Getting Skinned with Privilege
By George Jefferson
Our media, educators and others proclaim that we white Americans enjoy “white skin privilege.” Or to make it short, WSP. Let’s examine what WSP offers its beneficiaries, most specifically to middle-class and working-class Caucasian Americans.
With WSP we have the advantage of affirmative action laws that discriminate against us in employment and college admissions. We are allowed with our tax money to subsidize, through welfare and others transfer payments, a large and often hostile minority underclass. Many of the latter are not even American citizens but foreigners who reside here illegally. We have the opportunity to give them free heath care at hospital emergency rooms while we pay exorbitant premiums or do without health insurance altogether. They can afford babies; we can’t.
With massive legal and illegal immigration, we have the privilege of watching “people of color” gain numbers and power, while we become an increasingly powerless minority in the land our ancestors built. Also we have the privilege to support, with our taxes, such influential groups as the National Council of La Raza (the Race) which sabotage our immigration laws, so that La Raza can keep growing. And if we manage to vote on occasion to protect our interests, we are always advantaged to have federal judges overturn the decision. Remember Prop. 187 in California?
Our WSP also entitles us to pay for an educational system that teaches our young people to regard their ancestors as evil racists (dead white males) whose history was an endless record exploitation, bigotry and hatred. We’re entitled to disrespect all those figures from our past that we once regarded as heroes. We privileged to believe that George Washington a wicked slave owner, while Martin Luther King was the founder of the real and true America.
We also enjoy the benefits of TV programming and movies that endlessly reinforce the vilification of white people being taught in the schools and universities. We are blessed to be programmed with video morality plays showing depraved white men scheming and plotting to defraud, and otherwise harm, saintly people of color. In other productions (often ads), our skin privilege reveals us as uncoordinated “white bread” geeks-beings without rhythm, soul, or even simple humanity.
When, in spite of affirmative action, we get jobs and school admissions we often have the WSP of attending “diversity training” where we learn about all the problems our attitudes and values cause people of color. The anger constantly incited in them has its consequences. We, with our WSP, are the targets of the vastly disproportionate rate of minority-on-white crime.
WSP gives us the privilege to walk eternally on eggshells, lest we say or do anything to “offend” people of color and bring down upon ourselves their wrath and the dreaded charge of “racism.” We whites have the privilege of never being able to claim any positive collective identity (as all other groups do). We are privileged, however, to enjoy our group identity of white shame and guilt.
That guilt we can never erase, though we are privileged to keep trying through endless supplications and humiliations. We are privileged to despair for our future and the future of our children. Our WSP offers us the great benefit of getting skinned, because of our skin, again and again and again.