Talk:White privilege

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Criticism Sub-Section[edit]

I have noticed on several Wikipages (Christian privilege, eugenics, Male Privilege, Feminism) there is some sort of an opposition or criticism sub-section. Is there any particular reason why this page doesn't have one? Would I be wrong in adding it, even if it were to be properly sourced? R00b07 (talk) 15:27, 9 February 2017 (UTC)

Criticism sections bring with them a lot of problems: WP:CSECTION. Some articles might have them, but in general, it's almost always better to include critical commentary as part of the general article organically, instead of in a separate section. That's not always possible, but it's a good goal, and wherever it's added, such content should be held to high standards. Grayfell (talk) 05:07, 24 February 2017 (UTC)
Do you think that organic criticism that is woven into the article is possible for this article? I mean, there is a few criticisms in the article, but for the most part, everyone in the article seems to be in line with Peggy McIntosh, who is cited more in the article than all of the critics of white privilege put together. Not only for consistency, but for WP:NPOV, I believe that a well-cited criticism section would do wonders for this page.R00b07 (talk) 02:24, 25 February 2017 (UTC)
Yes, I do think it's possible, absolutely. CSECTIONS can work, but far more often they introduce bias and false equivalency. If you have specific reliable sources in mind, perhaps I could give you an example of what I mean. Grayfell (talk) 03:22, 25 February 2017 (UTC)
"CSECTIONS can work, but far more often they introduce bias and false equivalency." What do you mean by false equivalency? It's not like White Privilege is some sort of carved-in-stone truth. This isn't a round earth vs flat earth scenario, this is a left vs right scenario.
Anyway, I was shocked to find that reliable sources (or what Wikipedia calls reliable sources) against the concept of white privilege are incredibly hard to come by. Almost all of the journals and newspapers that I looked at seemed to parrot the same idea, that white privilege is real and we need to check it. There was no real discussion or debate, just slogans of guilt being repeated over and over again.
Here are some White Privilege critiques, but it seems that what Wikipedia constitutes as "well-sourced" changes every other day, so who actually knows if this is "well-sourced" or not. - Another well-written piece by David Marcus, an author who is already cited in the article. - R00b07 (talk) 19:02, 25 February 2017 (UTC)
Yes. It is ironic that already cited authors cannot be used to argue against the 'popular' opinion. I for one think an article running to over 50 pages of text might benefit from an opposing view for balance. But that means I'm racist, right!? MrZoolook (talk) 18:36, 16 March 2017 (UTC)
It's about as ironic as rain on your wedding day. If you want to offer actual, specific proposals, go ahead. As R00b07 pointed out, most reliable academic sources accept the validity of white privilege as a concept, even if they differ on how it works in practice. Hunting for sources opposed to the overwhelming majority, or sources which use a non-standard definition of the term, or including highlights of critical comments from otherwise accepting sources, is false balance. Again, if you think I'm missing the point, propose an actual change. Grayfell (talk) 22:59, 16 March 2017 (UTC)
A study in 2004 applications to Princeton, throws up some remarkable stats against White Privilege. Quotes from the study include:
African-American applicants receive the largest race/ethnic preference (by a factor of 5.5 over whites)
the admission bonus given to African-American and Hispanic students is much larger
the bonus for African-American applicants is roughly equivalent to an extra 230 SAT points (on a 1600-point scale)
Elite universities give added weight in admission decisions to applicants who have SAT scores above 1500, are African American, or are recruited athletes
Seems to me being white means you are (or at least were) less likely to be admitted to Princeton, on account of African-Americans being given preference over you if your SAT scores were the same. You were disadvantaged by 230 points bonus, purely because you are not African-American.
This is exactly the opposite of White Privilege. Indeed, this seems like institutional racism AGAINST white applicants. Granted it's an old study, but one of the 'principles' of White Privilege, is that it's been going on for decades. This is apparently not the case at at Princeton University, where being African-American is an advantage.
I PROPOSE that as a starting point, that this study be cited, in an effort to balance the article. MrZoolook (talk) 00:30, 17 March 2017 (UTC)
Where does that study mention white privilege? EvergreenFir (talk) 17:01, 17 March 2017 (UTC)
It doesn't. It does however, give clear indication that being black gives you an advantage over being white. At least when it comes to enrolling into Princeton. And, as stated above, goes against the premise of white privilege. Perhaps if you put as much energy into examining the evidence presented, as you do in just deleting comments you don't agree with, you'd have noticed that. (talk) 19:11, 8 May 2017 (UTC)
Please review WP:OR. EvergreenFir (talk) 19:16, 8 May 2017 (UTC)

The only reason affirmative action exists is to counteract the effect of privilege. Pointing out that AA exists doesn't constitute meaningful criticism. ChiveFungi (talk) 02:58, 17 March 2017 (UTC)

Oh, in other words, we shouldn't allow a single paragraph of example where white people are discriminated against (no matter how well sourced it is), while it is entirely justified in giving over 210 paragraphs of opinion pieces into how oppressive white people are.
I might not be an expert, but I'm pretty sure that's NPOV or Undue Balance. MrZoolook (talk) 03:23, 17 March 2017 (UTC)
"shouldn't allow a single paragraph of example where white people are discriminated against"? What about this paragraph?
Conservative scholar and affirmative action–opponent[113] Shelby Steele believes that the effects of white privilege are exaggerated. Steele states that blacks may incorrectly blame their personal failures on white oppression, additionally saying that there are many "minority privileges": "If I'm a black high school student today... there are white American institutions, universities, hovering over me to offer me opportunities: Almost every institution has a diversity committee... There is a hunger in this society to do right racially, to not be racist."[114]
--ChiveFungi (talk) 16:08, 17 March 2017 (UTC)
I disagree with Chive Fungi, the existence of Affirmative action programs does not and can not in itself prove the existence of white privilege. To think otherwise is to engage in a fallacy. (Alternative fact': AA programs prove the existence of 'black privilege') White privilege is an academic concept and, aside from some areas, academia progresses by testing assumptions through examination and criticism. To hide from criticism is to be intellectually introverted. To the subject at hand: I do not think a set aside criticism section is warranted in this article. I simply do not believe that are any 'reliable' sources in the academic world that we could draw upon. Criticizing critical race theory 'gospel' is not very popular at most 'western' universities. That being said there does exist valid criticisms of white privilege, as pointed out by others above. I support having those criticisms worked in throughout the article as needed, so long as it is done in an intuitive way. Cheers, - A Canadian Toker (talk) 19:54, 23 March 2017 (UTC)

I'm confused. While I understand this isn't a forum, I don't understand how valid criticism of a subject is not deemed worthy of inclusion into an otherwise biased article. I understand the view might not be popular, and that it isn't correct to imply that affirmative action is just another form of racism, and that white privilege no longer exists because of it. And with several clear examples already given in this very talk page, and repeatedly erased, this smacks of bias.

