Ijeoma Oluo: “For a white woman who had grown up with only a few magazines of stylized images of blackness to imagine herself into a real-life black identity without any lived black experience, to turn herself into a black history professor without a history degree, to place herself at the forefront of local black society that she had adopted less than a decade earlier, all while seeming to claim to do it better and more authentically than any black person who would dare challenge her—well, it’s the ultimate “you can be anything” success story of white America…
“The NAACP is standing by Rachel Dolezal, the Washington state woman who pretends to be black—despite the fact her own white parents say she’s white with “traces of Native American.” Dolezal claims she was born in a teepee, and that as a child, she hunted her food with bows and arrows—all claims her family denies. She’s a professor of Africana Studies at Eastern Washington University, and also maintains a column at The Inlander where she publishes as if she’s black.”
> Read the NAACP’s Full Statement on Rachel Dolezal | Colorlines
A new study by Redzo Mujcic and Paul Frijters, two economists at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, have proved that white privilege is real.
The two researchers spearheaded an ambitious experiment to see how race and privilege play out in everyday life. The researchers tasked 29 young adult riders of white, Asian, Indian, and black descent to board buses with an empty transit card and see whether or not drivers would let them ride for free. Participants were told to say, “I do not have any money, but I need to get to the [XX] station,” with XX station being out of walking distance. After analyzing more than 1,500 social interactions, what the researchers found was astounding.
Asian and white participants were able to ride for free at nearly identical rates (72 percent), but bus drivers often declined the requests of black and Indian passengers. Fifty-one percent of free-ride requests from Indian riders were honored, while requests from black riders were twice as likely as those from whites and Asians to be turned down, with only 36 percent being able to board the bus and ride without paying.
The disparities continued even when the subjects were dressed in business suits or military uniforms, with 67 percent of black and 83 percent of Indian passengers being allowed to ride for free compared with 97 percent of whites. Interestingly, black drivers also opted to give white riders a free pass in larger numbers than black riders (83 percent versus 68 percent), further highlighting the insidiousness of systematic racism and the engrained privilege white people enjoy.
This privilege, or rather white folks’ ability to avoid painful racial macro- and microaggressions, is felt in nearly every sector of society. In the workforce it manifests in employers choosing to interview candidates with “white” names over those with “ethnic” ones. In universities it shows up in schools giving preferential treatment to the children of alumni or donors while refusing to factor in race. And in the justice system, white privilege means African Americans make up 57 percent of the people in state prison for drug offenses, even though blacks and whites use drugs at similar rates and whites sell drugs at higher rates.
“Uiteindelijk is de bottom line van veel racisme in Nederland segregatie. Onbekend maakt onbemind. Nederland heeft een ‘de facto apartheidsstelsel’, zoals beschreven in een rapport van Binnenlandse Zaken (Polarisatie en radicalisering in Nederland 2009, p.53). Maar dát mag je dan weer niet zeggen. Links heeft niks geleerd van het falen van het ‘multiculturalisme’, een beleid dat in de praktijk neerkwam op het jarenlang faciliteren van segregatie. De term ‘racisme’ veroorzaakt kortsluiting bij zowel de linkse als de rechtse kerk. ‘Als je dat woord gebruikt, reproduceer je het’, is onder meer de kritiek. Alsof het vanzelf zal verdwijnen als we het woord niet gebruiken. De afgelopen tien jaar werd ‘het benoemen van problemen’ een mantra in Nederland. Maar zodra je racisme wilde benoemen, werd je met wezenloze frames monddood gemaakt. Van ‘je neemt een slachtofferrol aan’ tot ‘racisme is een Amerikaans concept’. Het is in Nederland hoog tijd voor een scherp, breed en inhoudelijk racismedebat. Laten we de Nederlanders die de discussie over het institutioneel racisme in dit land willen aangaan daarom niet langer wegzetten als ‘zeurpieten’ of ‘radicalen’.” (Zihni Özdil in De Volkskrant dd 29 november 2013)
“Then comes the motherfuckin’ Christopher Columbus Syndrome. You can’t discover this! We been here. You just can’t come and bogart. There were brothers playing motherfuckin’ African drums in Mount Morris Park for 40 years and now they can’t do it anymore because the new inhabitants said the drums are loud. My father’s a great jazz musician. He bought a house in nineteen-motherfuckin’-sixty-eight, and the motherfuckin’ people moved in last year and called the cops on my father. He’s not — he doesn’t even play electric bass! It’s acoustic! We bought the motherfuckin’ house in nineteen-sixty-motherfuckin’-eight and now you call the cops? In 2013? Get the fuck outta here!
Nah. You can’t do that. You can’t just come in the neighborhood and start bogarting and say, like you’re motherfuckin’ Columbus and kill off the Native Americans. Or what they do in Brazil, what they did to the indigenous people. You have to come with respect. There’s a code. There’s people.”