So many people are caught up in examining “white privilege,” an entitlement for anyone with white skin in America.
It’s not a fresh topic. VIDEO: Eddie Murphy “White Like Me”
Life’s only certainty is that no one person can fully understand the physical, mental, or emotional burdens faced by any other human being. All we know for sure is our own circumstance in the midst of life’s various encumbrances.
Clearly there are advantages for caucasians in terms of moving through society without unwarranted suspicion. Unless the caucasian(s) is wearing clothing indicating poverty, escape from incarceration, or gang-related affiliation, a white person moves about most areas of society unscathed.
“Driving while black” is a real phenomenon. Groups of black males walking in most neighborhoods can attract negative responses where groups of white youth may not. Fear of police comes naturally in predominantly African-American neighborhoods because of patterns of observed arrests and interrogation not seen in many predominantly white neighborhoods.
Those are all societal issues that must be resolved through the purging of poverty, access to education, and stronger family bonding through discipline and strengthened work ethic.
One area where much of the media and a great deal of white society continues to falter is in the obvious condescension foisted upon African Americans of achievement.
A brilliant passage from the 1991 film City Slickers deftly illuminates the matter. Actors Bill Henderson and Phill Lewis (below) play black father-and-son dentists who join with a group of other people escaping their mundane jobs on a cattle drive.
White actors Billy Crystal and Daniel Stern are seated around the campfire as this scene unfolds:
Phil Berquist: Where are you from?
Ben Jessup: Baltimore. We have a dental practice there.
Mitch Robbins: Really, you’re both dentists?
Steve Jessup: Yes! We’re black AND we’re dentists. Let’s not make an issue out of it.
Ben Jessup: Eh, they’re not making an issue of it. You’re making an issue of it.
This seminal moment in a 20+ years old film captures the problem with the white media in 2014.
Please stop talking to black people of achievement as if they are in kindergarten.
Ooooooohhhhhh! You ate ALL of your pudding. Good girl. You are amazing!
That’s the sentiment that appears in so many television, radio, and online interviews of people of color, that they are somehow AMAZING because they have completed an album, painted a canvas, written a book, passed a test, flown a plane, earned a general’s rank, become a president, or opened their own store.
Enough with the fawning & cooing, white people and empty-headed talk show hosts. Patronization only trivializes hard work and discipline that leads to achievement by any person, regardless of their skin tone.
Talk to people like they’re people, not disadvantaged weaklings who are barely able to bring forth their God-given gifts.
If white privilege alone is the golden ticket to Easy Street, please explain why the percentage of white and black welfare recipients is virtually the same. Did Oprah, Barack, Jay Z, Beyonce, Tiger, MJ, Spike, et al jump the line ahead of the millions of white people living in trailer parks?
Sorry to bust up a simplistic crutch for the one-note singers of white privilege. Life is more complicated than any one issue.
We all must live with the hand we are dealt, complete with its inherent complexities impossibly masked to all other humans. One cannot know the tumult within the head/heart of another.
Celebrate life and let’s get to work on eradicating poverty for all, advancing education, and exhibiting tolerance. All of life’s other conundrums will react accordingly.