A pillar of contemporary leftism is the notion of “white privilege.” Given that a generation of high school and college students are being taught that a great number of “unearned privileges” accrue to white Americans — the charge of white privilege demands rational inquiry.
The assertion turns out to be largely meaningless. And more significantly, it does great harm to blacks.
First, no reasonable person can argue that white privilege applies to the great majority of whites, let alone to all whites. There are simply too many variables other than race that determine individual success in America.
And if it were true, why would whites commit suicide at twice the rate of blacks (and at a higher rate than any other race in America except American Indians)? According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, white men, whom the left argue are the most privileged group of all in America, commit 7 of every 10 suicides in America — even though only 3 of 10 Americans are white males.
Whatever reason one gives for the white suicide rate, it is indisputable that, at the very least, considerably more whites than blacks consider life not worth living. To argue that all these whites were oblivious to all the unique privileges they had is to stretch the definition of “privilege” beyond credulity.
Second, there are a host of privileges that dwarf “white privilege.”
A huge one is “two-parent privilege.” If you are raised by a father and mother, you enter adulthood with more privileges than anyone else in American society, irrespective of race, ethnicity or sex. That’s why the poverty rate among two-parent black families is only 7 percent. Compare that to a 22 percent poverty rate among whites in single-parent homes. Obviously, the two-parent home is the decisive privilege.
Another “privilege,” if one wants to use that term, that dwarfs “white privilege” is “Asian privilege.” Asian-Americans do better than white Americans in school, on IQ tests, on credit scores and on other positive parameters. In fact, according to recent data from the Federal Reserve, Asians are about to surpass whites as the wealthiest group of Americans. Will the left soon complain about Asian privilege?
And how about “gentile privilege?” For most of American history it was a lot easier being a Christian than being a Jew in America. Yet, I do not know a Jew — myself included — who doesn’t believe that to be a Jew in America has always been an unbelievable stroke of good fortune. It is not surprising that an American Jew, Irving Berlin, wrote “God Bless America.”
There are even times when there is “minority privilege” in America today. Every high school student knows that given similar scholastic and extracurricular records, one’s chances of being accepted into a prestigious college are considerably greater if one is a member of a minority, most especially the black minority.
And the biggest privilege of all is “American privilege.” Unless you or your family make some big mistakes, the greatest privilege of all is to be an American. That’s why much of the world wants to live in America.
So, then why all this left-wing talk about white privilege?
The major reason is in order to portray blacks as victims. This achieves two huge goals for the left, one political, the other philosophical.
The political goal is to ensure that blacks continue to view America as racist. The left knows that the only way to retain political power in America is to perpetuate the belief among black Americans that their primary problem is white racism. Only then will blacks continue to regard the left and the Democrats as indispensable.
The philosophical reason is that the left denies — as it has since Marx — the primacy of moral and cultural values in determining the fate of the individual and of society. In the left’s view, it is not poor values or a lack of moral self-control that causes crime, but poverty and, in the case of black criminals, racism. Therefore, the disproportionate amount of violent crime committed by black males is not attributable to the moral failure of the black criminal or to the likelihood of his not having been raised by a father but to an external factor over which he has little or no power — white racism.
White privilege is another left-wing attempt, and a successful one, to keep America from focusing on that which will truly help black America — a resurrection of the black family, for example — and instead to focus on an external problem: white privilege.
In doing so, the left has become the only real enemy the black has in America today.
This column was originally posted on Townhall.com