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Old 07-18-2009, 08:47 PM
 
Location: Upstate NY for now. Hanover, New Hampshire come the fall.
99 posts, read 153,390 times
Reputation: 64

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I've been seeing a lot of discussion about affirmative action lately, and inevitably the threads tend to go in the same direction. Someblacks say AA is needed because of white priveledge. Some whites chime in and say that's BS because not all whites have it easy. Then it goes on and on and usually becomes a pissing contest after that.

What I wanted to to here is address the real issue behind this notion of white priveledge, and why it just is not as simple as racist whites putting blacks down or anything like that.

There is a value in being white, but its far less obvious and simplistic than many make it out to be. The value is in the perception, the culture, and the social stigmas attached to people based on their race.

Put quite simply, there is a "norm" for blacks, an expected range of behavior that they're supposed to conform to. High intelligence is not expected. Good grades aren't expected. Proper english is not expected. Ebonics is expected. Ganster rap is expected. Sexual promiscuity is expected. Criminality is expected. Athletic ability is expected.

In others words, blacks are not usually expected to be or viewed as upstanding, law-abiding citizens with solid academic track records and scholastic ability. People expect to see the opposite, and when you don't conform, there is a price to pay. Then you are "acting white", and when you become the "oreo" nobody favors you-not whites and not blacks.

Why does this matter? Because these stigmas play a huge role in the earlier stages of life, particularly during one's teenage years. That, of course, is when much of the direction for your adult life is shaped.
Harvard researchers did a study on this phenomenon.

The Harvard Crimson :: News :: Study Explores ‘Acting White’
Hoover Institution - Education Next - “Acting White”



Basically the study's conclusion was simple: The "whiter" you act as a black person, the fewer friends you have.
It is a phenomenon that these researchers have observed, that thousands of blacks have observed, and that I myself have lived. "Whiteness"(proper english, good grades, normal clothes) is akin to a social kiss of death for young blacks. If you can't at least pretend to conform, then you're in for a long ride to adulthood.

Whites do not have this stigmatism. Society is never shocked when a white kid manages a 4.0 GPA. Nobody is going to mock him for "acting white". No other whites are going to disparagingly call him an "oreo"(or a reverse oreo, if you will) and taunt him. No girls that he tries to go out with are going to say he's "weird". He will not be an anomaly. When he walks into a room to accept an academic reward, he won't receive quizzical looks from the donors because they will almost expect him to look as he does. He can always just be himself, and never be made to feel uncomfortable. He conforms perfectly to society's expectations, and will face none of its wrath.

Make that kid black, however, and you have a different story. Blacks will call him an oreo, and so will whites. They will all mock him for being weird. He will often get odd looks when he opens his mouth around people who look like him(and those who don't). He will ALWAYS be an anomaly, and oreo, a weirdo.

Most black kids don't want to deal with all that, so they'll take the easy way out-they'll conform. They won't bother bucking the expectations heaped on them by fellow blacks and the rest of society, and they'll reap the benefits. Most of them will gain a lot of social gratification because of this-athletic awards, lots of girls, etc, etc. But in many cases, by adhering to the stereotypes and refusing to be "oreos", they will fail to reach the extent of their academic capability. This is a problem since, as a we all know, it is your level of academic achievement that really matters in life.

The athletes, rappers, and dancers of this world don't have the real power. The producers, politicians, general managers, lawyers, and executives do. This phenomenon, in essence, tells blacks NOT to strive and work towards occupying one of those power positions in the future since to do so would make you an oreo.
This stigma puts up a glass ceiling, and many choose to stay under it.

I must make this very clear: This phenomenon is not simply a case of white racism. Many whites do play a significant role in its propogation, and that is a problem for "oreos" who grow up in some suburban areas. But much of this phenomenon(dare I say, maybe a majority of it) is propogated by blacks. You can argue as to what the origins of this mentality may be and its roots in history, but the facts are facts.

Too many of us don't expect anything of ourselves. We don't expect to be more than petty criminals and rap artists. We encourage each other NOT to be intellectual, and when one of us is, we shun them. Many of our most visible figures tell us that this behavior is ok, that being a thug(or "soldier", as Destiny's Child put it) will get you hotter girls or much more money.

Some hope that Obama's election will change this perception, but as of right now, this mentality is ingrained into the culture, sadly enough. Real improvement, I feel, will be elusive until this mentality is changed. Until it is ok for a young African American to speak english, get high grades, and listen to music outside the realm of Lil Wayne and Soulja Boy, then nothing will change. Most young people think in the short term, and what they see in the short term is that black people who do the things I just listed don't get girls, don't have that many friends, and aren't very cool. Like every young person, they just want to be accepted. Thus, they act accordingly. Affirmative action alone will not solve black problems.

So, to conclude, why is this phenomenon beneficial to whites? Because they can strive to be their best without getting punished for it. That is the real white priveledge, and until more blacks adamantly refuse to grant this priveledge progress will be hard to come by.
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Old 07-18-2009, 09:03 PM
 
Location: Idaho Falls
5,041 posts, read 6,218,344 times
Reputation: 1483
I don't know. Several hundred years of slavery followed by 150 years of nominal freedom overlaid with outright racism, including institutional racism and built-in phobias. It seems a little too easy to claim that it's all up to the blacks to end racism. That we whites don't have to do anything but what we've done for hundreds of years (except for the outright racism).

I think it is up to whites to recognize their advantages and do a little more than say "tut-tut blacks - if only you'd be a little more like us."

