Monday, March 7, 2011

Are White People Oppressed in this Age of Obama?

One of my friends from college posted a provocative CNN article entitled Are Whites Racially Oppressed on Facebook. In the article, John Blake writes:

"We went from being a privileged group to all of a sudden becoming whites, the new victims,'' says Charles Gallagher, a sociologist at La Salle University in Pennsylvania who researches white racial attitudes and was baffled to find that whites see themselves as a minority.

"You have this perception out there that whites are no longer in control or the majority. Whites are the new minority group."

Call it racial jujitsu: A growing number of white Americans are acting like a racially oppressed majority. They are adopting the language and protest tactics of an embattled minority group, scholars and commentators say.

They point to these signs of racial anxiety:

• A recent Public Religion Research Institute poll found 44% of Americans surveyed identify discrimination against whites as being just as big as bigotry aimed at blacks and other minorities. The poll found 61% of those identifying with the Tea Party held that view, as did 56% of Republicans and 57% of white evangelicals.

• More colleges are offering courses in "Whiteness Studies" as white Americans cope with becoming what one commentator calls a "dispossessed majority group."

• A Texas group recently formed the "Former Majority Association for Equality" to offer college scholarships to needy white men. Colby Bohannan, the group's president, says white men don't have scholarship options available to minorities. "White males are definitely not a majority" anymore, he says.

• U.S. Census Bureau projections that whites will become a minority by 2050 are fueling fears that whiteness no longer represents the norm. This fear has been compounded by the recent recession, which hit whites hard.

• Conservative talk-show host Rush Limbaugh argued in a radio show that Republicans are an "oppressed minority" in need of a "civil rights movement" because its members willingly sit in the "back of the bus" and "are afraid of the fire hoses and the dogs."

• Conservative news outlets ran a number of stories last summer highlighting an incident from the 2008 elections, in which activists from the New Black Panther Party appeared to be intimidating voters at a polling place. Those claims were never proven.

• Fox talk-show host Glenn Beck led a march on Washington (attended primarily by white people) to "restore honor," and once called President Obama a racist with a "deep-seated hatred for white people and white culture." He later said he regretted making that comment.

Mass rallies in Washington, voter intimidation at the polls, creating ethnic studies programs at colleges to promote racial self-awareness -- it sounds like a script from a civil rights documentary."

The notion that whites are an oppressed minority is an outrageous absurdity.  The Center for American Progress' article State of Communities of Color in the U.S. Economy is an eye opening reminder that African Americans and Hispanics remain at the lower rungs of American society.  Whites remain at the top.  The article states that:
"Substantial differences in economic security exist by race and ethnicity. The unemployment rate for African Americans, for instance, was 15.8 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010, compared to 12.9 percent for Latinos, 7.3 percent for Asian Americans, and 8.7 percent for whites.

Homeownership rates tell a similar story. In the third quarter of 2010, the homeownership rate for African Americans was 45.0 percent. The homeownership rate for Latinos was 47.0 percent, and the homeownership rate for whites was 74.7 percent.

The numbers indicate that Latinos and African Americans continue to hold lower-quality jobs relative to  their white and Asian-American counterparts as they typically earn significantly  less money per week. As of the third quarter of 2010, the last period for which we have data, African Americans’ usual median weekly earnings were $623 in 2009  dollars and Latinos earned $532. In comparison, whites made $774 each week, while Asians earned $871.

In 2009, the last year with available data, median household incomes were substantially lower for communities of color than for whites. The median household income of African Americans was $32,584 in 2009 dollars, more than 40 percent less than that of whites, who earned $54,461. And Latinos had a median income of $34,088, or about 30 percent below that of whites in 2009. Asian Americans had a median income of $65,469 in 2009, which was about 20 percent higher than that of whites.

In 2009, more than one in four Latino (25.3 percent) and African-American families (25.8 percent) lived below the poverty line. Conversely, poverty rates among white Americans and Asian Americans were 9.4 percent and 12.5 percent, respectively.

