Skip to main content

When Blacks Attack!
Reflections on White Victimology and the Ironies of Institutional Racism

By Tim Wise
January 28, 2008

"Everything you said in there was so insulting to me."

The words came harsh and unexpected. I had just given a speech on racism and white privilege at an upstate New York college, and was nearing the end of an after-event reception, when the young woman--who had been seething with anger, waiting to confront me--finally stepped forward.

"You don't know me," she continued. "How dare you say that I have privilege just because I'm white. My family had nothing, we lived in neighborhoods where we were the only white people around, and I got called a white bitch by black girls every day, and got beat up regularly by black kids on my block. How dare you say that I had advantages being white. That's bullshit!"

It's never easy to know the right words at a moment such as this. On the one hand, I knew that the young woman had horribly misinterpreted my words that night, and those in my book, White Like Me, which she and her first-year classmates had been asked to read last fall. On the other hand, you can't just tell someone who is obviously in pain that they missed the point. To do so would be cruel. So instead, I tried a different approach.

First, I told her how sorry I was that those things had happened to her. There is no excuse for anyone to treat another person that way, and I have never suggested otherwise. Those who had abused her and called her names were assholes, and nothing they had experienced in life could justify their lashing out at her. Nothing.

Then I tried to explain, as best I could, what my point had been. And I sought to make it very clear that my comments hadn't really been directed at her in the least.

"My book is a memoir," I noted. "So, by definition it's about my experience. And all I'm asking people to do is to reflect on those experiences to see how many of them hold true in their own lives as well. Some will, others won't, and that's fine."

She still wasn't buying it. "Yes, but you said that all whites have privilege, not just you."

"In some ways, yes," I noted. "Being white means having advantages in employment, education, the justice system and housing, for example. I provided statistical support for those claims in my speech, and if you have data to the contrary, by all means share it with me. Otherwise, I'm not sure what the argument is, or how to respond to your concerns. I never said that all whites have easy lives. It's just that as a general rule, to be white confers advantage, just like being rich, or male, or straight, or able-bodied does, relative to those who are poor, women, LGBT or disabled."

Having no data to contradict anything I had offered in the talk, she changed her line of attack.

"Well, it's just that you spent all your time talking about 'whites this' and 'whites that,' and I just feel you should have talked about other types of racism too, not just white racism and white privilege. What about people like me, who have been attacked for being white? Why don't you spend the same amount of time talking about that?"

It was a fair enough question; indeed, it was one I've gotten many times before. First, I noted that as a white person it just made sense to me that I have to deal with my piece of the problem--my two nickels in the quarter so to speak--since it is white racism and privilege that I, as a white person, have the most direct control over. "I can't control what black folks think of me, or how they treat me," I explained. "But a system that gives me unfair advantages and opportunities is something I can take responsibility for."

"Yeah," she replied. "I get that, but it just seems you should be more balanced."

"Well, think of it this way," I responded. "If data indicates (and it does, surprisingly) that every year there are maybe a few dozen attacks of heterosexuals by LGBT folks, which are apparently motivated by bias against straight people, does that make anti-straight bias the functional equivalent of homophobia and gay-bashing? And should people who speak about gay-bashing and discrimination against LGBT folks feel compelled to give equal time to 'straight-bashing' and 'heterophobia'?"

"No," she answered.

"Okay then," I replied. "So, in other words, even if we acknowledge that sometimes the less powerful group in a society does something bad to the more powerful group, and even if we suggest that sometimes members of the more powerful group suffer injustices, the larger institutional patterns can remain in place, right?"

Though she seemed to understand what I was getting at, her anger was far from spent. The tension continued to mount, on both sides, ultimately tapering off into an exchange that probably was less productive than either of us would have preferred.

Because I feel a responsibility to explain the concepts I talk about in a way that is clear and convincing to others, I struggled for the next few days, wondering what I could have done better in our conversation. What could I have said that would have allowed the young woman to hear me? What could I have said that might have allowed us to connect with one another, share perspectives, and reach some kind of synthesis?

Though I hadn't thought of it that evening, a few days later, still pondering the conflict between us, I finally came to realize perhaps the most important thing about her experiences as a child, growing up white in an almost-all-black neighborhood. Namely, that experience itself was a symptom of institutional racism--the kind that creates racially-isolating environments to begin with. In other words, the abuse she had suffered didn't disprove my position--far from it. Rather, it confirmed it, in a most visceral way.

