The Oppression and Privilege
How it works
White Privilege 2 The United States can be thought of as the epitome of rags to riches story of success. To many, the United States symbolizes unseen opportunities and chances for a better life. From the time we are in elementary school we are told, “Work hard so you can go to college and be someone in life.” Of course this is certainly possible to achieve, but it is not as easily done for everyone as some people are given substantially more opportunities, particularly if you are white.
White privilege insinuates that white is the superior race therefore is worthy of such privilege. It gives power to white people to be able to oppress others, grants them better resources, gives them more leeway in the judicial system, and always works in their favor when stacked against others.
White privilege is an incredibly real topic in society today and one of great importance to understand both past oppressive history and our current day occurrences. White privilege sets societal social standards, creates social stratification, and is in full conjunction with a socialist conflict perspective. American history cannot be told without diving into a list of oppressive periods where colored people were discriminated against in every way imaginable. In the olden days it was things like slavery, segregation, Jim Crow Laws, lynching, or literacy tests to be able to vote. It’s easy to judge those living during those periods and think “How could they possibly have sat there and did nothing?” The reality is that not much has changed since those “olden” days; oppressive forces are still very much at work today.
The only thing that has changed is that the oppressive nature of things today are perfectly framed to fit into our current day society to evade being deemed as discriminatory. Some examples of this would include racial profiling, mass incarceration, an overwhelmingly biased judicial system or the ever-increasing gap of resources between whites and colored people. Lots of the ideology behind these discriminatory oppressions White Privilege 3 stem from the experience of white people effectively called white privilege. White privilege is an immensely important topic to truly comprehend racism, disparities between whites and colored, and systematic forms of oppression. In modern-day society it is critical to question what we are told by politicians, American history textbooks, or white people who have never faced any sort of repression.
White privilege is a topic everyone should be exposed to so that all may finally understand the complete story of American history altogether. Besides that, it also helps to relieve some stress of self-depreciating thoughts colored people may have of what they deem to be their personal failures and realize it is also due in part to societal forces at play. Whites are almost always pictured in a positive light and for a change we wanted to shift the attention to colored people who must live through subjugation every day and more times than not are pictured in a negative light. Our purpose with the topic of white privilege is not to attack those who are white but is rather an attempt at explaining how white privilege actively works as a form of racism, discrimination, and oppression. The notion of white being a superior race and race in general are both socially constructed concepts.
You are not biologically “white” or “black” or “brown” in terms of defining it as your race, it is simply the outermost layer of ourselves which reflect a certain color. White privilege is in no way biological but the result of deeply rooted social standards that elevate the status of those with white skin to a superiority and in turn devalue the status of non-whites. The dehumanization to a second class status colored people endure indirectly assigns them a certain role. Tracing back in history, this can be thought of as a master-slave relationship. Today it can be seen as a boss-worker relationship focused on minimum wage workers who tend White Privilege 4 to be brown or black, and a boss who tends to be white. Another example could be a white-colored relationship, in which a black or brown person may feel the need to act a certain way near whites to dismantle any negative preconceptions them may have of them.
Perceived status and roles directly correlate with social stratification of society. Those with a higher status, or on top of the hierarchy will undoubtedly reap more benefits than those of lower status, or near the bottom of the social hierarchy. At the top of the social hierarchy are rich white males, and at the bottom are black or brown females. Rich white males have enough power to influence politicians, policies and laws to their benefit in a vigorous cycle that keeps them on top and everyone else below. On the flip side, black and brown females are paid approximately fifty-seven cents for every dollar a white male would earn. This keeps the gap between those on the bottom and top and works to keep poor people poor. Social stratification can be seen in our communities, schools, hospitals, or anywhere else one might care to look. The specific locations mentioned are almost always certainly guaranteed to be better in a highly white concentrated area.
More specifically, this means whites are getting better education, better healthcare, safer communities, and more access to essential resources all at the cost of keeping black and brown people at the bottom of the social hierarchy. Thinking about it through a sociological perspective, the most obvious that easily relates to the issues of white privilege is socialist conflict theory. All of the aforementioned things are prime examples of how status, class, and race affect the opportunities of success in our society; it also indicates how those with white privilege serve to maintain their power while completely turning a blind eye to the struggles of others. One of the most recent examples comes from two words every American has become far too accustomed to hearing: mass shootings.
Historically, mass shootings are mostly carried out by white males, and White Privilege 5 typically these cynical people are referred to as “gunman” “orphan” or “mentally ill.” Had the person committing the crime been anything but a white male, the media would have been immediate to call him “terrorist” or “scrupulous” and evoke fear in the mind of every American. The real plot-twist is that a black man unarmed is more likely to be killed than a mass shooter due to his white skin. Typical cases of mass shooters plead the case of insanity and get life in prison rather than a death sentence, whereas a black man will get life in prison for something minor.
White privilege allows a “blanket” of security for the white man in the judicial system because he is seen as less of a threat than a perceived deviant black man. Our social standards are based on what white people and their predecessors have set in place. For example, the ideal beauty in America is considered to be a young thin girl, with straight blonde hair, pale skin, and blue eyes. These types of girls are seen in lots of American movies, shows, and even toys or dolls. While some may deem this harmless, it is actually harmful to other young colored girls who see this. These movies or shows serve as an agent of socialization that can result in young girls starting to dislike themselves for not being “pretty” like the girls they so oftenly see portrayed. This in itself exhibits the extent to which white privilege (white being the ideal beauty standard) affects people, even young children.