Speaking of White Privilege

Someone in the last thread mentioned white privilege, and I was reminded of something I meant to post a couple weeks ago. While I was doing my car search, I hit a lot of places to test drive a lot of cars even though I knew I was going to buy a Subaru. At any rate, I was absolutely shocked how many dealerships I went to, just walked in, said my name was John Cole and that I needed a car and was willing to spend up to 20k on a used one, but would prefer value.

Talked to them for a while, and at five different dealerships, without even showing a driver’s license, salesmen gave me the keys to a car and let me test drive the vehicles. On three occasions, they didn’t even ride with me- they just gave me the keys and slapped a dealer plate on it and let me drive off.

I’d like to think this is all because of the club tie, the firm handshake, and the easy smile, but I am almost certain it has something to do with the fact that I have blonde hair and blue eyes. It’s the little shit you don’t even notice about white privilege that makes it so hard for white people to recognize how fucking good we have it and how different our lives are from other Americans of different hues.

The whole experience reminded me of the Eddie Murphy SNL skit when he was in white face and went to the bank for a loan, and they just threw money at him.

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147 replies
  1. 1
    Lolis says:

    I went car shopping with my Latino male friend. He had to have his driver’s license photocopied and we had to have the guy in the car with us the whole time. Awkward. But maybe part of it is we are in a big city.

  2. 2
    greennotGreen says:

    Big guy, blond hair, blue eyes? They thought you were a Viking there to pillage their dealership. They were just trying to appease you so you wouldn’t take the women.

  3. 3
    Baud says:

    Good thing you didn’t tell them you’re a blogger.

    The whole experience reminded me of the Eddie Murphy SNL skit when he was in white face and went to the bank for a loan, and they just threw money at him.

    “Pay it back. Or don’t. We don’t care.”

  4. 4
    Craigie says:

    Yeah. Speaking as a middle-aged white guy, nobody ever gave me the keys to anything without first photocopying my license AND coming in the car with me. Maybe it’s a small town thing. Or the winning smile and the club tie.

  5. 5
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    Four hundred pound lesbian with a beard tells ya she wants to test drive the Subaru, you just keep your mouth shut and hand over the keys.

  6. 6

    Would you have gotten the same treatment if you were Jane Cole?

  7. 7
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    382, sorry.

  8. 8
    efgoldman says:

    I know this isn’t really an open thread (yet), but I had to drop this somewhere.

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    http://www.washingtonmonthly.c.....tudies.php

  9. 9
    Baud says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    That’s eerily similar to how I lost my virginity.

  10. 10
  11. 11
    jl says:

    Dayam, I ever need a cheap car and get desperate and broke enough to cut some corners, I’m a shopping in W by God V!

    Why are they so uptight about a little test drive in CA?

  12. 12
    JCJ says:

    @Baud:
    That’s eerily similar to how I lost my virginity.

    Please spare us the details.

  13. 13
    ruemara says:

    It can be funny/strange to watch, too. I know I was torn between knee slapping sarcasm jokes and … despair, when I’d watch the newly hired acceptable white version of me act in ways that even the slightest hint of such behaviour in me resulted in formal disciplinary actions. Hell of a drug. That being said, I’d say this was 70% small town flavour, 30% white mctrusterson.

  14. 14
    randomworker says:

    @Lolis: Yeah, I’m so white I would probably blind pilots if I wore shorts, and I have to give them my DL and they ride along with anyway.

  15. 15

    This is one of the huuuuuge hangups we have here in America about race. Many whites, a whole shitload of them, if you say something like this, all they hear are “white” and “race” and they just shut down and begin yelling that they aren’t in the KKK and never have been and how dare you call them racists and you’re the real racist (if you’re black) and a race hustler to boot, and if you’re white, it’s because you’re burdened by white guilt and you let Al Sharpton take advantage of you and fuck you up the ass. The really nasty ones will keep going on and on and on and on, getting ever nearer to outright racism without ever stepping so far over the line that you have anything to call them out on. And a few will just go whole hog and begin spewing racist bullshit three seconds after swearing up and down and sideways that they don’t have a racist bone in their body. But the best of them will just bitch and moan about how you hurt their feelings and that Black people will never understand the awful, awful injustice of being wrongly called a racist.

    But the thing is that this country will never get over this venomous legacy until white people are willing to talk about it openly. You know, I don’t believe there are any white people in the U.S. today who don’t have some racial bias. It’s been in our culture so long it’s like a fog we breathe every day without ever even knowing it’s there. Hell, I’d be amazed if there were many Black Americans who don’t have some subtle anti-black bias; it’s that subtly driven into minds and souls. The big difference among white people I see isn’t between “racists” and “not-racists”; it’s between white people who understand and acknowledge that they have some racial biases, and choose to work to overcome those and whites who swear until their dying breath that they’re 197% utterly, thoroughly colorblind and shriek and wail and weep when anybody suggests otherwise.

    It’s also worth acknowledging just how much of the benefits whites take for granted every day are here because Black Americans lived lives of exploitation, terror, dehumanization and abuse for 350 years. It’s true, I never had slaves to do my work for me, and neither did any other living white American. But the system that was up and running for 350 years has lingering benefits that accrue to white people.

    Some of our great public works only stand today because Black slaves built them. The skewed economy that works to my favor is skewed against Black Americans. To acknowledge that doesn’t mean that I’m a sadistic slaveowner; it only means that some of the benefits I take for granted every day come or came at great cost to countless Black Americans. I may not be a racist (at least I work as hard as I can not to be), but that doesn’t mean that I don’t benefit from institutional racism. Until whites are willing to talk about this without getting defensive and pissed off that somebody’s telling them they’re KKK members (and if they’d listen a little better, they’d know that nobody is), then we’re never going to overcome this poisonous legacy.

  16. 16
    Mike in NC says:

    On our several forays into West By God Virginia, we never saw a non-white person and figured there was a good reason for that. Call it North Mississippi.

  17. 17

    I’ve been white all my life, and I’m always required to take the loser sales gal who isn’t meeting quota with me after the sales manager copies my DL.

    But then, these interactions so often begin with the sales gal calling me ‘sir’…

  18. 18
    woopeh1 says:

    All fun and games till someone goes black and doesn’t come back.

  19. 19
    Pee Cee says:

    @Craigie:

    Speaking as a middle-aged white guy, nobody ever gave me the keys to anything without first photocopying my license AND coming in the car with me..

    Seems to be SOP at all the car dealerships around here no matter what color you are.

