Learn a little developmental biology »« Why?

A vivid demonstration of white privilege

Most racism isn’t represented by a redneck screaming racist slurs from his pickup truck. It’s the casual demeaning of the importance of “other people’s” problems (Heck, even using the word “other” in that context is a problem.) It’s about letting stereotypes dictate your response to a person, not even necessarily negatively.

You really have to watch this video of a rough experiment in human behavior: white kid trying to break a bike lock, passers-by assume he’s got a legitimate reason; black kid doing the same, shouting and cell phones and calls to the police.

It’s fascinating. Although I’ve got to say that one flaw in the experiment is the time it took the kid to fail to get the lock off…with the amazing array of tools he has in his bag, I would have been off with that bike in 10 seconds flat, so I was wondering why their experimental accomplice was so incompetent.

Comments

  1. carlie says

    The problem is that everyone is utterly convinced that they wouldn’t be that guy.

    Except that they are.

    But they’ll ever believe that they are.

  2. Pteryxx says

    …That’s just viscerally disturbing, seeing people actually act like this. I feel bad for the actor at the end.

    As usual, don’t read the comments on youtube. ‘calling out a white person? REAL RACISM! Profiling exists for a reason!’ yadda yadda

  3. says

    Although I’ve got to say that one flaw in the experiment is the time it took the kid to fail to get the lock off…with the amazing array of tools he has in his bag, I

    I guess
    A) To make it look reeeeeeally suspicious. Nobody just carries all that tools.
    B) To give people time. 10 secs isn’t much to have people react.

  4. says

    I know but it makes it unrealistic. Real bike thieves would dash up with bolt cutters or a can of freon & just be done with it. That gives spectators more reason to make excuses for the thief (well, the white thief).

  5. says

    PZ
    Well, every thief started small.
    And clearly they didn’t make that excuse for the black kid. Indeed the tools were evidence.
    So I don’t think it matter eitehr way. People made the evidence fit their mind, not the other way round.

  6. says

    Real bike thieves would dash up with bolt cutters or a can of freon & just be done with it…

    Yeah, but the people reacting to the sight of such activity can’t necessarily be expected to know that.

  7. thisisaturingtest says

    This is a vivid demonstration of white privilege- Bill O’Reilly says that in the 1950s, “white America was kind of unified,” which “made it easier for society to function.” The usual Billo “engage mouth before brain” thing that he’ll spend the next few weeks struggling to spin (in his “No Spin Zone”).

  8. David Marjanović says

    Real bike thieves would dash up with bolt cutters or a can of freon & just be done with it.

    Or, if the front wheel is where the lock is, screw the front wheel off, which is often almost as fast and doesn’t require any tools.

  9. Pteryxx says

    A couple of articles about this clip (from ABC News’ What would you do? in 2010)

    ABC News

    Bike stealing can bring out racism

    The fact that we link criminality to race is pretty pathetic. In the What Would You Do? clip, note how the white thief begs for a confrontation, only to find that people are unwilling to even be rude to him. White privilege is that overpowering. (“I guess I have to ask, is that your bike?” “I guess, technically, no.” “O.K.”)

    On the other hand, the black thief gets his tools stolen by a white-haired gentlemen who obviously saw Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino.

    The Root

    aaand of course the original clip, referenced by the articles, has been pulled due to a copyright claim. *rolleyes*

  10. says

    Or, if the front wheel is where the lock is, screw the front wheel off, which is often almost as fast and doesn’t require any tools.

    Yeah, but you’re not getting away quickly.
    Reminds me of something that happened when I was a teen and those fast-opening screws became popular on bike saddles (yes, I’m that old): A friend of mine took his saddle with him to the swimming pool because the day before somebody had stolen his friend’s saddle.
    That day, they stole his bike…

  11. Mattir, Another One With Boltcutters says

    The park appears to be in an overwhelmingly white area. It would be really interesting to see how this experiment would play out in a majority-minority area. I live in such a community, and I’m pretty sure both kids would attract some attention, but neither would get the crowd of vigilante disapproval that the black kid did in this situation.

    Angry now…

  12. wackojacko1138 says

    I like how responses to this post are half reactions to the racism and half tips on stealing bikes.