I know I'm over-generalizing your point here. But I do think it's more complex than you paint. And I do think it takes more from us whites.
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Old 07-18-2009, 09:10 PM
 
Location: Lafayette, Louisiana
14,100 posts, read 28,538,276 times
Reputation: 8075
Actually, it's more about economic social class than race class. You have a white family and black family. Both have a child that gets good grades in school, stays out of trouble with the law, and wants to go to college. In most cases, the black student will get accepted over the white student in such a case. In some cases, white students with good grades are turned down by some universities because of racial quotas and accept minority students even if they have much lower grades. Yep, that's fair. Not.
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Old 07-18-2009, 09:11 PM
 
175 posts, read 304,070 times
Reputation: 97
Excellent points and so very true. Blacks are at a disadvantage no matter what they do - if they conform to societal stereotypes (uneducated, loud, criminal, etc), they're classified as unproductive members of society who cause problems and live off the government.

If they pull themselves up on their own, and become successful through education and hard work, they're accussed of getting where they are through "affirmative action", while not being fully qualified for the position they occupy.

Damned if you do, damned if you don't. A half black man in office is not going to erase hundreds of years worth of institutionalized racism that has been deeply ingrained into society.
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Old 07-18-2009, 09:12 PM
 
Location: Edwardsville, IL
1,814 posts, read 2,498,594 times
Reputation: 1472
JLaw45,

I don't what planet you've been living on for the last 25 years or so, but I think you would change your tune if you walked into any contemporary corporate office in America and saw who is getting hired/promoted (minorities) and who is getting the shaft (Caucasian males). The racism is still there, it's just targeting a different group these days. And there is no workforce diversity program to benefit the aforementioned demographic.

I suggest you do a little more research before you begin whining about how whites are indirectly responsible for your latest shortcoming.

PS I am an White Male with a Masters married to a Black Female with a Masters and she shares my sentiments as well.
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Old 07-18-2009, 09:20 PM
 
Location: Orlando, FL
12,200 posts, read 18,380,574 times
Reputation: 6655
Quote:
Originally Posted by JLaw45 View Post
In others words, blacks are not usually expected to be or viewed as upstanding, law-abiding citizens with solid academic track records and scholastic ability. People expect to see the opposite, and when you don't conform, there is a price to pay. Then you are "acting white", and when you become the "oreo" nobody favors you-not whites and not blacks.

Basically the study's conclusion was simple: The "whiter" you act as a black person, the fewer friends you have.
Was this study done by 5th graders?

And I don't know where you got that statement about black people not expected to be law abiding citizens and posses scholastic ability - you should have grown up in my house. Now only was it expected; it was a prerequisite.

I hate when people say "Oh when I started applying to colleges and using proper grammar none of the other black people wanted to play with me." Who the hell are you hanging out with; Peanut and them from the Cabrini Green projects?

I've never had my "friends" try to discourage me from improving my life. Now of course, when I chose to go to summer school rather than spend all day on the beach some kids called me a nerd but they weren't my friends so why the hell did I care what they called me.

If you created this thread to try to justify your need to conform to what others think you are simply because you're black, I think you need to find a new set of friends.

Is "priveledge" a word?
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Old 07-18-2009, 09:24 PM
 
Location: La lune et les étoiles
18,258 posts, read 22,538,660 times
Reputation: 19593
Pssst....Caucasian women benefit more from Affirmative Action than any other group.

But for some reason the thought of African Americans benefiting from anything really gets the goat of a lot of people....just saying.
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Old 07-18-2009, 09:25 PM
 
Location: SARASOTA, FLORIDA
11,486 posts, read 15,312,478 times
Reputation: 4894
Yet another thread on this? How many of these are we going to see?

If anything being a white female I got screwed when I applied for the SBA loans to start my business. I know it was racist because when I found that several minorities in my area also applied and got loans I knew I was sunk.

So, I raised my own money and retired at 40 years old when I sold the business and those businesses who got the SBA loans--- bankrupt of course and screwed the government and the tax payers out of their money as usual.

I know who gets the privileges and it is not any white.
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Old 07-18-2009, 09:26 PM
 
Location: Idaho Falls
5,041 posts, read 6,218,344 times
Reputation: 1483
Quote:
Originally Posted by sailordave View Post
Actually, it's more about economic social class than race class. You have a white family and black family. Both have a child that gets good grades in school, stays out of trouble with the law, and wants to go to college. In most cases, the black student will get accepted over the white student in such a case. In some cases, white students with good grades are turned down by some universities because of racial quotas and accept minority students even if they have much lower grades. Yep, that's fair. Not.
This statement is an absolute falsehood. You have no basis for saying it, and cannot prove it even anecdotally.
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Old 07-18-2009, 09:27 PM
 
Location: SARASOTA, FLORIDA
11,486 posts, read 15,312,478 times
Reputation: 4894
Quote:
Originally Posted by calipoppy View Post
Pssst....Caucasian women benefit more from Affirmative Action than any other group.

But for some reason the thought of African Americans benefiting from anything really gets the goat of a lot of people....just saying.

Read my post.

I for a fact got screwed when minority woman were put ahead of me for money from SBA loans, they ended up out of business and filed bankruptcy. I raised my own money and retired at 40.

No, black woman who want to run or start a business are handed money like water. No business plan, no degrees, no formal education, no business experience, nothing yet they are handed money. Of course the facts are most of them fail anyway because they were handed money and did not know how to handle the business or manage the money correctly.
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