  20. 20
    the Conster says:

    As a good looking white woman, I’ve gotten away with speeding (Masshole driver) three or four times with warnings instead of tickets or arrests/tasering/shot. Every instance of being pulled over without being issued a ticket increases my chances of not getting a ticket, because (a) I’m white, so (b) I’m not in the system. It’s exactly the opposite when you’re a person of color. The game is rigged against women and people of color, but I play my hand if and when I can, because WHITE. There is no hand to play when you’re poor and/or brown. I just can’t imagine how you raise black boys to be safe from racist cops, and as the mother of gorgeous daughters, I worry every day about rapey cops and all the other rapey entitled men and the crazy “gun enthusiast” open carry weirdo fucktards. UGH!!!

  21. 21
    kwawk says:

    When I went and test drove my car they took a copy of my license, though they did let me take the car out unattended.

    The thing about white privilege, is that while it is true that a white person can never know what it is really like to be black, it can also be said that blacks can’t really know about what it is to be white.

    It’s not all wine and roses. Rich people hate poor white people too. They didn’t hand my mom a bonus check for giving birth to a blonde haired green eyed boy.

  22. 22
    efgoldman says:

    @Mike in NC:

    On our several forays into West By God Virginia, we never saw a non-white person and figured there was a good reason for that.

    Which is, to say the least, ironic, given how West Virginia came to be. (It seceded from Virginia after Virginia seceded from the Union.)

  23. 23
    ruemara says:

    @kwawk: Yeah, and those hardships are so similar. Poor white guys get no bonus checks for being, poor black guys get shot for scaring old white guys by existing. We can’t fail to understand how much these issues are the same.

  24. 24
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    It’s great to understand that there’s a metric shit ton of white privilege white folks (like me) never notice, because it’s how our lives work. But what you describe is much more of a small town, rural area phenomenon than it is an example of white privilege per se. Although unless WV has gotten vastly more diverse since I last wandered through, a good bit of it is indeed white privilege, as well as some male privilege in action. But what you experienced is totally unlikely to happen in Philadelphia PA or Columbus OH exurbs. I doubt I’d have gotten the same results as a woman.

    However, I was looking at a car 20 years ago at a car dealer I knew (his wife and daughter are friends), and it was the second car I was getting there. The sales guy said “take it home for the weekend and make sure you like it.” That was just about having a connection to the dealer – social privilege I guess. I later told Jake the story of my father always buying used cars from a dealer he knew personally (who only sold used) because if there was a problem, Dad knew where the dealer lived. Jake laughed and said, “Your dad had a good point. While we pride ourselves on customer service and hope we do right by everybody, let’s face it Bella, I take your calls.”

  25. 25
    kwawk says:

    @ruemara:

    I wouldn’t argue that my life wouldn’t be harder if I was black, but my life isn’t easy because I’m white either. It’s not fair I don’t think to constantly throw around the tag of white privilege and complain that white just don’t understand, because can’t that be turned around and say that non-whites don’t understand either?

  26. 26
    Tommy says:

    Shit. I have referenced that SNL video a lot and not had a link to it. Thanks.

    I recall living in NE DC. I was the only white dude around. I often thougth to myself wow this is what it must feel like, to be the only person of color (in my instance none) around. I remember a women saying to me “white boy you got no business living here.”

    We became good friends, she always stunned this “white boy” knew how to make collard greens.

  27. 27
    muddy says:

    @Smedley Darlington Prunebanks (formerly Mumphrey, et al.): Ugh, I had a conversation like this the other night. I was telling this woman about these facsimile books I have been reading of the Irish Brehon Laws, and contrasting it to the English system. Or Roman come to that, I added. Sad the loss of so many other cultures sort of thing.

    She first got mad that I didn’t also blame the French and the Germans for destroying cultures. And the Spanish! Think how much they did! I said I was talking about the English in Ireland, so why would I mention them? In any case, I wasn’t aware that any of them currently led the world, America is the extension of English power of that time period, and isn’t English the main language?

    Well, didn’t that set off a tirade about how she doesn’t feel guilty for slavery either! None of it made a bit of sense, all I got out of it is that she’s fucking racist for her mind to go that way.

  28. 28

    It’s not fair I don’t think to constantly throw around the tag of white privilege and complain that white just don’t understand, because can’t that be turned around and say that non-whites don’t understand either?

    No, not really. I mean, yeah, I know everybody has burdens, and it can suck listening to somebody else talk about theirs, since, yeah, you have them, too, but… Well, I know it’s hard as hell to be poor. I’ve never been poor, but I have poor friends, and I’ve seen what they go through, how they struggle. But being poor and white is one thing. Being poor and Black is a whole other thing altogether. It just is. Shit, even being Black and not poor can be as hard as being poor and white, and sometimes even harder. For one thing, others can’t always tell you’re poor by looking at you. You can sometimes slide by without drawing any contempt or abuse. Black people can’t fake being not Black. They never get a break from it, so they always have to be ready to deal with any kind of shit that comes their way.

  29. 29
    Schlemizel says:

    When I was traveling all the time for work I noticed on several occasions that black businessmen were asked for identification along with a credit card, I never was. We were in Vegas one time waiting to pay for a meal & the cashier asked the AA couple in front of us for ID, my wife said “Crud! I didn’t bring my license, just the card.” I said, “Don’t worry, they won’t ask you for ID.” when she asked why I said it was because we are white. SHe was kinda mad at me until we got to the cashier & were not asked.

    Any time I ever mentioned it to a clerk/cashier they always claimed it was random but it was always randomly a person of color.

  30. 30
    Starfish says:

    @kwawk: Non-whites may not understand, but they aren’t in charge of everything.

  31. 31
    ruemara says:

    @kwawk: When I was in high school, my best friend was Chinese. She hated the prejudice she had to deal with. Because everyone expected her to be smart, studious and generally a nerd. I once laughed at her problem, because while I felt it was wrong for people to ascribe any personality traits based on race, I also felt it was a step up from being considered: a dropout, a teen mom, a thief, having people shocked that you’re literate/like classica/enjoy Noh theatre at 15/watch Nova/love museums, don’t know a thing about guns or buying drugs, or get into fights. What does that have to do with you?
    Stop.
    Digging.

    It’s not the same thing and while blacks may not know about being a poor white, they sure do have more of an idea about being broke and getting nothing. When you’re attributed criminality and a low culture simply by existing, by fricking everyone, then you can talk.

  32. 32

    @muddy:

    Oh, damn, that must have been the high spot of your day. What fucking fun. If some assholes would once in a while shut their fucking mouths long enough to hear that whoever is talking to them isn’t calling them a racist, they might learn something. And, Lord knows, this holds for me, too… (Well, maybe not so much the getting defensive about being called a racist bit, but the bit about me shutting my mouth long enough to learn something worth knowing, yeah…)

  33. 33
    TS says:

    @kwawk: and herein is the problem that @Smedley Darlington Prunebanks (formerly Mumphrey, et al.): discussed.