Is this encyclopedia article, or an extension of the black lives matter movement? (talk) 18:31, 8 May 2017 (UTC)

I have added some criticism of the term referencing RS Dr Jordan B Peterson. If you have any issues with this please raise it in the talk section as per the rules of Wikipedia.
I have added: “The idea that you can target an ethnic group with a collective crime, regardless of the specific innocence or guilt of the constituent elements of that group, there is absolutely nothing that is more racist than that…The idea of collectively held guilt at the level of the individual as a legal or philosophical principle is dangerous. ” Dr Jordan B Peterson. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Keith Johnston (talkcontribs) 15:43, 17 July 2017 (UTC)
Is Dr. Jordan B. Peterson's opinion being given as a psychologist, or as a youtuber? Without secondary sources, it's hard to see how this matters. I've said before and I'll say it again, opinions listed in this article should be limited to recognized experts, primarily published by reliable, independent sources. The more contentious a claim, and the doctor's claims are extremely contentious, the more important it is to use high quality sources. Grayfell (talk) 21:47, 17 July 2017 (UTC)
Greyfell thanks. Dr Jordan B Peterson's views are being given as clinical psychologist and professor of psychology at the University of Toronto. I am quoting directly from him, and when doing so the best source available is to quote from him. As a clinical psychologist and professor of psychology at the University of Toronto he is an expert in human behaviour. How can you justify denying that he is a high quality source?Keith Johnston (talk) 07:32, 18 July 2017 (UTC)
Youtube is rarely a high quality source, even if the videos have been uploaded by an expert in a related field. This isn't actually the case though. As an illustration of why Youtube is such a mess, look at the clip you link above: It was taken from a much, much longer speech and reposted by "Bite Sized Philosophy". This anonymous channel has posted dozens and dozens of Peterson clips and nothing else. The channel's 'about page' says "I have no affiliation to any of the referenced channels, websites and speakers" but the videos include affiliate links selling Peterson's books. So is it affiliated or not? This isn't a reliable source, and should never be linked on Wikipedia. It's giving conflicting information, but seems like a plausible WP:ELNEVER copyright violation.
When an unreliable source takes a clip out of its surrounding context, that raises a lot of red-flags about cherry-picking and neutrality. We could cite the original video, but that doesn't solve the underlying problem. How many other things did he say in his hour-long speech to the Ottawa public library? How does this one speech impact the larger topic? We need actual reliable sources for this.
"Human behavior" is extremely broad. Do we include the self-published opinions of every psychologist, psychiatrist, anthropologist, sociologist, cognitive scientist, philosopher, etc. in this article? Of course not. Being an expert in human behavior doesn't mean that someone's opinion automatically belongs, and the way we determine if someone's opinion belongs starts with reliable secondary sources. I emphasize that because it doesn't end with that. We use consensus to evaluate other metrics and issues to decide how to include content like this. The starting point, as is almost always the case on Wikipedia, is reliable sources. Grayfell (talk) 20:47, 18 July 2017 (UTC)

Thanks. You make two points - that the source is unreliable and that Dr Peterson is not a reliable source. Firstly: You are confusing source with medium. Youtube is not the "source". Youtube is the medium. The source is a direct quote from Dr Peterson, which is preferable to hearsay. This is the best source for direct quotes from Dr Peterson. Can you name another, better, source of direct quotes from Dr Peterson that the words which come out his mouth?

You then question Dr Peterson's status as a psychologist. He is a professor of psychology at the University of Toronto who is directly addressing the meaning of the term White Privilege, which is precisely the subject of this article. What else do you need? You have not (I suspect because you cannot) directly address why you feel Dr Peterson is not qualified. Quite apart from that his views are important because there is precious little critique of the term white privilige in the article. The vast majority of commentators in the article use the term uncritically. So this recognises a viewpoint which has a impeccable source, is useful for readers to know about, and is held by an expert.

Please address these two points 1) Can you name another, better, source of direct quotes from Dr Peterson that the words which come out his mouth? 2) why you feel Dr Peterson is not qualified? Keith Johnston (talk) 08:03, 19 July 2017 (UTC)

Those aren't the points I was making, and this is a discussion, not a high school debate. Asking me to name a 'better source' for direct quotes completely ignores my actual point in favor of... a point you assumed I'm making? Regardless, you apparently haven't understood what I'm saying. I'm not questioning his status as a professional, I am, yet again questioning why his opinion, among all the hundred of thousands of qualified experts who could be quoted, belongs in this article. We do not ignore context and rely on editors' opinions to decide who's opinion belongs.
Are you including it because it represents a viewpoint that wasn't previously covered by the article? How many other academic lectures on the Internet mention this phrase, and what's stopping me from adding those, as well? This misjudges the purpose of Wikipedia. If the vast majority of sources use the term uncritically, Wikipedia should reflect that. If they don't, we shouldn't need to dig through primary opinions buried in the Q&A of an obscure speech to a non-academic body to find legitimate counter-examples. This isn't proportional to the academic consensus of the topic, and including this because it's critical is WP:POV and false balance. We do not go out of our way to include opinions just because they disagree. If Peterson's comments represent a legitimately underrepresented view of the topic, it should be possible to find better sources for this, otherwise it's non-neutral. Sources are not pass/fail. Context matters, and regardless of Peterson's credentials, that doesn't make everything he says reliable for every topic he's discussed. Grayfell (talk) 21:05, 19 July 2017 (UTC)
You accept Peterson's status as a professional. He is an academic and is giving his views on precisely the topic at hand. These views are not reflected anywhere in the current article, making it doubly important to include them. If you wish to propose other academics critical of the term feel free and we can assess each on their own merits. A wise man once said "It's almost always better to include critical commentary as part of the general article organically, instead of in a separate section." Unfortunately not only have you spent your time closing down the idea of a critique section (a concept supported by wikipedia, but not by you), you have also spent time removing critical commentary altogether. Your opinion of Peterson's "reliability" on this subject suggests the real reason you object to this reference is because you disagree with him. Thats fine, but its not a good enough reason to remove his opinion.Keith Johnston (talk) 09:04, 20 July 2017 (UTC)
The lack of inclusion of his view absolutely doesn't make this more important. Why would it? I have complaints about how this is currently handled, but the sources used are all, in some way, better-quality than the ones you are proposing. Without sources which at least meet this bare-minimum, this is a waste of time. Verifiability does not guarantee inclusion. Grayfell (talk) 10:27, 20 July 2017 (UTC)
I am concerned that the sources are cherry picked. There is a circularity to the argument about the sources which is leading to bias and an almost total lack of critique of this theory. Essentially the sources must be published academics who are experts in fields such as Ethnic Studies for example. However, it is unlikely that academics who are critical of the entire basis of the theory would become Ethnic Studies Professors. Therefore critical sources are denied because they are not "experts". What's more repeated attempts by editors to incorporate or invite critique have been denied (see the full archive) by reference to wikipedia guidelines which do not exist. There is no rule which says you cannot have a critique section.

