Perhaps you’ve seen “privilege” explained with the race analogy, as portrayed in this video:
One of the things I appreciate about this video is that it doesn’t focus on whiteness or blackness. The creators made it clear from the beginning that the analogy represents PRIVILEGE in general–and not necessarily “white privilege,” specifically.
By the end of the video, it’s clear mostly white kids are out in front, while mostly black kids are left back toward the starting point.
But that’s because kids got to take two steps forward if their parents are still married…and if they have a relationship with their fathers…and if they “never had to help mom or dad with bills.” And, sadly, far too many Black American youth can’t say those things apply to them.
Through no fault of their own, based on choices their parents made, many black kids (and a growing number of white kids) are starting behind. That’s true.
If the gym teacher is trying to make some generic point about fairness and the differences between well-educated, two-parent families (and under-educated, single-parent families), that’s fine.
But, if he wants to make a broader point about the way American culture REALLY IS, I need to make some adjustments to his experimental race for the $100 bill:
#1. The video wrongly implies that life has a limited amount of money, and the first person to be successful (i.e. cross the finish line) is the ONLY one who will get anything.
In reality, there’s plenty of room at the finish for everyone. Successful people literally create wealth, no matter how many $100’s have been “taken” already by peers who crossed the line first.
For an accurate picture of The Race of Life, the gym teacher should offer an unlimited number of $100 bills, because any child who crosses the finish will get a reward, no matter how long it takes him/her to accomplish the goal.
#2. The video stops before asking WHY black children are being forced to grow up without their fathers.
I understand this point may have been too large to tackle with a short video designed to get clicks and shares on social media. But, ideally, viewers will begin to think about “why” for themselves. “Okay–WHY are black American families in poor shape?”
Unfortunately, people are quick to assume “White Privilege” is an evil, rather than asking whether “Black Self-Sabotage” might be a more accurate term. I actually read multiple comments saying, “It’s up to those white kids in the front of the line to fix the inequality!” But, until we know why one group is more successful than another, we can’t solve the problem.
How, exactly, are the white kids supposed to make their black peers get married before having babies? What can “successful” kids do for the rest, other than giving away parts of their reward to those who don’t make it? (That’s called “charity,” by the way.) To answer those questions, we have to peg WHY people are making poor choices that keep their kids behind in the first place.
#3. The gym teacher should have asked a couple more questions. Again, I realize the video would need to be longer. But it would have been easier to find answers to the question “why is this happening” if the gym teacher had said something like this:
“If you’ve been told by influential people in your life that the entire country is working against you, take two steps BACK.”
Or maybe this:
“If your parents had a ‘talk’ with you–telling you how ‘different’ you are and planting the idea that you can’t trust white people–then take two steps BACK.”
“If you were taught ‘the system’ is rigged and that you’ll probably be killed by a cop for no reason, then take two steps BACK.”
I think you get the idea. What kids are taught at home (and now at school!) really matters. And we should take a hard look at those lessons to see whether we’re actually disadvantaging kids with our good intentions.
Just as an interesting side note, the out-of-wedlock birthrate among white mothers is about the same as it was for blacks in the 1960’s…
In other words, the destruction of white families is about 2-3 generations behind black families, but the trend is still headed in the same direction. Just give Americans another 50-60 years, continuing down the same cultural path, and (I predict) most of us will be “equal” at the starting line again.
All the kids–both black and white–will be in a row, thousands of yards away from Success…
All of them–both black and white–will be unable to take any steps forward because they don’t know their fathers, they don’t know how money works, and they’ve been taught this makes them victims with no chance of reaching that single, $100 at the finish line, so there’s no reason to move.
No more privilege.
Sounds great, huh?