White Privilege versus White Guilt


I have a tendency to make friends with liberals. Mainly because there are more of them in my peer group and I find them more fun than conservatives. Usually we get along but lately the issue of white privilege has been coming up and usually it’s directed at me. I want to start a conversation here and get people’s opinions. Clearly it’s utter nonsense and I see these claims as more of a form of white guilt coming from the spoiled left’s youth.


I’m at an age and am too busy to the point where I would simply not waste my time with such people. I am white and worked for everything that I have. Nothing was given to me because I am white or for any other reason. I do not allow such people to make me feel guilty about what I have achieved. They are simply being envious of those that actually achieve on their own merit.

In my youth, I had a friend that took the easy welfare route because it took no effort on his part. He was smart enough to go to college and had a grandfather that would have paid for his education if he had been inclined to do so. One day after I was fresh out of college and had been in my new job for a few months, he had the audacity to try to make me feel guilty about my job.

I told him that, “I sacraficed lots of time, effort and money to achieve whee I am at now. While I was working full-time and going to college full-time, you were pumping every chemical that you could into your body, impregnating your girlfriend multiplie times, and telling how stupid I was for going to college. You did this while you had grandparents that had offered to pay for yur education. I will be paying for mine for many years to come. You are not going to make me feel guilty for what I have avchieved. If anything, you should feel guilty for not taking advantage of an opportunity that few people our age actually have. Your situation is not my fault. It is yours.”

It must have eventually sunk in because about 6 months later, he enrolled into college and started getting his act together.


When it comes down to it…assertions of privilege usually mean…" I sat on my butt while you worked for your unfair advantage and now it is only fair that you share with those less fortunate than yourself through taxation."


Race is only a subset of the bigger picture, one of the several subsets. However, in the current world, zero sum is at the top of it all. Everyone feels it to varying degrees.


Privileges come on an individual basis. There is no such thing as “white privilege”. Everyone leads a different life. Some work for what they have, some don’t have to work as hard. If there is a thing as white privilege, I want to know where my share is. >:(


Obviously not much “white guilt” around here yet.

“White privilege”? What does that mean? Like others who have posted in this thread, the things and accomplishments I have (ignoring things spiritual) were either earned (or limited) by my work or were given me by my parents. There’s no racial element to that! There are creative and diligent white people; there are creative and diligent black (etc.) people. There are lazy and improvident white people; there are lazy and improvident black (etc.) people. Likewise for wonderful and lousy parents.

I don’t care whether the guy/gal working at the test bench next to me is black, Hispanic, Asian, Polynesian or white - and I’ve been working in my career long enough that I’ve worked alongside, “All of the above.” What I do care about is whether the other persons are competent - our work group’s work will be aided rather than impeded - and safe (i.e. not a danger to me). That is one of the values my parents gave me - a value they demonstrated in their lives without realizing I was noticing - and which I have given my kids. Ironically - or maybe, typically - the greatest challenge to that value one of my kids has faced was when a “person of color” (which color doesn’t really matter) played the race card on my son.


What is obviously utter nonsense about it?

The net worth of the average white family is eight times the net worth of the average black family. Of course whites are more privileged in our society in general.


Society doesn’t really treat us differently though. Some racist people might, but not society. The fact that black families are more poverty stricken has more to do, I think, with historical circumstances rather than them not being as privileged in society.


Historical circumstances are the point. PeteS says that everything he’s ever owned has been earned, or given to him by his parents. But if he was black, odds are his parents would have had less to give him, and that means less wealth, less opportunity, less privilege.


