‘White Privilege’ in the US; ‘Black Privilege’ in Africa? ‘Han Privilege’ in China?

 

All the wailing and gnashing of teeth over “whiteness,” “white privilege,” and “white supremacy” in the United States, and the supposed problems “non-white” people has got me wondering – what happens in the parts of the world in which a particular group of “non-white” people dominate the culture and/or the power structures, such as sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, Central and South America. This is probably best answered by someone who has lived in areas other than the United States or Europe.

I am a 65-year-old pale-skinned man of English and German ancestry with blue eyes and a little blond hair remaining on my head. I live in Texas.

As I understand current “woke” ideology in the United States, I have an irresolvable problem in that I don’t have to think about my “whiteness.” My race is a complete non-issue in my life. But, supposedly to anyone who is not “white,” race is a constant issue that they cannot avoid and stays front of mind.

What would happen if I were to move to someplace in which pale-skinned people with blue eyes and blond hair are unusual? Would my “whiteness” be a constant factor in my thinking and self-perception?

I understand that in China the Han Chinese ethnic group dominates culture and the social and political power structures. Is race (or ethnicity) a non-issue for Han Chinese? Do they have “Han Chinese privilege?” Is their racial or ethnic minority status a constant issue for non-Han Chinese? Would it be for me as a white man in a Han Chinese dominant society?

What about sub-Saharan Africa? Is race irrelevant for black African natives? Do they have “black privilege?” Would I constantly be aware of my “whiteness” if I lived in a place like Congo or Zimbabwe? Would I have anything that could be called “white privilege?”

In other words, are complaints about “whiteness” and “white privilege” nothing more than complaints about not being part of the dominant racial or ethnic group, regardless of what that racial or ethnic group is?

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  1. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    For the most part, you wouldn’t have to worry about fitting in.  You’d be dead.

    • #1
  2. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Full Size Tabby: In other words, are complaints about “whiteness” and “white privilege” nothing more than complaints about not being part of the dominant racial or ethnic group, reg

    Absolutely. Stop taking it so personally. 

    • #2
  3. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    Zafar (View Comment):

    Full Size Tabby: In other words, are complaints about “whiteness” and “white privilege” nothing more than complaints about not being part of the dominant racial or ethnic group, reg

    Absolutely. Stop taking it so personally.

    They mean it personally, why shouldn’t I take it so?

    • #3
  4. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):

    Full Size Tabby: In other words, are complaints about “whiteness” and “white privilege” nothing more than complaints about not being part of the dominant racial or ethnic group, reg

    Absolutely. Stop taking it so personally.

    They mean it personally, why shouldn’t I take it so?

    Who truly knows the heart of another?

    Also: if they jumped off the top of a building you would jump off also?

    • #4
  5. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    Zafar (View Comment):

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):

    Full Size Tabby: In other words, are complaints about “whiteness” and “white privilege” nothing more than complaints about not being part of the dominant racial or ethnic group, reg

    Absolutely. Stop taking it so personally.

    They mean it personally, why shouldn’t I take it so?

    Who truly knows the heart of another?

    Also: if they jumped off the top of a building you would jump off also?

    Sorry, Zafar.  That one went way over my head.

    • #5
  6. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    “Woke” ideology as being played out in America is a bankrupt product of the Progressives being aided financially and with propaganda by the Chinese Communist Party. For the last century these players have been undermining the intent of the Founders as expressed in the Constitution.

    We need to defeat this Progressive effort and restore the intent and momentum of the Founders that was sidetracked by the already existing at that time fatally flawed institution of slavery. This obstacle has been a persistent thorn in our side since then and the Progressives have worked hard to take advantage and they have made things much worse with this current campaign that is laced with falsehoods.

    • #6
  7. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    I heard a beautiful story from my friend some years ago as follows:

    My friend and her sister traveled to Africa to experience a safari and climb Mt Kilimanjaro. They went as part of a tour group for the climb, so they had help with back packs and meals prepared as they spent the nights in tents as they escalated the mountain. The climate went from hot to warm, to cool, to glaciers! At one point, my friend’s sister, who was a US astronaut at the time, experienced symptoms of altitude sickness, had to be carried down by a local to a safer elevation. My friend made it to the top of the destination by the group, beating her astronaut sister to the top.

