Are whites racially oppressed?
By John Blake
They complained of voter intimidation at the polls.
They called for ethnic studies programs to promote racial pride.
They are, some say, the new face of racial oppression in this nation--and their faces are white.
"We went from being a privileged group to all of a sudden becoming whites, the new victims," says Charles Gallagher, a sociologist at La Salle University in Pennsylvania who researches white racial attitudes and was baffled to find that whites see themselves as a minority.
"You have this perception out there that whites are no longer in control or the majority. Whites are the new minority group."
Call it racial jujitsu: A growing number of white Americans are acting like a racially oppressed majority. They are adopting the language and protest tactics of an embattled minority group, scholars and commentators say.
They point to these signs of racial anxiety:
• A recent Public Religion Research Institute poll found 44% of Americans surveyed identify discrimination against whites as being just as big as bigotry aimed at blacks and other minorities. The poll found 61% of those identifying with the Tea Party held that view, as did 56% of Republicans and 57% of white evangelicals.
• More colleges are offering courses in "Whiteness Studies" as white Americans cope with becoming what one commentator calls a "dispossessed majority group."
• A Texas group recently formed the "Former Majority Association for Equality" to offer college scholarships to needy white men. Colby Bohannan, the group's president, says white men don't have scholarship options available to minorities. "White males are definitely not a majority" anymore, he says.
• U.S. Census Bureau projections that whites will become a minority by 2050 are fueling fears that whiteness no longer represents the norm. This fear has been compounded by the recent recession, which hit whites hard.
• Conservative talk-show host Rush Limbaugh argued in a radio show that Republicans are an "oppressed minority" in need of a "civil rights movement" because its members willingly sit in the "back of the bus" and "are afraid of the fire hoses and the dogs."
Author Tim Wise explains what this white anxiety is all about:
Many white Americans have lived under the assumption that if they worked hard, they would be rewarded. Now more white Americans are sharing unemployment lines with "those people"--black and brown, Wise says.
"For the first time since the Great Depression, white Americans have been confronted with a level of economic insecurity that we're not used to," he says. "It's not so new for black and brown folks, but for white folks, this is something we haven't seen since the Depression."
"The very definition of being an American is going through a profound change," Wise says. "We can no longer take it for granted that we (whites) are the dictionary definition of an American."
This racial unease is more pronounced among older white Americans, who grew up in an era where America's icons were virtually all white, Wise says.
"The idea that we're losing our country is something that's not going to have a lot of resonance for someone under 30," Wise says. "These are white folks who don't remember the country that their parents are talking about."
White supremacists agree with Wise that white anxiety is all about race:
Peter Brimelow, author of "Alien Nation: Common Sense About America's Immigration Disaster," asserts that much of white America's anxiety derives from living under a black president and changing demographics.
Diversity, he says, "is not strength."
Brimelow's website, VDARE.COM, has been described as a hate site by the Southern Poverty Law Center, a group that tracks extremist groups in the U.S.
Some may see him as extreme, but Brimelow argues in his columns that more white Americans are moving toward his stance on immigration and other issues.
He cites as proof the rise of the Tea Party movement and the racial makeup of Beck's march on Washington. He says more whites recognize, even if it's only on a subliminal level, that they have common interests to defend.
"Of course, they would deny this, quite sincerely, if you put it to them because the idea of whites defending their interests as whites is quite new," he says. "Americans are trained to think that any explicit defense of white interests is 'racist.'"
James Edwards, host of the "Political Cesspool" radio show, isn't shy about naming those interests. He says white Americans have become the "dispossessed majority" and that coming demographic changes may turn the United States into a "Third-World flop-house."
Edwards, who is considered a white nationalist by the Southern Poverty Law Center, says whites must organize like other stigmatized groups.
"There is nothing wrong for Jewish organizations to promote the self-interest of Jews or black organizations to promote the interest of blacks," he says. "There is no organization to stand up to advance the interests of the dispossessed majority."
