I was at my friend Deacon Blue’s blog and found this interesting and funny video by comedian Louis CK. I have never heard of Louis before, but he’s funny and got mad comedic timing. He’s astute and that ALWAYS work with comedians. This small clip of the guy reminds me of George Carlin. The guy’s is that good.
Number one: he’s going There. The place most white people fear to tread. He’s joking about how “good” it is to be white, and that he admits it and receives all those perks with open arms. I like how he acknowledges that whites aren’t better than others, but BEING white is the shiznit. “This shit is thoroughly good!”, he jokes. I totally and completely love it when people are really real like that.
But I have to wonder, though, if being white is for real-for real all that privileged. We been blowing up their heads full of this “white privilege” mess for a while now. For the wordsmith, White Privilege is the new Racist. Personally, I don’t feel that white folks are privileged like that. As I see it, they are some of the most miserable folks on planet Earth!
So when we people of color call white folks privileged, what are we talking about? Are we saying that because they have first line access to the best jobs, access to material things, more ability to travel the world–these are the reasons they are privileged? Or is it that they have the ability to oppress people around the world, the ability to ignore human beings who are suffering accross the world, the ability to hoard the resources of the world–is this what makes them privileged? Why do we see them as being privileged? Do we want what they appear to have?
Let’s be clear about what we are actually saying when we call white people privileged. Let’s put on our thinking caps, and turn on our listening ears. The ability to do the above stuff is not privilege! I feel sorry and sad for any white people who do any of the above things. None of it is privilege.
On the other hand, I, personally, am privileged beyond measure. I don’t oppress other people. Instead I try to uplift and encourage people. I don’t have money to “travel”. I don’t want to sit on somebody’s beach having people of the world bringing me drinks and towels. Not feeling that one iota. Especially knowing that they hate their ass-kissing jobs, and me as well! Instead, I do research about the people of the world and report it here! I am so privileged to be able to do this and I love it! I don’t have huge stores of food, and can’t afford to buy caviar and truffles. Give me some fried chicken and rice, some egusi soup and a five dollar burrito from the Mexican truck parked in my hood! That’s good eating folks! Give me a Chinese food combo for $5! Give me a $5 veggie sandwich from Subway!
There are privileged white people, though. It’s that man or woman who does work in his or her community to change racist ideas. They use whatever means and gifts they have, like Louis CK as a comedian, or the late George Carlin to teach their white brothers and sisters how to divest themselves of this white underprivilege and rejoin the rest of the human race.
I like the young couple Matthew and Jessica Flannery who started Kiva . They are a TRUE representation of white privilege! They have had the privilege of starting their online microfinance website, lending money to entrepreneurs in the “developing world” by encouraging people in the “developed world” to make these loans–pick a featured entrepreneur and loan them small sums of money to start or maintain their small busineses. The entrepreneur repays the loan over a period of time. The loans range from about $100 to $1,000 or more. These microloans can make the difference for the entrepreneur, lifting him or her out of poverty and into sustaining their family. It lifts the people out of dependance of faceless benefactors and into the pride of self sufficiency.
This young couple has put in real work developing this highly innovative business model. In the clip they admit the high level of stress involved with pioneering Kiva. I’m highly impressed by them. I know there are even more untold stories of white folks who are connected to the rest of the world and are working to make it a better place.
So for those white people who are voluntarily stuck in ignorance–those who exploit and dehumanize, those who hate and dismiss others, who live lives of conspicuous consumption as though the world’s resources belong to them alone–these people are the wretched of the earth. There is absolutely no privilege there. And we people of color ought to stop calling this condition to oppress “white privilege“.