  13. Pteryxx says

    Mattir: in a primarily nonwhite neighborhood, I get the feeling the first responses would likely be direct intervention by nearby cops who just happen to be monitoring the area (who aren’t often so visible in whiter parks) and I shudder to think of how the black actor in that situation might be treated, camera crew or no.

  14. Portia, worn out says

    FSM…someone actually wished the white dude “Good luck.”

    I wish it had somehow tested the reactions of the very same people to the different actors so they had no way to say “Oh, no, I would’ve acted the same if he were any color at all!” Throw it in their faces and whatnot.

  15. dianne says

    I remember a similar experiment a few years ago in which actors were hired to start abusing a car. On one day white actors were hitting the car with crowbars and spray painting it. The next, black actors. You can guess the outcome.

    Two interesting twists in that case:
    1. The people who called 911 to report a couple of black guys vandalizing a car were asked if they would have done the same thing if the guys had been white. They all said yes. Technically, it wasn’t necessarily the same people ignoring the vandalism by whites the day before, but…well, only one person confronted them and called the police.
    2. On the day the white guys were doing the vandalism, one of the actors who was slated to play the vandal the next day was napping in a separate car. Someone called the police to report a suspicious black guy “hiding” in a car. (Because apparently sitting in the seat with your eyes closed constitutes hiding.) At the same time and within sight of the white guys whacking on a car with a crowbar. WTF?

  16. lesterley says

    Many years ago I worked as a land surveyor in Chicago – a job that requires a LOT of trespassing. My supervisor told me that he found working with me – a white, blonde, female – much easier than my predecessor – a young black man.

    When people saw me trespassing on their property, they just got confused.

    When they saw a black man trespassing on their property, they called the cops.

  17. Pteryxx says

    When people saw me trespassing on their property, they just got confused.

    When they saw a black man trespassing on their property, they called the cops.

    Crommunist mentioned something similar on his Shuffling feet post:

    Years later I was working for a friend of mine who was doing his PhD thesis on perceived access to park facilities. I, along with my friend Suzie (not her real name), had to canvas the neighbourhood, going door to door and asking people to fill out surveys about their level/type of outdoor activity. After a few streets, I noticed that Suzie’s refusal rate was much lower than mine. Waterloo (where we were) is not exactly a cosmopolitan hub of multiculturalism, and the area we were in was populated by mostly older white people.

    Thinking back to my traffic-dodging friend, I asked Suzie to go back to some houses that I’d had trouble with – people closing the door in my face or saying ‘no’ before I finished my sales pitch. Much as I suspected, blonde and 5’5″ Suzie was able to obtain consent from a number of people who had said no to me. This wasn’t about how I was dressed – we were both wearing identical t-shirts and jeans – this was about a huge black dude showing up at your door unexpectedly and asking questions.

  18. Eristae says

    I wish I could take this video and ram it into every “I’m not racist/they’re not racists/society isn’t racist” spouter in existence.

    Racism isn’t just overt, conscious, malicious intent to screw minorities over. It’s also unconscious assumptions and reactions. This is why we have to think about race and not just wax lyrical about being “colorblind.” Going off about being “colorblind” means ignoring that the shit demonstrated in the video happens and stuffing our fingers in our ears when minorities try to address it.

    The people in that video aren’t cross burning members of the KKK, they’re everyday people that we see on the street all the time. They’re you, they’re me, they’re our coworkers, our friends, our family. They weren’t trying to be racist. But that didn’t change how the two different kids were treated.

  19. says

    Maybe a bit OT but this reminded me of Melissa Harris-Perry doing a wonderfully sarcastic analysis of polling data that showed that the majority of republicans think that the black population of the U.S. is 5 times higher than it actually is. [me paraphrasing from memory] : “So, when a woman sees a young black man walking toward her then clutches her purse tighter it’s because she actually sees five of them?”

    Perception vs. reality and assumptions often are – by definition – what you don’t know you’re making.

  20. thomasvos says

    with the amazing array of tools he has in his bag, I would have been off with that bike in 10 seconds flat

    OMG, he said it!

  21. says

    The problem is that everyone is utterly convinced that they wouldn’t be that guy.

    Except that they are.

    Exactly. And it’s almost impossible to change the behavior until one admits this of oneself. Because even *after* being that guy, one will confabulate “good”, non-racist reasons for one’s actions. Several examples of that in the video.

    The chilling part for me was the formation of a group around the black actor.