    For every white person who admits that they benefit every day from white privilege there is another who has to say “both sides have a problem” or to put it another way “rich people hate poor white people too.”

    Rich people spend their political $$$$ telling poor white people they need to vote for the GOP otherwise those “others” will take all that rightfully belongs to the “poor white people”

  34. 34
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    @kwawk: White people’s lives aren’t easy because we’re white, but they are not as hard in about 742 different ways every day than those of folks of color because of social, cultural and institutional advantages that we never fucking notice because it’s how we live, and just the way our lives have always been.

    Simple things we take for granted can’t be taken for granted by people who aren’t white. Wandering around an upscale store with clothes hanging off your arm before trying them on? I’ve never been shadowed by store security, until I was shopping with my black twin. So I started accompanying more AA and Hispanic friends to stores as a study. About 75% of the time we were watched carefully, and when there were 2 or people of color + me it was 100%.

    I’d never have thought of that because it doesn’t happen to me. Because my heritage is pretty visibly Western European.

  35. 35
    Pogonip says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead: Where would you like your Internets sent, sir?

    White, green eyes, hair that can’t decide whether it’s red or brown. Female, of the herd-forming variety. Every test drive I’ve ever taken, they xeroxed my license. (Apple tried to change that to, “They derided my license,” which they probably did while I was out driving.). Big towns, small towns, 3 different Midwestern states.

  36. 36
    ruemara says:

    And for Mr/Ms Kwawk: This is part of being black. Considering how much some knucklehead was posting about how we really needed to acknowledge that perhaps some of black culture was at fault, even if Paul Ryan was a little bit racist, but still, why can’t we examine how black culture is to blame?, maybe you need to read that article I linked to get it.

  37. 37
  38. 38
    🍀 Martin says:

    Your age helps as well. I drive a Honda now, but I didn’t for a number of years because when Ms Martin and I were 20-sometings (looking like 17-somethings, because we both have those kinds of genes) and went car shopping, we couldn’t get a salesperson to talk to us a several dealerships, including the Honda dealership – and we really were leaning toward a Honda. We were young, but we were also two incomes living in a tiny 1br apartment, saving for a house and putting 60% of our net in the bank. So we had $20K in cash to spend on a car (a loan would make us poorer, not richer, and a mortgage would save us money, a car loan would not) but we couldn’t get anyone to talk to us. The Saturn dealership was different. They would talk to us because they didn’t give a shit about our income – there was a 3 hour line just to talk to someone. They didn’t have time to snub people. So we bought a Saturn.

    We’re white as an Apple store, and also had money in hand, but our age is what mattered to them. Their loss.

  39. 39
    craigie says:

    @kwawk:

    They didn’t hand my mom a bonus check for giving birth to a blonde haired green eyed boy.

    Well no, they don’t hand it to you. That would be racism.

    You have to ask for it.

  40. 40
    Tommy says:

    @a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q): Yes. Yes. Yes. I am an upper middle class white dude. My best friend African American. He went to private schools. Makes like tens times what I make. His control of language is far superior to mine, guess those Jesuit schools are worth something. He tells me things he deals with and honestly I have no point of reference. He is a rock star but often times faces racism. Just a fact!

  41. 41
    Pogonip says:

    @the Conster: Ha! I suspected I was getting old when I couldn’t flirt my way out of a ticket. Knew for sure I was getting old when I barely managed to cry my way out of one. After that I paid a lot more attention to the speed limits.

    One time I was telling a burly, bald, mustached fellow carpooler about my near squeak and he said, “Yeah, crying never works very well for me either.”. Chortle.

  42. 42
  43. 43
    kindness says:

    Not worth goin’ to dealers in blackface to see if the price they offered was different.

  44. 44
    kwawk says:

    Okay, guys. Yes, I will stipulate that being black does garner you some special abuse in our society. But so does being fat. So does being poor in general. So does being a man of any color if you’re perceived to be too feminine.

    Go into a nice department store while poor, regardless of color, and they’ll probably follow you around.

    Would any of you care to admit that if you’re a black person from an a upper middle class suburb, that your quality of life in this country is probably better than a poor white person from the trailer park?

  45. 45

    @ruemara:

    The comments, most of them, anyway, make me want to shoot myself. I cannot for the life of me understand how fucking brain dead people have to be to spout all kinds of racist shit about Blacks being lazy and stupid and then in the same breath tell us that racism has nothing to do with Black poverty.

  46. 46
    ruemara says:

    @Smedley Darlington Prunebanks (formerly Mumphrey, et al.): I guess if black people would for just once, think about the white people’s problems, and quit whining, we wouldn’t be so darned annoying. Also, never read the comments on a race article. or an equal pay article. I got to listen to the backup colour on the Stephanie Miller Show today, parrot the Heritage Foundation lie that women’s pay is unequal in the White House, plus, they don’t really believe that the disparity is as large as 77 cents on the dollar. These are the liberal male talkers. *facepalm*

  47. 47
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    @kwawk:

    Would any of you care to admit that if you’re a black person from an a upper middle class suburb, that your quality of life in this country is probably better than a poor white person from the trailer park?

    If you’re a black person from an a upper middle class suburb, you have more money than than a poor white person from the trailer park. The poor white person can dress above his income level and carry the trappings of upper middle class status and pass – for a while if they have the dialect down even. But the suburban upper middle class black person is going to be black no matter how he dresses, and will face an enormous variety of responses that the white person won’t.

    It’s about more than cash in the bank. And my mother was the first person in her family who gave birth in a hospital, so I have a bit of an understanding of an unsuburban, not upper middle class lifestyle. In spite of where I live now.

  48. 48
    TS says:

    @kwawk:

    From the frying pan into the fire
    Poor whites have to hate on someone – make it the rich black guys.

  49. 49
    kwawk says:

    @a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q):

    Except the poor people from the trailer park can’t dress above their income level and carry the trappings of the upper middle class on a regular basis. That’s what being poor means.

    Yes, a middle class black person from the suburbs will always be black, but that doesn’t mean the sum total of their experiences in this country can’t be better than someone who is white.