The number of uninsured African Americans was 9.0 percent higher than white Americans in 2009, with 21.0 percent. Latinos had the largest share of uninsured people with 32.4 percent in 2009. And 17.2 percent of Asian Americans lacked health insurance in 2009.

The current foreclosure rate on loans issued between 2005 and 2008 was 4.52 percent for whites. For Asian Americans, the rate was 4.60 percent. Latinos and African Americans had significantly higher foreclosure rates, at 7.69 percent for Latinos and 7.90 percent for African Americans."

The National Urban League's State of Black America Report for 2010 points out additional racial disparities in education and criminal justice.

"For the population over 25, whites are more than one and a half times as likely as blacks and two and a half times likely as Hispanics to hold a bachelo's degree.

..2008 data indicates that blacks are six times more likely and Hispanics are three times more likely than whites to be incarcerated."

So, people like Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and other far right extremists need to just STFU.

In conclusion, here is my message to all the angry, conservative white people. You are not an oppressed racial group. Were you kidnapped, shackled and crammed into slave ships? Were you robbed of your language, your culture and your religion? Were you enslaved and beaten for over 200 years? Were you segregated, lynched and castrated? Instead of blaming minorities for your problems, you should stand up to the corporate interests that exploit us all.


  1. What a bunch of bologna.

  2. You wrote

    "In conclusion, here is my message to all the angry, conservative white people. You are not an oppressed racial group. Were you kidnapped, shackled and crammed into slave ships? Were you robbed of your language, your culture and your religion? Were you enslaved and beaten for over 200 years? Were you segregated, lynched and castrated? Instead of blaming minorities for your problems, you should stand up to the corporate interests that exploit us all."

    Well lets look at this another way. Were you kidnapped, stuffed in slave ships, beaten and enslaved for 200 years? No, you were not.

    Do your children go to the same schools mine do. Yes, mine go to public schools. So your children and you were afforded the same education my children and myself got. Not my fault that some people, regardless of color would rather skip school and live a life of crime than get educated and become productive members of society.

    I live in MS and I experience racism towards me and my family on a very regular basis. I am a minority in the county I live in. On the rural road I live on there are only 4 white families and over 100 black families. Because I am white does not mean I can't possibly be "racially oppressed"!!

    Maybe you should wake up and see what the real problem is. There will always be racism!! That is human nature. There will always be extreme racism until there are no more groups dedicated to the "advancement of INSERT RACE HERE"

    In local colleges here, they teach that whites can't be oppressed because there is no such thing as "white culture". We are made to feel like we are evil if we are proud to be white. If this isn't oppression and racism, than I can't think of what is.


    Ken, Jackson, MS

  3. Modern day American racism has its roots in slavery and Jim Crow. The myth of white supremacy persists to this day. Unlike other groups in America, black people have been stripped of our heritage. We do not know our original tribes, languages, customs, etc.

    Equally as important, there many African Americans living today who personally experienced the humiliation and degradation of Jim Crowism. It is not ancient history. As resident of Mississippi, you should know this.

    In the inner cities of this country, many African Americans attend inferior, segregated schools. They are not afforded the same opportunities as affluent white citizens. Blaming the victim does not change that reality.

  4. Anson C.

    Modern day racism has some of its roots in slavery and the Jim Crow laws, however, you have to realize that not all racism is directed at Blacks!! Contrary to what black people would like you to believe, they are just as racist and even more so than any other race.

    Most segregation today is by choice. It is only natural for each race to want to be in a community with others of the same race. Same for animals. You don't see herds of horses and deer and caribou and cows and rabbits and geese hanging around each other. There is a reason for this. It is called nature.

    As far as your school reference about inner city schools being inferior, that is a product of the environment. That environment is controlled as much by the students and parents of the students as it is by the teachers and administrators. If the majority of students decide they would rather be a gang than to do the work necessary to complete their education, this is not a reflection of the school, but of the students and their parents. One of the biggest problems in the inner city schools is a lack of participation in the educational process by parents. This is as true for white students as it is for blacks. It is also true in rural schools across the country and is not limited to race or location.