After reading the full archive I regret can now see there is no further point in pursuing this discussion with Greyfell. I am taking this to the wider communityKeith Johnston (talk) 10:58, 20 July 2017 (UTC)

can there be a criticism of the theory section?[edit]

Can there be at least a criticism section with actual issues with the theory? Kekistsni migrate (talk) 13:55, 15 May 2017 (UTC)

Sure, as long as it is properly referenced. Carptrash (talk) 14:18, 15 May 2017 (UTC)
I have added a criticism section. Please refer to this talk section if you disagree with this or the content as per the rules of wikipedia.Keith Johnston (talk) 16:08, 17 July 2017 (UTC)
I have changed the section from Criticism to Critiques. The reason I have done this is that it is in line with these guidelines from wikipedia:
Articles on artists and works by artists often include material describing the opinions of critics, peers, and reviewers. Although the term "criticism" can, in that context, include both positive and negative assessment, the word "Criticism" should be avoided in section titles because it may convey a negative connotation to many readers. Alternative section titles which avoid a negative connotation include "Reception", "Reviews", "Responses", "Reactions", "Critiques", and "Assessments". Keith Johnston (talk) 16:12, 17 July 2017 (UTC)
The reasons discussed at length in this talk page's history for avoiding a WP:CSECTION are not based only on the negative connotations of 'criticism'. They are also about due weight and proportionally representing the debate. If the opinion of Fredrik deBoer (nowhere does the Washington Post op-ed say he's an assessment manager, by the way) is worth including twice in two different sections, it should be supported by more than just his own op-ed. This is the problem with CSECTIONs. They use organizational tricks to emphasize criticism while also removing it from important context. Grayfell (talk) 21:35, 17 July 2017 (UTC)
Ok I have some sympathy for this viewpoint. Even though technically, Wikipedia, allows for alternative section titles. I think you can make the equal and opposite point that not including a Critique section suggest the concept is universally accepted which it is not. However, lets put that to one side for the moment. Even assuming I agreed I still do not believe this would justify removing Dr Jordan B Peterson's comments, it would only justify moving them to an appropriate section. If you cannot find an appropriate section then this would justify creating a "Critique" section.Keith Johnston (talk) 07:39, 18 July 2017 (UTC)

The term "white" is not in used as a racial classification in most western countries[edit]

I've never seen the term white people used in my native language outside of the context of covering american politics in the news. The first sentence should be changed to reflect the use as described in the article about white people. I suggest the following change:

"White privilege (or white skin privilege) is a term for societal privileges that benefit people identified as white in multiracial societies." — Preceding unsigned comment added by 24421p (talkcontribs) 07:53, 9 June 2017 (UTC)

Wikipedia doesn't use original research, such as first-hand observation. Grayfell (talk) 06:38, 14 July 2017 (UTC)
How would I references to something that does not exist? The sentence "(...) people identified as white in Western countries" is objectively false, and contradicts the Wikipedia article about white people. This "identification" is not in use in most western countries. For instance, in the German article about "white people" it says in the first sentence that this racial classifier is not used. Other than that there are almost no lengthy Wikipedia articles about "white people" in any non-English western language. Most European countries use the terms ethnic German, or ethnic French, when including other Europeans the discrimination western/non-western is sometimes used. 24421p (talk) 12:53, 19 July 2017 (UTC)
I think I see what you are saying. The language is ambiguous. It could have two different meanings:
  • Western countries are where people are identified as white and where they have privileges
  • Some people are identified as white. These people have privileges in Western countries.
Does that make sense? In practice the difference is negligible, but I believe the latter is the intended meaning. Either way, your proposal doesn't actually fix this problem because the ambiguity is still there.
This concept specifically applies to societies which "mask racial inequality". Regardless of how frequently a country uses the term 'white', the underlying concept still exists in some form, and the term 'white privilege' is still used by sources to apply to that concept. To put it another way, multiracial societies aren't the only places where white privilege is applied, regardless of the language used.
As for sources, information must come from outside of Wikipedia to be verifiable. To avoid circular referencing other Wikipedia articles are not reliable. If those other Wikipedia articles contain sources which discuss white privilege, the sources could be used here. Grayfell (talk) 20:26, 19 July 2017 (UTC)
Thank you. I agree that my interpretation might not be the intended meaning. The problem with the second interpretation is that there are also non-western countries with a white population, e.g. Argentina, Brasil and South Africa. I suppose there could exist white privilege in those countries as well. From my understanding the term "white" as a classifier is used in countries with a composite European population. Examples of those are USA, Canada, Argentina and Brasil. The articles about white people (in multiple languages) have subsections about these countries.
I am not suggesting that "white privilege" does not exist in European countries. But I do not believe that "white" is commonly used in academic papers either (in said countries). This is a credible source from Norwegian research universities:
It says (my translation):
"In the UN's first declaration of race and racism from 1950, it is stated that national, cultural, religious, geographical and linguistic groups are mistakenly mentioned as race, and that it would be better instead to use the therm "ethnic groups". Other terms suggested is "people" and "geographical variant".
This guideline is consistent with what I have mentioned earlier. Perhaps then it is better to remove the last part of the sentence all together, and so that the result would be this:
"White privilege (or white skin privilege) is a term for societal privileges that benefit people identified as white." 24421p (talk) 00:41, 20 July 2017 (UTC)

Do Jews have "White Privilege"?[edit]

I see this question thrown around a lot online and came to Wikipedia because it is a reliable source of information. I read the whole article and did not find one mention of the word "jew". I think it would IMPROVE THE ARTICLE if Wikipedia answered the question whether or not Jews are included in the group that has "White Privilege" and if so, does this mean that Wikipedia considers Jews to be White, and not Jewish.

If Jews are not considered white, and given that they have a disproportionate income (about 2% of the population make up half of the top 1% of income earners in the US), would it be fair to address the privileged status of Jews as something separate from whites ("Jewish Privilege"), or should they be considered part of the group that has "White Privilege"?

Also I note there isn't a "Controversy" section and wonder why this is. Anytime any article makes broad and sweeping statements about race, there is always a "Controversy" section, but in the case of the White Race, it seems that making the claim that they have some kind of privilege goes without any disagreement whatsoever. If there were an article about "Black Privilege" describing how Affirmative Action programs are institutionally racist and allocating community resources and opportunities to a class of people for no other reason than their race, I'm certain there would be a "Controversy" section.2A03:1B20:4:F011:0:0:0:20E (talk) 20:39, 16 July 2017 (UTC)

"Privilege" is not intended to be a catch-all for things that benefit some members of a group. The existence of wealthy members of a group doesn't diminish privilege as it applies to another (overlapping) group. If Jews are disproportionately represented in finance, that might have something do with with centuries of history in finance. Centuries of history also influence white people's status in society and how they are perceived by both white people and non-white people. One way this is discussed by academics is through the concept of 'white privilege'.
Wikipedia reflects reliable sources, but the project doesn't 'consider' Jews to be white or non-white beyond what reliable sources support. There is no widely accepted pass/fail test for whiteness, because "white" is a social construct with shifting boundaries. It's an important concept, but it's not a fixed one, nor is it well supported by biology. There are no agreed upon rules for who is and is not white, so it must be judged from context. As a religion, there is no limitation on white or non-white people being Jewish. As an ethnicity, the whiteness of Jews and other Semitic people is debated within those communities, and any applications of the concept of white privilege to Jewish groups would require a frame of reference.
There is no controversy section because those are discouraged on Wikipedia. Regardless, to put it very simply, the concept itself is not controversial, only how it is applied is controversial, and only among a relatively narrow sample of sources. This has been discussed on this talk page many, many times before. You can review the talk pages archives, linked above, for more on this. Grayfell (talk) 22:16, 16 July 2017 (UTC)
1) Other Articles have "Controversy" sections. What makes those Articles with "discouraged" Controversy sections different than this one? 2) While I appreciate your response, the Article doesn't even mention Jews. I'm not asking for a personal explanation, as Wikipedia is not a forum. I'm suggesting that we IMPROVE THE ARTICLE by including some information explaining how Jews either are, or are not included into the class of "White". Failing to do this makes the entirety of this Article and anti-white hit piece, and therefore racist. Wikipedia is not censored, and yet I sense great reluctance to "go there". I find it difficult to believe that not a single reliable source can be found on how Jews either fit in, or do not fit in, to this category of people having White Privilege.2A03:1B20:4:F011:0:0:0:19E (talk) 23:01, 16 July 2017 (UTC)
@Grayfell: Don't feed the animals. Carptrash (talk) 22:42, 16 July 2017 (UTC)
@Carptrash: No personal attacks please.Jacona (talk) 21:14, 17 July 2017 (UTC)
@JaconaFrere: You feel that I am attacking someone? Surely not @Grayfell: ? Carptrash (talk) 00:31, 18 July 2017 (UTC)
I didn't take it as an attack. Regardless of how useful or not my comments were, the IP was trying to shoe-horn antisemitic stereotypes into this article to prove a poorly disguised point that was totally unsupported by sources. No point in pretending that's helpful. Grayfell (talk) 01:03, 18 July 2017 (UTC)
Carptrash, calling other editors animals is clearly not civil.Jacona (talk) 08:29, 19 July 2017 (UTC)
Fine. Next time it will be "Please Don't Feed the _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _s" and folks can fill in the blanks with what ever they want. You say, @JaconaFrere: (hard to be sure since your comment is not signed) that you've been around wikipedia for a while. So couldn't you tell where that posting was going? Do we have to let it take root, grow, blossom and then bloom before responding? Carptrash (talk) 21:31, 18 July 2017 (UTC)
Carptrash, when is it OK to dehumanize people?Jacona (talk) 08:29, 19 July 2017 (UTC)
For some people (opinion) that's a step in a better direction. Carptrash (talk) 16:20, 19 July 2017 (UTC)

