mfioretti: white privilege*

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  1. But the cultural generation gap is also a product of the specific eras during which the different groups were raised and became adults. Conceived during the prosperous post−World War II period, the baby boomers brought a rebellious, progressive sensibility to the country in the 1960s, 1970s, and beyond. With the help of the programs of the Great Society, they became the most well-schooled generation to date and the epitome of America’s largely white, suburban middle class, with which most of today’s adults now identify.

    Yet the baby boomers also came of age at a moment when the United States was becoming more insular than it had been before. Between 1946 and 1964, the years of the baby boom, the immigrant share of the U.S. population shrank to an all-time low (under 5 percent), and the immigrants who did arrive were largely white Europeans. Growing up in mostly white, segregated suburbs, white baby boomers did not have much interaction with people unlike them. Although baby boomers have been interested in righting domestic wrongs, such as racial discrimination, and bursting glass ceilings, they are now joining seniors in voicing sharp resistance to America’s new racial change. A 2011 Pew Research Center poll shows that only 23 percent of baby boomers and seniors regard the country’s growing population of immigrants as a change for the better and that 42 percent see it as a change for the worse. More than one-half of white baby boomers and seniors said that the growing number of newcomers from other countries represents a threat to traditional U.S. values and customs.

    The Pew survey found marked differences between baby boomers and millennials—who are known for their racial inclusiveness—with regard to agreement that the following are changes for the better: that more people of different races are marrying each other (36 percent versus 60 percent), that the population of Hispanics is growing (21 percent versus 33 percent), and that the population of Asians is growing (24 percent versus 43 percent).

    Underpinning the generational divide are shifts in what demographers call old-age dependency and child dependency, which now have a distinct racial dimension. By 2020, the old-age dependency ratio for whites will exceed the child dependency ratio, and for the two decades that follow, white seniors will outnumber white children. That stands in marked contrast to the position of Hispanics, whose youth dependency will remain well above 45 through 2040, even as the old-age dependency ratio inches up to 21.
    https://newrepublic.com/article/12037...w-why-post-white-america-already-here
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  2. There will be no economic or political justice for the poor, people of color, women or workers within the framework of global, corporate capitalism. Corporate capitalism, which uses identity politics, multiculturalism and racial justice to masquerade as politics, will never halt the rising social inequality, unchecked militarism, evisceration of civil liberties and omnipotence of the organs of security and surveillance. Corporate capitalism cannot be reformed, despite its continually rebranding itself. The longer the self-identified left and liberal class seek to work within a system that the political philosopher Sheldon Wolin calls “inverted totalitarianism,” the more the noose will be tightened around our necks. If we do not rise up to bring government and financial systems under public control—which includes nationalizing banks, the fossil fuel industry and the arms industry—we will continue to be victims.

    Corporate capitalism is supranational. It owes no loyalty to any nation-state. It uses the projection of military power by the United States to protect and advance its economic interests but at the same time cannibalizes the U.S., dismantling its democratic institutions, allowing its infrastructure to decay and deindustrializing its factory centers to ship manufacturing abroad to regions where workers are treated as serfs.

    Dividing everyone up on the basis of race, gender, sexual preference fails to address the major problem.

    the left lost its universalizing character. It no longer dealt with the intersection of all these issues within the context of a militarized, capitalist, hegemonic American empire. It treated politics as siloed group identity problems. Women had glass ceilings. Same with blacks. Same with gays.”

    The loss of this intersectionality was deadly. Instead of focusing on the plight of all of the oppressed, oppressed groups began to seek representation for their own members within capitalist structures.


    “When you bring politics down to simply about helping your group get a piece of the pie, you lose that systemic analysis,” he said. “You’re fragmented. You don’t have natural connections or solidarity with other groups. You don’t see the larger systemic context. By saying I want, as a gay person, to fight in the military, in a funny way you’re legitimating the American empire. If you were living in Nazi Germany, would you say I want the right of a gay person to fight in combat with the Nazi soldiers?”