    They went on the safari, and visited some local African schools and little trade posts, where the locals handmade beautiful weaves and carvings from coconut shells that she sent me.  She told me that the children rushed over to them and embraced them at the schools.  They were smart and full of joy, even though by our standards, they were poor and had limited resources. They were not poisoned by Internet, and they were taught to love their culture, and each other. My friend is white (half Indian as her sister) as in from India.

    There were no issues with race, gender, income equality. They lived simply and their overall experience was beautiful and memorable.

    Our privileged culture has poisoned us, but its orchestrated. We have a lot of be grateful for, but you would never know it.

    • #7
  8. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49
    @RushBabe49

    In Malaysia, those of Chinese extraction are much more successful than the native Malays, especially in business (they have been there for decades).  The Malays resent the Chinese success, and there are laws reserving jobs and school places for Malays in society.  Boy, does that sound familiar, for some reason.

    • #8
  9. Paul Stinchfield Member
    Paul Stinchfield
    @PaulStinchfield

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):

    Full Size Tabby: In other words, are complaints about “whiteness” and “white privilege” nothing more than complaints about not being part of the dominant racial or ethnic group, reg

    Absolutely. Stop taking it so personally.

    They mean it personally, why shouldn’t I take it so?

    “Taking it personally” is language to emotionally manipulate you into silence regarding an unapproved topic.

    • #9
  10. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):

    In Malaysia, those of Chinese extraction are much more successful than the native Malays, especially in business (they have been there for decades). The Malays resent the Chinese success, and there are laws reserving jobs and school places for Malays in society. Boy, does that sound familiar, for some reason.

    Not just Malaysia. I knew a Chinese family from Burma who put up with the same nonsense before they came to the horrible, racist United States and thrived.

    • #10
  11. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    Full Size Tabby:

    In other words, are complaints about “whiteness” and “white privilege” nothing more than complaints about not being part of the dominant racial or ethnic group, regardless of what that racial or ethnic group is?

    People who don’t realize that this is the universal human condition are sadly provincial. 

    • #11
  12. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Paul Stinchfield (View Comment):

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):

    Full Size Tabby: In other words, are complaints about “whiteness” and “white privilege” nothing more than complaints about not being part of the dominant racial or ethnic group, reg

    Absolutely. Stop taking it so personally.

    They mean it personally, why shouldn’t I take it so?

    “Taking it personally” is language to emotionally manipulate you into silence regarding an unapproved topic.

    Consider yourself a target of emotional manipulation @randywebster – how am I doing?

    • #12
  13. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    TBA (View Comment):

    Full Size Tabby:

    In other words, are complaints about “whiteness” and “white privilege” nothing more than complaints about not being part of the dominant racial or ethnic group, regardless of what that racial or ethnic group is?

    People who don’t realize that this is the universal human condition are sadly provincial.

    Exactly.  Any of us could be blinded by privilege depending on where we’re born and live.  It’s completely a matter of chance.

    • #13
  14. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    Zafar (View Comment):

    TBA (View Comment):

    Full Size Tabby:

    In other words, are complaints about “whiteness” and “white privilege” nothing more than complaints about not being part of the dominant racial or ethnic group, regardless of what that racial or ethnic group is?

    People who don’t realize that this is the universal human condition are sadly provincial.

    Exactly. Any of us could be blinded by privilege depending on where we’re born and live. It’s completely a matter of chance.

    Privilege, shmivilege. 

    What we have is advantages. And some of those advantages were paid for. 

    • #14
  15. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    TBA (View Comment):

    Privilege, shmivilege. 

    What we have is advantages. And some of those advantages were paid for. 

    Blinded by our advantages, if you prefer. 

    • #15
  16. Paul Stinchfield Member
    Paul Stinchfield
    @PaulStinchfield

    TBA (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):

    TBA (View Comment):

    Full Size Tabby:

    In other words, are complaints about “whiteness” and “white privilege” nothing more than complaints about not being part of the dominant racial or ethnic group, regardless of what that racial or ethnic group is?

    People who don’t realize that this is the universal human condition are sadly provincial.

    Exactly. Any of us could be blinded by privilege depending on where we’re born and live. It’s completely a matter of chance.

    Privilege, shmivilege.

    What we have is advantages. And some of those advantages were paid for.

