Like gravity, it is an undeniable fact, whereas, for others, it’s an excuse for a race that won’t admit to its problems. You may follow my posts and know where I stand. Here are two people’s quotes on opposing sides of what in my mind is no longer a debate, but a horrible reality which needs dismantling. Both sides were presented via Facebook. Before things got nasty, this is what occurred.
The argument for the existence of white privilege
B. Retig: I want to address something I’ve seen repeatedly on my FB feed in the last day or so, which has frustrated me enough to say something about it. People posting the Candace Owens video and implying that George Floyd wasn’t a nice guy or had previous criminal behaviour. This usually comes with the sentence “he didn’t deserve to die but…” There is no but. He was killed.
No one kneels on someone’s neck for 9 minutes by accident or because they’re fearful for their lives (he was already restrained). His previous behaviour is irrelevant. Even if you think he is guilty of a crime, should he not have had a trial? Even if he had had a trial, should he be killed? Personally, I don’t believe in the death penalty (happy to provide reasons why on a different thread if anyone is interested) but even if you do agree with it – should a man who has had no trial, who you do not know, be murdered in the street by someone whose job it is to protect him and society? The only story here is that he didn’t deserve to die. Everything else you try to argue is irrelevant.
Secondly, ‘white people are also killed by the police.’ Firstly, police brutality is bad so the system should change… we’re on the same side there, no? Secondly, white people are not killed by the police in America at the rate that black people are.
Black people are 2.5 times more likely to be killed by the police than white people and 1.5 times more likely to be unarmed before their death. You can’t look at the numbers on their own – you have to look at them as a proportion of the population. 24% of police killings in the USA were of black people. They only make up 13% of the population.
Further, black people are 6 times more likely to be incarcerated than white people (rather than alternatives such as probation). As only 13% of the population of America, they make up a staggering 40% of the prison population and 41% of the death row population. The judicial system in America (and I am absolutely not suggesting that the UK is innocent, it isn’t) is inherently racist.
Some of the posts I’ve seen have talked about stats, that there are no stats to back up the racial bias and yet when I posted them, they were ignored. Well here are the stats. Don’t look away from them. Don’t get defensive. Don’t take them personally. Don’t try and fit them into your view. It may be uncomfortable to examine white privilege but if people won’t even acknowledge that there is a problem, how can they ever claim that they want change?
What we are seeing in America and across the globe, is not just a reaction to one man’s clearly unjust and horrific execution. It is the culmination of centuries of oppression and discrimination and justifiable rage.
I am not expecting this to change any minds. But the material is out there if you want to educate yourself. Don’t fall for diversion tactics of blaming the victim which make it easier for you to not consider your own privilege.
We need to do better. It starts with individuals.
The argument against the existence of white privilege
Anonymous: Your stats are irrelevant and wrong because they don’t come from an unbiased source. All data used for studies on police brutality come from the media. As such, there is no empirical proof that black men suffer more police brutality than other races. There is that perception because the simple fact is that black men commit more crimes .. and when something happens, the press jumps on it because they love to stir shit. (look at all the studies of the stats you used they will say that their data comes from the media).
The media, as we all know, is as biased as hell and will either follow a specific political line or go for the wow factor that will get people keyed up. So the data is biased. It is only starting late last year that the FBI has begun to collect the information centrally. So only in a few years will we actually see if the perception is accurate or not.
With regards to white privilege, I take it personally when kids who don’t see colour are made to feel guilty about the colour of their skin. And I’m talking of every skin colour. I am especially sick of having to apologise for the colour of mine and the sins of my forefathers. I am sick to death of the people who say … oh poor black people and label them victims… to me, that’s an insult to every black person. If you treat a person like a victim, they will act like a victim. These descend from some of the strongest and most resilient people on the planet. And yet they now think like victims, rather than elevate themselves and each other.
They look to others to solve their problems rather than make their own communities stronger. One stat you didn’t give was the figure for black on black crime (convenient for your argument)… which is higher than white on black crime by a stupidly high percentage. So it’s not just the non-black people that need to be held accountable … black people need to be held accountable too. Why are they not speaking up against the people who kill within their communities? Why are the names of the people killed in the last drive-by shooting not being chanted? Why aren’t people marching to stop black on black violence? Like we as white people have to be held accountable for our actions and thoughts (and the ones before us). Why is it wrong for black communities to be asked to do the same? After all, it’s only if they start to look inside themselves that we can make some headway with this racism shite. That would be a bloody good start. And that goes for everybody no matter the colour of their skin.”
Note: The stats provided in the for argument were from charities, the UN, the DOJ, and various studies.
Editor’s note: For sociological reasons for US black on black crime and thus the furthering of the argument for systemic racism, watch ’13th’ on Netflix. You may be surprised by what you learn.