July 03, 2020

On Claims of White Privilege

Tim McNabb

Racial bias exists in our country. I have friends who have been held at a disadvantage for no other reason than the color of their skin. Even so, "White Privilege” is a misnomer - and even as it has some validity, it is not anywhere near a factor as it’s commonly understood.

Taking the argument seriously, I would look at Jim Crow laws which codified segregation would indeed privilege whites who were not barred from public and private facilities. White people who were not excluded from civic and social opportunities certainly enjoyed a privilege.

However these laws have been long ago overturned, and quite a bit of work has been done by whites to change civic and social behavior so that minorities are at least not held to a disadvantage. I do think, though, despite this progress, our black friends and neighbors are not thriving like we would hope.

For instance, on average black families have as much as one-twentieth the net worth of white families. I lack the resources to gainsay this statistic, so I take it at face value that there is a huge difference. To what then can we attribute the difference?

I am not convinced such disparities can be attributed exclusively to racism. I do think that it is a factor, especially inasmuch as racist policies generations ago set into motion the circumstances today. Still, the much greater effect rests with generations of choices and values. Successful people of all races have an enormous amount of overlap in what is valued and what is despised. It is these cultural values and choices made that are both the greatest reason for disparity, and wonderfully, something individuals have the ability to manage.

I know whites who are successful, I know whites who are not. The same for blacks, and asians/

southeast asians and hispanic folk.

I have not known personally any Jews who were not successful. L'chaim!

In my experience, effort, education, good judgement and intellect are the most critical factors in success, not race.

Cribbing Piaget by way of Jordan Peterson, life is a game of games. You need not be Roger Maris to enjoy playing a nice game of baseball. It is not possible that all races will be as successful as all the others any more than all baseball teams will have the same record season over season. I further think that accusations of bias are legitimate - just as I think umpires can be part of gameplay despite supposedly being impartial. There are inevitably going to be important games lost or one because of a blown call.

What matters is not so much the final score of any given game, but that one is able to play a career of games with satisfaction. I have a satisfying life, but I could quickly lose my satisfaction if I spent too much time looking enviously into another man’s wallet or lamenting the leg-up another man had by dint of his birth. I have had advantages, and have experienced setbacks. It does seem unfair that a black man (or an asian man or a Jew or a fat guy) would be at a disadvantage because of animus, but once this animus is below a certain threshold it ought to be tossed upon the heap of obstacles to overcome, because joy is to be found when overcoming an obstacle.

The advantages successful people both generate themselves and pass along to their families are not even remotely exclusive to any given racial group. I think it is inescapable that, if you observe a group, you can identify things that are held in high esteem and things that are despised. It’s pretty easy to trace the outcomes of diligence, education, thrift, punctuality, agreeableness, sobriety and enterprise. It is also easy to trace the outcomes of sloth, avarice, violence, drunkenness and ignorance.

The habits of success can be discovered and applied - I have seen young men figure out how to manage their lives despite having few if any role models, but transferring these habits is best done by way of role models. I had some awesome role models that allowed me to overcome some serious gaps in my database of successful habits. Success, or more accurately, satisfaction, is much more likely to grow from a game well played. A dearth of role models, or worse, a plethora of bad role models is far more likely to result in widespread failure and misery, and I think the greater villain.

Those who claim that the game is rigged against a minority population are right often enough to warrant attention. Try being an Asian American with a high SAT score trying to get into an ivy league school. Education was understood to be the great equalizer, and it could be. Alas, the education opportunities are radically different among jurisdictions - at least for now. Despite enormous increases in funding, the incompetence and mendacity of the public school system is becoming uniform, and I think secondary education is already doomed to produce generations of non-thinkers.

Even so, the simple "do as they did, get what they got” is powerful and effective. Whatever advantages white people have is largely transferable to any and all who practice the same cultural norms. Lawful civic conduct, self-control, delaying gratification and a willingness to cooperate with and serve your fellow man with your labor in exchange for a fair wage works far more reliably than any redistribution scheme imagined by an academic who never generated a callus on their hands.

Posted by: Timothy Birdnow at 08:17 AM | Comments (6) | Add Comment
Post contains 928 words, total size 6 kb.

1 It has always been noteworthy, to me, that people who rail against "income inequality” do not ever say what they want to do with the money that they take away from "the rich.” They only want to make the rich poorer, to drag them down to a lower level.

They could talk about creating equality by raising the poor upwards. They could talk about creating higher paying jobs, for instance, and promoting a detailed agenda which would accomplish that. But they do not. They say nothing about the poor. Their target is the rich.

So they talk endlessly about taking money from the rich and have not one but many detailed agendas for how they will do that. They dream up imaginative and creative ways whereby they can take money away from the rich. And do what with it? They don’t say, because they don’t care. So long as they can take that money away from the rich, they don’t care where it goes.

The reason is called envy. They are infuriated that "the rich” are in a class that has more than they do. They do not want to work hard, accrue wealth and become one of the "rich” themselves. That is too hard, and takes too much work and time. They want to drag "the rich” down to their level.

That’s what socialism is all about. Everyone is at the same level. There is no "rich” or "poor” because everyone has the same amount. Envy becomes a thing of the past. You no longer envy anyone because no one has more than you do. No one envies you because no one has less than you do.

They think that is a utopian dream. I think it is a vision of hell. We will choose in November.


Posted by: Bill H at July 03, 2020 08:43 AM (vMiSr)

2 Don't forget, Bill, that under socialism there's still an elite, a small group who makes the rules, distributes (and eats most of) the food and controls the money while the majority suffers. And the people in this country who are pushing socialism all expect to be in that little group, while they plan on relegating us to the majority. It's up to us to say "Oh, no you don't!"

Posted by: Dana Mathewson at July 03, 2020 10:58 AM (Syz8b)

3 Except, Dana, I'm not talking about their expectations. I know about those, but they carefully don't speak of them. Those expectations would make their product unsaleable. Would expose it as a sham and a fraud. I'm talking about the product as they sell it. And even worse, the product as it is accepted by the gubbible voting public. This "equality" is what the voting American public says it wants.

Posted by: Bill H at July 03, 2020 11:22 AM (vMiSr)

4 Socialism is a fundamental violation of the Commandment "thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's goods". There is a reason that particular sin rises to the level of one of the Ten Commandments.

While I'm being Biblical, Socialism is like the two women arguing over the baby before Solomon. One woman was happy with Solomon's plan to cut the child in half. That is exactly what these people who want to take from the rich wish to do. They would rather destroy the wealth than let someone else have it.

Posted by: Timothy Birdnow at July 03, 2020 12:11 PM (OelMC)

5 I hear ya, guys; and you're both right, of course.

Bill, they never reveal their "hopes and dreams" of dominance, because as you say, that would "blow the gaff." They're always careful to come off as benevolent. So were the "classic" Socialists/Communists of yesteryear. This stuff is always sold as benefiting "the people." We know them by their deeds, and it's up to us to expose them whenever and wherever we can. Even though we realize it may not do a lot of good. Consider how Juan Peron gulled the Argentinians -- twice! And how Americans wrote a musical lionizing his widow -- kinda makes you gag, doesn't it?

Tim, you're right about the Biblical aspect too. Be happy with what you have and don't covet, or envy, what your neighbor has. You don't know at what cost to himself or his soul he obtained it.

Posted by: Dana Mathewson at July 05, 2020 02:24 PM (Syz8b)

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