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White Privilege – ICTMN.com

White privilege in America first stood for wealth advantage, the provenance of white men, no matter how amassed, deserved, shared or inbred. Among its prominent symbols are oil baron J.D. Rockefeller, Monopoly guy with a fistful of cash, television’s The Millionaire, film’s Gordon (“Greed is good”) Gekko and cartoonish tycoon Donald Trump.

The Republican presidential primary has supplied 2012 models for white and privileged Americans: Newt Gingrich, with his fat-cat “historian” consulting fees and half-million-dollar Tiffany account; Rick Santorum, with his McMansion in the suburbs of the Washington, D.C. he despises but cannot bear to leave; and the presumptive GOP nominee, Mr. 1%, Mitt Romney, with his car elevators, Cayman Islands shelters and undisclosed tax returns.

No one should have been surprised to learn that Romney has secret designs to gut the housing and education departments—two of the federal agencies most responsible for providing a leg up to the impoverished and disadvantaged—in order to help pay for his priority: tax breaks for billionaires.

It was no stunner either that his “all moms are working moms” rule does not apply to mothers on welfare; he says their toddlers should go to day care so the moms can have the “dignity of work.” That rich white men are out of touch with the majority of poor people and single parents is no news flash, although the past months’ headlines suggest otherwise.

What isn’t covered in the context of white privilege are such stories as the General Services Administration scandal over a 300-employee conference that cost $823,000 and continues to topple its top executives. The real scandal and a really good example of white privilege is the fact that the GSA officials who’ve resigned, been fired or remain under investigation were ever hired in responsible jobs and paid annual salaries at or near the quarter-million-dollar mark. Imagine so many non-white officials with such poor judgment (or even with good judgment) being hired in the first place.

Now we come to the overtly racial aspects of white privilege. Notice I did not mention Herman Cain, former Republican presidential candidate and past CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, as a model of white privilege. That’s because I have questions: if a black man joins white men and takes on their prejudices and their privileges, is he part of white privilege and is there such a thing as black privilege?

Similar questions could be asked about Justice Clarence Thomas, who is the second African Americanharjo to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court and whose white wife is an ardent opponent of President Obama. When Thomas votes against Native American land rights actions, does he do so as one who enjoys the privileges of white privilege, or does he have a unique perspective as a black man or from a perch of black privilege? When he joins the high court’s Catholic majority in citing the Catholic Church’s 500-plus-years-old Doctrine of Discovery as the first legal justification for the wholesale theft of Native lands, is he voting from white European (inherited American) privilege or simply as a practitioner of Catholicism?

FULL ARTICLE: White Privilege – ICTMN.com.

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