Debating the Danger of Labeling Rights as “Privileges,” and Viewing “White Apathy” as “White Privilege”

The following debate originally took place upon the Facebook wall of my friend, Brooke M…

Brooke N.: A number of people I know, and even more FB friends I’ve never met have, since Ferguson, argued that White Privilege doesn’t exist. The past month or so has presented a perfect example of how it does exist and how it is expressed. Kenya experienced an act of terrorism in which a school was bombed and many children died. I believe there were 149 dead. 2 days before Paris there was a bombing in Lebanon. Then Paris. Then yesterday or the day before (international time zones) terrorists struck in Nigeria. Je suis Kenya? Not much. Je suis Lebanon? Not much. Je suis Paris? Oh yes! Change your profile picture with the French flag, calls to go to war, wall to wall coverage. Je suis Nigeria? Al Jazeera reported it, but certainly not much coverage. And that, my friends, is white privilege. Of course I care about Paris. But it is only when white people die that we get the full bore floodlight of the media, the pull on every heart string, because that’s what sells us burgers.

Bobby C.: True Brooke

Ahmed A.: Respect Ma’am!

Steven S.: Very valid. My only issue is, (if you can call it that), that there is no way to defend white people without seeming racist. Just gotta stand there and get slapped.

Brooke N.: When you look at all the empires white people have built and all the brown, yellow, red and black people who have been subjugated, maybe it’s our turn…

Carol P.: Country Karma

Nick G.The way, Steven, is simply to defend everyone impartially. Not hard.

Steven S.: Hard.

Nick G.: Why hard to be impartial?

Steven S.: defending everyone. I don’t have time to spar.

Nick G.: Sure. Not your job or mine. But laws can be designed to do the job, and there are plenty of people to enforce them. 🙂

Obbe H.: Those incidents have nothing to do with White Privilege which to me just another term for producing perpetual white guilt. I have no white guilt-never have and never will. This is more of a matter that advertising pushes the news and not the other way around. Most of the news is packaged for a half hour and the Paris news just happened to trump (sorry) other news stories. Add to that adds for cars, constipation medicines and there goes your time. Violence like that has been rare in Europe and not so rare in Lebanon and Africa-many of us can identify with France…..Brown, Red, Yellow, and Black people have built their own empires only to be knocked down by other people of color. Be careful what you wish for!

Brooke M.: I’m not wishing for anything. Observing and concluding. Two people can look at the same thing and see different things. I know how you feel, Obbe. We don’t agree, but I love you anyway. My point is that as a majority white country we aren’t interested when bad things happen to darker skinned people, so, you’re right. It doesn’t sell us burgers. But if we saw more equal coverage we might begin to have a little more interest, more compassion to others who appear (but aren’t) to be different than ourselves.

Obbe H.: Yes, Brooke love is all around and we need more of it. However, remember the #save our girls concerning the girls kidnapped by Boko Harum? That was on the news for weeks with nary a white guy insight. Of course none of us knows how these decisions are made or why by those at NBC and ABC. Interestingly enough some of the conservative radio shows (Limbaugh and Hannity) did bring the subject up a few times..

Tom B.: Not all white people get treated the same.

Daniel Sv.: One can’t spare feelings for everyone. That would be pathological altruism. True grief is reserved for those nearest and dearest to us. You might as well argue that we grieve for a neighbor across the town the same as we grieve for a lost family member.

Brooke N.: I think that true grief over world events happens about the world events the media spotlights.

Brooke N.: Obbe yes, I remember the 100 girls. They did get a lot of media attention. I am glad.

Brooke N.: Daniel, , why can’t one spare feelings for everyone?

