I am not sure if the “White Privilege Boot Camp” is real or not, but I am also not sure if I mind the idea. This is not to say that it should be as harsh as the boot camp the brother puts the white woman through in the below video, but the truth is that many of us in America are ignorant about racial history, primarily because our country wants to forget it. We don’t mention many of the horrors and evils of slavery, because we would rather presume that a holocaust can only occur in another country. I watched the video below with as much shock as the woman who was being lectured by the brother with the microphone. The brother is loud, and he dominates the woman, leading most of us to feel some degree of empathy toward her. She even cries toward the end, so the tendency is to argue that perhaps he was too harsh. Yes, he was too harsh, and I would not have approached the issue in the same way. But……..
When it comes to how we process our racial history in America, there is the question of truth vs. lies. Was the woman crying because she was confronted with the truth about white privilege? Are most white Americans even aware of the benefits of being white? If that is or is not the case, then who should be held accountable for the clear and lasting damage of slavery? While some expect us to presume that history remains disconnected from the present, the truth is that they are inextricably linked. You can’t have the present without the past, since actions of the past create the world that lies all around us. Here are some quick examples:
Elena Kagan, the most recent Supreme Court nominee, can hire 29 people, with none of them being black, and no one blinks an eye. Why? Because there is a privilege to whiteness, which implies that black people should be happy with whatever we can get. She’d never consider allowing white men or women to be excluded in an equally egregious way.
The Supreme Court has had over 111 justices, and not a single black woman has had a chance to serve on the court. That’s not the result of black women being inferior to anyone else. It’s the result of white privilege, sexism and the racially divisive constructs on which our nation has been built.
The average black family wealth level is roughly 1/10 that of white Americans. That didn’t happen because black people decided that we don’t like money. It happened because for hundreds of years, slavery and Jim Crow eliminated our ability to pass wealth on to our children. This wealth imbalance wasn’t created overnight.
Those are the facts, folks, whether we like them or not. Some respond to these realities with anger. Some people forgive and forget. Some people live in denial. My personal opinion, though, is that we are going to have to deal with white privilege and the impact of slavery if our country is going to ever move forward. At the very least, we should honestly educate one another on the past. The video is below if you’d like to see it. Again, I can’t condone the aggressive approach, but it is certainly thought-provoking.