    “I don’t want to say we should eliminate all identity politics,” he said. “But any identity politics has to be done within the framework of understanding the larger political economy. That’s been stripped away and erased. Even on the left, you cannot find a deep conversation about capitalism and militarized capitalism. It’s just been erased. That’s why Trump came in.
    https://www.truthdig.com/articles/bankruptcy-american-left
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  3. You know, whiteness is never seen as a cause, in and of itself, of these kinds of massacres, of other forms of violence, despite the fact that whiteness is a structure of privilege and it’s a structure of power, and a structure that, when it feels threatened, you know, lashes out. And so, that’s the kind of thing that we really need to think about, not only why is it—and I think there’s a lot of attention to the fact that we demonize often Muslims or, you know, other people of color when these attacks occur. The far right, of course, jumps on any violence by people of color—and yet, you know, doesn’t want to talk about the real deep structures of white supremacy in our society, and again, not just the fringe, not just the Nazi movements, but what people are going through every day and what it is that is driving people to these kinds of situations, where they feel so entitled to dominance that when that’s questioned, they can explode in these very, very unpredictable ways—

    AMY GOODMAN: And then—

    GEORGE CICCARIELLO-MAHER: —and on targets that, you know, are not—you know, it’s not a question of white supremacy playing a role simply because someone is targeting people of color. We’re talking about people who are having, you know, mental—clear mental issues. But again, the cause needs to be identified outside and beyond that, and we need to think much, much harder about what’s going on in our society that makes it so sick.
    https://www.democracynow.org/2017/11/...after_texas_massacre_drexel_prof_asks
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  4. Politicians and policy wonks worry about the persistence of poverty across generations, but affluence is inherited more strongly. Most disturbing, we now know how firmly class positions are being transmitted across generations. Most of the children born into households in the top 20 percent will stay there or drop only as far as the next quintile. As Gary Solon, one of the leading scholars of social mobility, put it recently, “Rather than a poverty trap, there seems instead to be more stickiness at the other end: a ‘wealth trap,’ if you will.”

    There’s a kind of class double-think going on here. On the one hand, upper-middle-class Americans believe they are operating in a meritocracy (a belief that allows them to feel entitled to their winnings); on the other hand, they constantly engage in antimeritocratic behavior in order to give their own children a leg up. To the extent that there is any ethical deliberation, it usually results in a justification along the lines of “Well, maybe it’s wrong, but everyone’s doing it.”

    The United States is the only nation in the world, for example, where it is easier to get into college if one of your parents happened to go there. Oxford and Cambridge ditched legacy preferences in the middle of the last century. The existence of such an unfair hereditary practice in 21st-century America is startling in itself. But I have been more shocked by the way that even supposedly liberal members of the upper middle class seem to have no qualms about benefiting from it.

    The upper middle class is also doing lots right, not least when it comes to creating a stable family environment and being engaged parents. These are behaviors we want to spread, not stop. Nobody should feel bad for working hard to raise their kids well.

    Things turn ugly, however, when the upper middle class starts to rig markets in its own favor, to the detriment of others. Take housing, perhaps the most significant example. Exclusionary zoning practices allow the upper middle class to live in enclaves. Gated communities, in effect, even if the gates are not visible. Since schools typically draw from their surrounding area, the physical separation of upper-middle-class neighborhoods is replicated in the classroom. Good schools make the area more desirable, further inflating the value of our houses. The federal tax system gives us a handout, through the mortgage-interest deduction, to help us purchase these pricey homes. For the upper middle classes, regardless of their professed political preferences, zoning, wealth, tax deductions and educational opportunity reinforce one another in a virtuous cycle.
    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/10/op...y/stop-pretending-youre-not-rich.html
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  5. How do we engage in work as scholars in the service of northern canons, and, in so doing, can we really admit what took us there? Many of us, operating in homogeneous academic spaces (with some hints of liberal tendencies), conform when that question is bluntly asked.

