Sunday, March 6, 2011

Are Whites Racially Oppressed?

I found this article rather interesting for the obvious reasons. While whites have the right to speak out for their own communities, I want to know what "interests" they are fighting for, considering the fact that despite the economic situation of the united states, whites are still the privileged group. I also want to point out that while reading, at first I thought that the article was covering the white race as a whole, only to now be led to think that this is simply the voice of the white male, trying to speak for his community as a whole. The article says,

Those white interests have been compromised by what he sees as the "preferential treatment" blacks have received in the job market to compensate for slavery, Edwards says.

I truly believe that they are simply in panic about the recession because it may be possible that they don't get to enjoy the luxuries that they once could before the recession began to greatly impact U.S. Citizens and now races who were once in a hole even before the recession are being complained about for being in the situation that they are in. There is no preferential treatment for the black race. When one looks at the situation, white males are still the privileged group. The job market has not been a major problem for white men until the recession and now it's all of a sudden a problem when it directly affects them. What about when blacks are being discriminated against for the same problem issue. It simply a race coming into terms with the reality of America, "We went from being a privileged group to all of a sudden becoming whites, the new victims," says Charles Gallagher. (I find it interesting in that last quote though that he differentiates between white and the privileged group)

What I would also like to know is what would white studies, white history entail? Would it teach the group about how they have oppressed, suppressed, taken, and claimed their own, basically bullied other ethnic groups in order to become the superior race that they are? Or would it reveal the sugar coated side of Latin American, African American/American, Asian history? That it was done for economic and expansion purposes for the betterment of the Americas, in other words, the own self interest of the privileged race. If anything, every other race is disconnected from the white race is almost every aspect of the American culture. Nothing about the white race makes them a minority. I could never consider white males a minority.

The article says, "You have this perception out there that whites are no longer in control or the majority. Whites are the new minority group." Whites are beginning to identity with the minority groups because they don't share privileges like they used to when they were the majority, and now that that status is threatened due to the recession, that is a problem. But they are still white, and still more privileged because of that fact. White statements such as:


"Like it or not, the country is going to look more like it should -- more brown folks, more yellow folks, more gay folks, more mixed folks," he says.

"This racial unease is more pronounced among older white Americans, who grew up in an era where America's icons were virtually all white, Wise says."

"The idea that we're losing our country is something that's not going to have a lot of resonance for someone under 30," Wise says. "These are white folks who don't remember the country that their parents are talking about."

"With white no longer the norm, more white Americans are hitting the books to ask a question that few felt a need to ask before: What does it mean to be white?"


I am only led to believe that white men feel the way that they do because of the position that the recession has put them in and how different groups are beginning recognize their potential. I wouldn't even call the group that feels oppressed our current generation but the past generations who are used to being the sole supremacist, like the quote above mentions. And now they feel threatened because America is slowly beginning to embrace other cultures, rather than identifying the norm. White is still what it is, white, but there are others in the world besides them.


  1. I seriously laughed out loud at that statement Gallagher made. Being a privileged white male, I think it's fair for me to say that we are doing just fine in this category. The claim that whites are "the new victim" is a stretch of epic proportions. Certainly, white privilege is being slowly (oh so slowly) eroded, but this group seems to treat that like it's a bad thing. If one is to claim (as they do) that whites at one time had a privilege, then it doesn't follow that we should try to hold on to that privilege.

  2. I think we can agree that times are changing, but this doesn't mean that white males aren't the most privileged group in society. They're still earning the most, still holding the majority of political power, etc. The time we're living in is certainly different from our parents and our grandparents in that our society is more diverse...but since when was that a bad thing? I think it's just the older generation freaking out because things that were once considered "bad" have become common place.

    The only example I can think of that would support their claim might be outsourcing and migrant workers. However, this has been a problem for centuries. People like complaining and pointing fingers, and what with the recession, things are getting frustrating for people. Oh well, everyone is allowed to give their opinion.

  3. It is definitely safe to say, that white males are still very much in control of this country. All one would have to do is look at the people hold positions of power across the country and I can almost guarantee you that I know who take the majority.
    Someone once told me that I only got into certain schools because of my skin color, which I know is far from the truth. At the same time, I know there are some places that do bring in Black students and students from other minority groups because of the color of their skin. Then white male students complain about not getting as much money or not getting into certain schools because the spots that they could have taken are given to those who fall into the affirmative action category. Percentage-wise, those people would need to look at the number of Black and minority students who are actually qualified to meet those standards and if they actually end up staying.
    I'm getting into a completely separate discussion, but has the same type of connection to the whole job market issue

  4. I honestly think this article is a little ridiculous and very clearly skewed to promote outrage. CNN, in my opinion, often tends to seek out the shock factor.
    However, the point itself is valid - I was particularly interested by the remark that many white Americans have assumed that if they work hard, they'll be rewarded. To a certain extent, I think this also relates back to the argument against illegal immigrants. Mexicans taking factory or agricultural jobs, for example, are given work harder than most minimum wage jobs but far less pay. Americans, and not just the white ones, often find this work beneath them. The recession evened out the playing field and yes, I think terrified everyone, particularly the formerly privileged.

  5. While some of the views expressed may sound extreme, I do think there is at least a touch of validity to the claim that whites are racially oppressed. Minority owned businesses are given tax advantages, minorities are awarded "bonus points" on their high education applications, etc etc. By being provided these benefits, based in no way on merit, white men may feel that they are oppressed or unfairly treated. However, I would argue that this sentiment of oppression is not an issue based on race but one founded on entitlement. Many Americans, regardless of race, have a growing sense of entitlement simply for being an American. They want to work less (or not at all), get paid more, and have better benefits. Like jealous siblings, they squable when one racial class (typically African Americans) seems to get "special treatment" over another. At one time in history, Americans were respected as being hard working (think the American cowboy) and able to stand up in the face of adversity (Revolutionary War). Now, it seems that as a country we do more complaining than accomplishing.

  6. To Cat: Remember that that American cowboy image was based off of the perception of the majority, The Revolutionary War, was all for the benefit of the majority, blacks were still being oppressed after that, while there was the image of the American cowboy, there were images of blacks being portrayed as animals, overtly sexual and promiscuous, and the mammy image, basically demeaning the pride of an entire race. So to me, there is no comparison in regards to image. and I also think that it is another form to oppression to say that all blacks get "special treatment" because of being black. We have such a problem at Rhodes where African American students feel diminished because it is assumed that they are here because we are on some type of scholarship when we are just as intelligent as the next student. White men may feel oppressed because they are not given the same opportunity, but that is not a fault of the African Americans, but the system itself that is encouraging minorities, whose goal may be to do just that encourage, or reach a quota, because when you really look at the numbers how many African Americans actually go to and graduate from college or own businesses as opposed to their counterparts? The numbers are significantly different. No that this justifies the situation, it only validates it there is more complaining, but if you were given benefits based off of genetics wouldn't you take them too? I know of people who were white as a field of snow, but would claim African American for benefits because of some ancestor of theirs just so happened to be black. So if the benefits are there, why refuse them? But at the same time it is also a form of oppression to assume that African Americans are where they are because they were given some type of "boost" when in reality, they just might be an intelligent being.


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