    You state "Unlike other groups in America, black people have been stripped of our heritage."

    How can you say you have been stripped of your heritage? You can open a book and read just like me. I have had to do years of research to find my family heritage. This is not something limited to blacks! If any thing, blacks are afforded too much power due to their "heritage". When are we going to see a white history month, or a Chinese history month, or any other nationality history month. If you want to be considered equal to me in America, drop the need to be called anything other than American. You are either African or American!!!! Not to mention that many who call themselves African American have NO African heritage at all!!

    You are correct about one thing. White Supremacy is a myth. Whites are not supreme over any other race. However, it is no longer the whites who continue to push the idea of white supremacy on the black community. It is the black community that is too afraid to let go of the desire to convince themselves that the "white man" is evil and out to get the black man and keep him down!!!!

    As an American, I am truly hopeful that one day there will be no need for discussions like this one. Also as an American, I have educated myself enough to realize that it will not happen in my lifetime or even likely in the lifetime of my children. It can only come to an end when each race decides they do not need special treatment or benefits because they are different than others.

  5. I never argued that all racism is directed at black people. Obviously, racism is also directed at Latinos, Arabs, Asians, etc. Considering Europeans' long history of racism, Jim Crow and imperialism, it is preposterous to assert that African Americans are more racist than any other group.

    Segregation is not simply a matter of choice. Many people are forced to live in certain areas based on their financial resources. Human beings are not in the same category as animals. Segregation was and is designed to enforce and maintain the power structure. It has nothing to do with nature. The skin pigment should not determine one's associations.

    Clearly, values have an impact on education. However, it is far more difficult for students from poorly resourced schools to compete with students from highly resourced schools.

    Books provide general information about African American history. However, as a result of slavery, most African Americans do not know the particular tribe or nation from which they descend. We do not speak their original languages or practice our original cultural customs.

    We should celebrate the diversity of all people. Unfortunately, we live in a Eurocentric society which is fixated on the values, history and achievements of white people. Every month is white history month.

    The notion that whites are genetically superior to all other races is a myth. However, the political and economic system perpetuates and maintains white dominance.

  6. Anson your veiws are flawed and hypocritical. since when were you oppressed, beaten, and forced as a slave. Slavery is gone, done for. As for racism, Black people are just as capable of being bigots as anyone else. You are seem to be stuck in the past, or off in la la land. Are you even aware of the blatant racism between black people. Apparently if your black and you hold conservative values black left wingers call you an uncle tom, Minstrel, or a white apolgetic. According to many black liberals, these ABC (American Black Conservatives) can't think for themselfs and are Racist to their own race. I mean come on!

    I wouldn't be supporised if there were a couple of Uncle Ruckus types out there, but not to any large extent. I think just about everyone is happy with their pigmentation and could care less about color. You really need to have a reality check. Look into Herman Cain, or Juan Williams. They are constantly under attack because Liberals can't wrap their heads around the fact that there are ABC's. Instead of assuming they are racist, why not consider that their ideology is simply just different from what you would like it to be. People like you are trying to suppress the thoughts of you're own people. What a true disgrace that is.

    Sounds like we know who the real uncle tom is. And thats YOU! You would rather support Jim Crow and blog on a George Sorros funded Center for American Progress blog site, than admit that you are intolerant of Americans and their freedom's. Why in the world would you choose to be religous at all, after all the people who have died in vein for it. It's really sad and thats why I choose not to endorse religon at all. Move out of America if you can't stand evangicals, America and the constitution were founded on the belief that god gave us our inalienable rights. The Constitution simply protects these beliefs whether you like it or not.

  7. Racial disparities continue to exist in employment, economics, education, criminal justice, health, etc. Police continue to racially profile African Americans and other minorities. More frequently than other groups, black people are victims of police brutality. That is not the past. That is present day oppression.

    Certainly, any person can be bigoted. However, as a group, white people have more influence over corporations and government institutions. Accordingly, they have greater power to impose their bigotry.

    Some black conservatives are traitors. Such sellouts oppose policies that benefit African Americans (i.e., affirmative action) and support policies that are detrimental to African Americans. They are free to hold such views. However, progressives are free to challenge such views.