RfC about creating a "Reception" section[edit]

In this context I am using "Reception" as a neutral synonym for critique/criticism. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Keith Johnston (talkcontribs) 11:23, 20 July 2017 (UTC)


Threaded discussion[edit]

  • "Reception" is usually used when something new is introduced. The concept of white privilege is more than 80 years old, and something tells me that you have no intention of adding 80-year-old sources that discuss the concept. This seems like a not-very-subtle way of adding a criticism section. — MShabazz Talk/Stalk 12:29, 20 July 2017 (UTC)

Malik Shabazz You are quite correct. It was an error on my part to propose the word Reception. I do mean a Critique section. My intention was to chose a word which is neutral. The wikipedia essay on criticism advises to use the word Critique rather than criticism. Let me close this discussion and begin a new threat with the correct wording. Keith Johnston (talk) 17:01, 20 July 2017 (UTC)

RfC should this article contain a "Critique section"[edit]

RfC should this article contain a "Critique" section? Keith Johnston (talk) 17:11, 20 July 2017 (UTC)

Survey 2[edit]

What exactly would be in the section? If there is enough materials for such a section then let us start collecting them here. Carptrash (talk) 17:47, 20 July 2017 (UTC)

  • Oppose. As it's currently drafted, the criticism section is far too long (23 paragraphs split up into 7 subsections!) and it appears to lean heavily on the writings of people who don't actually know what white privilege is. Evolution has a "Social and cultural responses" section which manages to sum up the ideological opposition in 3 paragraphs - perhaps that would be a good model to follow since we seem hard-pressed to find any intelligent opposition to the concept. --ChiveFungi (talk) 17:13, 23 July 2017 (UTC)

@ChiveFung Agree that all drafts can be trimmed. Many of the RS refer to popular usage and criticism although some anticipate this by attacking the concepts behind the theory as inherently wooly, and therefore cannot be dismissed as mere ignorance. Again without specific criticism of the RS I cannot defend it.

  • Oppose. The existing "Contrasting concepts" section already contains descriptions of serious scholarly critiques. What is proposed here seems to me to be a trawl of every possible opinion piece, mostly by writers who are at best opining outside their area of expertise. William Avery (talk) 17:11, 23 July 2017 (UTC)

@William Avery thanks, we can debate RS. However if the existing section entitled "Contrasting Concepts" is intended to be a repository of critique then it fails because a) the title does not suggest critique but rather contrast, which has a different meaning. b) Does not offer any insight into popular usage and criticism (see RS below) c) Does not adequately represent the seriousness of Arnesen's critique of the scholarship

You are now bludgeoning. I can't see it ending well. William Avery (talk) 20:01, 23 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose What I have looked at, and judging from the summaries, this stuff seems like a series of strawman arguments not really dealing with what the idea of white privilege is. I am wondering if perhaps the concept should be limited to the United States, though I believe it has useful application in much of the rest of the white world. Carptrash (talk) 17:24, 23 July 2017 (UTC)

@Carptrash thanks, please be specific in relation to RS. I cannot defend "stuff" but I can make a case for the RS as a) popular usage and criticism and b) academic criticism not currently covered or represented in the article.

So in section 1 I read ". . . ... argues privilege has become “the word and concept of our age . . . our era’s number one insult.” What BS is that? Does the word appear here Unparliamentary language?. Is it worse than the N word? The C word, no. no this is just rhetoric from someone who probably does not understand the idea of what White privilege is. And most of the "stuff" you have posted here seems to me to be like that. You have obviously, to me, taken a lot of time putting this together and I am not willing to take that much time to argue with it. This idea of whites huddled in groups, being told that they have to publicly denounce themselves for their whiteness, or some sort of neo-Marxists groups (and here i will state that I am not, nor have I ever been a member of the Communist Party) are directing vast portions of American society to do this, , or being shut up because they, as whites, are privileged whites is just fantasy. And if someone is on occasion told to shut up because they are white, perhaps it would do them well to ponder just what that might be about. 20:41, 23 July 2017 (UTC)Carptrash (talk)
  • Oppose Nonsensical "criticism" from people who, for the most part, don't appear to understand what the theory of white privilege is. A classic case of WP:FALSEBALANCE. — MShabazz Talk/Stalk 19:58, 23 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Comment. Insofar as the question is literally just whether there should be a "Critique" section in the article, it's not clear to me that the "Contrasting concepts" section couldn't be renamed "Criticism" or "Critique." However, whether the specific proposed text, or anything substantially like it, would be appropriate is another matter. I agree with various "oppose" voters that the proposed text has serious issues with WP:FALSEBALANCE. All of the criticisms that it cites come from op-eds and the like, not from peer reviewed scholarship. There's no indication that any of these arguments are significant enough to merit inclusion alongside the scholarly sources already in the article. Lord Mondegreen (talk) 01:31, 24 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose the smattering of sections proposed below. I think a critique/criticism section would be fine, but not what has been proposed. The sources provided are mostly opinion pieces by people whose opinions may not be notable. As said above, this appears to be an issue of FALSEBALANCE. That said, I'd like to see a basic critique/criticism section which includes critiques of "white passing privilege", how white privilege takes the focus individual oppressive behaviors, and how its original conception lacks an intersectional perspective. This could be done with the colorblind and "reverse racism" critiques fairly easily. We need to find a few strong sources with notable opinions though. EvergreenFir (talk) 03:29, 24 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose inclusion of the material as written below: We'd want concise, notable, well sourced stuff, not huge essays from everybody and their racist mother. PeterTheFourth (talk) 04:29, 24 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Support. The criticism exists, and it is voluminous. The critics don't have to understand the theory or be nice people to be noteworthy.Jacona (talk) 10:37, 24 July 2017 (UTC)
    • That's simply not true. We don't include "criticism" from people who don't know what the hell they're talking about. I'm sure our various articles about evolution include most of the arguments and objections that have been raised against it, but they don't include the common argument that "it's just a theory" because that "criticism" indicates a complete ignorance about what a scientific theory is. — MShabazz Talk/Stalk 12:32, 24 July 2017 (UTC)
      • MShabazz This opinion "that the critics dont understand the theory" has been on the of central arguments used to deny the publication of RS on this page. It is a fallacy as it is original research WP:NOR. We should only refer to RS opinion that the arguments are grounded in ignorance when we have RS which demonstrate this (as one editor does below). We can then include that RS as a response to criticism. However, a close reading of the criticisms will reveal that RS also have a response to this: that in practice the theory develops a critical momentum of its own - see Taonga Leslie, Privilism: When Privilege becomes an insult: "A little awareness of the privileges we are allotted by society is a good thing. It helps us to empathize with others who have not shared our advantages. However, when left uncontrolled, awareness of our privilege can quickly transform into a new form of prejudice. Instead of using privilege as a tool to understand different perspectives, too often we use it to silence and shame our opponents into submission".See - Keith Johnston (talk) 17:20, 24 July 2017 (UTC)
        • I agree that we shouldn't base an assessment of a source's reliability on the source's content; otherwise you just end up with an article repeating the POV of whoever is assessing the sources. But we should consider factors like place of publication and editorial process. Are any of these sources from peer-reviewed academic publishers? Lord Mondegreen (talk) 19:00, 24 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose - The proposal is rather unclear, particularly in how it might differ from the existing Contrasting concepts. As a general principle while it is somewhat appropriate to bring in opposing viewpoints, an article should primarily be talking about the topic itself and why it is important, has supporters, etc. To extent that there are contrarian viewpoints, those can be briefly mentioned but any lengthy coverage of those should be in other articles. Perhaps re-organizing the content here may be appropriate but adding additional lengthy discussions probably is not. -- MC