Also, society does treat us differently. You should read a few studies, like this one:

Field experiment: Procedure and results

We posted at least three advertisements in each of approximately 300 markets between March 2009 and March 2010, for a total of 1200 advertisements. Each ad was online for twelve hours (during the day or overnight) during which potential buyers could respond via e-mail. Photos were randomly assigned across several other advertisement characteristics.
We asked each respondent for his or her best offer by e-mail, and ultimately offered to ship the iPod to the highest bidder in exchange for payment by PayPal, an online payments processor. This was a somewhat suspicious proposal in these markets, where participants expect to meet locally, and we interpret buyers’ responses to this offer as an indicator of underlying trust. We then compared how each group of sellers fared on a variety of dimensions. Here is what we found:

[]Black sellers received 13% fewer responses and 17% fewer offers than white sellers.
]The average offer received by black sellers is 2%-4% lower, despite the self-selected – and presumably less biased – pool of bidders responding to these ads.
[]The effects are similar for tattooed sellers, suggesting a role for statistical discrimination.
]Buyers corresponding with black sellers exhibited lower trust: They are 17% less likely to include their name in e-mails, 44% less likely to accept delivery by mail, and 56% more likely to express concern about making a long-distance payment.

Clearly, black sellers are at a significant disadvantage to whites. In addition, the geographic variation among our markets provides a unique opportunity to delve deeper, and we were able to investigate how discrimination varies with market characteristics.

The only thing that changed between the “black” ads and “white” ads in that study was the color of the hand visible in the photograph. More: Race, discrimination, and iPods: Experimental evidence from online markets | vox - Research-based policy analysis and commentary from leading economists


So there are a lot of racist people. Black people still have the same legal rights as white people. I’m not saying it’s easy being black, but it’s not due to whites being more privileged. I’d call it more like luck.


I never said anything about legal rights. White privilege refers to the various advantages white people enjoy in our present society, which may or may not come from legal rights. If those had been real people in the study, the white sellers would have had more sales and made more money, even though everything about the ads was exactly the same. There are other studies showing that blacks are discriminated against in hiring decisions and loans, given longer sentences for the same crimes, etc. So there is a good deal of systemic privilege that goes along with being white (or not being black), which is demonstrable by science.


I was privileged enough to be brought up in a single parent home.
I was privileged enough to be sent to prison on my first offense.
I was privileged enough to homeless, for 2 years.
I was privileged enough to have to quit college, to support my family.
I was privileged enough to see my job taken, for Affirmative action.
I was privileged enough to be shot in the back, for doing my job.
I was privileged enough to lose all I had worked for, to the IRS.

I am White.

But, I was privileged enough to have a mother who told me the truth, and that 99 44/100% of my situation, was of my own making.


The net worth of the average white family is eight times the net worth of the average black family. Of course whites are more privileged in our society in general.

The fact that black families are more poverty stricken has more to do, I think, with historical circumstances rather than them not being as privileged in society.

And that net worth is the result of “privilege”, not education, not willingness to work, not wise financial choices, not wise lifestyle choices? What a load!

Trekky, slaves were emancipated a century and a half ago. Jim Crow died 6 or 7 decades ago. One of the reasons black men and women like Clarence Thomas or Condoleeza Rice or Herman Cain are hysterically hated by many “Progressives” is that they show what education and hard work can accomplish in just two generations (and those three are very far from being alone). “(H)istorical circumstances” are almost irrelevant now (unlike a century ago), and things like education, work ethic and lifestyle choices dominate as causes of outcomes - for whites and blacks.



You’ve got it all wrong. You’re supposed to feel guilty and be taxed at a higher rate simply because you are white./sarcasm.


It’s really odd because the playing field IS tilted in favor of blacks who WISH to achieve and work toward self-improvement.This applies to college admissions as well as work place hiring and advancement.
Of course when you start on the bottom rung economically, you don’t have as good a chance as someone near the top rung… but it is equally true that there are far more many whites in poverty than blacks. So it is more economic privilege than racial. The good news is that there IS considerable interchange between the various income quintiles.
The real killer of success however… is broken families… the 70% unmarried rate of black pregnancies insures that except for a small %…their kids are doomed.
A result of the kindly, paternalistic Great Society.


