Saturday, 19 October 2019

"If white privilege exists, then does black privilege exist too?" #QotD

"Discussions of ‘privilege’ have become one of the themes of this age. In a short space of time, the obsession with the subject has forced its way from the margins of the social sciences right into the centre of all cultural and political debate. Politics and office politics is increasingly consumed by it...
    "Everywhere the privilege discussion is the same. Who has privilege? Who should give it up? Who should have more? ...
    "We are told that there are forms of privilege that come with being white. Historically this may be able to be said to be the case. Though again it is a claim filled with contradictions and false-assertions. Were people who spent their days working the land in some far-flung part of these islands beneficiaries of ‘white privilege’? Are their descendants today? It is an amazingly reductive and almost certainly unfair way to view most, let alone all white people. But it throws up a counter-question. If white privilege exists, then does black privilege exist too?
    "I have been wondering about this in recent times. Again, this is not to say that historically black people have always  benefited from being black. But if some white people today have white privilege then do some black people?
    "I would have said that one of the most obvious but unmentionable facts of our time is that some people do. Because whenever a system tilts a particular way some people with intelligence and savviness will take advantage of that fact. Why would they not? In the last year or so, on a number of occasions, I have walked into a hall or studio with a black colleague and been aware that I am at a distinct disadvantage.
    "What is that disadvantage? Well, it is slightly like the old saw about the gun on stage in a Chekhov play. Except that in these cases there is a gun onstage but it is able to be picked up, pointed and even fired in only one direction. And that is by the black participant in the discussion at anyone present who is white. The bullet is an accusation of racism – whether it is sincere or not, honest or not, accurate or not.
    "If an era regards racism as its cardinal sin and white supremacy as a fact then it is inevitable that as well as there being sincere accusations of prejudice there will also be some insincere ones. And that if society is largely unbothered about correcting false accusations then a hugely powerful weapon is put in the hands of any canny person who wishes to wield it..."
        ~ Douglas Murray, from his oped 'On Black Privilege'

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