Good Example Of Pathology Of Privilege Essay

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: People, Discrimination, White, Race, Social Issues, Privilege, Color, African American

Pages: 4

Words: 1100

Published: 2020/12/27

Tim Wise felt that it is not because he is not talking to the congregation as the most informed individual on white privilege or the best speaker on racism subject. Rather, he gave the talk because of privilege. He is able to give the talk on the subject because he has the privilege to be listened to by the subject itself. The privilege or the advantage that he has challenges him with responsibility and accountability to give the talk on behalf of the people of color. The people of color do not have this privilege to be listened to by the whites when they talk about racism. Wise felt that the knowledge about the subject that he was talking about purely came from the people of color. However, the audience and especially the whites would listen and be excited by the greatness of the message, yet they may not take the same message seriously if delivered by a person of color. He (Tim) being white has privilege or added advantage to be taken seriously when discussing the subject than a person of color.

The Erasure of Race in Politics and Culture

Tim Wise demonstrate the connection between poverty and the issue of race and ethnicity. Wise illustrate that the political class talks about how education and healthcare is a problem to the poor. Black Americans face racial discrimination in schools, in healthcare facilities and in housing sector. There is racial subordination and racial oppression in areas of healthcare, schooling and housing. Whites are privileged in many of these areas. For instance, the fair housing act came to force in 1968. However, 38 years later that is 2006, recorded the highest number of complains on race based housing discrimination. Tim also provide example on rise in the number of black people deaths in 1991-2000 resulting from poor social and economic conditions that they face because of their blackness. Essential amenities in the country are provided on basis of color. One million people black people died because of poor quality healthcare. They could not have died had they have been provided with good quality health services like the people. Black people are always associated with poverty. In this case, Wise provide an example that when a young person of color is seen driving a nice car, whites will always tag him as a drug dealer. On the other hand, when a white young person is seen driving a similar car, people will say their parents bought them. Even in the law enforcement racism and ethnicity is seen. Black people are highly likely to be stopped by police for their cars to be searched for drugs than whites.

White Denial

Tim Wise mentioned Elvis when he tried to compare how American whites hold the importance of Elvis Presley cause of death and the importance that they hold the problem of racial discrimination. Twice the number of individuals who believed that racial discrimination is a big problem in our country, believed that Elvis could be alive incase his cause of death was taken with proper care. It means that most of American whites believe that racial discrimination is not a big problem in our society. It is evident that, white people are always in denial mainly because they do not experience racial discrimination. Simply because they have not been tested on it and nothing happens to them even if they do not know what the people of color experience under racism. Others remain in denial because of ignorance. They ignore the fact that people of color are experiencing racial discrimination in a big way. Other white people remain in denial because they do not care. Provided they are doing well in their music, culture, theatre, poetry, history and culture, they do not care anymore about black or brown people.

Unburdened by Race

A major benefit that white people have is that of being unburdened race. They have the class privilege. They hold this privilege even when they are not rich. White people do not have to worry that when they fail, be it in class or in life, it will be attributed to their race. There is no stereotype working against the white person. They are sure that whatever failure or wrongdoing they may happen to find themselves involved in will not be attributed to their race. They are psychologically free and in everything they do they know that they will not trigger any form of negative stereotype. Unlike black people who carry the burden, that in case they find themselves in a form of misstep it will be attributed to their racial defect.

The Creation of Whiteness

The concept of whiteness originated from the colonies that would later become United States in the years of 1660s and 1670s. In these colonies, Africans and Europeans went there as slaves, although not enslaved permanently. They used to work for 7-11 year as slaves and after that, one would work freely. Later, the two groups started to rebel against their masters in search of economic justice. The white seeing that they would lose the slaves who would work for them and they did not want to work themselves, tried to bribe the European whites with some land and power. When the Europeans tasted power, the rebellion disappeared. The white elite continued to convince them that their skin was also important. Therefore, the whites kept more power while Europeans had little power. Europeans were paid less but remained economically subordinated. However, black Africans were not paid and were slaves because of their color. This idea of whiteness is still in existence today in our society. Poor white people believe they have more in common with the rich whites than they have in common with black working class living near them.

Privilege and Pathology

Tim talks about how privilege brings anxiety to the whites. This means that they live in a mental distress, thinking that the people of color coming into their territory are coming to take their wealth. Therefore, the white privilege is making the whites to remain in constant preventative war against the people of color. They are always anxious, disturbed, depressed and have anxiety disorder than those people of color who in the war torn areas, poverty, famine and other hardships. The whites are in constant fear of keeping ahead of others. All this is because of the white privilege breeding anxiety. They think to be white is to be dominant as well as have luxury and always think that you have these things. Therefore, they are always anxious that the blacks are there to take these privileges from them.

Guilt and Responsibility

It is true; guilt and responsibility are not synonymous. This is because; guilt will let us want to continue living in the glory of our white privilege. Guilt will let us love to live in the past yet not important glory. However, taking responsibility will let us understand the dangers of living with what we inherited from those who lived before us. This is because, we are the ones who are here now and we should own up the responsibility of cleaning whatever bad thing left to us by others. The current generation should take this responsibility, not because we are guilty of having the white privilege but because we are the ones who are now available to clean these things for our future children and generations.
In my opinion, Tim Wise talk on race and ethnicity in U.S. is comprehensive. In many areas, private or public, one is likely to witness most of the things addressed in this discussion. For instance, why do law enforcement agencies have to be partial when dealing with the issue of drugs? Why did U.S. experience the highest level of discrimination complaints in housing in 2006 based on race? These are real issues not speculations. These issues and many others mentioned in the discussion, illustrate that racism is a reality in U.S.
The part on "Erasure of Race in Politics and Culture" had most impact on me. While listening to this part I thought of why the government could not pay attention to the million black people who died within 1991-2000 yet could not have died if the quality of health provided to them was better. Does it mean they did not matter, were they useless, does it mean they did not have any contribution to the economy and to their families?
I am a white person and although I interact with people of color on daily basis, it has never crossed in my mind what they go through. From Tim’s discussion, I felt that I do not care what my friends and neighbors experience. I cannot say it is because I am privileged as a white person, but it could be because I have not been in such a comprehensive discussion to make me conscious about the issues that my black or brown friends and neighbors go through.

Work Cited

Wise, Tim. "Pathology of White Privilege by Tim Wise." Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, October, 2007. March 22, 2015.

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