Patricia M.: I am going to by-pass commenting on “white privilege” for the moment as that is a HUGE can of worms and a much, much longer discussion. I may not be able to change the skin color with which I came into this world, but I CAN watch how I treat others. I think that the pertinent issue here is, and I have read various comments over the last few days, about the lack of Western media coverage of so-called “Third World” events such as the most recent one in Nigeria. The general public here,is only inundated and barraged with sensational and often homogenized news that they think will entice the viewer($$$).. And…it is much easier to sell a story to people who seem to have more in common with fair-skinned Europeans. and a similar culture. I bet that most people, for example, are unaware of the horrendous and devastating ecological disaster in Brasil (the dam-break into the RIo Doce) earlier this month, as it was kept out of the media for several weeks. Personally, I do read foreign press, but most people can’t read other languages or don’t have the time to become informed, because I choose to use my “privieges” in education and cultural exposure to learn more. That doesn’t make me any better than any one else, but I wish more people could or would take the time to become more deeply informed.

Obbe H.: And now I’m headed to Winston Salem to watch a basketball game mostly played by very privileged black college students.

Patricia M.: Veel plezier en bedankt voor de commentaar, Obbe.

Obbe H.: Nou dat is erg mooi van U

Patricia M.: Graag gedaan.

Brooke M.: Patricia I agree, it’s what sells hamburgers that we see on the news. Also what the 1% wants to manipulate us with. The white privilege part is that we are largely only interested in people we identify with. Living in what has become a global culture, I think we shut out “the stranger” at our own risk. The media could be helping us learn a broader compassion, but we need to be aware of our insularity.

Patricia M.: You are right about that Brooke. The knee jerk xenophobia is such a throwback to tribalism and fear of “the other”. I am sick of all of it. If I drank, I would be a drunk. LOL.

Brooke M.: Cheers, Patricia.

Rayn: Seems like what you’re describing, Brooke, should more aptly be called “WHITE APATHY.”

It’s time for humanity to realize that language is, in fact, a weapon of war, and that we all hold the power of life and death inside of our words. With this understanding, we will be much more prudent with our speech, when fighting for Truth, Justice and the Peace it brings.

We would be very wise to refrain, at all costs, from labeling HUMAN RIGHTS as “privileges,” lest we risk having them “validly” stripped away by the Cowards-That-Be, as though they were granted to us, instead of inborn. In other words: NO, it is not “white privilege,” for example, to walk down the street without police harassment. It is the RIGHT of every human being to exist peacefully, without molestation by so-called authorities! Recognize, my friends!

“Nation-building,” on the other hand – which is really just Orwellian newspeak for wars of aggression, occupation, and imperialism – ABSOLUTELY IS a form of “WHITE PRIVILEGE.” It is completely immoral, and illegitimate, by the standards of human rights, justice and peace! And, for those who would deny the cold, hard TRUTH about the racist nature of such activity, simply do some research on the topic, and discover the fact that at one point in history, this behavior was OUTRIGHT seen as, and referred to, as the “WHITE MAN’S BURDEN”! Of course, this was during an era where racism was more openly displayed by certain pale-skinned European “rulers,” and their apologists. And, that is why it has been repackaged, accordingly!

Brooke M.: White Privilege is a term that has come up recently in connection with the Black Lives Matter movement and it denotes an unconscious attitude narcissistic entitlement.

Brooke M.: We seem to have “progressed” from nation building to nation destroying. In terms of the current world situation, I subscribe to Colin Powell’s notion that “you break it you buy it.” Afghanistan was still broken from the 1980s and 90s but we broke Iraq, KBR and other contractors were paid billions to fix what we broke and they didn’t do it, they just took the money and ran. The White Man’s Burden involves occupying other countries with the idea that “those people” can’t do it themselves. I used Mexico and micro loans to individuals as an example because NAFTA swept through Mexico and briefly gave people jobs, urbanized a lot of farmers and polluted the air and water then left. We pretty much screwed them. Then decided to build a wall to keep them out when they come North. It would help their problem and ours if we could help them stay home, maybe buy another farm or start a small business. It’s an idea I had when I spent a couple of weeks in Central Mexico where even Mexicans couldn’t drink the water due to industrial pollution.

Rayn: I’ve heard the term for years, Brooke, and in most cases, it was being used exactly as I described above: to transform human rights into “privileges.” Even Wikipedia notes the following: “According to McIntosh and Lee [‘Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack.’ 1998], whites in a society considered culturally a part of the Western world enjoy advantages that non-whites do not experience. The term denotes both obvious and less obvious passive advantages that white persons may not recognize they have, which distinguishes it from overt bias or prejudice. These include cultural affirmations of one’s own worth; presumed greater social status; and FREEDOM TO MOVE, BUY, WORK, PLAY, AND SPEAK FREELY (emphasis mine).”