    I have a friend who worked on that TV show. The switching of race and gender is a staple of their scenarios, and one of their big concerns is actual physical danger to the actors.

  22. says

    When I was a kid I had a white friend with a bicycle paper route. He had his bike taken from him by threat of violence while he sat rubber-banding papers three or four times, always by underprivileged youths who, like most of the underprivileged folks in that area, were African American. It is overdetermined why he turned into a racist (family culture, regional culture, etc), but that experience certainly helped.

    The principle that if you were a kid whose bike was stolen in that area at that time the culprit was very likely to be African American and poor was true. The racism comes in when you try to make unjustified corollaries from that fact, like “if an African American is trying to remove a bike lock with tools he/she is probably stealing the bike.”

  23. whistlepete says

    I remember seeing something like this on the TV show “What Would You Do” a few years back. People watched a white guy in a park trying to cut the lock off of a bike, no one said anything to him. A black was next and people confronted him, called the police, wouldn’t let him leave, it was very interesting to see how it played out. Even better, they had an attractive female try it next and guys were actually helping her get the lock off.

  24. vaiyt says

    Most racism isn’t represented by a redneck screaming racist slurs from his pickup truck. It’s the casual demeaning of the importance of “other people’s” problems (Heck, even using the word “other” in that context is a problem.) It’s about letting stereotypes dictate your response to a person, not even necessarily negatively.

    A fucking thousand times yes. This corner of the world, overt racism is a very minoritary view – but the country is chock-full of “colorblind” people that commit racist actions, perpetuate racist stereotypes and endorse racist institutions. Fuck them.

  25. roro80 says

    That is just a fascinating and sad video. Thinking about the power dynamics at play, I find it not at all surprising that in both cases where an observer became very aggressive with the black actor, it was an older white man who was the aggressive one.

    I think the presumption of innocence of the white actor was at least as interesting as the presumption of guilt of the black actor. I mean, if it were my bike being stolen, I’d want people who felt they were safe in doing so to go up to the kid and see if something was wrong then call the police. I’d want someone to do to the thief what everyone felt comfortable and empowered to do to the black actor. And that’s the real rub here — the people who went after that kid and told him to stop it and called the police were doing the right thing. But it was the race of the actor that clued them into the fact that something was wrong. It was the fact that he was black that made them feel they had the authority to dictate what was correct in that situation, whereas they did not feel they had that power with the white kid. We as a culture can watch a young white man doing something blatantly criminal, we can go up to him and ask him what he’s doing, and even when he is quite clear that yes, he is in fact the process of committing a crime, we let him go on and commit that crime. We shrug our shoulders, we go out of our way to give him the benefit of the doubt.

    Anyway, I feel really sad for the black actor, because he’s not just acting like a kid who looks like he does. He *is* a kid who looks like he does. It’s just really sad that that means he will be held to different standards of suspicion and punishment.

  26. says

    It’s terrible, but I wasn’t too surprised. We’re all biased, whether we like it or not. I encourage anyone who hasn’t already done so to do some of the implicit association tests e.g. at: https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/demo/takeatest.html
    .
    What I did find surprising, is how people reacted negatively to a gay couple kissing in public. (And such a cute couple too!)
    I really like this “what would you do” series, though I only know it from youtube. I hope it helps people examine their behaviour and their biases.

  27. oldrasputin says

    Remarkable (if not surprising) video. To me it seems as if it’s not so much a difference in level of suspicion as it is a difference in one’s sense of authority over the other person. I’m sure many of the passers-by suspect that the white kid is stealing the bike, but they treat him as a peer and decide not to stick their nose in someone else’s business. But with the black kid, it’s almost as if they regard him as child or a subordinate over whom they have been granted authority, and consider it their right/obligation to police his actions.

    It would be nice to see stuff like this get as much publicity as possible. It won’t go far as a rebuttal to those who are openly racist, but it seems like a good consciousness-raising device for a slightly more liberal, intellectual segment of the population who are eager to downplay the effects of racism.