Threaded discussion 2[edit]

There is very little critique of the theory of White Privilege in this article, and what there is is limited to technical debates within academia, not the concept as a whole. Nevertheless, outside very limited academic circles, the theory is contentious. This should be reflected in the article. While in theory critique can be woven into the body of the article, in practice this has not happened. A Critique section would bring balance to this article, which is my view is currently little better than propaganda for neo marxist postmodernist theories.Keith Johnston (talk) 17:11, 20 July 2017 (UTC)

What specific criticisms do you think should be included in the article? Could you briefly sumarize them, including links to the sources for them? --ChiveFungi (talk) 17:47, 20 July 2017 (UTC)
Happy to, can I also ask others to do the same?

That the term is meaningless and harmful to miniorities

That its legally-codified racism

University of Toronto Psychology Professor Dr Jordan Peterson has stated that use of the term "White Privilege" is itself racist, noting: “The idea that you can target an ethnic group with a collective crime, regardless of the specific innocence or guilt of the constituent elements of that group, there is absolutely nothing that is more racist than that…The idea of collectively held guilt at the level of the individual as a legal or philosophical principle is dangerous. ” 52.03 onwards

That there is significant controversy about the term outside of a small number of academics. Writing in Canada's National Post, Chris Selley, stated that Jordan Peterson's opponents had: “underestimated the fury being inspired by modern preoccupations like white privilege and cultural appropriation, and by the marginalization, shouting down or outright cancellation of other viewpoints in polite society’s institutions.”

Sadly, I can assure you none of these sources will be deemed acceptable by the editors who habitually police this page, hence the request for outside editorial input. I would encourage others to post well sourced critiques.Keith Johnston (talk) 19:00, 20 July 2017 (UTC)

I can't see adding as legitimate criticism complaints that indicate the author or speaker has no clue what white privilege is (or is alleged to be, if you prefer). Legally codified racism? Where has white privilege been legally codified, and isn't the author confusing criticism of white privilege with the privilege itself? The use of the term is racist? What kind of moron said that, somebody who thinks any discussion of race is racist? — MShabazz Talk/Stalk 19:19, 20 July 2017 (UTC)
@MShabazz I wouldn't focus on the summaries, which I have not drafted for publication, just the sources.
More sources:
Here is a NYT article quoting real people concerned that the term is racist
Daily Beast article questioning who benefits from propagating teaching of white privilege
That privilege is a political construct
That white privilege is a myth
How the privilege theory destroys equality
The book The Perils of “Privilege” Why Injustice Can’t Be Solved By Accusing Others of Advantage By Phoebe Maltz Bovy. 'A new book argues that accusing people of unearned advantages does nothing to address inequality -- and may only make things worse.' Link to review
Conservatives like Andrew Sullivan, Charles Murray, and Tom Nichols position white privilege jargon as the decadent symptom of moral decline, evidence of identity politics run amok.
Jonathan Chait
And remember, you don't have to agree with any of these critics. you just have to acknowledge them through a critique section.Keith Johnston (talk) 20:11, 20 July 2017 (UTC)
One issues is that a fair number of these sources are opinions of individuals that would need to be attributed per WP:BLOGS EvergreenFir (talk) 20:25, 20 July 2017 (UTC)
Skeptisim about white privilege
That white privilege encourages people to regard whiteness as the core of their identity, and that wont will end well.
Keith Johnston (talk) 20:37, 20 July 2017 (UTC)

That "checking your privilege" is a religious ritual which is part of a process harmful to liberal democracy. Andrew Sullivan: Keith Johnston (talk) 20:51, 20 July 2017 (UTC)

Greer says the way privilege is now tied to race has created a new moral culture of victimhood.

America’s New Racial Segregationists Are On The Left Keith Johnston (talk) 21:08, 20 July 2017 (UTC)

Scott Greer's book, No Campus for White Men: The Transformation of Higher Education into Hateful Indoctrination, how white privilege is creating an intensely hostile and fearful atmosphere Keith Johnston (talk) 21:13, 20 July 2017 (UTC)

Attack on white privilege as a concept and argument that whiteness scholars' extreme and essentialist formulations make their categories and contributions analytically quite useless. Also that the study is ideologically driven by marxists - Professor Eric Arnesen Keith Johnston (talk) 06:46, 21 July 2017 (UTC)

The left’s rhetoric about “unconscious bias” and “white male privilege” has been a hoax. Keith Johnston (talk) 06:58, 21 July 2017 (UTC)

Article lampooning "white privilege" by creating whites-only privilege fund Keith Johnston (talk) 07:18, 21 July 2017 (UTC)

Article accusing "white privilege" purveyors as being thoroughly self-interested and entirely without real virtue. Keith Johnston (talk) 08:18, 21 July 2017 (UTC)

I just read this article and it is, or seems to me, to be mostly about white guilt and self-loathing, and these are NOT aspects of White privilege. This article is irrelevant to our article and reading it makes me want to stop reading others because if this is the level of thought put into these postings, it ain't enough. Carptrash (talk) 17:17, 22 July 2017 (UTC)

Article about "A controversial new course at the University of Notre Dame on “white privilege” launched recently despite a tidal wave of criticism from conservatives, Catholic groups, and even many students and alumni who suggested the subject matter is biased, inflammatory, and meant to shame white people and indoctrinate students."

