What is White Supremacy?
According to the ADL
White supremacy is a term used to characterize various belief systems central to which are one or more of the following key tenets: 1) whites should have dominance over people of other backgrounds, especially where they may co-exist; 2) whites should live by themselves in a whites-only society; 3) white people have their own "culture" that is superior to other cultures; 4) white people are genetically superior to other people.
Simply put, white supremacists believe whites should be and are better than any other race. Many of them will point to the global dominance of white people in health, wealth, education, and military power. As a white supremacist racist will often say:
This is why people of other races want to move to ‘white countries.’
If you were to meet a white supremacist and you got to talking about the differences in race and their positions in life. You would expect the white supremacist to not only believe but expect to see whites in positions of power, to be better educated, have fewer negative interactions with police compared to another race, wealthier, healthier, own their own homes, come from stable families, live in affluent areas, speak with proper grammar, be better at maths, better at timekeeping generally a better all-round human being.
And we would all rightly condemn such views as wrong.
According to the white supremacist, having white supremacy doesn’t mean your life is easy, it doesn’t mean you’re not poor. But regardless the worst white is better off than the best of any other race.
What is white privilege?
White privilege is a concept that highlights the unfair societal advantages that white people have over non-white people. It is something that is pervasive throughout society and exists in all of the major systems and institutions that operate in society, as well as on an interpersonal level.
Having white privilege doesn't make your life easy but other races have a much harder life than they should because of their race.
The Merriam-Webster defines white privilege as:
The set of social and economic advantages that white people have by virtue of their race.
Kehinde Andrews is a professor of black studies at Birmingham City University and leads the Black Studies Association. Kehinde defines white privilege as:
"The benefits that you get from being white. If you are an ethnic minority there are certain disadvantages you have. For example, it's a fact that you're more likely to be unemployed. White privilege is not having to deal with racism."
According to the most recent government figures, over 6% of people who are unemployed in the UK are non-white. That's compared 3.6% of the white population.
According to Professor Andrews,
The term "white privilege" was first used by a black American writer called W. E. B. Dubois in 1935. Even if you're poor and not doing the best in society, there's still this benefit you get from being white," Professor Andrews explained. Dubois used it to explain why poor white people didn't want to team up with poor black people to help one another after slavery was banned."
Courtney Ahn is a Korean-American designer from Portland in the USA and a famous social media influencer. She defined white privilege as:
"It doesn't mean you haven't earned your successes but it does mean that your life hasn't been harder because of the colour of your skin".
Therefore, white privilege means as a white person you have certain advantages and benefits…because of your skin colour. Thus, meaning advantages you are born with. To reverse that theory, if you’re black you’re not born with those ‘benefits.’
Benefits are good, they are things that as the word suggests make something better. When someone has characteristics or a characteristic that benefits them, especially if it’s one they are born with you might suggest that they are better than the person who isn’t born with that benefit. Those benefits give them advantages in life, meaning they’ll be better at several things that make life better or make that person excel.
When someone says to you ‘Your life hasn’t been harder because of your skin colour” to the non-white on the face of it, sounds like a supportive statement. However, it’s extremely dehumanising, infantilising and patronising.
It suggests that you have no power of your own destiny, nor do you have the necessary skill to overcome. Most importantly, they are tacitly admitting that whites have so much power over your life, only they can decide who makes it.
What’s the difference between white supremacy and white privilege?
Proponents of white privilege can argue of key differences in theory, but the important thing is how it applies in practice.
A white supremacist because of their world view will look at a black man, believe they are better because of their race, and make certain assumptions about that black man’s life as a result. For example, they can assume he doesn’t speak right, is more likely involved in crime, doesn’t have a job, comes from a broken home, and is poorer.
A supporter of white privilege will look at a black man, believe they have certain benefits because of their race, and make certain assumptions about that black man’s life as a result. For example, they can assume he is more likely to speak poorer English, more likely involved in crime, doesn’t have a job, comes from a broken home, and is poorer.
The difference is the actions that arise out of that worldview. The white privilege proponent might call for defunding the police, affirmative actions, wage increase to non-whites or only allowing non-whites to partake in a particular process.
Despite this, both world view allows individuals to think the worst of other races, and both believe only whites have the power to shape the world.
Here are some examples
As reported by Glenn Greenwald. Due to shortages of Monoclonal Antibody Treatments for COVID, New-York has determined that an individual must meet the conditions to be eligible for the treatment,
Their policy states that anyone who is non-white — regardless of age, health or underlying medical conditions — is automatically deemed to have met the requirement that one must have “a medical condition or other factors that increase their risk for severe illness" in order to receive this treatment (“Non-white race or Hispanic/Latino ethnicity should be considered a risk factor.").
To surmise, the city of New York is saying that non-whites are more likely to be in poorer health with underlying conditions. They’ve made that assumption without meeting them as individuals.
Another example: The Mankato school board in America votes unanimously on a policy that would pay non-white teachers more and place them in work environments based on their race (segregation). The video below shows a board member defending the decision.
As reported by alpha news Board members explained that:
“When you’re one [minority] of a [white] majority it can be very isolating and lonely. To have a support system in place for them is not to segregate them, it is absolutely to support them,” member Erin Roberts said. “It’s not about trying to throw the few [BIPOC] individuals we have into one building. It’s about showing them they aren’t alone.”
Supporters of white privilege talk and act like blacks are powerless and can only succeed if whites move aside. they are treated as the child at the bottom of the class in need of special care.
So, what’s the difference between white supremacy and white privilege? In my opinion, one is proud of its believed superiority, the other admits it but is humble about it. Perhaps this is why so many non-whites have accepted it.
I'll conclude on another example of white supremacy masquerading as white privilege. A common form of racist attack against blacks was to call them stupid, bad at timekeeping and unable to keep up with whites intellectually.
However, now as we strive for a less racist society, we move away from such generalisations. Therefore, it's reasonable to assume that it would be wrong to assign positive attributes that lead to success at work with being white? such as good timekeeping, striving for excellence and being a great communicator. That would be a ‘white supremacist’ way of thinking right?
According to Sharon Navas, a supporter of the idea of white privilege, in her widely shared and well-liked article, she claims the following characteristics in a workplace is displaying white supremacy,
Perfectionism, worship of the written word, and a Sense of urgency.
The logical conclusion I can ascertain from her article is that she believes blacks don't have these traits and are unlikely to. So her solution is for workplaces to stop viewing them as positives.
I am well aware and agree that the effects of racism and cruelty from the past still exist. The children of poor slaves are less likely to afford quality education and live in safer neighbourhoods which unfortunately leaves many subsequent generations of blacks in the poorer class. However, my problem with white privilege is that it makes the mistake of neglecting the individual and pre-judging them based on their skin colour. I can make an observation about a group based on patterns observed in reality, but it's racist to Judge a black man and act based on his skin colour without first meeting that individual and getting to know his character. If I am already pre-judged as less than, then what's the point of trying...all I'm doing is waiting for the whites to decide to lower their supposed standard and let me have my turn.
Tell me if that isn't a great advertisement for white power.