  28. DLC says

    I remember a similar scenario :
    Two women. one black, one white. Both of average height and weight, both dressed in upscale office attire.
    In the street, both attempt sequentially to hail a taxi. The white woman gets a cab almost immediately, while the black woman has to try 3 or 4 times.
    Part 2 of the experiment: both women try to hail a taxi at the same time. White woman almost always gets the cab. Even from non-white taxi drivers. In some cases, the cabbie drives past the black woman to get to the white one, when both are waving and yelling “Taxi!”
    [apologies for not remembering where I saw this, but I’m fairly sure it was 60 Minutes. anybody else remember something like this? ]

  29. unclefrogy says

    with regards to how long it takes the actor to free the bike I wonder how many people asked to help him with it since he was having so much trouble.

    how we judge things including people at first glance is very difficult to unravel and become aware of.

    uncle frogy

  30. lochaber says

    The angle grinder was a bit much…

    I’m also wondering if any of those who offered help just suggested lifting it over the sign – there is plenty of slack in the chain.

    but yeah, pretty disturbing stuff. :(

  31. Pete Muldoon says

    As a poor white male please believe me when I tell you that being white isn’t quite as good as its cracked up to be. I’d much rather be a green male. Money talks. I was born poor and now I’m old and soon I’ll die poor. I never got a job through a friend or a relative. Most of my coworkers have been women and non white males. I have almost always had better qualifications and more eduction than most of my coworkers. Stop this anti white propaganda. People of all races act more favorably towards their own race. That’s human nature not racism in any true sense.

  32. Portia, worn out says

    Also, Pete, there are bigger problems in the world than how people treat a kid trying to steal a bike, amirite?

  33. says

    As a poor white male please believe me when I tell you that being white isn’t quite as good as its cracked up to be.

    Pete darling, class oppression doesn’t erase race oppression. As bad as it is to be a poor white male, being a poor black male is still worse.

    Signed,

    a poor white female

  34. says

    That’s human nature not racism in any true sense.

    actually, that’s a textbook case of racism; regardless of whether you can blame it on “human nature” or not

  35. yazikus says

    I recently had an experience that made me aware of unintentional bias, in myself. I was at the grocery store, and I live in a town that is pretty white. There was a new checker (I like chatting with the checkers and I go to the same store so most of them know me), a young black man. I was talking with him casually and asked if he was in town to go to school (we have several colleges). He replied that no, he was from here. And I was like, whoops! I totally assumed he wasn’t from here just because he was black. Just because the black community here is a minority, doesn’t mean they don’t get to claim it as their community as I do. As I’m writing this, I remembered that on the way home the other day a black woman with a child and a stroller was waiting to cross 3 lanes of traffic, I was the middle lane and stopped, and six, six cars went past without stopping before she was able to go. That is bullshit.

  36. glodson says

    Stop this anti white propaganda.

    This isn’t anti-white anything. It is hard to blame the white guy for the reaction he gets. It isn’t his fault. It is a fucked up society excusing his behavior for him while heaping suspicion on the black guy.

    It isn’t that all white people got it made and live on easy street, it is that white people are the beneficiaries of their own skin tone, often without realizing it. And black people carry a greater burden because of racist ideas normalized.

    Your whining about how hard you got it doesn’t change the fact that you are still in a privileged class. The idea is to raise awareness so that everyone gets a fair shot. No one made up any information about white people, or even demonized white people. It is a racist culture, and only be being aware of it can we affect positive change.

    And unless you got some data to back up your assertions about racial relationships, those assertions are worthless.

  37. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    39 Jadehawk

    As a poor white male please believe me when I tell you that being white isn’t quite as good as its cracked up to be.

    Pete darling, class oppression doesn’t erase race oppression. As bad as it is to be a poor white male, being a poor black male is still worse.

    Signed,

    a poor white female

    Ditto’d by another poor white female

  38. Xaivius says

    Pete Muldoon@36

    Racism

    Someone doesn’t understand Bayesian Priors, AKA Privilege. Being Born on second base doesn’t mean you hit a double, champ.

  39. John Morales says

    Pete Muldoon:

    As a poor white male please believe me when I tell you that being white isn’t quite as good as its cracked up to be. […] Most of my coworkers have been women and non white males.

    You mean your poverty means you’ve mostly worked with women and non white males?

    Hm.

    (Whyever might that be?)

  40. says

    Pete Muldoon:

    As a poor white male please believe me when I tell you that being white isn’t quite as good as its cracked up to be. I’d much rather be a green male. Money talks. I was born poor and now I’m old and soon I’ll die poor. I never got a job through a friend or a relative. Most of my coworkers have been women and non white males. I have almost always had better qualifications and more eduction than most of my coworkers. Stop this anti white propaganda. People of all races act more favorably towards their own race. That’s human nature not racism in any true sense.

