Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Shelby Steele on racial minority privilege

John Stossel:

Scholar Shelby Steele's latest book is called "White Guilt." Steele argues that people like Tim Wise have it wrong, that today in America there is minority privilege, and it's not white privilege that shuts blacks out.

"I grew up in segregation, so I really know what racism is," he says. "I went to segregated school. I bow to no one in my knowledge of racism, which is one of the reasons why I say white privilege is not a problem."

Steele says black irresponsibility is the bigger problem — that high illegitimacy and high school drop-out rates are limiting black progress.

"Racism is about 18th on a list of problems that black America faces," he says. "There's black irresponsibility today, there's a lot of that. It's a bigger problem than racism."

Steele says today there's "minority privilege."

"If I'm a black high school student today … there are white American institutions, universities, hovering over me to offer me opportunities: Almost every institution has a diversity committee," he says. "Every country club now has a diversity committee. I've been asked to join so many clubs, I can't tell you. There is a hunger in this society to do right racially, to not be racist. … And I feel rather privileged by it. I don't have to even look for opportunities in many cases. They come right to me."

Shelby Steele and White Guilt

Shelby Steele takes on racism, imperialism, affirmative action

The language of white guilt


At 1:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

standards for those monorities and raise standards for the majority, which effectively says that the minorities are incapable of reaching the the higher standards (although the minorities are actually just as capable). Solution: equal treatment- forget about race and take those who have achieved the most- only then can there be true equality

At 1:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Steele is so right! Although there's plenty of racism towards both black and white people, that's definitely not the main issue. Colleges are so ready to accept minorities that they will go for them even if they have achieved less. They therefore lower the standards for those monorities and raise standards for the majority, which effectively says that the minorities are incapable of reaching the the higher standards (although the minorities are actually just as capable). They make the monorities go for less. Solution: equal treatment- forget about race and take those who have achieved the most- only then can there be true equality

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At 7:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

1. I can if I wish arrange to be in the company of people of my race most of the time.
2. I can avoid spending time with people whom I was trained to mistrust and who have learned to mistrust my kind or me.
3. If I should need to move, I can be pretty sure of renting or purchasing housing in an area which I can afford and in which I would want to live.
4. I can be pretty sure that my neighbors in such a location will be neutral or pleasant to me.
5. I can go shopping alone most of the time, pretty well assured that I will not be followed or harassed.
6. I can turn on the television or open to the front page of the paper and see people of my race widely represented.
7. When I am told about our national heritage or about "civilization," I am shown that people of my color made it what it is.
8. I can be sure that my children will be given curricular materials that testify to the existence of their race.
9. If I want to, I can be pretty sure of finding a publisher for this piece on white privilege.
10. I can be pretty sure of having my voice heard in a group in which I am the only member of my race.
11. I can be casual about whether or not to listen to another person's voice in a group in which s/he is the only member of his/her race.
12. I can go into a music shop and count on finding the music of my race represented, into a supermarket and find the staple foods which fit with my cultural traditions, into a hairdresser's shop and find someone who can cut my hair.
13. Whether I use checks, credit cards or cash, I can count on my skin color not to work against the appearance of financial reliability.
14. I can arrange to protect my children most of the time from people who might not like them.
15. I do not have to educate my children to be aware of systemic racism for their own daily physical protection.
16. I can be pretty sure that my children's teachers and employers will tolerate them if they fit school and workplace norms; my chief worries about them do not concern others' attitudes toward their race.
17. I can talk with my mouth full and not have people put this down to my color.
18. I can swear, or dress in second hand clothes, or not answer letters, without having people attribute these choices to the bad morals, the poverty or the illiteracy of my race.
19. I can speak in public to a powerful male group without putting my race on trial.
20. I can do well in a challenging situation without being called a credit to my race.
21. I am never asked to speak for all the people of my racial group.
22. I can remain oblivious of the language and customs of persons of color who constitute the world's majority without feeling in my culture any penalty for such oblivion.
23. I can criticize our government and talk about how much I fear its policies and behavior without being seen as a cultural outsider.
24. I can be pretty sure that if I ask to talk to the "person in charge", I will be facing a person of my race.
25. If a traffic cop pulls me over or if the IRS audits my tax return, I can be sure I haven't been singled out because of my race.
26. I can easily buy posters, post-cards, picture books, greeting cards, dolls, toys and children's magazines featuring people of my race.
27. I can go home from most meetings of organizations I belong to feeling somewhat tied in, rather than isolated, out-of-place, outnumbered, unheard, held at a distance or feared.
28. I can be pretty sure that an argument with a colleague of another race is more likely to jeopardize her/his chances for advancement than to jeopardize mine.
29. I can be pretty sure that if I argue for the promotion of a person of another race, or a program centering on race, this is not likely to cost me heavily within my present setting, even if my colleagues disagree with me.
30. If I declare there is a racial issue at hand, or there isn't a racial issue at hand, my race will lend me more credibility for either position than a person of color will have.

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