Guest Column: White privilege is just the latest excuse

Regarding editor Michael White’s “nephew effect” and its contribution to “white privilege,” I must not have the right uncles, since my white skin has had no beneficial effect when I’ve been ticketed for speeding or once nabbed for scalping tickets or once — most unfortunately — being arrested and charged with a felony. Mr. White uses subjective and anecdotal evidence to validate his own bias: that we whites are “unconscious” racists, oblivious to our “everyday white privilege.” 

“White privilege” is a term that’s suddenly all the rage among leftists. Why? Because now that decades of various other “solutions,” such as school busing, affirmative action, self-esteem crusades, lowered standards, black studies’ departments, non-stop movie/TV “role-modeling,” the burgeoning race industry, etc. — have all failed to narrow the significant economic and educational black/white gaps, this white privilege slur is progressives’ last-ditch attempt to absolve blacks from taking any responsibility for those gaps.

Prejudice — doesn’t that literally mean pre-judge? Here’s a good example: the left’s reaction to the shooting of Michael Brown. These supposedly free-from-bias souls — forever amber-trapped in their narrative that all black societal dysfunction is the result of white racism — took about five seconds to leap to a chiseled-in-stone conclusion that the cop was guilty of race-based murder. (Who needs evidence? Let the rioting and looting begin.)

As for the Eric Garner tragedy, besides the “white cop v. unarmed black” scenario, there is another thing the Brown and Garner deaths had in common: a refusal to cooperate with the arresting officers. If that very self-destructive behavior has anything to do with white privilege, I fail to see it. I don’t know why the Garner grand jury declined to indict, but then I don’t know all the evidence presented to them. The thousands of protesters currently throwing righteous mass-tantrums, they know: White cops are racists. ’Nuff said.

Unfortunately, this leftist manure — “blacks can’t be held responsible” — has been liberally spread over American society for the last 60 years and all it has accomplished has been to increasingly poison race relations and to undermine blacks’ chances for success. Progressive “compassion” has fostered (among other negatives) a disastrous breakdown of the black family, currently resulting in a 72 percent out-of-wedlock birth rate — a guaranteed one-way ticket to poverty for those unfortunate kids.

Mr. White writes: “Many young black kids don’t get the same breaks early in life that white kids do.” Well, yes and no. My own anecdotal experiences aren’t so black and white. After teaching four very pleasant years in a poverty-level Hispanic grade school in Texas, I had a most unpleasant year teaching in an all-black inner-city Newark grade school. Whatever “breaks” we teachers were trying to give those kids were regularly crushed by the near impossibility for most teachers to control their classrooms. Recently, Obama’s Department of Education has begun forcing school districts, via implicit threats of withdrawing all federal funding, to reduce the “disproportionate” numbers of black male students being punished to numbers equaling the punishment rates of whites. I can imagine a teacher checking with the office: “A student just threw a book at me.” Office: “Was the student white or black?”

I wonder if genuine white privilege — rather than being some nebulous societal E-ZPass — consists primarily of four concrete ingredients: a cultural/parental attitude that education matters greatly; a cultural stigmatization against having children until being able to properly raise them; a positive belief that one’s future is not preordained, but rather lies in one’s own hard-working hands; and, of course, a rigorous avoidance of breaking the law.

Disastrously for America’s future, 21st-century race industry professionals (Al Sharpton comes to mind) have dragged up out of 19th-century sewage a kind of reverse KKK mantle and have become enthusiastic new-age stokers of racial hatred. Today on TV I saw masses of protesters chanting “kill the cops” — such is progressive progress.

What’s that noise I hear? Sounds like someone’s saddling up that tired old nag Legacy O’Slavery, cocking their race-card pistols and aiming them at yours truly. Well, go ahead evil do-gooders, take your best shots. I am also armed — with some whole truth.

hugh prestwoodHugh Prestwood is an award-winning songwriter from Greenport.