  50. 50

    @ruemara:

    How fucking long is that lie going to fester? I pointed out to somebody I know who was gloating that President Obama is a hypocrite because he “pays women less than men” that, as far as I could tell, this claim traces back to some list the White House put out that lists everybody who works there and how much each one earns, but not what work they all do. I said that if I had a business with 4 workers, 2 men and 2 women, and one guy was a vice president, and the other three were one step below that, and that if I paid the vice president $50,000 a year and the other 3 $40,000, the men on average would be earning $45,000 a year and the women only $40,000, but that didn’t mean I would be discriminating against the women. The argument didn’t seem to sink in, though…

  51. 51
    kwawk says:

    Another way of stating the question. If you were forced to choose would you rather be a black person from an upper middle class suburb or a poor white person from the trailer park?

  52. 52
    gwangung says:

    @kwawk:

    The thing about white privilege, is that while it is true that a white person can never know what it is really like to be black, it can also be said that blacks can’t really know about what it is to be white.

    If they did, then they’d REALLY be pissed.

  53. 53
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    Apparently I’m not as white as I thought. I’m embarrassed that I followed a link to this site, where I coincidentally stumbled on the quiz “how white are you really?”

    But the coincidence is uncanny, as it’s been during this thread. My results:

    You checked off 5 out of 100 possible white people scenarios.

    (Month Python, laughed out loud
    Fishing, went
    New Balance shoes, owned a few pairs
    Dog show, watched
    Dog Show, showed )

    Congratulations, you are NOT white! You’re the first of your friends to perfect a new dance move and never have to worry about what level of SPF you should use. Heck, you might not even know what SPF stands for and that’s OK because the sun is your friend and that’s cool as shit.

  54. 54
    ruemara says:

    @Smedley Darlington Prunebanks (formerly Mumphrey, et al.): And these were her liberal cohosts, insisting that both the lack of parity in pay was not what studies state because, reasons and that the Obama White House was doing it so whatever anyway, back to Obama bad because, Snowden.

  55. 55
    ruemara says:

    @kwawk: The trailer park person can pass, and if they apply themselves, be assimilated to an upper class milieu. I, on the other hand, get surprised looks when I say I have a double degree, thank you and my job does require them. You really can’t stop digging into that hole, eh?

  56. 56
    gwangung says:

    Another way of stating the question. If you were forced to choose would you rather be a black person from an upper middle class suburb or a poor white person from the trailer park?

    Dude, it’s kinda screwed that you think you can put this as a choice.

  57. 57

    @kwawk:

    My words of wisdom (such as they are) to you would be to let this go. Yes, there are Black people in America who are, on the whole, better off than some whites. Yes. I don’t think anybody here is saying otherwise. But even the rich Black people will still have to deal with shit that the poor white people never have to deal with. That’s the point here. There are some benefits–some privileges–that any white person can depend on having in America, even if they never know it. Those same privileges are shut off from even the richest Black Americans. Ask Henry Louis Gates about that.

    Nobody is saying, “Oh, let’s help Blacks and let poor whites stew in their own squalor.” Nobody is discounting the things poor whites have to deal with. But that isn’t what this post is about. It’s about how Black Americans are fucked in a whole lot of ways that whites aren’t. O.K.? People just can’t handle talking about this, it seems. Way back in high school history class one day, the teacher was talking about how vicious and evil slavery was. There was a girl in the class who began to argue with him that the Holocaust was much, much worse than slavery. So, well, I don’t even really know how you can rate things like that on some scale of evil, but even if you could, we weren’t talking about the Holocaust. we weren’t learning about it then. we were talking about, and learning about, slavery. I don’t know why, but it seems like some white people begrudge Black Americans even their burdens. Black people don’t even have the right to have had their forebears terrorized, exploited, dehumanized and brutalized for 350 years without some white people getting envious of them. I don’t get it.

  58. 58
    kwawk says:

    @ruemara:

    And Oprah Winfrey and Will Smith aren’t assimilated to an upper class milieu?

    Hell, you see Morgan Freeman in a movie he’s as likely to be playing The President or God as opposed to anything else.

  59. 59
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    @ruemara: Some people enjoy digging, clearly. And have never seen the Chris Rock piece where he tells the audience “nah, none of y’all wanna trade places with me, and I’m rich.” I was too lazy to hunt it down and link to it for the dude with the shovel.

  60. 60
    gwangung says:

    @kwawk: Now you REALLY getting stupid. Stop it. I REALLY resent having my intelligence insulted.

  61. 61
    The Moar You Know says:

    Used to be a longhaired musician. When applying for credit, we never even got to my avocation. One look and it was done, they’d just observe the formalities and get me out the door as quickly as possible.

    Got the businessman ‘do on my 30th birthday. When it came time for me to buy a house, they still never got to my avocation…because they’d already approved the loan.

    I won’t even talk about the difference in treatment from law enforcement.

    I was white the whole time. If I’d been black I would have been in prison by age 20.

    White privilege is a real thing. The only media portrayal of it that is even remotely accurate is Eddie Murphy’s.

  62. 62

    @kwawk: I am opening a shovel outlet, because there is clearly A customer.

  63. 63
    Suzanne says:

    When Mr. Suzanne and I bought his newest car a couple of years ago. We wanted a hybrid, and I was eager to test-drive one. The asshole car salesman took us out for separate test drives, and he spent all of mine trying to show me the stereo.

  64. 64
    the Conster says:

    @PhoenixRising:

    LOL

  65. 65
    kwawk says:

    @Smedley Darlington Prunebanks (formerly Mumphrey, et al.):

    What struck me Smedley was the prejudice in Cole’s original post. Knowing really nothing about the car dealership he patronized, he assumed that the pleasant experience he was party to was accorded to him because he was white. The title itself doesn’t lend itself to the possible option that this car dealership provides such service to anybody who walks in the door, male or female.

    That is a dangerous way of thinking. It’s an excuse not to try.

  66. 66
  67. 67
    gwangung says:

    @kwawk: And you think YOU’RE thinking????

    Hate to tell you, son, but you’re not doing it right.

  68. 68
    Nutella says:

    @kwawk:

    That proves we have achieved a post-racial America. All y’all can stop worrying about those pesky racial issues now.

  69. 69
    mazareth says:

    I had the same basic experience as John during my recent car shopping adventure. The dealership let me take 2 different cars overnight for test drives.

  70. 70
    the Conster says:

    @mazareth:

    You’re a white guy, right?

  71. 71
    Mnemosyne says:

    @ruemara:

    The way I usually try to explain it to my fellow white people is this:

    Put two people up on a stage. One is my white, blonde, blue-eyed best friend. The other is Spike Lee. Off the top of your head, tell me which one of them grew up in a ghetto surrounded by crime and which one grew up in a nice, middle-class home.