    ::The Queer Shoop turns away from Pete, aka Contestant #2435687 to face the crowd. Ladies and Gentlemen, arrrrrrrrrrrreeeeeeeeeeeeeee wwwwwwwwwwwweeeeeeeeeeeeee ready to play Intro to Privilege 101???!!!!::

    Pete-
    This isn’t anti-white propaganda. In the context of this post, privileges are invisible systems of dominance conferred upon a group of people. It is (and this is important) not under the control of the individual. Privilege is also not something one can simply rid themselves of.
    To give you a concrete example-
    I am a person of color.
    I am an atheist.
    I am gay.
    I am a man.

    Within the context of those four characteristics, I possess privilege by being a man. Why? Before we progress, I want to make it clear that when talking about gender, there is a spectrum that includes more than just men and women. For the purposes of this comment, I am only using men and women, but I do not want to make individuals of other genders feel invisible. As a man, there are things that I benefit from that women do not. Here are 5 such examples:

    1. I do not have to worry about having my opinions dismissed because of my gender.
    2. If I’m having a bad day, no one attributes that to my monthly period.
    3. Barring very specific circumstances (prison, for instance), I do not have to fear being raped.
    4. I do not have to deal with microaggressions throughout the course of a day that make me feel minimized as a human being.
    5. I do not have politicians crafting legislation that seeks to make decisions involving my body without my consent.

    I do not have to worry about any of that.
    Women do.
    Women have to live with shit like this all the time. And that list above…? It is only the TIP of the iceberg when it comes to male privilege. The advantages I (and you) possess by virtue of being male are quite a bit more numerous. We do not control them. We cannot stop anyone from granting them to us. This crap is ingrained. Deeply.
    I don’t know where you live, but chances are if you look at the makeup of those in political office, you’ll find mostly men. Women do not get to look around and see themselves represented-to any great significance-in politics. That’s male privilege.
    As a male, I can easily see that society treats women differently when it comes to sex. If a woman has sex with multiple men, she’s a slut or a whore. If a guy has sex with multiple women, he gets props, or notches on his bed. He certainly isn’t criticized. He doesn’t find himself ostracized. He doesn’t have to worry about his reputation. That’s male privilege.
    If I get into an argument, or get angry, I don’t get called a “bitch” or “shrew”. That’s male privilege.

    Privilege are advantages possessed by one group and afford them greater ease of moving through and interacting with society than other groups.

    If I lived in NYC, as a man of color, I would face a greater chance of being “stopped and frisked”. White men do not have that worry.
    If I look at the political landscape of the United States, as a man of color looking for someone with similar experiences, I would be hard pressed to find someone of my race.
    As a person of color, when I hear politicians talk about drug testing the poor to determine eligibility for welfare, I know they are thinking about African American or Hispanic Americans. White people have the security of knowing they are not under discussion.

    These are examples of privileges you possess. These, and so much more are privileges you and millions of other white men possess that People of Color do not. And it is not your fault .
    This is not an attempt to make you feel guilty.
    This is not me telling you to change yourself.

    This is me saying that you have advantages that I do not. These advantages allow you to move through life with a degree of greater ease than I can.
    This doesn’t mean you have an easy life. It doesn’t mean you have no hardships. It doesn’t mean my life is inherently harder than yours. It just means there are roadblocks…difficulties that I will face in life that you never will.
    But here’s the funny thing:
    I can be privileged in one area, while being underprivileged in another.
    Remember how I said I am a man and I’m gay?
    As a man, I have privileges.

    As an atheist, I am disadvantaged.
    You may wonder how.

    As an atheist, I have to worry about being fired from my job because I do not believe in magical deities. Believers will not be fired for talking about how god is real.
    As an atheist, I have to search far and wide to find any representation in the media, entertainment or politics.
    As an atheist, I cannot go through the holiday seasons without appeals to imaginary beings.
    As an atheist, I am considered as bad as a rapist in the United States.
    As an atheist, I would have a serious uphill battle trying to get elected to any political office in the US. A believer has no such problem. Despite the tight grip the Religious Right has on the US, Mitt the Mormon Romney came close to running this country. Care to place a bet how close an atheist would have gotten to a primary, let alone within arm’s reach of the presidency?
    Religious believers benefit in this culture in ways they do not even know, because they are so accustomed to the advantages.

