go back). To answer your question, Chris, …. let me get it clear first. By “believe in” I assume you mean “class” and “race” thought of as two different operational constructs. Then, no, I most people have either confused them or decided “class” is some weird outmoded notion. They are, in fact, nearly inseparable, since the concept of race (inevitably followed by its ism) grew out of the class system. All the demographics (and more) grow from class privilege – it was/is the touchstone of the separation of human beings into “manageable” groups for economic as well as political … for all purposes you can think of — they encompass unlimited thesis subjects. {the Census may have something to do with it too).

        Up to a generation or so ago, the phrase “white privilege” scarcely existed. It was a scary ghosty oooo-ey idea to start with, putting a name to an idea that had been nagging at the minds of everyone raised in an American school, especially if one were white (therefore privileged?) or not (therefore not?) Then it became a catchphrase, a media darling that overran the idea of the larger, wider class privilege. The cowboys traded hats: If white was bad, then it followed as the day the night . . . and the rout was on. True class privilege certainly exists, sometimes earned, sometimes inherited, sometimes in fleeting fame or burning talent. So does every other demographic privilege. Class privilege comes in all colors, and bail money, and home addresses, and access to “orphan” drugs for genetic diseases, and holiday celebrations. I think we need to get back to dealing with it where it impinges on all our freedoms. Color wars are for kids at summer camp. I hope.

        Oversimplified and I apologize, but I hope it answered your question.

    • Bingo. Thank you, pennagain, for making those important and excellent points. For the record, I do fully intend to take on the class system.

      Class divides have existed for as long as civilization itself, and while racism in the past has contributed to the current ethnic demographics of different socioeconomic classes, the fact that those haven’t equalized by now speaks more to the Catch-22’s associated with poverty rather than to racism as it was originally defined.

      Of course, if you’re using the lazy definition of racism, which is “hurts people with dark skin proportionately more than it hurts people without dark skin,” then sure, poverty is racist, but then the word “racist” becomes a description of the effect of an inanimate phenomenon rather than a description of a belief, motivation, or ideological cause, which is very confusing and outright insulting for those of us who use the word properly. Frankly, as an outsider to humanity, I’m not sure why you’d care about the fact that something is more likely to hurt people who appear a certain way. I only care that people are being hurt. That statement ought to preclude any bias towards or against any “race”, but I’m sure some idiots using Insane Troll Logic think that makes me a racist.

      For those who think actual racism (belief in inherent racially-defined character traits or normative qualities) is a prevalent factor here, think about all the problems you would face as a poor person: poor education, poor healthcare, poor infrastructure, poor habits, a feeling of helplessness, high chronic stress, and a bunch of politicians arguing over the false dichotomy of whether you need handouts or whether it’s your fault and you deserve no help. All of that adds up to strong incentives to ignore the future and grab what you can from the present; it’s more fun and you’re not likely to succeed in your investments in the future anyway.

      The persistence of poverty is already adequately explained by all these factors. It doesn’t require the existence of people actively opposing poor people or black people, only the apathy or incompetence of the most powerful forces that could do anything about the problem. If we succeed in helping people escape poverty by addressing the above factors, do you really think they will face racial discrimination? Alternatively, do you think a poor white person or family doesn’t need your help more than a middle-class black person or family? Why don’t we just help poor people without regard for race? Wouldn’t that work better?

      • Hi Alien Squid. I’m not sure why you’re addressing me with your final questions. Are you? If so, I have no answers for you since I haven’t touched on the subject of poverty per se, and am not inclined to start on it at the moment. If they were rhetorical questions … forget I said anything.

        • Yeah, sorry. I replied to you in the first paragraph, made a general statement in the second, and then at the beginnings of the third and fourth paragraphs attempted to address anyone who disagreed with how I understood things, which I assumed probably wouldn’t include you. The questions I asked weren’t rhetorical, but they also weren’t directed at you specifically. I probably should have separated the content into two posts.