    Now, most of them realize it must be a trick question, but they hardly ever realize that the answer is not “they both grew up in a ghetto.”

  72. 72
    cthulhu says:

    Okay, so I live in one of the most diverse parts of the country where there are pluralities rather than majorities (and the plurality is not white).

    It is easy to not see white, male, heterosexual, Christian, privilege if you are part of one or more of those categories and not experiencing the consequences of such bias. Still it is often in plain view if you pay attention around you.

    One of the things I noticed is that for some time, the brown people at my local Home Depots were almost always asked for ID while I almost never was. Didn’t matter what we were buying, how much it cost, how well dressed we were, etc. In addition, I was also surprised to find out, after having to deal with separately buying tools in the walled off section of my local HD’s and going to the nearby predominately white suburbs, that tools could be bough via normal check-out (and let’s be clear, easy enough for thieves to drive that extra 15 miles).

    That being said you also have to notice when they make a clear change to be more fair: the ID requirements now seem to be applied more fairly and they dumped walling off the tools. Their CEO is a bit of an ass but I do see that their policies have gotten better over the past decade or so.

    I have other example in different categories but the fact is that while we have gotten past overt “isms” in many places, there’s still plenty of stuff that’s not so obvious.

  73. 73
    The Tragically Flip says:

    That semi-famous post a while back on being a white, straight male being like playing a video game on the “easy” setting was a pretty good metaphor. Yes, the game might still have tough parts, you can still lose, but it will still be easier than any other setting you might “choose.”

  74. 74
    something fabulous says:

    @kwawk: The point (one of them) was that it was in fact FIVE dealerships. FIVE. [Your poor shovel is getting blunt. May I offer you another?]

  75. 75
    ruemara says:

    @kwawk: SSsssssssssssssssTAAAAP DIGGING! People, in the interest of contributing to the betterment of Balloon Juice, here’s a picture of a some nice chickens.

  76. 76
    Lurking Buffoon says:

    @Pogonip: As an ugly white guy, being utterly frank with the cop and admitting you fucked up tends to work a lot of the time. No goddamn way that’d work if I wasn’t white though.

  77. 77
    kwawk says:

    @gwangung:

    Considering that almost nobody in the world can afford to spend $35,000 on a handbag, would it be likely for a sales clerk to not want to spend so much time showing a customer a handbag that almost nobody would ever purchase?

  78. 78
    HRA says:

    As I read these comments, I do not see anyone addressing the real reason why some people are racist. It’s taught to them as children by the racist attitude of their parents. The ones who believe people of color are more privileged than themselves became upset when being a minority gave them new privileges not given to whites. IOW put minorities ahead of Caucasians for hiring and education. Did anyone notice the schools are almost at the same makeup as when they were segregated?
    One way or another the Blacks tend to eventually lose what they gain to be treated as people.

  79. 79
    gian says:

    @Schlemizel:

    back when I worked as a retail schlub we were to ask for ID on CC transactions over I think $100, and call to have someone check with a bank on a check over about the same.
    I followed the policy regardless of who was there, an everyone took it decently.

    and it was a stupid no-exceptions policy. when I say stupid no exceptions, I mean someone is buying something to be delivered and installed in 2 weeks. gotta call and wait 20 minutes while someone calls the bank. how about if the check doesn’t clear, we don’t deliver in 2 weeks.

    Last time we bought a car, we all went me wife and the two kids. We’d negotiated the deal prior to showing up, and my wife did the test drive, while I watched the old Disney movie the sword and the stone with the kids. IIRC they wanted to see her license to know that she had one, not as some sort of ID thing. They had hostages.

    anyway, John, I think this varies by region, I’m in So Cal and with easy access to freeways and such, I’d bet they’re pretty much policed by management to get a look at a license – though it could easily be an anti-latino kinda policy too. Heck it may come from insurance companies who insist on having that as a company policy in order to have insurance. (who is on the hook if the dealership lets an unlicensed driver drive without checking the license when said driver blows a red light and T-bones a car full of USC medical and Law students)

    anyway, I think the dealerships around here tend to be policy restricted like I was as a clerk. I think the dealers near COle don’t have such policies and are free to exercise or not exercise their prejudices.

  80. 80
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    @kwawk: Head. Desk. I suspect this is an example of how hard it is to reason someone out of a position they did not reason themselves into.

  81. 81
    Mnemosyne says:

    @a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q):

    I’m quite a bit more white — 33 out of 100. But a fair amount of that seemed to be generational, too. I pretty much missed the whole “boy band” thing.

  82. 82
    srv says:

    God, that Eddie’s skit must be 30 years old and it’s still the most amazing skit I’ve ever seen.

  83. 83
    Suzanne says:

    @kwawk: I would say that race is one of many factors that can influence how difficult it may be to conduct your life. An important factor, but one of many. I mean, there’s all the social classifications, like race, sex and gender identity, sexuality, etc. Also relative attractiveness, disability, height, and so on. It is impossible to look at any of those factors in isolation. But of course, there are so many other things that define us and influence our success or failure. Health, of ourselves and our loved ones. The quality of parenting that we got. Our innate intelligence and our education.

    Weighing the experience of a poor white person versus a rich black person cannot be done meaningfully, because those people are influenced by more than their race or their economic class. And in some circumstances, I would be willing to bet that race is more of a hindrance to success than class, but in other situations, it’s the opposite. That’s the point of intersectional thinking. None of those factors can be studied in isolation.

    But if you examine the experiences and success of middle-class heterosexual white males,as a whole, they have more success and less crap to deal with than middle-class heterosexual black males. The point is, when all else is equal, there is a differential.

  84. 84
    mazareth says:

    @the Conster:

    I’m actually 1/16 Native American. Though for the purposes of this conversation, the answer is yes.

  85. 85
    kwawk says:

    @Suzanne: That is pretty much the point I was trying to make. That there is a lot more to quality of life in this country than skin color.

    All other things held constant, being black is harder than being white, but it’s not the only factor in how hard your life is. It is overcomable to an extent.

  86. 86
    Violet says:

    @Pogonip: The crying and being young and cute doesn’t always work either. I was in college and one summer I lived about four hours from my boyfriend at the time. It was a terrible relationship and we’d argued as usual. I was in tears leaving and cried off and on during the drive home. I just wanted to get home and was speeding. Got pulled over by a cop.

    I’m about 20 years old, wearing shorts and a t-shirt. I’m in tears already and got really upset when the cop pulled me over. He made me get out of my car and go sit in the passenger’s side of his car. He was nice to me because I was so obviously a mess, but there was no hint of being let out of that ticket with a warning. I got the ticket.