Coming from a family with eight times the net worth as someone else makes you privileged all by itself. It gives you greater economic opportunities from the very beginning. If your family leaves you with property, you can borrow against that property to start a business. If they don’t, that’s an opportunity you don’t have. On top of that, scientific studies have shown that whites are more likely to be hired for jobs regardless of qualifications, they are more likely to get loans regardless of credit, they receive lighter sentences than blacks for the same crimes, they get more sales as salespeople even when everything other than skin color is exactly the same, etc., etc., etc. I once thought white privilege was a myth too, but now that I’m a bit older and have been around the country somewhat, it seems damn near impossible to deny that you simply have more obstacles to success if you happen to be black.


You’ve got it all wrong. You’re supposed to feel guilty and be taxed at a higher rate simply because you are white./sarcasm.

Because of my life choices (in some of which Mrs. S in CA participated and was in full agreement) our AGI has never qualified for that special privilege.

Coming from a family with eight times the net worth as someone else makes you privileged all by itself. It gives you greater economic opportunities from the very beginning.

I had a better starting point that blacks? Maybe, maybe not. When my parents were in school - the 20s and early 30s - the schools they attended were “integrated” (I used quote marks, because I don’t think those schools were ever segregated), as those schools were when I attended them in the 60s and early 70s. When I was growing up, blacks, Hispanics and Asians were well represented in our town’s wealthier people - my parents were probably middle to upper middle class economically - and whites were well represented in the poorer class.

Be that as it may, as my previous post pointed out, there are many blacks (and whites, Hispanics and Asians) whose starting point was definitely less well of than mine who are far better off than I am. They made a wide range of life choices to get where they are, different choices than I made. I’m not complaining, just pointing out that life choices in the areas of education, social behavior (i.e. obeying laws) and personal behavior (not bedding every person of the opposite sex within sight) are much more determinant in one’s adult economic status than one’s starting point.

Just one glaringly obvious example of how life choices skew one’s opportunities … one near certain road to poverty or near poverty is for a young woman in her teens to become pregnant outside of marriage and raise her child as a single parent on her own. Furthering one’s education, getting/holding a job, getting promotions all become much more difficult and complicated. That is true regardless of skin color. But this happens among blacks at a far higher rate than among whites. Single parenthood is >>95% by choice! And in the disproportion among blacks has been going on and growing worse for several decades. Foolish choices can be very expensive, a price that is exacted over a period of many years. BTW, don’t try playing the race card on this: many young whiter women make the same foolish choice to be promiscuous, just, currently, at a lower rate. In writing this I had family members in mind, and at this point my family is all “white” (with significant chances of that changing in a few years … which we will welcome if that happens).


you simply have more obstacles to success if you happen to be black.

That is a valid generalization.

There is a problem with those who use it throughout their lives as an excuse for all their problems though.

There usually comes a point in life, and it’s best when it comes early, when it’s time to say: “I need to do my best despite my disadvantages.”

Nobody likes a whiner no matter what their color is. Even though I grew up with more than enough in the way of advantages I could make a case that I was downtrodden and my deficiencies are the fault of others (I was hit a few times in school for being Jewish but I didn’t think much of it at the time…or at any time). Nobody wants to hear any excuses from me about why I’m not a raving success in every way.

(As it happens I’m quite pleased with myself and I don’t measure myself using the yardstick that some others would impose on me.)


I never liked the idea of white privilege. Even though I’m not white I have noticed many younger whites will be more than likely to support the idea that whites should feel guilty about their racial identity one way or another. To be honest it is indoctrination on how a majority of white children grow up in public life learning whites owned slave or killed people to own land and resources. Anyone is welcome to agree or disagree with my position on this topic. Look at the media and schools. What do they teach based on race and culture. How would children today interpret what they’re told by others? Each group of people in the U.S have their own demons. We’re divided because all we see is racism and hatred towards everyone. As a young black man I dislike many blacks who are just so stupid to lower themselves into only believing that life is something out of a rap music video. Society has this idea that everyone is a victim and should be given a free-ride. what happened to hard work and responsibility? If many Americans can preach that MLK wanted peace, to end segregation in the U.S., and have everyone come together as Americans. Than why do people use racism as a weapon? Racism is a word that so overused that its original meaning has changed to fit the needs of politics. I see it is as ridiculous that people would want to created a world of broken dreams and suffering.