Those white interests have been compromised by what he sees as the "preferential treatment" blacks have received in the job market to compensate for slavery, Edwards says.
"Whatever mistakes might have been made in our pasts, they have not only been corrected, but they've been overcompensated for," he says.
Read the comments section of almost any article about race and you'll see the prejudice dripping off the page. This is what (white) people really think when they're protected by the veil of anonymity. Their scorn for women and minorities is palpable.
Rob was right
Anyway, thanks, people, for confirming what I've been saying since Obama's election and the Republican Tea Party's rise. Most if not all the anger and fear bubbling up from white conservatives is based on prejudice. We've seen it in the frequent attacks on blacks, Latinos, Indians, Muslims, gays, and women.
We've also heard the conservatives' denials, as noted here:
This reminds me of one my correspondents' correspondents. This woman originally forwarded seemingly race-neutral commentaries about how we should obey the rule of law, keep people off welfare, demand better parenting, lock up criminals, etc. Then she started forwarding blatantly racist items--e.g., pictures of Arab-biting dogs and Obama as two eyes staring out of the darkness. Her first e-mails contained code words for her racial prejudice and my correspondent didn't see it. He was in denial about the bigotry of his fellow conservatives.
To reiterate what I've said before, the conservative protests of the last couple years have little to do with budget deficits or the size of government. Otherwise, the protesters would've slammed the Bush administration for eight years of increasing budget deficits and the size of government. Rather, the protests are all about white male Christians trying to assert their centuries-old power and privilege. The racists and bigots don't believe in liberty and freedom for all; they believe in liberty and freedom for themselves and everyone else can suffer.
For more on the subject, see:
Palin: Racism is a ploy
Tea Party Guide to American History
Culture war over who's American
Tea Party believes in taking
Angry white Christians want country back
Sherrod incident shows conservative tactics
White conservatives "angry about racism"
Why Americans hate welfare
Mentioning racism = dwelling on past?
Conservatives hope minorities will forget
and many other postings in this blog.
"From being a privileged group to the new victims?" Really?
What cultural deprivation and oppression do whites face that is not self-inflicted?
They want the right to impose their religious and social values through using political might that has not diminished since Columbus, hence the Tea Party Movement. The Ku Klux Klan was a legitimate policy organization in some states enough to march on the mall in DC at the turn of the last century. How is this oppression?
While America's minorities have died not only while serving in the armed services believing the sacred words and ideals of an inclusive nation, most have been attacked violently throughout American history. I think all races have sacrificed life and limb for "freedom".
The Civil Rights Movement opened doors African Americans, but most of the time, blacks had to force those doors open at the cost of bloodshed and death. Most Americans do not even know that Africans were here long before Europeans arrived in living with native peoples here.
Asian Americans were weaved into the America's landscape at least a hundred years before Pearl Harbor and never get any recognition for it.
Latinos I consider natives from Central and South America. I feel they are more legitimate and aboriginal than Americans of European blood.
It is just and predictable that whites experience the same sufferage and sacrifice as the rest of America's people have.
The elephant in the room is not America's white people, it is the system and government created by white America that has turned its back on its own people and now attacks them. Whites are only getting a taste of what minorities have been getting for centuries.
Anglo-America has roots and cultural ties to Europe, they (some) just refuse to accept their Irish, German, English etc., roots and choose to cling to the archaic myths of a glorious nation that is based on myths and white supremacy.
Whites want it both ways. On one hand, they want to be nationalists and cultural imperialist towards other races that were equated to animals and beasts from their founding government and never recognize existing nations and cultures before them while at the same time plunder the globes indigenous populations for resources and lands without international interference.
The Tea Party Movement is simply the same old mob rule privileged whites that garnered genocide hundreds of years past and throw tantrums until the government bends, and the government listens. All other groups (minorities) faced bullets and bloodshed.