  11. I’ll say it bluntly; in my opinion Chris appears to be a “racist”. Quite likely one of the people sucked into racist BLM movement, a New Black Panthers sympathizer, or a card carrying member of the NAACP. It’s completely irrelevant if Chris is a black person, his words are the same words that come out of the mouth of black racists and those types of singular race based organizations. He is looking at the world through the race tainted glasses of a black racist; he’s looking at the entire world through Al Sharpton’s black racist eyes.

    It’s been said, it can’t be unsaid; therefore (in the minds of Liberals/Progressives) it is fact and should be repeated ad nauseam.

  12. Here, in summary, is my position:

    1. “Privilege” is a loaded, pejorative term, and intentionally so. I reject it as an obstacle to clarity and understanding.

    2. Being white, like being a member of any majority group, is an advantage and an asset.

    3. “Privilege” assumes that those who are white view that advantage as an entitlement. Bull shit.

    4. Color is not destiny, and efforts to represent it as such are destructive.

    5. Many other advantages of birth and environment are equally arbitrary, and in various combinations as powerful as race.

    6. The argument that because past oppression placed any group at a relative disadvantage that can never be made up or overcome without hobbling other groups—the position of the video–is self-serving, divisive and ahistorical.–and wrong.

    7. The privilege trope is used to tell critics of toxic, self-destructive minority group conduct that they are disqualified from such criticism by their “privilege.” Many current progressive tactics are designed to win ideological arguments by muzzling opposition, This is one of them.

    8. The use of the privilege construct is stupid as well,, because it insults and alienates allies like me. I have seen how minorities are disadvantaged up close, I have established mentoring programs, and worked to increase the participation of women and minorities in multiple professional and organizational settings. In my theater, I pushed to have the company produce commercially risky and controversial shows about race and discrimination, like Richard Wright’s “Native Son,” “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” “The Boys in the Band,” a black version of :Hello Out There,” and “Judgment at Nuremberg,’ among others., I set up and moderated audience symposiums on many of those. NONE of D.C’s professional theaters, other than mine, dared to present any of these works. I did these productions at personal and professional cost, and waived all fees. And frankly, my emotional response to a slanted, race-baiting video like that is to say, “Fine, Go fuck yourself, if you think I’m rigging the system.” I get over it. Many do not, and I don’t blame them.

    • “6. The argument that because past oppression placed any group at a relative disadvantage that can never be made up or overcome without hobbling other groups—the position of the video–is self-serving, divisive and ahistorical.–and wrong.”

      Well said. West Coast Asian Americans, forced into internment camps for 4 1/2 years, seem to have done well for themselves, without having to hobble the demographic that enforced the opression. Certainly nothing remotely approaching slavery, but significant oppression nonetheless….and yet Japanese Americans (as of 2000) had average median incomes $20K than all other American families ($70K vs $50k)! Now why, oh why, would the majority group (whites), blessed with so much “privilege”, still allow one minority group that they once oppressed to soar past them, both in terms of income and college graduation rates (42% vs 24.4%, Japanese Americans vs all other Americans, as of 2000), but still insist on holding another formerly oppressed minority group back? Why would the majority group, blessed with such privilege and power, not aim to lead the pack? The mind does wonder…

      Also, I know it was mentioned somewhere above, but I would love for someone who deeply believes in the concept that blacks are unfairly mass incarcerated, not b/c of free will, but because of racism, to explain in detail why this is different from male incarceration rates being magnitudes higher than the rates of females.

      Anyone want to take this on? I wait with bated breath….

      (The link to my source for the above statistics is too long to post, but if anyone want’s it, I’ll provide it)

      • Well said. West Coast Asian Americans, forced into internment camps for 4 1/2 years, seem to have done well for themselves, without having to hobble the demographic that enforced the oppression.

        You are aware that Asian-American victims of the internment camps have received reparations, correct?

        • I am; however, as you correctly point out, those reparations were given to just the victims, some 40+ years after their victimization, when most were well past retirement age. What does that have to do with the average income & graduation rates of Japanese Americans 2 and 3 generations later, none of whom were the recipients of said reparations?