    As someone who was herself observed and studied under the microscopes by ‘gringos’ in the 1980s, when pedagogues came to ask us what life was like in a war zone in El Salvador, Raquel’s questions especially resonate with me. Both of us have been dispossessed and situated in North American canons that serve particular research agendas. In this sense, we share similar experiences of being ‘read’ according to certain historical criteria.

    Raquel’s voice was impassioned. On that day, we had congregated in the Ruka of Riholi. Facing center and in a circle, we were paying attention to the silence of the elders. Raquel taught us a priceless lesson. After questioning the processes used to realize research projects in Nepal and Jordan, Raquel’s passionate demand introduced a final punch. She showed us that while we may have the outward face of political consciousness, we continued to use an academic discipline to study ‘exotic’ behaviors and, in so doing, were in fact undermining, denigrating and denying lessons of what constitutes cultural exchange from their perspective.

    From these interactions in the field emerge questions that go to the heart of the matter: How do we deal with issues of social compromise in the Humanities? In unlearning? In many cases, academic circles resemble circuses rather than centres of higher learning, wherein a culture of competition based on external pressures to do well motivates the relationship between teacher and student.

    One of the tragic consequences of a traditional system of higher education is working with colleagues who claim to have expertise on the topic of social activism, but who have never experienced any form of intervention. I am referring here to those academics who have made careers out of the pain of others by consuming knowledge obtained in marginalized communities. This same practice of “speaking about which you know little (or nothing)” is transmitted, whether acknowledged or not, to the students who we, as teachers and mentors, are preparing to undertake research studies about decolonizing.

    Linda Smith speaks about the disdain she has for the word “research,” seeing it as one of the dirtiest words in the English language. I couldn’t agree more with her. When we sit down each semester to write a guide to “unlearning’,” or rather a syllabus, we must reflect upon how we can include content that will help to transmit a pre-defined discipline in the Humanities with current social realities. How can we create a space where a student can freely speak his/her mind without fear of receiving a bad grade?

    Today, anything and everything is allowed if a postcolonial/decolonizing seal of approval accompanies it, even if it is devoid of any political urgency. These tendencies appear to be ornamental at best, and we must challenge the basis of those attempts. We can’t keep criticizing the neoliberal system while continuing to retain superficial visions of solidarity without striving for a more in-depth understanding. These are acts for which we pat ourselves on the back, but in the end just open up space for future consumers of prestige.

    The corridors of the hallways in the institution where I currently work embodies this faux-solidarity in posters about conferences, colloquiums, and trips in the Global South or about the Global South that cost an arm and a leg. As long as you have money to pay for your airfare, hotel, meals and transportation, you too could add two lines in the CV and speak about the new social movement and their radical strategies to dismantle the system. You too can participate in academic dialogues about poverty and labor rights as you pass by an undocumented cleaner who will make your bed while you go to the main conference room to talk about her struggles.
    http://racebaitr.com/2017/04/06/how-academia-uses-poverty-oppression/#
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  6. “Stop telling people of color they’re fucking useless,” a female student demands of Weinstein at one point.

    “You’re useless, get the fuck out of here,” she adds, saying “fuck you, you piece of shit” as her peers ask Weinstein for an explanation of his email.

    Weinstein attempts to answer–asking “may I answer that question?”–butthe student protesters suddenly decide that they no longer want his explanation, and respond with a resounding “no!”

    They drove him off campus out of fear for his own safety:

    As a biology professor for 15 years at Olympia’s The Evergreen State College, Bret Weinstein has seen his share of protests, but he’s never been afraid of being on campus until this week.

    “I have been told by the Chief of Police it’s not safe for me to be on campus,” said Weinstein, who held his Thursday class in a downtown Olympia park.

    An administrator confirmed the police department advised Weinstein it “might be best to stay off campus for a day or so.”

    Demonstrations involving as many as 200 students filled classrooms and the President’s office on campus on Tuesday and Wednesday. Protesters are upset over what they believe are racist policies at the college, and some called for Weinstein to resign.