The young woman's abuse was made more likely by virtue of her extreme racial isolation. After all, people feel more empowered to abuse others who are different when they have the power in numbers to back them up. And that isolation was the result of social forces that have allowed neighborhoods to become so racially separated in the first place: forces such as institutional racism and white privilege.

Were it not for the history of racism, which has kept black folks concentrated in low-income and mostly black spaces thanks to housing bias, there would be no neighborhoods like the one in which that young woman grew up and faced abuse. In fact, one study by the Urban Institute found that if where people lived were solely a matter of their ability to pay (in other words, if factors like racism didn't play an independent role, above and beyond mere finances), fewer than one percent of African Americans would live in communities where they were the majority. As such, we can safely estimate that in the absence of race-based obstacles to equal housing opportunity, there would be no spaces where blacks would be such a majority, and whites such a minority that the latter might become a target for those in the former, who might seek to abuse their numerical power.

If equal opportunity were the norm--in other words, were white privilege and institutional racism uprooted--there would be few if any spaces left (especially in large metropolitan areas) where one group would be able to view itself as the norm, and thereby objectify others as abnormal, for the purpose of picking on them or abusing them. If white kids and kids of color grew up together, shared neighborhoods and schools, and socialized on a plane of equity from the beginning, the odds of such race-based abuse manifesting would be greatly diminished if not eradicated. There would still be occasional fights, to be sure; but there would be little reason to expect these conflicts to take on a uniquely racial angle. As such, the ability of racial resentments to develop, in either direction, or for racial stereotypes to persist over time would diminish as well.

In other words, the conditions under which she (and her abusers) grew up were products of a system of racial inequity. And although most whites are able to escape the downside of that system, by way of having access to greener pastures, "better" neighborhoods, and spaces in which they (we) will be the norm, some, as with her family, were not. So, ironically, she ended up reaping the consequences of a system that although it was set up for the benefit of persons like herself, occasionally leaves even some white folks out in the cold. She ended up experiencing the blowback of a system of privilege which occasionally fails even those for whom it was intended as a system of support. But the fact of that system's imperfections--the fact, for example that occasionally some whites fall through the cracks anyway--does not minimize the extent to which the system is in place, nor the extent to which whites as a group benefit from it, nor the extent to which whites such as the young woman that evening should continue to interrogate that system, and ultimately seek to change it, for her own benefit, and not merely out of the goodness of her heart.

To some, this analysis may appear to let the perpetrators of the abuse off the hook. Perhaps it sounds like excuse making, or like blaming the system for the actions of individuals. In this case, perhaps some will think that I'm blaming whites (or at least white racism) for the bigoted acts of black people. But trying to locate the source of a behavior, or a particular set of incidents, does not equate to excusing the behavior. Nor does it suggest that the incidents in question are not serious. Nor does it imply that those who perpetrate such abuse should be let off without punishment. Let me be clear: those who physically or verbally assault others should be punished. And all such persons should bear the burden of repairing the damage they have done.

But that's the easy part, in much the same way that advocating the locking up of rapists and armed robbers is easy, but stops neither rape nor armed robbery in the long run. I, for one, am interested not merely in getting tough with criminals and abusers, but on reducing criminal victimization and abuse: a very different concept. Understanding a phenomenon--whether rape, drug abuse, child molestation, terrorism, or racial intimidation and hate--does not require the coddling of those who engage in these things. I want to understand what motivated the Columbine shooters, or the 9/11 hijackers, or any number of serial killers, not to excuse their deeds, but so I might gain some insight into how to prevent such a thing from happening again.

To write off such behavior and criminality to "evil," perpetrated by people who are just "bad" (which appears to be the operative and sophomoric response to everything nowadays), is to leave society with very few tools to diminish such behavior. It's about as helpful as saying that the cause for all the world's woes is Satan. After a while, these kinds of answers are not merely evidence of an ignorance so detached from reason as to boggle the imagination; worse, they become formulas for continued suffering, seeing as how they hold out almost no hope for betterment, other than prayer, exorcism, mass incarceration or perhaps the dropping of bombs to eradicate the evildoers. Never has such a pessimistic set of choices been seen as valid among an otherwise moderately intelligent population.

Like it or not, moral lectures won't stop kids from abusing those like the young woman that evening. If we wish to keep others from experiencing what she experienced (whether those kids are white, black or anything else), the best thing we could do is break up hyper-segregated, racially-concentrated communities (in the cities or the suburbs) with more enforcement of fair housing laws, crackdowns on predatory lending, low-interest loans to encourage integration (in both cities and 'burbs), and equitable community development, replete with racial equity "impact statements" to gauge the effects of gentrification, commercial projects of various sorts, and the availability of affordable housing.

