Privilege: Race and White Supremacy

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As a Latina that I am I was brought to the united states by the myth of the American Dream, hoping to find equality, freedom and opportunity. Becoming an American requires that immigrants like me take a new identity, to be able to be equally treated as members of the white community with all rights, responsibilities, and opportunities that American citizens have and when I mean American people I mean white people. The myth of the American Dream then falls flat on my face because it lies when it says that Americans are “equally created.” Once I came into this country I came across the reality that in fact we are created equal but yet we are not the same because our skin color is not “white” and we have distinct physical characteristics. Life experiences made me ask, What does it mean to be white?, What is white privilege?, and what is white supremacy? And I came to a conclusion that white privilege and white supremacy can be described as a right or protection granted, advantage or favor to whites and the ability to take advantage of people that belong to minorities. White privilege means more opportunities to whites rather than to people that actually need it; white privilege is also invisible to whites but not to minorities that have been oppressed throughout the years. The article “Constructing Race, Creating White Privilege” by Pem Davidson Buck explains on the ideas behind white privilege and how it is created perfectly. It begins with the idea behind constructing race and keeping racial categories separate. It then gets into the privileges white people have such as the right to bear arms, own livestock, and even the right to beat any blacks. Buick writes, “More pain could be inflected on blacks than on whites. Whites alone could bear arms; Whites alone had the right to self-defense” (34). Meaning that if a white person hits you for no reason then you were not allowed to defend yourself just because you were “black,” but what if the white men was beating you to death, could you defend yourself?, no, because you were black. Nothing has change even today white still think they have the right to humiliate you because they think they are better than you. I work at a grocery store and I always have to take the humiliation specially from white customers, because people personally ask me if I speak English or they let me know that I shouldn’t be working there because this is a white people store, I am not allowed to defend myself because I will get fire, just like African Americans were not allowed to defend themselves because otherwise they will get bit up by their owner. This article ends with psychological wage and how whites are treated differently in places of business. “This sense of superiority allowed struggling northern whites to look down their noses at free blacks and at recent immigrants particularly the Irish. This version of whiteness was supposed to make up for their otherwise difficult situation providing them with a ‘psychological wage’ instead of cash- a bit like being employee of the month and given a special parking place instead of a raise”(Buck. Pg.35). This also meant that the poor whites helped by supporting the unfair system and made it easier for the rich whites to have control over the labor force and economy. Therefore, the psychological wage “paid” the poor whites because it made them feel as if being white was a privilege; it was a reward to be white and it made them look down on blacks, Indians and other minorities. On the other hand minorities were not paid because white people did not want to pay them instead they would just give them something such as ‘employee of the month’ to make them think that they were important. I believe this country is one of the riches because oppressors were always living off African Americans and other minorities’ hard work instead of giving them what they deserve. This reading hits great points on the differences seen between whites and blacks and the...
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