  87. 87
    MikeBoyScout says:

    John,
    Thank you for this post.
    As a white male who has had the same privilege as you experienced and as someone who has been car shopping with non-white males who NEVER had the same experience, I appreciate you bringing it up.

  88. 88
    Suzanne says:

    @kwawk: I have been thinking about how, among my age cohort, I see much more class prejudice than I see overt sexism or racism or homophobia. I think most people my age know that they shouldn’t be bigoted against people of other races on account of race or sex or sexuality. But it is very rare for any of my friends to have friends with people are aren’t like them, college-educated hipster professionals. Part of it is that you make friends at school and work, and you’re likely to work with people who have similar education and interests. But with the rise of logo culture and “personal branding” over the last thirty years, the brands one wears become like a dog whistle, calling only to other people who are tuned into that same frequency that you’re on. Not to mention judgments about “trashiness”.

  89. 89
    StringOnAStick says:

    @HRA: I agree that racism is often taught by parents, but I think some of that has gotten worse with the rise of winger media. I was raised to be non-racist in the 1970’s, but then Limbaugh/O’Lielly entered my parent’s life and now they are using the n word.

    My dad fought to have a woman hired in the 1960’s in a non-traditional job (mine geologist) because she was amazingly intelligent, and my mom told me several times how awful it was that the only black person (female) in her high school class was so mistreated and insulted for her race. And yet now they parrot the subtle and overt racist tropes from faux news, and “ni55er” is my dad’s favorite new swear word. This crap is becoming more common it seems and winger media, along with fear of losing majority status is certainly part of it.

  90. 90
    cckids says:

    @kwawk: You have heard the Malcolm X quote about what a racist calls a black man with a degree, right?

  91. 91
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @kwawk:

    I wouldn’t argue that my life wouldn’t be harder if I was black, but my life isn’t easy because I’m white either.

    Jesus. The definition of white privilege is that your life, however tough it is, would be harder if you weren’t white. It doesn’t mean that everyone who is white has it easy.

  92. 92
    kwawk says:

    @Suzanne:

    I agree. It’s weird how companies like Nike have created such a positive associations around their logos. There have always been logos I guess, Izod is one that strikes me and predating Nike, but it seems like with Nike is when the logo suddenly became as important as the clothes if not more.

  93. 93
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q): I hit 30. A lot of the ones that I didn’t were age or class based (Bieber? Nascar?). I’ve purchased clear Band-aids, for the love of Christ.

  94. 94
    Jrod says:

    Why do people think that “I’m white and my life wasn’t absolutely perfect in every single way,” refutes the existence of white privilege? Christ, does the fact that rich people can also get sick and die refute wealth privilege too?

    As far as I’m concerned, anyone pretending that “white privilege” refers to white people having perfect, trouble-free lives is deliberately misunderstanding the term.

    And for the record:

    If you were forced to choose would you rather be a black person from an upper middle class suburb or a poor white person from the trailer park?

    Leaving aside the utter depravity of this question, the answer is “poor white person.” I think Louis CK can explain it better than I can.

  95. 95
    kwawk says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    But there are a number of different privileges in our culture.

    Pretty women vs ugly women.
    Bald men vs not Bald men.
    Fat people vs skinny people
    gay people vs straight people
    atheists vs christians
    short men vs tall men
    tall women vs short women
    poor vs rich

    Just because you’re not black doesn’t mean that you don’t know what discrimination feels like.

  96. 96
    ruemara says:

    @kwawk: Dude. Shut up.

  97. 97
    Jrod says:

    @kwawk: Yeah, welcome to intersectionality. Glad you could catch up to where feminists and anti-racists were back in 1996.

    Now tell us where anyone claimed that white people never face hardships or discrimination. PROTIP: nothing about the words “white privilege” even remotely imply this.

  98. 98
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @kwawk:

    Just because you’re not black doesn’t mean that you don’t know what discrimination feels like.

    No one ever said that. Or, let me just outsource to ruemara.

  99. 99
    Jrod says:

    I know that white privilege is a myth, because I am a white guy and when I stub my toe it hurts. What kind of privilege is that, loony libs?

  100. 100
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Jrod: “If you cut me, do I not bleed?”

  101. 101
    kwawk says:

    I’m making you all a tad bit uncomfortable aren’t I?

    Here’s a question for you. You’re casting a movie and you’re looking for a romantic male lead and you’re considering two candidates of equal training. Once is in the Danny DeVito mold, short, fat, ugly and bald and the other is in the Denzel Washington mold. Tall black, handsome with great hair. Who gets the part?

    If you’re looking to promote in your local business for Sales Manager? Who gets the job?

    Sure, if it were still 1965 when Malcolm X made his famous joke, we’d all know that white trumps black every time. But in 2014? Not as much. Can’t we celebrate that?

  102. 102
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @kwawk:

    I’m making you all a tad bit uncomfortable aren’t I?

    No. You are either trolling or are virtually too dumb to breathe. In either case, the counter arguments have been laid out. Read them or don’t, but I won’t waste further time on you.

  103. 103
    Jrod says:

    @kwawk: Good lord. Again: intersectionality. This shit has been dealt with. I realize you probably think you’re super clever for noticing that blackness isn’t the only vector by which people can be oppressed, but again: we already know that. That fact doesn’t refute the existence of white privilege.

    Are you ready to acknowledge that you were basically telling a bald-faced lie when you pretended that “white privilege” meant that white people lived charmed lives without hardship? Are you ready to actually deal with the real meaning of the word, which has been stated for you over and over and over and over?

  104. 104
    Jrod says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: “Looks like I hit a nerve!” Troll maneuver #864.

  105. 105
    kwawk says:

    @Jrod:

    Jrod, I have acknowledged white privilege all through out this thread. The only point I’ve been making, and being insulted for making, is that there are other disadvantages that people have in this country that can be nearly as bad.

    Growing up white and poor in this country is a worse predicament than growing up black and upper middle class.

  106. 106
    ruemara says:

    @kwawk: And as you have been told, over and over again, it is not “nearly as bad”, it is simply not the same. The only thing that comes close are hate crimes based on sexuality and gender or discrimination based on gender. Being a poor white person is simply not the same thing. You’re just too fucking stupid and willfully so, to listen. Ugh, good luck extracting your noggin from your lower bowels. I hope you packed scuba gear.

  107. 107
    magurakurin says:

    @The Moar You Know: this. exactly this.

    well, I never applied for a home loan, but my life experience exactly. We always thought, “wow, if a long haired white guy gets this kind of treatment, imagine how shitty it is to be a black guy.” And we knew, that we could always get a shave and a haircut and just be another one of the milk toast squares that no one would even look twice at, but the black guys…no way.