    The left uses “privilege” dishonestly. “Privilege” means culturally or legally mandated entitlement. But what the left calls privileges are merely advantages, which were acquired by effort or by accident of birth. Prosperity due to hard work and deferred gratification is not a privilege. High intelligence and impulse control are not a privileges. A reputation for honesty and fair dealing is not a privilege.

    • #16
  17. Paul Stinchfield Member
    Paul Stinchfield
    @PaulStinchfield

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):

    In Malaysia, those of Chinese extraction are much more successful than the native Malays, especially in business (they have been there for decades). The Malays resent the Chinese success, and there are laws reserving jobs and school places for Malays in society. Boy, does that sound familiar, for some reason.

    I seem to recall Thomas Sowell wrote an entire chapter on them in one of his books (probably Migrations and Cultures.)

    • #17
  18. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    Zafar (View Comment):

    TBA (View Comment):

    Privilege, shmivilege.

    What we have is advantages. And some of those advantages were paid for.

    Blinded by our advantages, if you prefer.

    Sure. But blindness is part of the human condition too – plenty of people are blinded by disadvantages, including ones that aren’t there. 

    • #18
  19. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    TBA (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):

    TBA (View Comment):

    Privilege, shmivilege.

    What we have is advantages. And some of those advantages were paid for.

    Blinded by our advantages, if you prefer.

    Sure. But blindness is part of the human condition too – plenty of people are blinded by disadvantages, including ones that aren’t there.

    We can only do our best.

    • #19
  20. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    Zafar (View Comment):

    Paul Stinchfield (View Comment):

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):

    Full Size Tabby: In other words, are complaints about “whiteness” and “white privilege” nothing more than complaints about not being part of the dominant racial or ethnic group, reg

    Absolutely. Stop taking it so personally.

    They mean it personally, why shouldn’t I take it so?

    “Taking it personally” is language to emotionally manipulate you into silence regarding an unapproved topic.

    Consider yourself a target of emotional manipulation @ randywebster – how am I doing?

    I’m not taking it personally.

    • #20
  21. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda
    @RandyWeivoda

    Full Size Tabby:

    What would happen if I were to move to someplace in which pale skinned people with blue eyes and blond hair are unusual?

    I have read that Chinese people are fascinated by blue eyes.  As in, “Hey come take my picture next to this blue-eyed baby!”  I have a friend who experienced this personally.

    I understand that in China the Han Chinese ethnic group dominates culture and the social and political power structures. Is race (or ethnicity) a non-issue for Han Chinese? Do they have “Han Chinese privilege”? Is their racial or ethnic minority status a constant issue for non-Han Chinese?

    I don’t know if @roblong has spent time in China himself or just knows about this from other sources, but on many a podcast he has talked about how everyone but the Han Chinese are looked down upon in China.

    What about sub-Saharan Africa? Is race irrelevant for black African natives? Do they have “black privilege”? Would I constantly be aware of my “whiteness” if I lived in a place like Congo or Zimbabwe? Would I have anything that could be called “white privilege”?

    Apparently the current government of Zimbabwe is trying to make amends for the confiscation of land from white farmers.  Under Robert Mugabe’s regime, white farmers often had their lands confiscated to be redistributed in the name of racial equity.  Unsurprisingly, most of those farms were redistributed to the friends and family of Mugabe who knew little about farming, to the detriment of Zimbabweans who enjoyed eating food.  Unfortunately, there is a movement in South Africa to confiscate white-owned farms as well.

    Sudan had to split into two countries a few years ago because the Arab Muslims in the north part of the country would not stop enslaving the Black Christians from the south part of the country.  Rwanda went nuts in 1994 when many Hutus decided to absolutely slaughter their Tutsi neighbors. 

    There are many African countries I know nothing about, so I would not take these examples as being a broad statement about the state of racial harmony for a whole continent.  Hopefully there are many African countries where race relations are quite cordial.  Hopefully @she will chime in, as she largely grew up in Africa.

     

    • #21
  22. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):
    I have read that Chinese people are fascinated by blue eyes.  As in, “Hey come take my picture next to this blue-eyed baby!”  I have a friend who experienced this personally.

    Yeah.  Big Trouble in Little China was all about that.  Oops, that was green eyes.

    • #22
  23. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):
    I have read that Chinese people are fascinated by blue eyes.  As in, “Hey come take my picture next to this blue-eyed baby!”  I have a friend who experienced this personally.

