In a recent article, Portsmouth Mayoral candidate Barry Randall spoke at a race relations forum as an attempt to eliminate the need for White privilege. According to Tim Wise, “The irony of American history is the tendency of good white Americans to presume racial innocence. Ignorance of how we are shaped racially is the first sign of privilege. In other words. It is a privilege to ignore the consequences of race in America.” White privilege cannot be eliminated without the meeting of minds of how to solve the problem.
According to the article, Portsmouth race relations panel, officials discuss white privilege, mayoral candidate Barry Randall spoke at a race relations meeting in Portsmouth. Portsmouth city is noted as a hotbed for racial tension which at times surfaces at the city counsel meetings.
Several race relation panelist elicited responses to White privilege. Vice Mayor Elizabeth Psimas indicated that she “grew up that way”. She went on to say that she never heard the term White privilege “until a year ago” a “big scary black man came to a council meeting”. When Randall confronted Psimas regarding her support of the local police. Psimas felt that his statement “ripped me upside and down the other for supporting police officers and called me a white racist and a privileged white woman and the smoke came out of my ears. One school board member and panelist, Sarah Duncan Hinds, stated that she had “not really experienced white privilege and that her parents were working class. Robert Bradshaw who is the president-elect for the Old Dominion University Democrats replied that the challenge with White privilege is that the people who do not embrace the concept are White.
What is the history of White privilege?
It is reported that White privilege began with the attempted British failure of dominating the Irish. Since the Irish were considered resistive to British dominance, the British came to believe that the Irish were inferior as well as a savage people who were not humans. When the British came to North America, they brought with them this same viewpoint of dominance. This view became prominent during the 18th and 19th century explosion of industrial capitalism. Slavery became an important component that was necessary to attain higher levels of profit that results form continuing to control conditions and resources.
Who is the blame for the continual prevalence of White privilege?
All citizens in the United States share blame for the continued prevalence of White privilege. We only need to look at how we respond to the images that are prominent in England. For example, many people adore the Queen of England and the surrounding history. The Queen has had a rich history which continues to impact White privilege in the United States.
The queen is considered a gifted scholar who has the ability to speak several languages which include Latin, Greek, French, Spanish and Welsh. She is credited with the emergence of great poets and playwrights. During her era William Shakespeare, Edmund Spenser, Christopher Marlowe and Sir Walter Raleigh have become prominent. Great explorers were encouraged such as Sir Francis Drake, Sir Walter Raleigh, Sir John Hawkins, Sir Humphrey Gilbert and Sir Richard Greenville. The new scientific thinking of the renaissance was encouraged and important men such as Sir Francis Bacon and Dr. John Dee emerged.
Whites and Blacks are both the blame for the continued success of White privilege in America. We as a group, we continue to hold onto an institution that embraces Whites having White privilege over Whites. If it is acceptable to believe that Whites should have White privilege over Whites; Why would we not accept Whites having White privilege over Blacks?
Overcoming White privilege will require that both Blacks and Whites have the same vision towards eliminating White privilege. Once this has been accomplished, the agreeing parties will develop a strategic plan for overcoming White privilege.
Dr. Derrick L. Campbell, Ed.D.
PO Box 4707 Cherry Hill, NJ 08034
Author of Promoting Positive Racial Teacher Student Classroom Relationships and Promoting Positive Racial Teacher Student Classroom Relationships: Methodology
“The model that you use to analyze teacher-student relationships is a good one for most school districts”.
~ Joe Vas ~ Perth Amboy Mayor
“Dr. Campbell’s Cultural Relationship Training Program is comprehensive, informative, and should be required training for all schools”
~ Darrell Pope ~ Hutchinson Kansas NAACP President