    Yeah, racism is deep, deep in the American psyche. I think a big problem is that people conflate the ideas of bigotry and racism. Not every American is a bigot, of course, but every American is the product of a racist society and carries around racists preconceptions and unconscious thoughts and behaviors that are trigger and affected by race. It’s just a fact. There is no shame in that being in us, there is nothing we can do about it. There is shame in it if we refuse to recognize the inherent racism in our thinking or refuse to admit that it is there, because if we don’t face it, then it is impossible to eliminate it. And I am talking about my generation, born in the 60’s. I can’t speak for the kids today, I would hope it is slowly getting better.

  108. 108
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @kwawk: No one has made the argument that you are trying to suggest. I posit that you do not, and I posit that it is willful that you do not understand a thing that anyone has said here tonight.

  109. 109
    TS says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Jesus. The definition of white privilege is that your life, however tough it is, would be harder if you weren’t white. It doesn’t mean that everyone who is white has it easy.

    thank you – the continual attempts to say otherwise is what every black person has to cope with from white privilege every day of their lives.

  110. 110
    taylormattd says:

    John Cole you are fantastic

  111. 111
    taylormattd says:

    @kwawk: BOO FUCKING HOO.

    Jesus christ, you are an awful human being.

  112. 112
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @TS: It is pretty obvious. Poor and white > poor and black. Disabled and white > disabled and black. And so on. The troll is trolling.

  113. 113
    cat whisperer says:

    I can’t pretend to know how tough it is to be a racial minority But I’ve run into many situations where female discrimination was just as obvious & odious.

    Examples 1 and 2: Went car-shopping with a male friend and made it clear that I was the buyer and he was only along as a companion. Salesmen talked exclusively to my friend and ignored me. Went to several dealerships and walked off the lots pissed off. (Oops, lost sale for you, asshole!) Went shopping for a vacation home with my brother. Both he & I kept repeating to the salesmen that I was the buyer, yet again they ignored me and tried to make a sale to him.

    Example 3 (through infinity): Worked at an engineering company who sent any interested guys to draftsman training but told me point-blank that they wouldn’t send girls because we’d just end up getting married and wasting the training. Granted, that was 30+ years ago and they’d know better than saying it out loud nowadays, but the mindset is obviously still in operation. Had a boss who called us all “girls” until I pointed out that we were all well over 21. Got an arrow painted on my back for that.

    Example 4: Bought a lemon truck that spent 3 months of my first 6 months of ownership in the shop. When I complained about it, was told I was being a hysterical female.

    Example 5: Worked as a professional in a government office. When all of the secretaries were unavailable, the boss would bring me typing jobs, rather than asking any of the 2 dozen available males.

    I could go on, but I think it’s clear that women are the “other minority” that is discriminated against almost as blatantly as racial minorities. And that doesn’t even get into the subtle (and not so subtle) sexual innuendo that goes on all the time in both work and other environments. The most savvy of us put up with it up until our breaking point rather than being labeled as “hysterical females” or “troublemakers”. For recent reference, see Diane Feinstein and Hillary Clinton.

  114. 114
    Jewish Steel says:

    the club tie, the firm handshake, and the easy smile

    I let you have the keys because you quote Pink Floyd’s Dogs.

  115. 115
    AxelFoley says:

    @kwawk:

    Rich people hate poor white people too.

    And when poor white people on a whole finally figure that out, we’ll all be better off. As it stands, most poor whites vote Republican, who use their own bigotry against them. And since there are more poor white people than any other group in this country, we all get weighed down.

  116. 116
    Jay says:

    Around 1992 I was waiting for my car to be repaired at the local Toyota-Subaru dealership and was browsing the displays. The centerpiece was a Subaru that had been driven off a dealer lot by a couple of guys on a “test drive” and then entered in the Can-Am 5000, a notoriously strenuous road rally. Despite having no modifications or spare parts, they managed to finish second.

    Subaru, making the best of the deal, was using the car as a marketing device. They didn’t say what happened to the guys, but I’d bet in any case that they were white. Boys will be boys and all that…

  117. 117
    AxelFoley says:

    @TS:

    Rich people spend their political $$$$ telling poor white people they need to vote for the GOP otherwise those “others” will take all that rightfully belongs to the “poor white people”

    BAM! Right there!

  118. 118

    @cat whisperer: I’m reminded of a story of a friend of mine who went with her husband to look at a Mercedes SUV. She was the one who was buying it; he was along for the ride. At the first dealership the salesman at first only talked to her husband until he made it clear that she was the one with the money. The salesman then spent the next hour talking to her tits and tried to talk them into a sedan that they clearly didn’t want. When they finally got around to the SUV, the price was way over the top and said they didn’t have one on the lot to test drive other than the five in the back.

    After two hours of this stuff and no deal forthcoming, they went over to the next town and the next Mercedes dealership. The sales rep was a woman. In an hour they had a deal with a huge discount and they drove off in their new car. On the way home, my friend drove into the first dealership with the new car, honked the horn until the salesman came out to the lot. She hollered, “Hey, remember me? Big mistake!” just like Julia Roberts in “Pretty Woman,” flipped him off, and drove home happy.

  119. 119
    NorthLeft12 says:

    @Mustang Bobby: Nice story. I wonder if the salesman learned anything from the experience?

    Somehow, I doubt it.

  120. 120
    bago says:

    It’s like that time you wear your suit to the Love Parade in San Francisco and get into the VIP room because you let the strippers go first.
    (This actually happened)

  121. 121
    Paul in KY says:

    @Smedley Darlington Prunebanks (formerly Mumphrey, et al.): You see several self-described whites jump in to say they had to give up their DL, etc. Probably true, but non-germane to the discussion.

    If they really are white, they would have their own instances (maybe not at the car lot) where being white sure helped them out.

  122. 122
    Paul in KY says:

    @the Conster: You need to ensure your daughters know that just about any non-gay male would like to do them & just about all ‘friendly’ interactions with male strangers/aquaintances the reason they are being so nice is (see above).

    The few that try to ‘neg’ them are also after that too.

  123. 123
    Paul in KY says:

    @ruemara: hee, hee!!

  124. 124
    Paul in KY says:

    @Schlemizel: It is ‘random’ whenever a black person comes into their establishment.

  125. 125
    Paul in KY says:

    @kwawk: The upper class black person probably can’t get a cab to stop. Think about that.

  126. 126
    Paul in KY says:

    @a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q): I had to check 12 of them. Not White!

  127. 127
    Paul in KY says:

    @kwawk: So because of those 3 multi-millionaires…black people should just STF up?!