    Every one of those students who intimidated that professor should be disciplined, and probably expelled. Every one. Including this nitwit:

    But when student Marissa Parker, one of the protesters, heard Weinstein was advised to stay off campus, she responded, “If he feels unsafe or frightened for two days, he can only imagine what black and brown bodies have feared for years.”

    According to the report from Seattle’s KING television station that I linked to above, Evergreen State officials are considering changing the school’s racial policies in response to the protesters. And look at this — the administration is gutless:
    https://www.theamericanconservative.c...ing-of-bret-weinstein-evergreen-state
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  7. Students at Evergreen State College in Olympia, who filmed their exploits and posted the videos on social media, have occupied and barricaded the library, shouting down anyone who disagrees with them or shows insufficient passion for racial justice.

    Biology professor Bret Weinstein was berated by dozens of students outside of his classroom Tuesday morning for refusing to participate in an event in which white people were invited to leave campus for a day. Now, he says police have told him to hold his classes off campus due to safety concerns.

    Things are “out of control at Evergreen,” he said.

    “Police told me protesters stopped cars yesterday, demanding information about occupants,” Mr. Weinstein told The Washington Times. “They believe I was being sought. It appears that the campus has been under the effective control of protesters since 9:30 a.m. Tuesday. Police are on lockdown, hamstrung by the college administration. Students, staff and faculty are not safe.”

    A spokesman for the Evergreen Department of Police Services confirmed the agency had been in contact with Mr. Weinstein. He said officers would be in touch with The Times, but three subsequent phone calls during business hours were not answered.

    A college spokesman declined to comment on Mr. Weinstein’s situation or any of the other activity on campus.

    Evergreen student Blake Vincent said he was participating in the protests and was unaware of any searches for Mr. Weinstein’s whereabouts.
    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2...te-students-demand-professor-resign-f
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  8. from the comments:



    I haven't even read the article yet because the headline hit so close to home for me. This is exactly what led to my conversion. A staunch democrat and obama voter through his first term. Then got sick and tired of being called a racist just for being white, a sexist for being a man, a homophobe for being a Christian, and straw that broke the camels back was being called a transphobic for believing in boys and girls.


    CORRECTION: You're a homophobe for being heterosexual; being Christian makes you "anti-science." You're welcome. :)

    This is why there is no such thing as "white male privilege" no matter how loudly the Left wishes to shriek it. When you are a punching bag for bigotry and prejudice, passed over for education and employment, based on the color of your skin alone, then you aren't enjoying any sort of privilege. When you are automatically presumed to be a violent sexual predator simply because you have a penis you're not planning on rejecting, you are not enjoying any sort of privilege.
    http://www.dailywire.com/news/16216/s...ite-ben-shapiro#.WRHgaHZ7NOs.facebook
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  9. Why did voters who by and large benefit from social democracy turn against the parties that most strongly support it?

    It’s a hard question to answer if you believe people cast their ballots principally on the basis of their perceived economic interests. European social democrats have been proposing ideas that more objectively speak to the material interests of voters, particularly in the working class, for decades. In virtually every country in Western Europe, however, it hasn’t been enough to help the parties maintain their historic levels of public support.

    Ironically, that could be because the European left is the victim of its own success. Ronald Inglehart, an eminent political scientist at the University of Michigan, argues that the combination of rapid economic growth and a robust welfare state have provided voters with enough economic security that they could start prioritizing issues beyond the distribution of wealth — issues like abortion, same-sex marriage, and, most crucially, immigration.

    So it’s not that European social democrats failed to sell their economic message, or that economic redistribution became unpopular. It’s that economic issues receded in importance at the same time as Europe was experiencing a massive, unprecedented wave of nonwhite, non-Christian immigration.

    That, in turn, brought some of the most politically potent nonmaterial issues — race, identity, and nationalism — to the forefront of Western voters’ mind.

    How comfortable were they, really, with multicultural, multifaith societies?

    The traditional social democratic message didn’t really speak to these cultural anxieties. But the right’s did.

