Sunday, November 14

Better Late than Never

I recently replied to some commentary on the Popcorn Privilege demonstration that i ran on campus a couple of weeks ago. Someone forwarded me a link to American Renaissance, a website dedicated to solving the problems of race (their words, not mine). Their problem with race is that the interests of other races seem to have been elevated higher than the interests of white people. this is borne(sp) out by the comments written by their readers on the various articles the website posts.

in any case, they picked up the article from the Daily Illini on our protest (read it here) and their readers immediately had a hissy-fit. some of the comments follow:

Notice how they attack white MEN and drive a wedge between white women and white men? Yep, clever. Make white women HATE white men and then encourage them to date and mate with black men to show they are liberated, advanced and "with it". Thus ensure the extinction of the white race.

While negroes and other non-whites complain, it needs to be pointed out that White Males, are the smartest, most talented, most inventive, most cultural and most law-abiding people in the world. So why shouldn’t we have privileges?

i could go on and on - they do - but i'll just reprint my reply in full. i can do that cuz this is my blog:

i'm one of the people who came up with the concept of the Popcorn Privilege demonstration a couple of weeks ago. what we attempted to do was take concepts from Peggy McIntosh's article "white males white privilege" and put them into a concrete form that people could see (or in this instance, taste). the strength of the McIntosh article is that she also lists benefits, immunities, and privileges that accrue to whites simply because they're white. Our demonstration showed that by handing full bags of popcorn to white men while giving everyone else partially-full bags.

it always amazes me when whites (and upper-class non-whites) cling stubbornly to the belief that their privileges were earned through individual effort, rather than through the mores, values, and norms that reward conformity with an ideology of white supremacy and capitalism. if blacks are not as educated as whites, then we are trained to look not at the failure of underfunded educational institutions or teachers but to consider blacks to be stupid "by nature". same goes for environmental discrimination; how easy is it to accrue wealth when you are forced to over-qualify for a mortgage, pay higher interest on that mortgage, and then watch your property value shrink because you bought the property? Many whites never have to face that dilemma and indeed, continue to benefit from government-sponsored programs that rewarded their grandparents’ membership in the “white” race.

The GPSC was formed because of the absence of support mechanisms for students of color in academia. In a world constructed around white privilege, people of color have to build and maintain safe spaces where they are not assailed with racism, prejudice, and hate. However, we often reach out to mainstream groups simply because we find good people everywhere, not just in our own communities. W.E.B. DuBois, a pragmatist, noted that segregation is not the way to promote a truly multicultural society – but that until whites make a real effort to support integration, we need a space to nurture our own.

"any more questions, go ask yo' mama" - Positive K

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