          Are you implying that if reparations were provided to blacks (where none of the victims of slavery would be recipients) then it would inspire similar spikes in income and education attainment? Or that if reparations had been provided at a time when black slavery victims were still around, blacks income/education attainment would be more on par with Japanese Americans?

      • There are many reasons why the Japanese — issei and nissei generations both — did so well, so comparatively well, in survival and in getting ahead. I don’t have statistics, but I do have seven years of living, working, and studying every aspect of the culture from the inside during years that were not so far removed from WWII. This is more than a homogeneous society, it is one that plunged headlong into the 20th century from a medieval class structure. (yes, there’s that Class thing — funny how it keeps cropping up here). To put it simply (very simply), it is not just an interesting point that no three Japanese strangers meeting will immediately fall into a fixed pattern of respect: high, less high, least high. There are so many ways this is achieved, so many factors involved, including the instant exchange of business cards, that I wouldn’t even start on it. But it works. So does the crowd management that foreigners seem to think so funny: like pushers in the subway station. Fact: if you are in a Japanese crowd and need space and privacy of person, you put the back of your hand gently at the small of the back of the person in front of you, and note the hand behind you – and give one another chest & ass space. If you are in a hurry, you turn your hand sideways, thumb up and insert it with a slight up & down motion inbetween the two people in front of you, at waist level — who will part just enough to let you through, and so … zoom … almost as if you were rushing with no crowd at all, through the seemingly impenetrable throng. Cooperation: drunk falls into taxi, driver takes out his wallet, gets home address, either gets wife to come down or actively helps him into home & she pays or takes money to him the next day. Family member in the hospital? Family (under doctor or nursing orders) cook patient’s food & launder clothing, help with care 24/7. Patients recovered fast, happier, healthier. Obedience to authority (has a bad rap leftover from the War right?): Police boxes at every neighborhood & the assigned police stay there, know everyone in the area, visit all homes once a year — in return for this welcome “invasion of privacy” they know when junior is expected home from school, that grandma isn’t supposed to be wandering about and needs to be guided (or carried, gently) home, look after lost & found articles; aware of strangers and where they go, see that there is NO crime in the area and no one goes hungry or has to sleep on the street. Last example (there are thousands): Organization: Trash picked up five days a week: paper one day, garbage another (rarely any leftovers), plastic and glass and metal on the rest. The Japanese were born with responsibilities to family, to society, to the country. They think the opposite of Westerners because the responsbilities come first and the rights come second. The previous generation, the ones who were interned in the United States, would have had even stricter and more complex interpersonal skills. They couldn’t work for any other society but they made for a highly successful culture and a long, long life for the Japanese. … Make this all past tense; I know it has changed (my last visit was in ’85 and the surface was starting to shatter then, but the core is still there and intact. And yes, I know all about the “bad” stuff too. Just noting that Chris’ example has a reason and that it helps if everyone has a habit of pulling together.

        • That’s truly fascinating! I’ll have to study that at some point, and who knows, maybe even live there for a bit. It sounds enviable in a lot of ways; a good environment to rear children. I hope it endures.

  13. I just don’t have the fortitude to wade through all this bickering, but, may I make an observation?

    I’m sorry for what I’m about to post here because I have the feeling I or it will be attacked. Jack, I know you will disagree (or,maybe not – I’m not a soothsayer), but I think Sanders hits the right note with this ad. We fucking need to pull together. All of us. And I don’t see evidence of that here, or, for that matter, much of anywhere.

    And if the above link doesn’t work, try an old favorite… https://youtu.be/nyhfJTFJHu8

    Just for the record, I swore to my wife I’d never vote again for a presidential candidate after my overwheling disappointment with Obama. I’ve changed my mind.

    • I like the ad. I like Bernie, but he is absolutely deluded, and his math os atrocious. I think you should vote, but your choice reminds me of the battered woman who immediately is charmed by another abuser. Yes, it’s true: you are reminding me of Doris Day.

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