    Maybe you need to find another blog…

  128. 128
    redoubt says:

    @a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q): I got eight (Whose Line Is It Anyway?) and I’m definitely not white.

    Maybe it’s just my liberal African-American sensitivities, but I’m seeing a wandering version of “Address My Point Libs!”

  129. 129
    cleek says:

    they always photocopy my license, and i’m never allowed to drive without a salesperson.

    white, 43, male.

    you just ended up with some lazy/trusting salespeople. there aren’t any of those, anywhere i’ve lived.

  130. 130
    Original Lee says:

    Being white, the female part is the part I notice most often. But there are times when the white privilege smacks me in the face.

    1. I’m at the Sears Portrait Studio to get a passport photo. Apparently there is a special for infant portraits, as the line for the photographer is out the door, and every.single.woman in line has a baby with her, except for me. Also, everybody in line is of color, except for me. The photographer spots me, and tells me I’m next. I decline.

    2. I am at the school uniform store to pick up a pair of uniform shorts for my son, who has outgrown his shorts two weeks before the end of the school year. It’s the last day the shop will be open until July, so many items are marked down, and the line of parents with armloads of clothing is quite long. Everybody in line ahead of me is of color, although I didn’t realize it until too late. The store manager opens a register just for me, although he phrases it as “I’ll take anybody who only has one item.” So I walk over to his register from the end of the line and realize that I’m the only one moving. Too late! After I check out, I have to walk past all of these people who watched me get a special time-saver and who are watching the manager close the register again. I have never gone to that store again.

    3. Graduate school, getting ready to start on the thesis, and the recruiters schedule interviews with everybody in the department who is close to finishing. One of the professors comes by the holding area and tells us to take off our engagement and/or wedding rings. He tells the guys it’s optional for them, but the companies prefer to hire “unencumbered” people. The person who got the most follow-up interviews was a 50-something woman who went back to school after her youngest graduated from high school.

  131. 131
    Paul in KY says:

    @Jrod: Well put. I cannot argue with your logic.

  132. 132
    Paul in KY says:

    @kwawk: I disagree on the growing up thing. Seems you can never escape ‘black’. A poor white person can certainly escape ‘poor’.

  133. 133
    Paul in KY says:

    @cat whisperer: I have seen stuff just like that too.

  134. 134

    […] One of the wonderful things about privilege is being empowered not to notice that you have it. […]

  135. 135
    RedKitten says:

    Christ almighty — what is this, the Oppression Olympics? We can’t even talk about how, in general, people of colour get treated worse than white people, without white people bleating, “But what about meeeee? I’m poor, so I get treated badly?” You think there aren’t poor black people who would trade places with your white ass in a nanosecond?

    Have a seat, son.

  136. 136
    E. says:

    I’m a richey-ish white guy with a strong but suppressed hippie bent. About twice a year stop working for a month or so and mess around in the garden or house, wear tattered jeans and flip-flops, and grow a thick messy beard. When this happens, I look pretty much 100% homeless. I often forget this until I leave the house and enter society to, say buy something somewhere. The treatment I receive is demonstrably, palpably, obviously, universally different. It’s just a tiny little flavor of what it is to wear a non-white skin, or to actually be a homeless person. You live in a different kingdom entirely, with different rules and many more fears.

  137. 137
    Kylroy says:

    @ruemara: And the vast majority of white America is happy to oblige you. This is why white people, in the main, don’t talk about race.

  138. 138
    Paul in KY says:

    @Kylroy: Because most of White America are entitled dweebs & ‘talking about race’ makes that apparent.

  139. 139
    JoyfulA says:

    @a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q): I beat you. I got a 3. I think I am way too old for this because I didn’t know who or what the questions were about for the most part.

  140. 140
    Kylroy says:

    @Paul in KY: Not disagreeing. But how do you get someone to do something they have no incentive to do?

  141. 141
    Paul in KY says:

    @Kylroy: You have to give them an incentive, I guess.

    For the dweebs, no incentive, no talk.

  142. 142
    Kylroy says:

    @Paul in KY: Little confused at the second part. That’s the modus operandi for the vast majority of white people on this topic.

    And no incentive, no action is the modus operandi of the vas majority of people, on everything.

  143. 143
    Paul in KY says:

    @Kylroy: I know. I guess I’m saying that alot of them will never have that conversation & will go to their deaths thinking the blahs get all the breaks.

    You can’t fix stupid.

  144. 144
    LAC says:

    @gwangung: getting stupid? That milestone was passed looong time ago. :-)

  145. 145
    steverinoCT says:

    I always get the photocopied license and ride-along, too, and I’m white and 50. I think it’s more an insurance thing than anything else, and with good reason: on my last test drive, I took my foot off the brake, rolled six inches, and hit a pickup that came zooming out the wrong way from the service area (kid driver, hired to help during service event). Glad the salesman was along: “We didn’t even move!” Bumped the truck’s tire, so no damage there: a popped-out bumper cover with a scuff for the brand-new tester. I tried to get a discount on a “scratch and dent” sale, but no go!

  146. 146
    taras says:

    @RedKitten: are you a poor black?
    any other blacks here want to trade places?

  147. 147
    Nathanael says:

    @ruemara: White privilege and male privilege are big. Calling these “privilege” is actually kind of stupid, and a bad choice of words: what this stuff is is mostly rights which everyone ought to have but which are denied to non-white people or denied women.

    Class privilege is bigger: the amount of crap which you don’t have to deal with just for *having a pile of money in the bank* is absolutely ridiculous. Even if you’re just looking at the way the police behave, think about the ability to post bail and hire a lawyer without thinking about the cost. Much of this is again *rights* which everyone ought to have but which are denied to poor people.

    Class privilege for the real upper class is actually much bigger. It apparently now lets you get away with *anything*, including baby-raping, as the DuPont case demonstrates, or murder with a car, as the financier in New Jersey demonstrated. Unimaginable stuff. Commit wilful perjury to Congress and just “apologize”. This stuff is ACTUALLY privilege — private law — it isn’t rights.

    People are fairly aware of white privilege and male privilege these days. Awareness of class privilege among the middle classes seems to be close to nonexistent, and I don’t think most of the lower classes recognize it much either.

    Awareness of the obscene privileges of the genuine upper class is practically nonexistent — their lives are so different that people don’t even think of the sort of stuff they do. Hell, I probably can’t even think of some of the stuff they do, because the last time I was actually around those people was 30 years ago. Being able to get a meeting with a US Senator on short notice for no good reason is definitely one of these privileges, but I couldn’t say what the others are.

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