Tea Party people and working poor whites are on opposite sides. The working whites in America are only being used by the Tea Party the way George W used the Christians to get re-elected and in the end, they really don't matter or count as a voice.
I would say to my white brothers and sisters, we are not so different after all, are we? Instead of whining about the results of your self-bastardization(s), join the rest of us in our common plight to prosper and fight against the common foe of these times, the thieving rich!
good grief, it reminds me of the boyfriend of a flatmate I had 20+ years ago at varsity. He, being white, stated that white men were becoming a minority in New Zealand, and she, who is Sri Lankan, without missing a beat quipped that, if that were so white men in NZ were rather over represented in parliament, the police force, the court system, as principals, as policy makers as CEOs, as managers, as doctors, on governance boards etc.
Burt said .. "It is just and predictable that whites experience the same sufferage and sacrifice as the rest of America's people have." hmmm - there is an white underclass that has never had a slice of the pie and who probably never will, who have always been exploited - agreed that this occurs under the 'white' system. It inflicted by those in power happy to exploit the uneducated who have always gone without and have always been mocked as such. It is a ploy of the powerful to play the 'have nots' off against each other and your comment indicates you fall into that trap as much as working class whites do.
Don't get me wrong, I don't support their sentiment - I just believe that smug 'suck it up' to those truly suffering is not helpful in long term healing.
No one is free while others are oppressed.
okay, sorry Burt, just reread your entire comment and I agree with the last two paragraphs
During the 1970s, working whites were violently oppressed in Kentuckys Harlan County over miners safety and living conditions that were equal or worse to that of some Indian reservations, inner city black ghettos, Latino barrios and other third world countries.
I am fully aware of America's oppression on EVERYBODY regardless of race when it comes to big business and the energy companies powerful political machine throughout American history.
It just happens that America's history of slavery has been inflicted on every race, whites included.
All I am saying is that todays slavery is placed on all working Americans that pay into a purse that ends up in the top 1% ridiculously wealthy and our democratic system combined with protest or strikes (both violent and non-violent); boycotting consumption of certain corporate products and holding ALL officials, private and public accountable for decisions and policies is what will save whats left of American ideals.
"During the 1970s, working whites were violently oppressed in Kentuckys Harlan County "
Actually, they weren't workers. They left their jobs.
They went on strike DMARX, which means they picketed along with their wives for better health care from getting black lung working the mines.
As we can see, you are more sympathetic towards the machine that reaps the wealth than you are for working Americans. It is obvious you have never worked hard labor because you were born from privilege.
It has been proven time and again that the most successful big businesses offer incentives and relief for their workers. Seems American businesses get a weird hard on for keeping working people suffering and expendable subjects rather than human beings.
Japan is a good example. A popular trend called "karioke" originally began when Japanese office workers lived onsite of businesses, sleeping and relaxing instead of commuting daily from outside rural cities where they lived.
Solutions DMARX, its called solutions, and you would make for a better citizen instead of your petty play on words, stick to hip-hop, that might be where your real talent lies!
Let adults do the talking.
Sorry, they quit their jobs. Striking is a form of quitting, that's all.
They did end up making unrealistic wage demands, way above the value of the work, which pretty much wiped out the industry.
This has nothing to do with the rap stuff. Yes, I am concerned with working Americans. Not those who throw away their jobs and work to wipe out industries.
I guess me, and the 90% of American workers who say "Union? NO" were all born of privilege.
"It has been proven time and again that the most successful big businesses offer incentives and relief for their workers."
That's a good point, and a good model. As oppose to outside political pressure groups (unions) coming in and destroying the company and the jobs along with it. Hello, Flint, Michigan!
"It just happens that America's history of slavery has been inflicted on every race, whites included."
In actuality, the number of whites subjected to slavery in history is very small.
"All I am saying is that todays slavery is placed on all working Americans ..."
You are pretty close, but to be accurate you might switch it to argue about the money that Americans are forced to pay in over-taxation. That is where the real problem is.
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