Article about how white privilege" has "become a powerful tool to silence certain voices entirely" (sound familiar?) Keith Johnston (talk) 08:22, 21 July 2017 (UTC)

Article about how notions of white privilege has been used silence or discredit speakers and how that perpetuates the very injustice it seeks to expose. Keith Johnston (talk) 09:47, 21 July 2017 (UTC)

Okay I think we get the picture. But some of those summaries you've made (I'm not going to read the full articles - there's far too many) show that a lot of these people are very misinformed about what white privilege actually is. So I went ahead and found some rebuttal articles - so that we can write "X criticizes white privilege for saying that white people should feel guilty. But Y writes that the 'guilt' thing is a common misconception." or something like that. I didn't find as many because I'm trying to be judicious about sources (and probably there's less money to be made writing pro-white privilege articles).
--ChiveFungi (talk) 12:08, 21 July 2017 (UTC)

Seems reasonable to me. So long as you are using RS where you can demonstrate that its an interpretive issue, thats fair enough. Let the sources speak for themselves.Keith Johnston (talk) 13:24, 21 July 2017 (UTC)

(edit conflict) I reviewed a few of the linked websites and found that the summaries here aren't particularly accurate. The alleged complaint above that white privilege is legally codified racism makes no such argument; it argues that advocates of critical race theory call for legally codified racism, which is quite a different argument. — MShabazz Talk/Stalk 13:26, 21 July 2017 (UTC)

@ MShabazz please be specific. I can only answer specific criticism. When you say "a few of the linked websites" which ones? You mention only one.

On your specific query see QUOTE" By now, most of you have heard of Critical Race Theory. Its narrative, ideology, and even vocabulary have become a familiar refrain. “Systemic oppression,” “institutional racism,” and “white privilege” have become common topics of debate...To teach Critical Race Theory is to teach the latest in a sad line of theoretical justifications for legally-codified racism."

I have already stated that the summaries are not polished - as you can see there is so much critique and so little time! The intention was to demonstrate volume, prominence and scope of the criticism. Assume good faith.Keith Johnston (talk) 14:09, 21 July 2017 (UTC)

Here is a link to the original article which created the response in the Huffington post (above) which criticises white privilege Keith Johnston (talk) 10:39, 22 July 2017 (UTC)

and article in The American Conservative which inspired the (above) response in the Washington Post Keith Johnston (talk) 10:46, 22 July 2017 (UTC)

A piece from the National review noting the polarisation of the debate around white privilege between Democrats and Republicans "One side sees white privilege while the other sees anti-white racism. There is no room for agreement or even understanding."Read more at: — Preceding unsigned comment added by Keith Johnston (talkcontribs) 11:20, 22 July 2017 (UTC)

Summary of criticism

So, after going through all the criticism above, in summary the theory of white privilege has come under critique from multiple angles. Some criticisms are of the theory itself and some are based on popular interpretations and usage. I have gone through the articles above in some detail and the arguments justifying these criticisms fall under the following thirteen headings (In no particular order):

  1. That the theory promotes a guilt complex and self-hatred amongst white people
  2. That the proposition that white people are privileged is too sweeping
  3. That the practice of privilege awareness is no more than moral self-flagellation, and will not address inequality
  4. That the theory achieves little practical benefit and is a distraction from real efforts to change society
  5. That the idea of criticizing an ethnic group on the basis of collective guilt is fundamentally racist
  6. That by emphasizing race as a principal agent it encourages racial segregation
  7. That racial privilege is not the primary determinant of success
  8. That the theory is born out of Marxist ideology and that the term is politically driven by the Left to increase their power
  9. That privilege theory undermines attempts to address inequality
  10. That in practice the term is used to justify attacks on freedom of speech
  11. That the theory has been used to defend morally reprehensible actions
  12. That it creates or bolsters a culture of victimhood
  13. That the theoretical foundations are false or highly questionable

I have no doubt that these categories can be reviewed and synthesised. They are certainly broad and fundamental enough to suggest to me that a critique section would be useful. Equally, we should include appropriately sourced responses to the criticism. I will begin to draft a critique section and post that in due course.Keith Johnston (talk) 23:41, 22 July 2017 (UTC)

I am fascinated to see where this balderdash leads us. Carptrash (talk) 01:44, 23 July 2017 (UTC)
If I were you, Keith Johnston, I wouldn't waste my time drafting a critique section. You've done such a piss-poor job researching the criticism and summarizing it here that I guarantee whatever you write will be torn apart as original research. Your "summaries" above sometimes bear no relationship to the arguments made by the sources. How did "To teach Critical Race Theory is to teach the latest in a sad line of theoretical justifications for legally-codified racism" become "its legally-codified racism" (presumably meaning "white privilege is legally codified racism")? You can't just make stuff up and put a footnote at the end of it.
You also can't cite people who clearly don't understand what they're talking about, or who are making silly arguments. Arguments against capitalism, for example, are only legitimate if the critic understands what capitalism is and limits her or his arguments to that target, not if the critic throws in curve balls about colonialism and white supremacy and monopoly and makes pretend that each of those is an argument against capitalism. Likewise, the theory of white privilege has nothing to do with attacks on free speech or self-hatred, and arguing that white privilege is bad because some of the people who use it as an analytical tool oppose free speech is like arguing that tea is bad because Stalin drank tea. (Let's assume for the sake of argument that he drank tea.)
Find some real criticism of the theory of white privilege and summarize it neutrally, and maybe somebody will take you seriously. Until you do that, you'll continue to sound like you're auditioning for a spot on Fox News. — Malik Shabazz Talk/Stalk 03:14, 23 July 2017 (UTC)
Thanks. @Malik Shabazz Your mode of argument represents original research. If you can find RS that critique the critique in the manner you suggest then you can add it to the Critique section. Your ad hominen attack is uncivil but not unpredictable. In any case the normal editorial practice would be to comment on text written, rather than pre-judge it.Keith Johnston (talk) 06:48, 23 July 2017 (UTC)

I have started with the criticism that white privilege is deployed rhetorically to shut down debate. Here is my first draft which I shall update as time allows.

I will list additional sources as I come across them here and use them as additional sources for argumentation where appropriate: "Americans must resist the pernicious efforts of the left to divide us into racial and economic factions. Storylines such as white privilege are in themselves bigoted and prejudiced. I believe racism does exist, but instead of meaningful efforts to find and eradicate real racism, the left creates a false narrative. The only evidence required for guilt is a white skin color.

What happened to us? In the past we confronted our problems head-on; not so today. Divide and conquer seems to be the mantra of the left. Let's not fall victim to the insidious efforts of a radical few."Keith Johnston (talk) 15:53, 23 July 2017 (UTC) David Marcus Rejecting the colorblind society model- The idea behind colorblindness was never that we should ignore sensory perceptions or pretend they’re not there, but rather, that we should understand that the color of a person’s skin, in almost every circumstance, tells us absolutely nothing about them. Basically, unless you are their doctor you get no useful information about an individual based on their skin color. As such, there is no rational basis for behaving differently towards anyone based on their skin color. It has nothing to do with denying racism, rejecting heritages or invalidating perspectives. One can desire and even fight for inclusiveness and equality in all three of those areas while still trying to hold their personal interactions to a colorblind standard.Ultimately, the rejection of the colorblind society model and the embrace of privilege theory has stifled discourse. Keith Johnston (talk) 15:58, 23 July 2017 (UTC) "By promoting the "white privilege" canard and by designing a student indoctrination plan, the Seattle School District is putting retrograde, leftist politics ahead of academics, while the perpetrators of "white privilege" are minimizing the capabilities of minorities.That diminishes us all." Matt Rosenberg is a Seattle writer — Preceding unsigned comment added by Keith Johnston (talkcontribs) 16:10, 23 July 2017 (UTC)

I am reminded of that old cliche, "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results." If, for example, some argument is about guilt or self-flagellation the arguer does not understand the concept of "White privilege." Carptrash (talk) 16:24, 23 July 2017 (UTC)
super. find RS to support your point and propose it.Keith Johnston (talk) 16:39, 23 July 2017 (UTC)
"This is not said to make white people feel guilty about their privilege. It’s not your fault that you were born with white skin and experience these privileges." --ChiveFungi (talk) 16:53, 23 July 2017 (UTC)
Thanks ChiveFungi, I recognise this (and your broader contribution above) as extremely useful. I will incorporate this into the text.Keith Johnston (talk) 17:06, 23 July 2017 (UTC)

