Checked Privilege 6

The sixth of 46 point-by-point analyses of the “founder” of the concept of White Privilege, Peggy McIntosh’s claims of Whites having specific and special advantages solely because they’re White.

I can turn on the television or open to the front page of the paper and see people of my race widely and positively represented.

— Peggy McIntosh
White Privilege and Male Privilege (1988)

Given that neither television nor print news and media makes a habit of running, especially as the lead story or on the front page, positive coverage, there’s a great deal of doubt about the postulate that underpins Ms. McIntosh’s claim.

That being said, if there is a racial disparity in the tenor of news coverage, one has to strongly consider that the “privilege” of seeing people of their own race positively represented that Whites enjoy and non-Whites, especially Blacks, do not is an earned one. Crime, especially violent and sensational crime, is far more prevalent in non-Whites than Whites and, at the same time, Whites are far more likely to make noticeable and newsworthy positive contributions to societal discourse.

Tags: | | | | | | | | | |

4 Responses to “Checked Privilege 6”

  1. AthenaC Says:

    If it were only about news organizations faithfully and colorblindly reporting crime, it would be different. If anything, I tend to think black crime is underreported, particularly black-on-black crime. (Kids, gangs are bad, mmmkay?)

    But it’s worse than that – Hollywood capitalizes on the “black men are mean, scary criminals” stereotype and entrenches it even further. In sci-fi TV and movies especially, the most brutish, animalistic bad guys are black. If they’re aliens, they won’t be black in complexion (they’ll have makeup on), but you can tell by the facial structure that the actor is black. As the audience, I know when I see the Jem’Hadar makeup over a black man’s facial structure, that guy is going to be brutal, sadistic, and deaf to reason and compassion. It’s really sobering to think of how our fiction and entertainment encourage such profiling.

    I can find specific examples of this if you like, but it will have to be later today – I really need to get started on work.

  2. jonolan Says:

    Hollywood certainly capitalizes on the “black men are mean, scary criminals” stereotype but that stereotype is certainly based upon objective fact. Black men make up approximately 6.5% of the US population and are responsible for 40%+ of the violent crimes.

    You’re quite right though about the under-reporting of Black-on-Black crime, the violent portion thereof accounting for 32% of the total in the US.

    One thing – given that my wives work in the sci-fi TV and movie industry, mostly directly with the talent, I a fair amount of anecdotal evidence that contradicts your assertion about racial casting of villains.

  3. AthenaC Says:

    “One thing – given that my wives work in the sci-fi TV and movie industry”

    Wives? As in, plural?

    I would be very interested in your take on my observation about racial casting of villians if you’re inclined to share. I would love to be wrong. But to be clear – I’m not just talking about villains in general; there’s just that particular type of villain that almost always seems to be black.

    “Hollywood certainly capitalizes on the “black men are mean, scary criminals” stereotype but that stereotype is certainly based upon objective fact.”

    Not going to argue that, but to me it seems that playing to the stereotypes just makes things worse and sends young black kids that subtle message of “This is what people who look like you do.” I don’t know what the answer is, considering that if you don’t capitalize on stereotypes, you’re not making effective use of the visual media at your command. Maybe better acting?

  4. jonolan Says:

    Wives, plural (though not by secular law), two specifically – one White and one Black w/ some Apache and Scots.

    I’ll see about putting together some data and analysis in a separate post. It’ll be a while though as my data sources, the above-mentioned wives, are out of town on business till next week.

    As for Hollywood and the scary, Black, criminal men – I think their biggest problem is that, if they stop using them, they can no longer tell the real story of the Black Community and they’ve spent decades getting past their earlier lack of doing so. Also, think how many of those movies are produced and/or directed by Blacks like Spike Lee or who show Black men in both the roles of criminal and law enforcement.

Leave a Reply