(If you're like me you don't read long blogs. For the point, skip to fourth paragraph below.)
On July 22, Senator James Webb (Democrat) published an opinion column in The Wall Street Journal titled, "Diversity and the Myth of White Privilege." In essence, Senator Webb seems to be saying that yes, slavery was bad, and that the civil rights movement and affirmative action were at one time necessary. But that's all over now and anyway, recent immigrants didn't suffer at the hands of the American government like African American slaves did, and so they should not benefit from governmental diversity policies that take the focus off African Americans (divide and conquer strategy here?) and ultimately hurt whites (especially from the South). Whew!
Far more adroit bloggers than I have commented on Senator Webb's article. Read it for yourself if you want at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703724104575379630952309408.html.
Some of Senator Webb's statistics are a little old (1974), and his comparisons of groups are questionable. But here's what jumped out at me -- what is white privilege, anyway? Even if I agreed with Senator Webb's assertions (which I don't), I could point out that white privilege involves more than employment and education stats. What about all the little, immeasurable benefits that I receive every day simply because I'm white?
Here's an example. I went apartment-hunting with my daughter last week. We saw two apartments -- both in houses in residential, white neighborhoods. Both landlords were friendly and anxious to have us sign on the dotted line. Both shared the same basic sentiment -- "We want the right person in here. We want someone we can trust. We don't want any riffraff" (actual word used). Apparently, my daughter was the right person; one landlord even called her later to lower the rent. What made us so right? They knew nothing about us -- not income, not employment, not education. They did not ask for references. They certainly have not seen how my daughter keeps her room. But they did know one thing for sure. We're white, and evidently that's enough. We all know that racial discrimination in housing is illegal. I also know that, as usual, our whiteness worked in our favor last week. That's white privilege.