There was a time when people who lectured Americans on “white privilege” were mostly content to read the ramblings of Peggy McIntosh and shame-scribble self-loathing messages on their faces. Since that didn’t work, artists like Jamie Kapp — formerly known as “jamie the ignorant American” on Tumblr — decided they would mangle statistics in comic book form instead.
The reason why no one on the Internet “seems to” want to understand the concept is pretty simple. There are a number of them, actually. Some examples include:
- It’s usually peddled by people like Suey “only white people can be racist” Park.
- Self made men, like those who dealt with angry drill sergeants early on in life (before putting themselves through college) aren’t usually willing to be lectured to on how tough the real world can be.
- Military men, who have friends of all colors they would have gladly died for during their service, don’t take kindly to academics of the “all white people are ‘subconsciously racist’” mold.
Regardless, on to the statistics:
“When it comes to school, I’m 78% more likely to be admitted because of my race. A [person of color] with the exact same grades has about a 22% chance.” says Jamie.
Where are these numbers coming from? How are they tabulated? What variables were factored into the study? What colleges are these people applying to?
At some point in time, the “white privilege” crowd decided they weren’t having much success, so they decided to try the old Jedi Mind Trick. Newsflash: The Jedi Mind Trick, like white privilege, is a work of fiction. If these activists spent half as much time complaining about their lot in life and focused more intently on accomplishing their hopes and dreams, the results would put an end to all their racial psychobabble.
For the sake of argument, let’s pretend black kids with a 4.0 grade point average, who applied to the exact same school as “average white guy x,” really did only have a 22% chance of getting into that institution. One might then ask the following questions: “What were the school districts like for the black kids who applied? Where did they come from? Is an ‘A’ from the public schools in Detroit, Chicago or Philadelphia the same as an ‘A’ from the town ‘average white guy x’ came from?” If one finds that school districts in inner cities — cities often overwhelmingly run by minorities — have different standards than those elsewhere, we can then ask why and dig deeper to the root of the problem. We can ask cultural questions and compare the percentage of intact nuclear families across races. We can do surveys on parental attitudes about the importance of education or examine voting patterns. We can ask if it is possible for a city like Detroit — run for decades by progressives, many of them minorities — to be the “victim” of “white privilege.” Did white privilege clouds from Orange County, Calif. make their way east until they dumped fiscal malfeasance and out-of-wedlock births on Chicago, Detroit and Philadelphia?
Given that colleges have an extremely high amount of pressure on them to have a diverse campus (as long as that diversity doesn’t include ideological diversity) does anyone really believe that administrators aren’t bending over backwards to increase minority participation?
Moving on, Jamie asserts that a “white male with a criminal record is 5% more likely to get a job over a man of color with a clean record.” Again, is the artist being intentionally vague or is she really just incapable of looking at numbers beyond a cursory level?
What kind of crimes are typically committed by white men and what kind of crimes are committed by black men? What kind of jobs do they apply for? If “criminal record” includes everything from the time “white guy x” got a DUI during his freshman year in college to the random black guy who held up a liquor store, then anyone who is intellectually honest will have more work to do in order to make the case for white privilege.
The problem with the white privilege crowd is that they like to paint with broad brushstrokes because when they begin to fill in the details the flaws in their racial tapestry begin to show. It’s easy to say someone is “subconsciously” racist. It’s easy to throw out numbers and hope that your audience just accepts your interpretation of the data without follow up questions. It is hard to confront uncomfortable truths about different races, cultures and religions — all races, cultures and religions. If you buy into Suey “only white people can be racist” Park’s premise, you don’t have to talk about questionable aspects of any culture except “white” culture (whatever the heck that means).
At the end of the day it appears that Jamie and her activist friends simply need to go back to the drawing board.