  8. Anson:
    Its not enough, or even mildly convincing, to spout generalizations along the lines of "...racial disparities exist in ______, etc...." or lies such as "...many people are forced to live ______, etc..."
    Do you know how many "under-privileged" black people I see buying junk food and liquor with their welfare card?
    Do you know how many "under-privileged" black women I see walking around with weaves costing more than my car payment and insurance combined? Or what about the "oppressed" young black man driving on 26" rims that easily could be traded in for a set of braces for the child that he abandoned before it even left the womb.
    The fact is that a lot of people, you being one of them, like to talk a whole lot about the oppression and the system and economics and education and you only ask two things:
    1) What size band-aid do I demand for this wound that just seems to "spontaneously" re-open on a daily basis?
    2)Who is the easiest most obvious scape-goat for this situation.

    So you blame the "white man" for all of your problems, and demand MY tax dollars while forgetting the self-inflicted wounds of the "black man".
    Why are you so against the power of free-will, self-determination, and personal choice. It is no special talent to sit around and complain in a room full of complainers, but nevertheless I am glad that you have found a place of comfort in fighting boldly for your status as victim. Why don't you try on this hat. STOP SEEING COLOR AND START SEEING THE CONTENT OF ONE'S CHARACTER.
    I'm pretty sure that if you actually did that, you'd be surprised in how much common ground is between you and, say, a Texas cowboy, or a mid-America white conservative family man.

    Moral of the story, it is useless to criticize someone else until you have, with humility, honesty, and self-effacement, examined what is critique-worthy in yourself.

  9. @Anonymous 8/30/11 First of all, whether you like it or not, the statistics cited in this article are actual facts, not "generalizations". I am not judging anyone by the color of their skin. I am only pointing out historical facts.

    You are the one who is making broad racist generalizations "underprivileged black people..buying junk food and liquor..wearing weaves..and driving rims." You need to stop judging and making outrageous assumptions about African Americans.

    Second, I did not blame white people for all of the problems in the black community. Certainly, personal responsibility is vital. In the face of racism, many African Americans have continued to strive, thrive, prosper and succeed.

    However, it is undeniable that slavery and Jim Crow had and continue to have a devastating impact upon the black community.

  10. These are not generalizations. These are things that I SEE, with my eyes, on a daily basis.

    Did not see you cite a single statistic.

    Oppression has many facets, not just a quantitative one. The fact that white people must walk on eggshells so as not to offend anyone, primarily blacks, is just as if not more telling of the situation. Especially when it is socially encouraged for blacks to specifically NOT walk on eggshells when it comes to voicing concerns over the behavior of whites toward them. Obviously I can not speak for all white Americans, but any of these potential criticisms that we avoid have next to nothing to do with blind racism and have everything to do with things we see and experience on a daily basis, that is, legitimate criticisms of character and behavior rather than broad assumptions based strictly on color. When one sees these things enough, and then makes snap judgments, at most it can be called prejudice, which has no logical connection to color, but rather is a habit gained through EXPERIENCE.

    On the other hand, I have personally experienced literal blind racism towards me from blacks. Literally walking past, seeing that I'm white and calling me a "c*nt b*tch", and "p*ssy *ss white girl"....I was just walking.

    This sort of behavior, whether or not you want to believe that it actually exists or not (and I can assure you it does, and definitely not as isolated situations) is the root cause of the majority of "racism" today, which is all too often mislabeled as such when it is really prejudice, and often a justified prejudice at that.

    Statistics mean little when it comes to this issue, in my opinion. The issue at hand is oppression, not economic status or access to health care. It is about a people who have the social leverage to control the very sentiments of a nation. This power does not and need not stem from any sort of socio-economic status, but rather from a particular leveraging advantage - in this case a long gone but politically volatile history of slavery and its associated evils. This is 21st century oppression, control over the words of and attitude towards another group of people, in this case, American whites.

  11. Correction:
    I did see the link to the statistics, my bad.