Wednesday, September 3, 2014

I Have White Privilege

But Does Walter Williams?

I am white. I have white privilege. I have benefited from my whiteness since at least my birth. So has every other white person in the United States. Including Bill O'Reilly who is taken to task by Dr. Jarvis Williams in his piece Blind to White Privilege and Blinded by White Privilege: A Response to Bill O'Reilly published at The Reformed African American Network. Dr. Williams is a Professor in the New Testament Department at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY.*

Bill O'Reilly in the Talking Points segment of his program on August 26 argued that white privilege does not exist and pointed to other factors that put many African Americans in a disadvantaged position. Dr. Jarvis appreciates some of the things that O'Reilly pointed out, but then makes a remarkable statement:

"However, O’Reilly’s analysis failed to see a crucial point: he thinks the way he thinks about white privilege, right down to the way that he interprets the statistical data to support his thesis against white privilege, because he is a white man who benefits from white privilege."

O'Reilly could not
 get it right, including the conclusions he draws from the statistics, because he is white and enjoys the privileges of being white. O'Reilly's being white disqualifies him right out of the gate. Being white blinds you to seeing white privilege. Dr. Williams puts up an obstacle the O'Reilly cannot possibly overcome.

But there are others whose views are similar to Bill O'Reilly's.

For instance, Walter Williams:

"I can’t imagine people being stupid enough to believe all that was said at the White Privilege Conference. There’s something else at work. I think it’s white guilt. That’s why, for almost three decades, there has appeared on my website a certificate of amnesty and pardon that I’ve granted to Americans of European ancestry in the hope that they stop feeling guilty and stop acting like fools."

 And Thomas Sowell:
"People who call differences 'inequities' and achievements 'privilege' leave social havoc in their wake, while feeling noble about siding with the less fortunate. It would never occur to them that they have any responsibility for the harm done to both blacks and Asian Americans."

 And Shelby Steele:
"I grew up in segregation. So I really know what racism is. I went to segregated school. I bow to no one in my knowledge of racism, which is one of the reasons why I say white privilege is not a problem." 
"Racism is about 18th on a list of problems that black America faces." 
"White privilege is a disingenuous idea..." 
"The fact is "we got a raw deal in America. We got a much better deal now. But we can't access it unless we take ... responsibility for getting there ourselves."  
“I grew up under segregation, and no one saw us as victims. No one cared about us one way or the other, which left us free to pursue our own lives, even if we were so constricted. In the community where I grew up, everybody had a father in the home. Everybody worked. This was a very poor, black neighborhood on the Southside of Chicago...There are so many enormously successful people, and that’s because we were lucky enough to come along just before the seductive voice of white guilt started whispering to us that we were victims. My parents certainly never gave an inch for that." 

I am faced with dilemna of the woman whose husband, when she caught him en flagrante delicto with another woman, asked: "Who ya gonna believe, me or your lying eyes?" Drs. Williams, Sowell, and Steele look black to me. But, since they agree with Bill O'Reilly, it would seem that they must be white and privileged.

 * I assumed it would be clear from subsequent paragraphs that I am skeptical about the concept of "white privilege" as are Drs. Williams, Sowell, and Steele. The first paragraph is intended as a "hook" as my old homiletics proferssor would say and is deliberately provocative. The first paragraph led to what Bill O'Reilly said, then to what I find to be the astounding statement of Dr. Jarvis, to views of three black scholars who do not agree with Dr. Jarvis, to my own concluding tongue-in-cheek comment.

1 comment:

Steveo said...

I recently pointed out that it was a leftist position that assumes White Privilege to a PCA pastor, and he was very offended that I thought he was liberal, because he had voted conservative in all of the elections.

I was writhing him concerning this article that he wrote: