White Skin Privileges Primer

By Lafe Tolliver, Esq

Lafe Tolliver

Guest Column

     It appears to me that for the white people who are on the go with their busy schedules and frantic lives, that they would benefit from a simple easy to read primer on what are white skin privileges and how they benefit, indirectly and directly, from them.

     Now, for those interested in a more exhaustive and full-blown discourse on the same subject, may I recommend the following superlative reads: Caste by Isabel Wilkerson, Stamped From The Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi and The Sum of Us by Heather McGhee.

    At its core, white skin privileges are not a novel or new concept. It can be characterized as both an explicit and implicit society wide operating system (akin to Windows 10) and is adaptable via a host of software applications, to wit: judicial system, legislative decisions and the distribution of economic empowerment to its intended audience…i.e., white people.

    White skin privileges draw its nourishment and longevity from the protections that it affords white people who seek its

perks and benefits; but they must pay the societal wages of agreeing to its abhorrent tenets and stifling dogma or they can face expulsion or ostracism by those who rigorously reject any attempts at its elimination.

    The chronological start of white skin privileges in and on the land that we call the United States of America is normally assigned the start date of 1619. That was the first recorded date of people of African descent being physically present in the American colonies.

     From that date of notoriety, when slavers brought citizens of Africa to these shores and consciously bludgeon them mentally, emotionally and physically into people of no value,

America has not recovered from the Big Lie that people of color were sub-human and not worthy of respect or equal treatment.

     Notions of white skin privileges skillfully and with great nuance and effect, infected the white citizenry with non-Biblical concepts of what is human worth and value and tried to portray people of color as the spawn of the devil.

     White skin privileges can only succeed and prosper when what it gives to its followers is of greater value than the propagated fear that those “others” are not like you and never will be; and you must be diligent against their efforts to be reckoned as equal alongside you and your family.

     White skin privileges tell a wicked and evil tale that the native Americans (aka: Indians) and people of color are not able to exhibit a standard of civility and proper civilization; and thus, it is incumbent upon white people the burden to lead the way and educate them in the finer things of life.

     For White America, if that education required the use of slavery, chronic mental and emotional abuse, killings, denial of equal rights and subjugation by an indifferent and callous police force, so be it.

     White skin privileges employed the many genres of a corrupted educational system to reinforce the supposed inferiority of people of color, a law enforcement apparatus whose main mission was and is to protect the property rights of the “ruling class” and apartheid like laws that held in check any chance of revolt or challenge.

    White skin privileges means that you can call the police on innocent black people gathering in a public park, but you lie and state that they are causing a disturbance.

    Those same privileges affirm the irrational behavior of educators who denigrate the intellectual ability of black people and scorn their advancements as being accomplished at the expense of other whites.

    White skin privileges simply assumes that if a non-white has achieved anything of note or value, that it must be suspect and not a quality product as would be produced by a white person, even of a lesser status.

     At the core of white skin privileges is the dire and haunting fear that unless people of color are lessened or diminished, white people will become a minority group in America by the year 2045.

     That fear has as its twin, the irrational ghost of revenge by people of color for centuries of wrongs, yet unrequited, that would be inflicted upon whites in this country.

     The past legal doctrine of separate but equal was a futile attempt to legislate racial separation in the hopes that people of color would be satisfied with a half of a bone rather than a three-course dinner paired with a dessert and a brandy.

    White skin privileges automatically assumes that all goodies and perks of this American economic system are and were deliberately designed for their continuous enjoyment and any infringement upon those entitlements should be met with force to prevent “others” from entering in.

     White skin privileges says that you can call a black person who has earned a Ph.D., by his first name only and never call him or her, Doctor.

     It is a system of thinking based upon the Big Lie that white is always right and that Black, needs to get back.

Contact Lafe Tolliver at tolliver@juno.com