We’re so focused on White privilege, we forgot about Black privilege
You’re angry. I get it. How could someone dare to call out Black Americans when they face so much systemic racism?
And this is exactly what Black privilege is — somehow, being a victim to someone else’s privilege means that you cannot exercise your own form of privilege over others.
Before, I begin, I need to put out some disclaimers (which I wouldn’t need to do if this was an article calling out almost literally any other group, which again itself is an example of Black privilege).
I am not saying all Black people are bad. I am not saying most Black people are bad. I am not saying that Black people deserve to be unjustly murdered. I am not saying that it is easy for Black people to constantly deal with the privilege that other races sometimes have. I am not saying even if Black people have some form of privilege, they deserve to be treated like any less of a human being.
I am absolutely not trying to do any of that.
What I am trying to do is bring more neutrality, reason, and logic to the discussion. Y’all say you want to talk about equality? Y’all say you want to talk about race relations? Then we gotta consider the good, bad, and ugly on all sides.
So what does Black privilege actually look like?
Black privilege starts with the mass media support to promote the narrative of Black oppression, crowding out any other perspective
This is a screenshot of my Medium homepage. Of the five stories that are being pushed, four of them supportive the mainstream pro-Black, anti-everyone else narrative. Again, not saying that these points aren’t worth talking about, but flooding the discussion doesn’t make it easy or rational for others to have a differing opinion.
Two of the publications being pushed, Momentum and Zora, are aligned with the standard mass media narrative of Black oppression. There are no other topic suggestions in the area of social relations and culture — 100% of the pushed topic areas is aligned with the standard mass media narrative of Black oppression. That is Black privilege.
Take a look at the content for some of those articles — you’ll see some of what I would consider to be extremist content. Yet these articles and authors are pushed by the editorial team and have tons of social support to continue pushing their narrative.
You don’t like how I put a photo of black extremists as the cover photo for this article? Ok, I understand the frustration. Do you have the same frustration when you see a photo of a stereotypical white man with a farm right next to the title that says “Everything I want to do is racist”? If you don’t see any difference between the bias in this article’s cover photo versus that article’s cover photo, that is bias and exactly what Black privilege is.
“Oh, but Medium is just one source of media. There’s a spectrum of content available.” — this is incorrect. Besides the Fox network, name me just one main stream news and media outlet that doesn’t push the standard mass media narrative of Black oppression.
Black privilege is held up by over representation of Black people and Black culture in society and culture
Take a guess at what % of America is Black? Based on 2019 census estimates, that number is 13.4% — probably a number lower than you expected.
Why is it that people overestimate what % of America is Black? There is over representation of Black people and Black culture in American society and culture. And given that American society and culture is the source of global society and culture, that privilege extends well beyond the borders of America.
Take a look at professional sports — you’ll see an over representation of Black people.
Take a look at music — you’ll see an over representation of Black people. Don’t believe me? Open your Spotify and go to the Global Top 50 chart.
Now, there’s nothing inherently wrong with over representation as long as they earned it right? I would tend to agree. Black people have done really, really well in these two cultural spheres. And as a result, they deserve to be over represented in those aspects.
Why do we try to force equal representation in other aspects of society and culture?
Look — I’m okay living in a society with minimum intervention where the outcomes are determined by the market and they are what they are. I’m also okay living in a society with more intervention in which we try to normalize the rates of achievement in various fields to be more representative of the broader population.
What I am absolutely not okay is inconsistent application of those principles.
There’s already preferential treatment of Black people in college admissions and workforce employment with the prevalence of affirmative action and cultural programs. Yet, we are still obsessed with pushing up those numbers to achieve some sort of society that we deem as more equal.
Why don’t we have preferential programs to get underrepresented groups better outcomes in sports? In music? In culture?
Inconsistent application of principles will only lead to bias. In areas, where Black people tend to over perform, we call the competition fair. In areas where Black people tend to under perform, we call for more intervention. How is this not Black privilege?
There’s a lot of talk about socioeconomic status and how Black people are at the bottom rung of the ladder. Let’s not forget that socioeconomic status is made of two dimensions: social standing AND economic standing. A proper conversation about race and socioeconomic status requires evaluating BOTH social standing AND economic standing. Focusing on just one is bias.
At the height of the BLM protests earlier this year, this was a trending topic all across the world. Many societies in the world don’t even have Black people, yet it was still a topic of conversation in those societies. Having your message amplified to the rest of the world, even as that message is completely irrelevant to other societies, that is Black privilege.
Black people receive more government assistance than any other racial category
Every so often, the topic of reparations comes up. The fact that in America, no Black person living today had to live through slavery or that no other person living today (Black or any other color) ever owned slaves — this should be enough evidence to shut down the conversation. If we want to go back through the history books and list out every single disadvantaged group that faced oppression in America, you’re not going to be left with a lot of people in the position who will be the ones paying.
“But Black people faced a harder form of oppression than a lot of other groups.” Is that truth? Or is that Black privilege? If you haven’t taken the time to really study the oppression that other groups faced, ones that didn’t have the backing of mass media or Hollywood to amplify their stories of oppression, it’s a little premature and biased to be making that sort of statement, don’t you think?
While they’re not classified as reparations, the American welfare and social safety net is already a de facto system for Black reparations.
What are reparations supposed to do? Provide indemnity to a certain class for hardships faced. What do social safety net programs supposed to do? Provide indemnity to a certain class for hardships faced.
I want you to imagine another scenario. There are other racial groups in the US that face different types of racism. Have programs been set up to address the specific issues that they face?
I understand that being a Black person is difficult, especially in the economic realm. I understand that it is not easy to be poor and to rely on these programs. But let’s take a step back here. These programs were introduced to specifically address some of the most immediate concerns and problems that Black people face. Just think for a second whether the same degree of effort has been put into setting up systems that alleviate the issues that other groups may face.
Let’s see what we find in the numbers.
Data from the National Center for Education Statistics suggest that of the broader American population, 6.5% of people receive public assistance. Black people are over represented at 13.5%, meaning that they are more than twice as likely to receive public assistance compared to the general public.
Another data set from the US census bureau, suggests that of the broader American population, 13.0% of Americans receive food stamps. Black people are over represented at 27.9%, meaning that they are more than twice as likely to receive food stamps compared to the general public.
You’ll tell me that this is means tested and that they’re receiving the assistance only because they qualified for it. You’ll tell me that isn’t a good thing that the most vulnerable populations in America are receiving assistance. To which, I reply, of course this is a good thing. This is absolutely a good thing.
But let’s not all run around and pretend like Black people are not receiving assistance. Let’s not pretend that just because Black people live in a society where they have to face injustice in some elements of those society, that the same society isn’t allocating their tax dollars to invest right back into the Black community.
We talk about White privilege because it leads to unfair, negative outcomes and experiences for others (primarily Black people). It is a good thing to talk about and I really hope that some of those issues get resolved.
In the same vein, we must talk about Black privilege because it leads to unfair, negative outcomes and experiences for others.
Talking about race relations in logical, fact based ways can lead to a better outcome for everyone. But talking about race relations on the basis of emotion, outrage, and one-side perspectives absolutely does lead to negative outcomes.
If you don’t believe me, help me to explain a few of these headlines below. If the standard mass media narrative of Black oppression was not so prevalent, would these negative events have the same likelihood of happening?