Notice that the items I’ve highlighted above are actual HUMAN RIGHTS, rather than PRIVILEGES! The example I gave in my last comment, about the fallacy of claiming that it is “white privilege” to walk down the street without police harassment, is actually something I’ve heard DIRECTLY from the mouths of many pale-skinned Individuals over the years, who all willingly subscribe to this sort of dangerous and illogical mindset.

Rayn: The American government has absolutely no right to “nation build.” Any effort to do so is not even the slightest bit humanitarian in nature, but rather, just a flimsy, illegitimate excuse to occupy and imperialize foreign nations, while dividing their resources up among a small cabal of corporate interests. America also has no right to “break,” nor to “buy,” nations of foreigners, for that matter, regardless of how many claimed “good intentions” are involved. These sorts of behaviors are ABSOLUTELY immoral, and a pathetic repackaging of the “White Man’s Burden.” It certainly is a despicable thing to witness, let alone, to be on the receiving end of!

Rayn: As for the spotlight fallacy created by the mainstream media monopoly, these professional liars have so very long ago lost their credibility, for so many solid reasons, so it’s a WONDER why the public continues to go back for more, “like a dog returns to its own vomit…” *sigh*

Here’s an earlier writing of mine that applies SO PERFECTLY to the current situation, it’s almost SCARY:

After a Year of Silence, Mainstream Media Monopoly Finally Begins Reporting on American-Fueled Rise of ISIS in Syria and Iraq:

From the article:

“Now the Truth Emerges: How the US Fueled the Rise of ISIS in Syria and Iraq:

The Truth only ‘now’ emerges in the mainstream media monopoly, after almost an entire year of being reported by independent news sources, while the American public sleepwalks their way into another war adventure!”

I shared the following article and commentary on Facebook in September of 2014:

Made in the USA: Report Shows ISIS Using US Arms from ‘Syria Rebels’:

But, who’s really worried about inconvenient little facts like these when “educating” (brainwashing) one’s self about current events using only establishment-endorsed sources?

Is it finally time to stop being spoon-fed serving after serving off deception by the same professional liars that sold the American public WMDs and the war in Iraq? Hmm…

Who Pays the Pro-War Pundits? Conflicts of Interest Exposed for TV Guests Backing Military Action (Sept. 2014):

New York Times Admits It Pushed Fabricated Evidence about Iraq, Syria and Ukraine (April 2014):

How Covert Agents Infiltrate the Internet to Manipulate, Deceive, and Destroy Reputations (Feb. 2014):

Racist Web Posts Traced to Homeland Security (July 2009):

Channel 4 Report: Army Corps of Engineers Anonymously Trolled Critical Website After Katrina Flooding (June 2009):

Pentagon Hired Contractor to Vet War Reporters (Aug. 2008):

Behind TV [War] Analysts, Pentagon’s Hidden Hand (April 2008):

Let the Spirit of Discernment guide each Individual to the light of Truth, with the understanding that it does, indeed, make our souls as free as promised!

There will come a time, very soon, when humanity’s adversaries will become so obvious and open in their deceptive, murderous agenda that any left defending their despicable ways will be considered just as guilty, and treated accordingly! So, choose well, my friends, and remember that history reveals governments across the world purposely leading hundreds of millions of their own ‘citizens’ astray at a time in order to massacre millions of innocents in the their name with the financial support of their own tax dollars!”

[portions of the above writing incorporate information from two of my earlier writings:

US Government Continues to Manufacture Public Consent for War Crimes (Sept. 2014 article):

Under Obama, America’s Military Empire Continues to Expand (Dec. 2009 article):]

Creative Commons License     Fair Use     Public Domain

(All original portions of this work, by Rayn Kleipe, are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, while all redistributed links, images, sounds, videos, and writings are protected under 17 U.S.C. § 107: Fair Use, or under Public Domain)

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