    There are other ways I am at a disadvantage:
    As a gay man, I can look at Hollywood and be pretty assured that IF homosexuals are represented, it will not be with any great degree of depth. If you are heterosexual, you can be assured of seeing people like you everywhere in movies, and they will have personalities across the board.
    As a gay man, even in 2013, I still get to hear people talk about how I’m living a lifestyle…that I chose this…that I’m a sinner. As a heterosexual, no one gets told they are living a lifestyle, or that they chose to be hetero, or that they’re sinning.
    As a gay man I get to hear people reduce my desires down to fucking. Can you imagine how that could make a gay person feel? To make them think that they could be reduced to nothing more than their dicks (or asses)? Being gay is about far more than two dicks or two vaginas. Being a gay man or a lesbian is more than just what sexual activities one indulges in.
    And of course, the most obvious, at least here in the US, as a gay man, I cannot get married in the vast majority of the states in this country. I live in Florida–one of those ONE, TWO punch states where I can not only NOT get married to another man, but I also cannot adopt children, despite the fact that I would *LOVE* to have children. Because I’m gay. Heterosexual men do not have to worry about that. And it’s not their fault. It is simply something they won’t encounter, so of course, it is not their concern.

    Therein may lie the key.
    Just because I cannot directly relate to the experiences of others does not mean those experiences are invalid. In fact, by stopping to realize that I have gone through things other people have not and realizing that I want my experiences to count and be treated as serious, I must grant the same to others. Which means that when someone tells me of their problems, I must treat them as serious. I must grant them the same weight I want granted to my problems. I have to take them seriously if I want to be taken seriously. In the process of doing so, I have come to realize that people across the world suffer in many different ways. Sometimes I can understand the ways people suffer, other times I cannot. But at the end of the day, I can see that THEY DO SUFFER. Since I do not want to suffer, I can feel their pain, if not directly relate. By feeling their pain, and taking the time to listen, I employ empathy.

    It’s not about anti-white propaganda. No one has said, or implied that being white is bad. No one has said or implied that anyone should change from being white to being another race. What has been stated is that being white affords some people privileges that others will never possess. And that’s ok.

    What I would like to see is more people recognizing their privilege. I want them to see how they have advantages conferred by society, while others do not. Once they see those privileges…once they see how they can benefit in ways that others cannot, I want them to stop and think. I want them to truly comprehend what it could feel like to be able to move through life easier than others have it. I want them to step, for one second, outside of themselves, and comprehend the simple fact that:
    NOT EVERYONE HAS IT AS EASY AS THEY DO.
    Some people have it worse. Some people have it better. This isn’t a game of “who’s got it worse”. This is about recognizing that your fellow humans are suffering in ways that you are not. As a person who would never want to go through any of the suffering that I see others having to go through, how can I *not* want to try to improve the lot of others? How could I *not* do what I can to help make the world a better place?

    Here’s a list of White Privilege. I suppose as long a post as I’ve written might lose some people, but if you’re still reading, please don’t stop. Most of the regulars have seen a list like this. This is only a snippet of a larger whole, but you can get an indication of the level of privilege you and other white people possess.

    http://www.amptoons.com/blog/the-male-privilege-checklist/

    1. I can if I wish arrange to be in the company of people of my race most of the time.

    2. I can avoid spending time with people whom I was trained to mistrust and who have learned to mistrust my kind or me.

    3. If I should need to move, I can be pretty sure of renting or purchasing housing in an area which I can afford and in which I would want to live.

    4. I can be pretty sure that my neighbors in such a location will be neutral or pleasant to me.

    5. I can go shopping alone most of the time, pretty well assured that I will not be followed or harassed.

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

    7. When I am told about our national heritage or about “civilization,” I am shown that people of my color made it what it is.

    8. I can be sure that my children will be given curricular materials that testify to the existence of their race.

    9. If I want to, I can be pretty sure of finding a publisher for this piece on white privilege.

    10. I can be pretty sure of having my voice heard in a group in which I am the only member of my race.

    11. I can be casual about whether or not to listen to another person’s voice in a group in which s/he is the only member of his/her race.