Race, Equality and the Rule of Law: Critical Race Theory's Attack on the Promises of Liberalism, Jeffrey J. Pyle "This Note criticizes CRT [critical race theory] as nu unprincipled, divisive and ultimately unhelpful attack on the liberal tradition in America." First, race-crits fail to offer replacements for liberalism's core values.'• Rather, their postmodern rejection of all principles leaves them entirely "critical," while their narrow, interested stance renders them mere advocates within the liberal legal system, not theorists who might offer better alternatives. 20 Second, despite their undeniable energy, the raceemits are remarkably unhelpful as legal and political advocates within the liberal the process, the race-crits' racialist, blame-game rhetoric does much to alienate potentially helpful whites." 22 Keith Johnston (talk) 16:27, 23 July 2017 (UTC)

Response to Eric Arnesen Adolph Reed, Jr. International Labor and Working-Class History No. 60 (Fall, 2001), pp. 69-80 The lierature produced under this rubric [whiteness studies] is generally marred by conceptual ambiguities, ahistorical formulations, and lack of interpretive discipline. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Keith Johnston (talkcontribs) 16:37, 23 July 2017 (UTC) "We can't admit today that the lives of minorities are no longer stunted by either prejudice or "white privilege." And we can't afford to acknowledge that the same is true for American women. Contrition and apology are "correct"; honesty is "incorrect.In this way, today's great liberal-conservative divide puts correctness at odds with the kind of forthright self-examination that societies need to do in order to understand the true nature of the problems they face. Frank self-examination puts one at risk of transgressing correctness. So issues like free markets versus redistributive economics, educational reform, immigration, and global warming become battlegrounds in which correctness and the actual truth fight it out-but with most of the moral leverage seemingly on the side of correctness, which has the power to shame and stigmatize all who oppose it. Correctness constitutes a power in itself, a power substantial enough to prevail easily, much of the time, over the actual truth. Yet regimes of correctness (even the softer American variety) always stifle the human imagination and lead to cultural stagnation because they are inherently repressive.They impose an empty and often tyrannical conformity on society. One need only think of communism and socialism in postwar Europe-entire peoples policed into a socialist form of political correctness by autocrats and their henchmen." — Preceding unsigned comment added by Keith Johnston (talkcontribs) 17:01, 23 July 2017 (UTC) "The difference is significant because a “white privilege” assertion as pertaining to all whites masks the base cause of lack of privilege which is poverty and lack of access to quality education to break the bounds of poverty." Frank Ryan My opinion is because the core of critical theory is reliant on a logical fallacy itself. Author Dave Nappi

Subotnik, Daniel (1998) "What’s Wrong with Critical Race Theory: Reopening the Case for Middle Class Values," Cornell Journal of Law and Public Policy: Vol. 7: Iss. 3, Article 1. Available at:

In effect, CRATs [Critical Race Theory Advocates] are saying: It's a black-or race-thing; you wouldn't understand. In an atmosphere heady with the prospects of a total surrender, CRATs lost interest in compromise and collaboration. The old guard had to go; and go it largely did. With control of race discourse in their hands, CRATs could turn their attention away from the academy and toward American culture in general. And this they have done with enthusiasm. Developing and then applying new methods for the purpose, and scouring the broad landscape of American life, they have found race and racism implicated in a terrifying array of institutions and practices. Author: Subotnik, Daniel Keith Johnston (talk) 17:30, 24 July 2017 (UTC)

Bauer, Susan Wise. “Examinations of White Privilege May Be Counterproductive.” Racism. Ed. Mary E. Williams. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 2004. Current Controversies. Rpt. from “Whiteness.” Books & Culture 6 (Sept.-Nov. 2000): 18. Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 15 Mar. 2015. Unfortunately I cannot find a link to the text.Keith Johnston (talk) 17:56, 24 July 2017 (UTC)

Proposed criticism section[edit]

White Privilege as Ad hominem attack - "Check Your Privilege"[edit]

Critics have commented that the theoretical framework of “white privilege’ can be too easily deployed rhetorically to dismiss arguments of persons based on features of their personhood— ad hominem arguments. [1]. Writing in the Harvard Political Review, Nishin Nathwani [2] argued: “Rather than serving as immanent critique of the ideological content of discourse, the rhetoric of privilege has become a means to divert attention away from the substance of arguments to their immediate origin.” [3]. They argue that, in practice, the theory has been transformed into a rhetorical argument to mute rivals. Writing in the Harvard Political Review, Taonga Leslie argued: “A little awareness of the privileges we are allotted by society is a good thing. It helps us to empathize with others who have not shared our advantages. However, when left uncontrolled, awareness of our privilege can quickly transform into a new form of prejudice. Instead of using privilege as a tool to understand different perspectives, too often we use it to silence and shame our opponents into submission.” [4] They note that discussion on privilege has become a powerful tool to silence certain voices entirely. [5] and those who question it are delegitimized as backwards, privileged bigots whose opinions should be at best ignored and at worst banned.[6].

Moreover they claim that white privilege has been deployed as an insult, encapsulated in the popular use of the term “Check your privilege”. Writing in Time Magazine, Tal Fortgang stated: “There is a phrase that floats around college campuses, Princeton being no exception, that threatens to strike down opinions without regard for their merits, but rather solely on the basis of the person that voiced them. “Check your privilege,” the saying goes, and I have been reprimanded by it several times this year.”[7]

In her book, The Perils of ‘Privilege’: Why Injustice Can’t Be Solved by Accusing Others of Advantage, Phoebe Maltz Bovy argues privilege has become “the word and concept of our age . . . our era’s number one insult.” whose “…role as an aide in online bullying exceeds its utility as a theoretical framework.”[8] Keith Johnston (talk) 08:07, 23 July 2017 (UTC)

White privilege sessions: criticism of utility[edit]

Critics have further claimed that the framework of ‘white privilege’ and its application is a distraction from real efforts to change society. In particular critics question the utility of sessions, modules, readings, and talks commanding whites to reflect on their privileged status.

“Privilege workshops and introspections abound in higher education, yet there’s scant evidence that increased awareness will reduce the underlying financial obstacles. In other words, checking everyone's privilege at Harvard won't somehow increase the economic diversity of its students. Only real policies, not hand-wringing workshops, can accomplish that. It's time the conversation about privilege shifted accordingly.” [9]

Critics claim such 'white privilege sessions' are counterproductive as they “shunt energy from genuine activism into—I’m sorry—a kind of performance art?” [10]. They recommend a more productive way of reducing bigotry is to focus on financial inequality. Bovy (Phoebe Maltz Bovy) states: “If “privilege” hasn’t worked—and it hasn’t—…It’s time, more to the point, to step away from the question of individual motivation altogether, and to approach questions of injustice from more productive angles.”[11] “Addressing unconscious bigotry — never the most effective strategy — is altogether hopeless against the conscious variety,” Bovy concludes. “And it’s the conscious one we’re now up against.”