    What this suggests, then, is that a party’s stance on economics isn’t very important to right-wing populist voters. People choose to back those parties because they want someone to shut down immigration and restrict the rights of Muslims, not because of those parties’ stances on trade or welfare spending.

    Kai Arzheimer, a professor at Germany’s University of Mainz, studied data on working-class voters, the traditional base of social democratic parties, between 1980 and 2002. He found that the stronger the welfare state, the bigger the gains for far-right parties among the working class. The top third of countries — that is, the ones with the largest welfare states — saw roughly four times the rate of far-right support among the working class as the countries in the bottom third did.

    You see a similar sort of pattern inside countries. Right-wing populists typically have gotten their best results in wealthier areas of countries — that is, with voters who experience the least amounts of economic insecurity.

    It’s important to bear in mind that the rise of the far right isn’t solely, or even mostly, the result of social democratic decline. The far right has pulled in some working-class voters, but most of its supporters are petty bourgeoisie (like shopkeepers) or low-educated, fairly high-income people (like successful plumbers). Swaying these voters through economic proposals will be difficult.

    “They social democrats » shouldn’t be purely focused on winning back the voters who went to the radical right, because when push comes to shove, a significant part of that electorate is deeply nativist,” Cas Mudde, a scholar of the European far right at the University of Georgia, tells me. “They want a party that is nativist; the only way to win them back is pretty much by becoming radical right or radical right-light.”

    “What Reagan had succeeded in doing was tarnishing liberalism as a giveaway to people of color,” Ian Haney López, a professor at UC Berkeley who studies race and American politics, says. “Investment in our cities, investment in our schools, investment in social welfare programs, all of that was branded as giveaway to undeserving minorities.”

    The uncomfortable truth is that America’s lack of a European-style welfare state hurts a lot of white Americans. But a large number of white voters believe that social spending programs mostly benefit nonwhites. As such, they oppose them with far more fervor than any similar voting bloc in Europe.

    In this context, tacking to the left on economics won't give Democrats a silver bullet to use against the racial resentment powering Trump's success. It could actually wind up giving Trump an even bigger gun. If Democrats really want to stop right-wing populists like Trump, they need a strategy that blunts the true drivers of their appeal — and that means focusing on more than economics.

    The upshot is that a significant shift to the left on economic policy issues might fail to attract white Trump supporters, even in the working class. It could even plausibly hurt the Democrats politically by reminding whites just how little they want their dollars to go to “those people.” One can only imagine what Trump would tweet.
    http://www.vox.com/world/2017/3/13/14...ernie-trump-corbyn-left-wing-populism
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  10. Trump won’t suffer, and here’s why. When Trump railed against “elites,” he wasn’t decrying the rich and powerful. His appeal was built on the fact of his wealth and power, on his promise to bring that wealth and power to bear on Washington and deliver benefits to the deserving. For Trump, “elites” are defined by the people with whom they sympathize. And in his narrative, they sympathize with the racial adversaries of his supporters: Hispanic immigrants, Muslim Americans, and black protesters. “Elites,” in Trump’s telling, are leaders who will not strike back against America’s enemies. This isn’t separate from his appeal to jobs and revitalization; it’s the other side of the coin. With echoes of George Wallace and Richard Nixon, Trump tied economic pain to a racialized picture of “elites.” Those elites, with their sympathy for the “other,” are the reason you are hurting; they are the reason America isn’t great. To elect Trump was to reclaim the country from those elites.

    Trump won’t suffer for his Cabinet because he’s already “drained the swamp” of his stated enemies. And in the future, if Trump can’t deliver benefits to his supporters, he has an easy recourse: demagoguery. He can find new elites to blame, new groups to scapegoat, new reasons to hound minorities as the real threat to America’s prosperity. Trump rode white populism to the White House, and he will use white populism to keep it.
    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_an...nt_and_his_supporters_won_t_care.html
    Tags: , , by M. Fioretti (2016-12-17)
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