To be sure, such efforts would need to be carefully crafted, lest they displace more people of color from urban spaces than there would become space available for them in less-exclusively black communities. Some type of "no net loss" policy, when it comes to housing for folks of color, might mitigate the potentially negative consequences of a large influx of whites into previously black and brown space. And without doubt, any economic "re-development" in those urban spaces that have long been home to folks of color, should require direct input and approval from those who had been there prior to any influx of newcomers. Small-d democratic accountability needs to accompany "new urbanism" or integration efforts, lest they devolve into a form of colonialism. But however we might create more mixed space in practice, there can be little doubt that only by creating a broader and more equitable mix of residents and students in an area will we likely prevent any one group from feeling so empowered by its sheer numbers as to take advantage of those in the minority. Such efforts would almost certainly reduce the tendency towards us vs. them thinking so common today, given the extreme racial isolation and separation to which we are often subjected.

What we cannot afford to do is to allow the effects of institutional racism to torpedo the push for racial equity. We cannot allow our own occasional injury, as whites, to distract us from the real culprit in that experience: not merely the individuals who took advantage or abused us, but also the systemic forces that made the abuse likely. It is white supremacy and privilege that set us against one another to begin with. It is white supremacy and privilege that continues to skew opportunities hundreds of years after they were set in place as systemic norms. It is only the eradication of white supremacy and privilege that can put an end to it--all of it, once and for all.
http://www.lipmagazine.org/~timwise/whenblacksattack.html
Original Post

Replies sorted oldest to newest

quote:
. "How dare you say that I have privilege just because I'm white. My family had nothing, we lived in neighborhoods where we were the only white people around, and I got called a white bitch by black girls every day, and got beat up regularly by black kids on my block. How dare you say that I had advantages being white. That's bullshit!"

I'm sorry but this is like the white victimization line people use(d) to voice their opposition to affirmative action. For years a number of Whites have either claimed they personally were victimized by AA or knew another White person who had "their" job taken by a "minority" (most of the time, someone Black) or "their" spot for admission into a college reserved for and taken by a "minority." And just like the young lady's "hood" experience all of those stories by the would-be victims of AA left a lot to be desired: they were all based on the false premise that AA seeks to promote unqualified and, therefore, undeserving "minorities." As Tim knows all too well, White women a largely absent from the story and so we can see clearly how the focus is skewed and out of touch with the reality.

The most un-compelling part about those AA stories is just how generalized they are with "victim" after supposed "victim" sounding like they were reading from a script or at least got the same memo or e-mail. Generalized stories of White victimization like the young lady's "hood" experience leave me with the same feeling. I've heard it all before. I've heard the same generalized "been beat up", "called white this, white that" stories to where this pattern is getting too old with the stories being too damn similar in all there way too general (i.e. hardly anything different/unique) for a number of people to claim such a personal experience and yet say nothing that allows us to distinguish their story, however similar, from others; nothing that shows any difference in the geographical setting, etc.

Perhaps part of the problem is people telling what generally happened. Sure 'nough, the specific details really aren't that important but in the big parking lot of experiences where there are bound to be cars of similar make, model, year and color... most people know how to describe something about their car that would help people distinguish it from others especially when their from different states/regions.

I don't doubt the young lady's story is or could be true, the same way I don't doubt the stories Black people tell about the "acting white" teasing/attacks that happen. But like the "acting white" stuff, I think the stories get blown out of proportion. People tend to remember and emphasize a negative/hurtful experience even when they've experience everyday kindness or even being esteemed from some of the same kind of people they remember as those who targeted them. I find it hard to believe that the young lady didn't have any black friends or any good days when wasn't subjected such harsh treatment -- "got called a white bitch by black girls every day", I just find that hard to believe. Every day? Even on holidays?

I also know that we only have her side of the story which is the same thing I question in those "acting white" cases. The thing about that "acting white" stuff, people will claim "it exists" but when asked if they gave into the whole anti-intellectualism "peer pressure" notion, most of the time, in fact almost every time I've asked, I've been told that the person saying they were subjected to "it" never gave into said peer pressure.

To me, there is also something else I think might be in play here. First, I'm assuming the young lady doesn't live in the same neighborhood and her family (which used to have "nothing") has since moved to a different neighborhood/community. If nothing else, I'm assuming her college environment is different; different demographically.