    • #23
  24. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    Paul Stinchfield (View Comment):

    TBA (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):

    TBA (View Comment):

    Full Size Tabby:

    In other words, are complaints about “whiteness” and “white privilege” nothing more than complaints about not being part of the dominant racial or ethnic group, regardless of what that racial or ethnic group is?

    People who don’t realize that this is the universal human condition are sadly provincial.

    Exactly. Any of us could be blinded by privilege depending on where we’re born and live. It’s completely a matter of chance.

    Privilege, shmivilege.

    What we have is advantages. And some of those advantages were paid for.

    The left uses “privilege” dishonestly. “Privilege” means culturally or legally mandated entitlement. But what the left calls privileges are merely advantages, which were acquired by effort or by accident of birth. Prosperity due to hard work and deferred gratification is not a privilege. High intelligence and impulse control are not a privileges. A reputation for honesty and fair dealing is not a privilege.

    There are also opportunities in addition to advantages and privileges. Some groups for a complicated myriad of reasons can use those opportunities and some groups can’t or won’t. Zafar’s comments on privilege entirely ignore wealth creation which is central to all human thriving. (The warlords and politicians can thrive without taking wealth but all widespread human thriving is based on increased production.)

    @Zafar, you would benefit immensely from reading Thomas Sowell. 

     

    • #24
  25. Paul Stinchfield Member
    Paul Stinchfield
    @PaulStinchfield

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):

    Full Size Tabby:

    What would happen if I were to move to someplace in which pale skinned people with blue eyes and blond hair are unusual?

    I have read that Chinese people are fascinated by blue eyes. As in, “Hey come take my picture next to this blue-eyed baby!” I have a friend who experienced this personally.

    The Japanese seem to be fascinated by blonde hair and blue eyes as being attractively exotic. (That doesn’t mean they are about to allow Scandinavians to become citizens, of course.)

     

    • #25
  26. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):
    There are also opportunities in addition to advantages and privileges. Some groups for a complicated myriad of reasons can use those opportunities and some groups can’t or won’t. Zafar’s comments on privilege entirely ignore wealth creation which is central to all human thriving. (The warlords and politicians can thrive without taking wealth but all widespread human thriving is based on increased production.)

    I have no problem saying that I was able to use opportunities well because of inherited advantage and a certain privilege.

    • #26
  27. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    Zafar (View Comment):

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):
    There are also opportunities in addition to advantages and privileges. Some groups for a complicated myriad of reasons can use those opportunities and some groups can’t or won’t. Zafar’s comments on privilege entirely ignore wealth creation which is central to all human thriving. (The warlords and politicians can thrive without taking wealth but all widespread human thriving is based on increased production.)

    I have no problem saying that I was able to use opportunities well because of inherited advantage and a certain privilege.

    The primary one being genetics. But you are putting the cart before the horse. How well a group does in a liberal capitalist society is largely determined by what the group does and not what is done to it. There are inherited advantages to be sure but there is no cabal of white people deciding that Chinese and igbo Americans will be wealthier than the average white American.

    The Chinese are particularly interesting because they came to different places dirt poor and the natives weren’t too nice to them. America was not exceptional at all in its unpleasantness towards the Chinese. With much less inherited advantage, that particular ethnic group succeeds brilliantly. That’s what we should focus on.

    Different groups used the opportunities given to them in a dramatic fashion.

    • #27
  28. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):
    The primary one being genetics.

    Why do you assume that?

    • #28
  29. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    Zafar (View Comment):

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):
    The primary one being genetics.

    Why do you assume that?

    Genetics are fifty to sixty percent of everything. I wrote a whole post about how important it is. 

     

    • #29
  30. Full Size Tabby Member
    Full Size Tabby
    @FullSizeTabby

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):

    I understand that in China the Han Chinese ethnic group dominates culture and the social and political power structures. Is race (or ethnicity) a non-issue for Han Chinese? Do they have “Han Chinese privilege”? Is their racial or ethnic minority status a constant issue for non-Han Chinese?

    I don’t know if @roblong has spent time in China himself or just knows about this from other sources, but on many a podcast he has talked about how everyone but the Han Chinese are looked down upon in China.

     

    So can we expect at least some of the U.S. based social justice warriors to start a movement in China about the evils of Han Supremacy and to force the Han to give up their Han-ness? [He asks sarcastically]

    • #30