Why is it that the only people who say that White Privilege doesn’t exist are representatives of the white demographic?
It’s as if the moment someone brings up race as being a benefit, swaths of vocal defenders spew forth from every corner of the internet to propel the notion that white privilege is a media myth, cooked up by jealous minorities and people of color who are “turning everything into a racial argument.”
Never mind that often times the same arguments for justifying the incarceration and harassment of people of color is due to the often regurgitated idea that “blacks commit more crime than anyone else, that’s why they’re incarcerated more often.”
The problem with these arguments is that they’re based on the idea that the country, and the people belonging to it, are somehow part of a post racial movement that doesn’t disadvantage its citizens. Suddenly, despite decades of racial divides, the hearts and minds of everyone have come to accept any and all creeds and colors.
And yet here we are, eight years into President Obama’s tenure, and people are still trying to prove that he’s a Kenyan Muslim. Completely past race? I think not.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced mid-January a list of actors to receive the coveted Oscar. Despite the event being hosted by Chris Rock, the list of nominees was surprisingly lacking in people of color, in fact, completely lacking people of color, which prompted many to create and discuss the issue of #oscarssowhite.
The discussion was somewhat typical in its progression, which ended with boycotts by popular black actors. The hashtag was quickly polarized into a discussion of whites versus blacks in America and completely missed the point. Hollywood is flatly unfair to people of color.
Many of the arguments center on the belief that the choices for the award are all steeped in fairness- devoid of color, looking purely at acting skill and ability. What isn’t being seen is that the history of Hollywood is rooted in pandering to the core audience.
In spite of an insurgence of minority actors, we still have an industry that is predominantly designed for the entertainment of a specific media consuming demographic.
This is not justifiably fair in the least, and yet we have swaths of people yelling into an echo chamber that there is no bias, that the system is designed with inherent fairness.
If there’s any doubt about the question of race being a consideration in acting, do a Google search on how many people were supremely upset that John Boyega was the face of the new Star Wars film. The ire was palpable.
It goes further than just the scope of popular media. Even education and scholarship benefits to people of color have fallen under scrutiny in the past several years. They’re hoisted up as though people of color were somehow bamboozling our educational system and the government.
Abigail Fisher is a perfect example of the concept. She, along with others, are the latest in a line of white people looking to upend Affirmative Action without realizing that the subsequent fallout could disadvantage everyone except for white men in attaining scholarships and school funding.
Unfortunately the only headway most arguments have regarding race is to immediately compare other minorities to other minorities. A zero sum game which pits the disadvantaged against the disadvantaged while the current system continues to deny the existence of white privilege.
- Abigail Fisher, Affirmative Action 2012: AP Photo/Susan Walsh | Used With Permission
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