Simple comic strip explains the complexities of white privilege

Yes. And while not unique to America, the ability to publish such a cartoon without fearing for one’s physical or economic safety is limited to too few countries.

A thought, would hiding personal data (name, gender) from job applications before they are given to whomever has to do the deciding gets them, help?

OK - I feel bad - now what? Feeling bad doesn’t actually DO anything. The most I can do is be open in my daily interactions. I guess if I ever acquire a position of power, like a manager, then I could have some small effect in my work place. No one will vote me in to office.


It’s one of those cognitive dissonance things.

“Do you believe that all people are created equal?” you ask the American, and he says, without hesitation, “Yup.”

“Do you believe that a person from Mexico or Palestine should be able to become a US citizen as easily as your ancestors became one and compete on a level playing field with you for a job?” you ask, which logically follows from the first thought.

“Uhhhh…no.” says the American, and then thinks up some reason why This Time Is Different.


It can’t be that controversial, can it?

Not having one’s rights trampled on =/= privilege.


I see this “privilege” was linked to heritage more than anything else.

It is a pity that Utopia is by definition something that doesn’t exist.

This simply isn’t true for ALL white people!

For instance, the second panel shows Bob’s grandparents becoming home owners through a government subsidized mortgage loan. By contrast, my grandfather inherited his land from my great-grandfather received – FREE OF CHARGE – 160 acres of land stolen from the Lakota Sioux by the United States government.

That’s right, the US Army drove-off the natives (not all of them, they killed a bunch too!) and then gave the land to my great-grandfather for NOTHING! And my family has been reaping the benefits ever since!

How’d I get a job as a kid? I worked on the farm that our family got FOR FREE! How did I finance college? By using that land as collateral for my loans! How do I make passive income from the big city? By renting that land and through the massive subsidies in the Farm Bill! What happens if there’s a bad year? Government-backed insurance and price-subsidies see us through!

Has hard work played a role in our family’s success? Oh hell, yes. But that hard work wouldn’t have paid off the same without the unjust opportunity offered us by Homestead Act of 1862. And why did MY family get the opportunity live off the land? It was 'cause great-grandpa was a white dude in the right place at the right time!

So it’s simply NOT FAIR to imply that all white folks have had the advantages of Bob in the cartoon – some of us have had many, many more advantages!


In the last panel I could just as easily imagine Bob saying, “People of different ethnicities who aren’t as successful as I am just haven’t worked hard enough! But I’m not racist!”


Yeah, it’s too bad that you don’t live in a democracy, where you could actually vote for people to un-fuck up the system you’re stuck in instead of just not even bother to feel bad about it.


It’s still a question of white privelege. What has changed is the definition of “white.”

It’s weird to consider it today, but even the palest Irishman was not “white” by the standards of the “Irish Need Not Apply” era.


There are many places where questioning the legitimacy of the ruling class can be hazardous to one’s health.


Sure they did - for a couple generations they’re weren’t considered “white” (or at least, not the right kind of white). But that was long enough ago that as someone descended from such people, it would be highly laughable to claim I don’t benefit from white privilege or that these dynamics don’t hold true. And, of course, the groups of people currently not considered “white” were treated far worse back then, so distinctions always existed, even if they used to be more complicated.


I have empathy - but I also have my own struggles. I grew up poor. I know what gov. cheese tastes like. I suffer from chronic pain every day. I had a huge bout of depression and joblessness a few years ago.

I acknowledge the system is fucked up, but no, I am not going to beat myself up over it. I already feel like a big enough piece of shit, I should shoulder the sins of people long dead and who I never even knew as well?

I am going to keep working on me and try not to be a jerk to people I meet. Maybe hold the door open for someone, tip well, etc.


Finding a handful of contrary examples to a trend necessarily means the whole trend is wrong. Right? Right?


Or rather there was a hierarch of “whiteness” with the Irish immigrant still above African Americans, etc.


Find me a person who will ACTUALLY do that, and I will vote for them in a heart beat. Right now it’s between the National Fascist Party, and the Party of Fascist Nationalists. Everyone bought in on Obama’s “CHANGE”, and in most things you can’t see a difference between his and the past several decades of administrations.

The system will change as society changes, and that takes time. Things aren’t perfect but they are much better than 50 years ago, and it will continue to slowly get better.


I think you found the most confusing aspect of white privilege since there is an entire system of even whiter privilege that is more privileged.


I think the idea of Nihonjinron gets pretty close; as an intellectual concept, it is chiefly concerned with the essence of Japaneseness (usually with the subtext that the qualities and traits in question are “better”). As a white dude living in Japan, it came up all the time.

Student: Do you like natto?
Me: Nope. I’ve tried it a few times, and I just don’t like it very much.
Student (to his classmates): I knew it! He’s a foreigner, after all!
Me (to the rest of the class): Anyone here not like natto?
(About half the class raises their hand)
Me: I knew it! You must be foreigners, after all!

So yeah, there’s nothing unique about a lazy understanding of the dominant cultural narratives. The one thing I picked up as a visible minority in Japan was an intense hypersensitivity to it. And I didn’t even have it that bad, since I knew that I was, and always would be, an outsider; The question of my Japaneseness was never in dispute. I can only imagine what the experience is like for visible minorities in America.