The St. Paul Public Schools district—paid for by the property owners in St. Paul—has issued a “white privilege survey.” It was contrived by the Pacific Educational Group, an activist organization dedicated to transforming “beliefs, behaviors, and results so people of all races can achieve at their highest levels and live their most empowered and powerful lives.”
The survey poses a number of questions supposedly designed to address “white privilege,” the idea some people have an advantage because they were born with white skin.
Let’s take a look at a few of the questions:
“If I should need to move, I can be pretty sure of a hassle-free renting or purchasing in an area in which I would want to live.”
Life is not “hassle-free” on many levels, but for the white privilege crowd only a hassle based on race is important. For instance, a landlord—a person who owns private property and rents it to individuals—may object to a potential renter for many reasons based on his or her subjective attitudes and experience. He may not like people with long hair or tattoos, or may object to the car she drives or where he works. The landlord may decide the potential renter is a financial risk based on a credit report and therefore decide not to rent to that individual. As the owner of private property, rejecting an applicant for any reason—including race—is his prerogative.
The same principle applies to purchasing. The person who owns items for sale—who paid for the items with her labor or savings—should be able to decide who she can sell the items to. However, doing this is now illegal under federal law: it is a crime for “public accommodations” to discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, or national origin and the penalty is severe.
“I can turn on the television or open the front page of the newspaper and see people of my race widely and positively represented.”
Many people are negatively represented on television and on the pages of newspapers, but for the white privilege crowd this is only an issue if the person negatively portrayed is black. Daily white males are portrayed on television as childish and incompetent. The specific complaint here, however, is not that black people are portrayed by racial stereotype, but rather that many news reports on crime involve young black males. Black crime is a statistical reality, but to report this fact is viewed by the white privilege crowd as racist. In fact, it can be argued that the news media underplays and often ignores black-on-white crime.
“I can go into most supermarkets and find the staple foods which fit my racial/ethnic traditions; I can go into any hairdresser’s shop and find someone who can cut my hair.”
As a for-profit business, a supermarket stocks and sells items it has decided appeal and will sell to the majority of people. Moreover, it would be virtually impossible to sell items appealing to hundreds of different ethnic groups. Many cities, however, do have specialized supermarkets selling items for the needs of different ethnic groups. If we use the privilege argument, white people would be justified in demanding a store specializing in Chinese or Mexican food sell food preferred by their racial or ethnic group.
“I can arrange to protect my children (or children from my family) most of the time from people who might mistreat them because of their race.”
What about children who are mistreated because they are white, or obese, have a foreign accent, a deformity, or any number of other reasons? Why is this only an issue for black children? Bullying and violence are nearly epidemic in this culture, but for the white privilege folks this is only important when black children are abused. Mistreatment is only a valid concern when physical violence is used against an individual. Calling a person a derogatory name no matter how emotionally hurtful should not be a reason to criminalize speech.
“I can swear, dress in secondhand clothes, or not answer letters (?) without having people attribute these choices to the bad morals, the poverty, or the illiteracy of my race.”
These are choices made by individuals and as free individuals they have the right to engage in any behavior they wish so long as they do not use violence against others. It is impossible to change the subjective opinion of a person, especially if that person has no desire to change. Any attempt to do so by force or penalty would be immoral and criminal. And yet this is precisely what the white privilege crowd wants to do—force people to think as they do and, short of that, turn them into criminals and social outcasts.
The survey consists of more than two dozen questions, all dwelling on seriously over-sensitive racial issues, including, absurdly, the color of bandages.
The take-away is that the people who created the survey desire an idealized world where people do not notice differences between each other, regardless if those differences are considered positive or negative.
Finally, the goal of the survey is to engender a racist hierarchy where some people are more discriminated against than others despite the fact all of us are discriminated against for various reasons throughout our lives. The white privilege zealots would use this to gain political advantage and exclude and persecute people who do not accept their ideology. This sort of persecution—not necessarily based on race—was used in the 20th century to kill millions of people. It will be used in a similar fashion in the 21st if the white privilege crowd is allowed political advantage.