    12. I can go into a music shop and count on finding the music of my race represented, into a supermarket and find the staple foods which fit with my cultural traditions, into a hairdresser’s shop and find someone who can cut my hair.

    13. Whether I use checks, credit cards or cash, I can count on my skin color not to work against the appearance of financial reliability.

    14. I can arrange to protect my children most of the time from people who might not like them.

    15. I do not have to educate my children to be aware of systemic racism for their own daily physical protection.

    16. I can be pretty sure that my children’s teachers and employers will tolerate them if they fit school and workplace norms; my chief worries about them do not concern others’ attitudes toward their race.

    17. I can talk with my mouth full and not have people put this down to my color.

    18. I can swear, or dress in second hand clothes, or not answer letters, without having people attribute these choices to the bad morals, the poverty or the illiteracy of my race.

    19. I can speak in public to a powerful male group without putting my race on trial.

    20. I can do well in a challenging situation without being called a credit to my race.

    21. I am never asked to speak for all the people of my racial group.

    22. I can remain oblivious of the language and customs of persons of color who constitute the world’s majority without feeling in my culture any penalty for such oblivion.

    23. I can criticize our government and talk about how much I fear its policies and behavior without being seen as a cultural outsider.

    24. I can be pretty sure that if I ask to talk to the “person in charge”, I will be facing a person of my race.

    25. If a traffic cop pulls me over or if the IRS audits my tax return, I can be sure I haven’t been singled out because of my race.

  41. says

    There’s the less flashy but very interesting research by Rubin on non-language factors influencing perception.
    In short, he played two groups of American undergrads the same lecture by a “non-native speaker” (IIRC the person who recorded the lecture was actually a native speaker). This was done two times: Once in science, once in arts, so 4 groups alltogether. One group was shown a foto of a white woman, the other group that of an Asian woman. The “Asian” lecture was rated consistently lower than the “white” lecture, both on intelligibility and content, bit in science and arts.

  42. says

    I’d like to see a repeat of this experiment, with another variable better controlled for. When I watched this video, I thought that the black kid looked substantially younger than the white one. So, although I suspect the difference was mostly due to race, I’m not able to rule out how much of the difference was due to perceived age. Adults are much quicker to correct the behavior of a child than of another adult. So lets have both of our actors be visuallly the same size and age, and the racism result will be much clearer.

    Have they tried this with female actors, I wonder? It would be interesting to see if there was any difference in the reactions.

  43. says

    Ubi Dubium, if it was tried with women, men would keep trying to help the little lady out with those big ol’ tools.
     
    Tony, I must take issue with something in your post. In the second paragraph, the sentence “As a man, there are things that I benefit from that women do not.” should have a line break before it.

  44. thumper1990 says

    Pete

    Stop this anti white propaganda. People of all races act more favorably towards their own race. That’s human nature not racism in any true sense.

    My friend, recognising that I, as a white person, have it easier than a black person of the same socio-economic class is not racism, it’s common sense. And the fact that people’s racism is motivated by “human nature” does not mean it is not racism.

  45. methuseus says

    I was born as a lower-middle class white boy. I am now a middle class, possibly lower, white man. I didn’t have any friends give me jobs, except once when much younger, and that was only temporary. I haven’t had any ins to any good companies. I agree that if I’d been born with more money, I’d probably be in a better financial position than I am now. I would have had more opportunities for education and training. I might have had someone vouch for me for a really great job.

    That said, I know a lot of the reason I didn’t have more opportunities is a lot due to my shyness. If I had more friends and more networking opportunities, I would likely have done better. As it is, I’m doing pretty damn well for myself. I’m sure part of this is due to my being white. Part of this is due to my being male. Part of it is probably due to some other unknown privilege I have. Of course I’d love to make more money, be more secure, and be able to do more for the world at large. But I’m still pretty happy with life.

    I have worked with people of every race, and I would like to say I have no problem with any specific race. (I can’t say for certain, as I have blinders to my own behavior, of course.) I do have problems with people with accents, as my hearing issues cause me to mishear at times. This includes heavy European, or even English, Scottish, and other English language accents. I get annoyed, which annoys me more, because I know it’s not their fault they have an accent.

    So I’m not sure I have a lot of a point to make. I can’t believe someone like Pete Muldoon would be acting that way in this day and age. Especially if he reads Pharyngula a large amount.