Monday, May 2, 2011

Talking Point #6- Tim Wise

Between Barack and a Hard Place, Tim Wise (Extended Comments)

Extension from Billy's post:

First off I have to agree in saying Tim Wise had numerous valid points in both video clips we watched.  Like Johnson in one of our first readings of the semester, it is not often you read or hear from a respected Caucasian person confronting and discussing the issues lying within diversity and racism in a positive manner.  Both defend and argue against the inequality and unfair treatment of citizens of different races and ethnic backgrounds.  In regards to "white privilege," I cannot say I know how it feels to be in Billy's position as an African American male in today's society, whether growing up in a Caucasian family or not, simply having a darker skin tone and a partial African American background in a predominently white community, sets him "different" from majority of the population around him, and like he states, he will not have the equal privileges as many of the people surrounding him on a daily basis; even if the very woman that gave him birth has the full advantage of "white privilege." 

Although I moved around a lot as a child and well into my adolescent years, I too grew up in a predominently white community.  Sure there were a few kids in my elementary level classes having different ethnic backgrounds, but it was not as nearly diverse as school became throughout middle school and high school.  Fortunately I was a child that from the start realized the difference in the skin tones of myself and some of my peers around me, but I never saw them as "different" from me.  I sometimes hear comments from some people I know, or overhear a conversation when I am somewhere in public, or even in the fashion people express ideas or opinions in class in regards to race, or different backgrounds and the lifestyles of different cultures and I become extremely bothered by what is being said.  I am a white straight female and I benefit from the "white privilege" in society.  Am I proud of it? No I am not, and I can honestly say I will not be proud to have this benefit until the day my best friend, an African American woman, has the same privileges I have, and if that day doesn't come in my time of living, I pray one day it will.  Billy is absolutely right when he talks about the numerous flaws of George Bush and the fact if he was black he probably wouldn't have even made it into the running for president.  I am not big into politics nor am I very familiar, but I can say that Barack Obama becoming President was definitely refreshing and gave me a little more hope of further progression in the equality of today's society and the years to come.

Lastly, in regards to segregation in schools...stating schools are no longer segregated is like stating the sky is no longer blue.  Although there is certainly much more diversity throughout schools today than years ago, is it really diversity in which white students go to school with numerous kids with a variety of different backgrounds?  This may be the case in some areas, but as all of us have experienced visiting our school for our SL projects, it seems to be the diversity in many schools actually consists of diversity between all backgrounds except for white.  These schools we visit are not in the wealthiest of neighborhoods, and the majority of the population of these neighborhoods consist of minorites in somewhat creating an oximoron.  Some may argue these schools are not populated in such a manner because of the segregation of race or ethnicity but instead family income and social class determining where they live, but stepping back and looking at the whole picture people need to realize something; arguing the segregation is result of social class and economic standing may be true, but why do such a large number of minorites financially and socially stand where they do? Why are they working two or three jobs just to keep up with the rent each month and to feed the mouths of their young children?  Why do these jobs entail hours upon hours of tiring labor that take every last bit of energy out of them that by the time they do get to spend any time with their children they are just too tired?  It is largely because of Billy's first point, "white privilege."  The minorities in this country are not given the same opportunites as the white population and therefore they may not get the position in the corporate office no matter how qualified they are or more efficient they will be able to do the job because the white man interviewed before him and the white man to come in after him have that privilege and the advantage of being in the "social norm."  Children should not suffer because they do not live in the "better" neighborhoods, they should all receive the same education and opportunites in life as the next child, no matter the color of their skin, their race/ethnicity, the holidays they celebrate, etc. There are plenty of "rich white kids" in the best-of-the-best school systems that could care less about receiving an education and waste that spot in class and the teachers' time when a child from a less fortunate minority family is striving to do more and wanting to be the best he can be in life and he deserves the same chance!

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