A white privilege sighting

white privilege card
My fellow social justice warriors are familiar with white privilege-the sociological concept that describes the unearned benefits and advantages society confers upon white people (as a result of their race) that enables them to move through life with greater ease than those who do not possess white skin. But it’s one thing to understand the concept. It’s another thing entirely to explain it to others in such a way that they understand it-especially people with little to no background in social justice or sociology. Many an SJW has tried explaining this concept to people unfamiliar with the term-often the people most in need of understanding it-only to quickly find themselves deeply frustrated. Responses like “stop trying to make me feel guilty for being white” or “I earned everything I have in life” or “I’ve suffered too” or “I haven’t gotten any special privileges in life” are all too common. Such responses have caused untold facepalms and headdesks. Like many other SJW’s, I’ve had many firsthand experiences with both. And like many others, I have often failed. There have been countless times I have wished there were an easy way to explain white privilege such that people could grasp the concept. Is there a perfect illustration of white privilege that highlights the stark differences between the treatment of white people in society versus the treatment of People of Color? Yes, I think there is:

See that guy? His name is Joseph Parker. As you can see he is a white guy. I have no idea why he’s saluting, but I do know where he obtained those bruises-he was in a scuffle…with the cops. And unlike many black people, he lived to tell the tale:

A police lieutenant said he told a driver – identified as 34-year-old Joseph Parker — to slow down about 12:30 a.m. as he passed through a roadway under construction in Revere, but he said the Wakefield man immediately became combative, reported the Boston Globe.

“I know why you stopped me,” Parker shouted, and then began complaining about police brutality in Ferguson, Missouri. “F*ck you cops with your guns.”

If he were black, such an attitude would have been strike one, as Sandra Bland found out. Following her arrest and death after three days in jail, it seemed like every racist white person came out of the woodwork to tell us if she had been less uppity aggressive and more subservient agreeable, she wouldn’t have been treated so horribly and might still be alive. Of course they glossed over the fact that all she did was have the temerity to question why she was being stopped and questioned. It gets better though:

Parker’s companions then said he punched the officer “for no apparent reason,” and the officer fell backwards and struck his head on the pavement, knocking him unconscious.

This guy not only punched a cop, but he knocked him out…and would you look at that…he wasn’t riddled with bullet holes! For a black person, that would have been strikes two and three. Which means a black person would be O-U-T. Also known as D-E-A-D, bc over in the United States inhabited by black people, in the eyes of many cops (and their stalwart supporters) such an offense is punishable by death (hell, just balling up your fists and charging at a cop is deemed sufficient cause to use deadly force, amirite Darren Wilson?).

Two passengers in the car tried to restrain Parker as he attempted to attack another officer at the scene, and several officers finally subdued him and placed him in handcuffs.

What’s missing here? Oh yeah, they did not use their guns against him. Despite the fact that Parker had just knocked a cop unconscious.

Police said Parker, who had just finished serving a seven- to eight-year prison sentence for cocaine trafficking, tried to kick out the windows inside the police cruiser and kicked “violently and wildly” at officers.

I’m sure the cop defenders will be all over this one to demonize Parker as a thug and a drug dealer who deserves everything bad that happens to him at the hands of the cops…oh wait…nothing bad happened to him. Nevermind.

One of the officers used a Taser on Parker, but they said he continued to struggle with police and mimicked them as he was read his Miranda rights.

My bad. He got a taser used against him. He was lucky. This cop knew the difference between a taser and a gun. Imagine if he’d been black. We might have another “oopsie”. Anyway, one scuffle with the cops was not enough for Joseph Parker. Oh no, he had another go at them when he was brought to the jail. He survived that brawl too:

Parker became violent again at the jail, where he stood in a boxing stance and challenged officers to a fight before rushing toward one of them and punching him in the face, police said.

A booking photo shows Parker shirtless, raising his hand in salute, with some cuts and abrasions on his face.

Cuts and abrasions. No bullet wounds. Just some cuts and abrasions. I bet he wasn’t even grabbed by the hair and flung to the ground! It’s almost like the cops used kid gloves with this guy. Ah, the perks of being white.

Speaking of the benefits of whiteness when dealing with the police:

Parker was charged with assault and battery, assault and battery on a police officer, malicious destruction of property, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, and a judge ordered him held on $25,000 bail.

Meanwhile, a Baltimore teen who damaged a police car with a street cone was held earlier this year on a $500,000 bond. I’ll give you one guess at his race.

This is exactly the type of situation that highlights the different ways police officers treat black suspects vs white suspects. Many black suspects have peacefully interacted with cops, offering no threat, yet still they faced police brutality. Unlike them, Joseph Parker was an actual threat. He punched a cop which led to the officer being knocked out. He actually resisted arrest. He did all the things status quo defenders tell black people they shouldn’t do if they want to be treated fairly by cops. Why does Joseph Parker get to use force against cops, try to destroy property, and resist arrest, yet cops don’t even fire their weapons at him? Because his white skin grants him certain privileges. Among those privileges is a certain benefit of the doubt by police officers. He didn’t earn that privilege. He was born with it. And here in this country, if one is born with white skin, they automatically gain a host of benefits and advantages that allow them to navigate through life with fewer obstacles than people without white skin. In other words: he has white privilege. I just wish this, example #4892 of white privilege, were sufficient to convince deniers that it is all too real. But while I might be jaded and just a little cynical, I’m not delusional.

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A white privilege sighting

2 thoughts on “A white privilege sighting

  1. YOB

     I just wish this, example #4892 of white privilege, were sufficient to convince deniers that it is all too real. 

    But then the ‘splain’n comes out.

    The most common ‘splain I hear among my IRL peer group is “well we don’t really have the whole story. We don’t know what “really” happened.”

    Of course, “not knowing what really happened” ALWAYS comes down on the side of the cops.

  2. 2

    One set of those examples, black person ending dead, white person not, well, who knows. But when you keep hearing example after example after example, when you keep hearing that white killers with actual guns get taken alive while unarmed black people get killed, it’s just bullshit to claim that “well, we can’t know the individual circumstances.”

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