White Privilege ~ Do you know what that is?

From the perspective of a 70-year old black man…

I am a son of the south, born in 1945 in North Carolina. I’ve lived in this state, South Carolina, Georgia, Kansas, Texas, and Virginia. I have traveled across this country several times and have visited all, but six of the contiguous 48 states of America. I have traveled to Europe and Asia and live 4 years in Germany. My point is, I have seen and experienced a lot.

Growing up in my town–Fayetteville, I saw whites with different water fountains and restrooms. They could eat at any restaurant, sleep at any hotel or motel, and could sit on the ground floor of movie theaters. They were not relegated to the back of the bus, not put is a special car on trains. They did not have separate waiting rooms at bus and train stations. They could call several taxi-cab companies for a fare. We only had two, black owned, to call for service.

Our reality was that whites expected blacks to defer to them: walking down sidewalks, entering buildings, and so forth. I’ve already mentioned buses. We know the story of Rosa Parks and its inspiration to the civil rights movement of the mid-’50s.

Well, Fayetteville was no different than other communities in the south and across this nation. While in high school, I worked for a white dentist. I could ride in the front seat of his car to his Myrtle Beach cottage, but could not eat with him and his family. After they ate, I could eat their food at the table where they ate.

I’m giving you examples of differences in treatment and expectations of blacks and whites across my early life’s experiences. I know them to be factors of privilege–white privilege.

But wait, I have not finished. We know the same to have been, pardon me–to be true with regard to education, housing, lending practices, and so forth. This discrimination happened to me. Why did/does this happen?

Many of you know I served in the U.S. Army for 24-years and retired as a Lieutenant Colonel. I think I should have advanced further, except Army assignment practices were different for blacks. With regard to job performance, you think you are getting a fair evaluation, only to learn, as a group, you are rated lower than your white counterparts. Why?

Black Lives Matter—defined incorrectly and misunderstood by many. It is not that all lives matter. But, that our live matter too. White America defining what we are about is another form of white privilege. Some choose to call us thugs and other derogatory terms. Where whites expressing a voice for change are “demonstrators.”

Some things have changed, but a lot remain the same…

The treatment of this nation’s first Black President has been wrong and frankly embarrassing. In my lifetime, there have been 12 presidents. I have not seen the disrespect for the office this president holds with either of the other 12. I have not read of this kind of disrespect through the history of this country. Americans have differed on matters of policy, but remained respectful to the person in office, or at least to the office itself. Why not for President Obama?

No black candidate running for the office of President of the United States of America who said or did the things Donald Trump has said and done would still be in the race–let alone be the leader and potential nominee of his or her party.

This brings me to the 2016 political campaign and the genesis of this piece. No black candidate running for the office of President of the United States of America who has said or done the things Donald Trump has said and done would still be in the race–let alone be the leader and potential nominee of his or her party.

I see Donald Trump’s ability to be where he is and do what he does as the ultimate White Privilege. Those around him defend his words, saying the country is angry. BULL! Again, any black espousing those words would be practically “tarred and feathered.” They would not receive the tolerance of the media, and so forth. If blacks talked of riots at a political party convention, the FBI would be all over them. Why does Donald Trump continue to get a pass?

Dr. Ben Carson endorses Donald Trump, even after the “kind” things Mr. Trump said about him during the race. In doing so, Dr. Carson has taken his seat at the back of the bus. Hey, others have changed colors as well, Chris Christie heads the list. These are political lackeys who are “Trump Fan Boys.”

I frequently look at how we are treated as Americans. Weather in our communities, or our opportunities, or the disdain for our words: spoken or written. If you are white, you have privilege and likely get the “better” deal–White Privilege. It is not right! America, when will it change?

Author: jalexartis

Avid cyclist, who loves photography, technology, blogging & cooking...

7 thoughts on “White Privilege ~ Do you know what that is?”

  1. Most of the time, I bike, I walk, I take pictures, I pine for and sometimes buy gadgets. I cook and do the things we all do. I always have opinions about matters in my life. On a few occasions, I have published my opinions on this blog. To date, only 3 of well over 4,000 articles express my opinion on issues that concern me. I call it using my bully pulpit.

    I am bothered that the Trump Campaign, and especially Mr. Trump, justify his rhetoric saying America is angry. If any black [or I think minorty] were doing the same, they would “be thrown under the bus.” That is, they would no longer be in a political race and maybe worse.

    In this article, I describe why I think this is White Privilege and ask when is this “favor” going to stop?

    James

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    1. I have only touched the surface on this concept of WP, it is likely rooted in slavery as thinking one is superior. Next, there is the idea that black males were call “boy” by some white males. Whites chose to define us–negro–colored. We chose Black. The African American, although endeared, is also as assigned label. Commenting on more aspects of the disparity and its basis is beyond the scope of the article. –jaa

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  2. My reply to Anthony Martins’ 03/19 Facebook Comment–Good Thoughts.

    James Alex Artis Thanks Anthony! The demagoguery of what is happening in America is shameful and so many people this it is cool. The assault by a white man on a black man a the Fayetteville Coliseum at a Trump rally and the deputies response is telling. Sheriff Butler acted by disciplining 5 deputies, but that it happen at all on both accounts is frightening.

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  3. Snippets from James:

    It is amazing the things Donald Trump gets away with that a black would be thrown in jail for. Dr. King was for less, as has Al Sharpton.

    Jesse Jackson and Sharpton [who ran for president, as did Shirley Chisholm] would be crucified for saying things like the more vitriolic of Donald Trumps comments. Yet, millions of Americans cheer him and explain how he is right.

    I do not expect will change in white privilege in my lifetime. It has not changed since emancipation. In the piece, I give a brief historical perspective on White Privilege to show how thangs have not changed, at least from my perspective.

    If a black man [Jackson or Sharpton] said what Trump says, their mental stability would be questioned. If I or some other black on the street did so, we would likely be placed on a gun no-buy list. Yet, this country may put the BIGGEST gun in the world in Donald Trump’s hands. That’s our nuclear arsenal. Wake up America! White Privilege is that Donald Trump gets away with it!

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  4. I received this comment for Michele Milburn-Poehler yesterday.

    This is very well written but it pains me to read it. I only hope that in my lifetime, I never treat anyone the way you or others have been treated. Regardless of race, religion, or background, folks will be welcome at my table. And it grinds my gears to constantly hear President Obama referred to as Mr. Your article makes one really reach inside and think. Well done James.

    Michele, a special friend, purchased my RANS Stratus XP.

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    1. My reply to her:

      Thank you, Michele, for your introspective comments. It is troubling the things many receive a “free pass” on. Anyway, I am fortunate to have you as my friend. Take care. –james

      PS: Please see my article comments. They are at the blog…

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