To counter it, Bovy calls for a greater focus on differences in financial capital rather than cultural capital, and more awareness of lingering macro problems over microaggressions. Bovy also yearns for more socioeconomic diversity in media organizations and "a return to traditional reporting over all those clickbait personal essays and knee-jerk anti-privilege screeds". [12] Keith Johnston (talk) 09:51, 23 July 2017 (UTC)

'Privilege awareness' as status symbol and self hatred[edit]

Critics claim that that the practice of publicly declaring your privilege – so called ‘privilege awareness’ - exacerbates existing inequalities while offering the powerful the means to assuage their guilt. [13]. More specifically: “what whites are seeking is the sweet relief of moral absolution. Inside they are pleading, “Please don’t hate me!” And I wouldn’t be surprised if there is an accompanying feeling of purification (redemption, even) that comes with such consultant-given absolution”. [14]

The idea is that “Privilege awareness has become a status symbol.” and Angela Nagle argues that: “Publicly declaring your sins makes you appear a better person than those who have not declared them” and such rituals “escalate in absurdity” until ” one has to turn inward and denounce oneself with the same ferocity.” [15] Thus white people “must cultivate a guilt complex over the privileged status your race enjoys.” [16]

Nagle argues such propositions are problematic because “It is difficult to think of any positive political movement past or present that has changed the lives of human beings for the better based on misanthropy and radical performances of self-hatred.” [17]Keith Johnston (talk) 10:24, 23 July 2017 (UTC)

That the theory and its application is racist[edit]

Critics maintain that the racial conversation, born in part out of theories of white privilege is tribalistic and is seen by some as being anti-white racism.

JD Vance argues that "On one side are primarily white people, increasingly represented by the Republican party and the institutions of conservative media. On the other is a collection of different minority groups and a cosmopolitan — and usually wealthier — class of whites. These sides don’t even speak the same language: One side sees white privilege while the other sees anti-white racism. There is no room for agreement or even understanding.[18]. Others argue the idea the proposition that you can target an ethnic group with a collective crime, regardless of the specific innocence or guilt of the constituent elements of that group, is racist.

Brendan O'Neill argues that: "The idea that all white men have a certain kind of life or outlook is as dumb, and foul, as saying all black men are criminals."[19]. University of Toronto Psychology Professor Dr Jordan Peterson has stated that use of the term "White Privilege" is itself racist, noting: “The idea that you can target an ethnic group with a collective crime, regardless of the specific innocence or guilt of the constituent elements of that group, there is absolutely nothing that is more racist than that…The idea of collectively held guilt at the level of the individual as a legal or philosophical principle is dangerous. ” [20].

Popular reaction to the theories application includes the view that it is racist. The New York Times reported that, after a diversity committee in Westport, USA asked students to reflect on the role of “white privilege” in their lives the reaction from residents included: “This is nothing more than race baiting,” and “Make no mistake, the idea of white privilege is just as racist as saying there is black privilege.” [21] Writing in the Harvard Law record, Bill Barlow noted "By now, most of you have heard of Critical Race Theory. Its narrative, ideology, and even vocabulary have become a familiar refrain. “Systemic oppression,” “institutional racism,” and “white privilege” have become common topics of debate...To teach Critical Race Theory is to teach the latest in a sad line of theoretical justifications for legally-codified racism [22].Keith Johnston (talk) 10:43, 23 July 2017 (UTC)

That white privilege is too sweeping a term[edit]

Critics state that arguing that white privilege applies to the great majority of whites is inaccurate, since many of them are underprivileged and that the reality is more complex that the theory allows. [23] They argue "No reasonable person can argue that white privilege applies to the great majority of whites, let alone to all whites." [24] and that the purveyors of the theory use the "sweeping terms ‘white men’ or ‘male privilege’, as if whiteness and maleness were inherently beneficial. As if loads of white men aren’t dirt poor and awfully underprivileged." [25]

JD Vance argues the segregated white poor facing destitution are unlikely to recognize 'white privilege' as meaningful since they know few blacks and "Poor whites in West Virginia don’t have the time or the inclination to read Harvard economics studies" Going on to say. "...the privileges that matter — that is, the ones they see — are vanishing because of destitution: the privilege to pay for college without bankruptcy, the privilege to work a decent job, the privilege to put food on the table without the aid of food stamps, the privilege not to learn of yet another classmate’s premature death. That working-class whites have failed to rise to the challenge is perhaps regrettable. But in a world where many poor whites know very few blacks of any class, it is not especially surprising."[26].

Eric Arnesen argues that, in many cases, "whiteness scholars' extreme and essentialist formulations make their categories and contributions analytically quite useless.[27]. In Whiteness and the Historians’ Imagination: Arnesan criticises scholars for "arbitrary and inconsistent definitions of core concepts...offering little concrete evidence to support many of their arguments, these works often take creative liberties with the evidence they do have; they also put words into their subjects' mouths to compensate for the absence of first-hand perspectives by the historical actors themselves. Too much of the historical scholarship on whiteness has disregarded scholarly standards, employed sloppy methodology, generated new buzzwords and jargon, and, at times, produced an erroneous history." [28]Keith Johnston (talk) 11:35, 23 July 2017 (UTC)

That the theory is politically motivated by the Left[edit]

Critics claim that neo-Marxists have replaced frameworks of ideology with frameworks of privilege. [29] It is generally acknowledged, including by the principle authors of the theoretical underpinnings, that they are "much influenced by Marxism."[30]

Critics such as Scott Greer writing in No Campus for White Men claim "the growing obsession with diversity, victimization and identity politics on today's college creating an intensely hostile and fearful atmosphere that can only lead, ultimately, to ever greater polarization in American society." [31]

Some critics claim that this polarization is part of the political purpose of the "cultural Marxists"[32]. Dennis Prager argues the: "The political goal is to ensure that blacks continue to view America as racist. The Left knows that the only way to retain political power in America is to perpetuate the belief among black Americans that their primary problem is white racism. Only then will blacks continue to regard the Left and the Democrats as indispensable." [33] And: "For the Left to keep its investment in race alive, it must mortgage everyone to the notion that they’re not individuals, but members of a racial group, thus pitting everyone against each other."[34] Keith Johnston (talk) 12:34, 23 July 2017 (UTC)

Nishin Nathwani argues that the the privilege framework "mimics the identity-based exclusionary politics unique to totalitarian thinking, and that... the left, ought to be extremely wary of its uncritical use."[35]Keith Johnston (talk) 12:51, 23 July 2017 (UTC)

That Privilege theory is an attack on equality[edit]

David Marcus has claimed that in practice privilege theory is an attack on equality because it means contributors and their ideas must be “judged on the basis of their skin color” [36] Arguing that 'the basic American value that “all men are created equal” still means something. And replacing it with “all people are unequal and should be considered based on their privilege or lack thereof” is a destructive notion that should be confronted and defeated.' [37]

Conor Friedersdorf argues that a we should “strive for a future where all individuals can embrace or ignore their racial identity per their preference: rather than a “hyper-emphasis on everyone's racial or ethnic background, including artificially constructed majoritarian whiteness”. And that such practice is dangerous noting: “nothing in U.S. history leads me to believe that encouraging people to regard whiteness as the core of their identity will end well. [38]

Nishin Nathwani claims “The mode of argumentation associated with the privilege framework invokes an era of right-wing political thought that is both dangerous to democratic values and divergent from the ideals of inclusion, representation, and equality at the core of leftist politics.”[39]Keith Johnston (talk) 13:00, 23 July 2017 (UTC)

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  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^ 52.03 onwards
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^
  29. ^
  30. ^
  31. ^
  32. ^
  33. ^
  34. ^
  35. ^
  36. ^
  37. ^
  38. ^
  39. ^