I'm just thinking that for a white person who lives in this largely white country where white spaces are, by and large, the "better" ones... for that person not to have been a part of that all their lives and, now (assuming she has moved, etc.), having been exposed to those great white spaces that, if nothing else just have more or mostly White people... Well, I think there's a bit of shame or resentment involved that's more about growing up in those "degrading" conditions than it is the people in the old neighborhood. Surely there were some good (people) to go along with the bad.

I'm also thinking about how uncomfortable Whites feel when they're not in the numerical majority. I think that plays a role too. Even if she grew up being outnumbered in her neighborhood, the world around her, the country was still predominantly white. I don't think the TV shows she grew up watch reflected the color dominance of her neighborhood. And I think if she had a large family and particularly any family that lived outside of her neighborhood, she could "escape" from being racially outnumbered -- a source of anxiety among a lot of Whites.

.
quote:
So, ironically, she ended up reaping the consequences of a system that although it was set up for the benefit of persons like herself, occasionally leaves even some white folks out in the cold. She ended up experiencing the blowback of a system of privilege which occasionally fails even those for whom it was intended as a system of support. But the fact of that system's imperfections--the fact, for example that occasionally some whites fall through the cracks anyway--does not minimize the extent to which the system is in place, nor the extent to which whites as a group benefit from it, nor the extent to which whites such as the young woman that evening should continue to interrogate that system, and ultimately seek to change it, for her own benefit, and not merely out of the goodness of her heart.


quote:
It is white supremacy and privilege that set us against one another to begin with. It is white supremacy and privilege that continues to skew opportunities hundreds of years after they were set in place as systemic norms. It is only the eradication of white supremacy and privilege that can put an end to it--all of it, once and for all.

Preach!!! appl
I have the impression that many whites already get the word 'privilege' entirely wrong. In their mind it is about actual individual wealth or standing in society.
They lack the ability to think in terms of group/collective when it comes to the own group or themselves - and at the same time they have a problem when it comes to an 'out-group': They are unable to realize individuals as individuals. There they have no problem to talk about *all*, *always* etc.
quote:
People tend to remember and emphasize a negative/hurtful experience even when they've experience everyday kindness or even being esteemed from some of the same kind of people they remember as those who targeted them. I find it hard to believe that the young lady didn't have any black friends or any good days when wasn't subjected such harsh treatment -- "got called a white bitch by black girls every day", I just find that hard to believe. Every day? Even on holidays?

My thoughts, many whites tend to feel, subtle or not so subtle, entitelt to be protected. Protected against the supposedly dangerous non-white. If this entitlement is challenged it's marked in their brain. But at the same time many suffer from some sort of amnesia, they tend to forget all the many instances of harrassing, insults etc white vs white.
While one or some negative experiences with a non-white person is good for some as an excuse for being racist/biased whatsoever, they don't become phobics, when they make the same negative experiences with whites.

quote:
The most un-compelling part about those AA stories is just how generalized they are with "victim" after supposed "victim" sounding like they were reading from a script or at least got the same memo or e-mail.

if I judged from their stories on msbs alone I could think that almost all whites grow up poor and are a victim of AA, at least almost always somebody knows somebody who knows somebody...
quote:
a system that although it was set up for the benefit of persons like herself,

--------------------------------------------


I have to disagree somewhat with this statement, because in actuality, the system was not set up for the benefit of persons like herself either -- poor white Americans -- which is something that poor whites in this country live in denial about; poor whites have only vicariously benefitted from the system, via its random spillage. The system was designed for truely priviliged white males; whites not fitting that discription have merely been lucky or been able to "pass" in the priviliged white male's rush.
quote:
I have to disagree somewhat with this statement, because in actuality, the system was not set up for the benefit of persons like herself either -- poor white Americans -- which is something that poor whites in this country live in denial about; poor whites have only vicariously benefitted from the system, via its random spillage. The system was designed for truely priviliged white males

First of all, the young lady was decidely not "in denial" in the way you suggest (most) poor Whites are. No. She was adamant about how the system didn't work that way for via her family having "nothing", etc. I also would beg to differ -- slightly -- on the idea implicit in what you're saying which places poor Whites as innocent victims of the system who "deny" how they are victimized and who just happen to benefit vicariously through "random spillage" that comes their way.

It seems rather clear how what you call "poor White denial" is a conscious, if only subconscious, choice poor Whites make and have made in this country. It's all about the Wages Of Whiteness, the mindset poor Whites have had (or have been given) since 1676 (Bacon's Rebellion); that they ultimately benefit not by waging class or condition-based struggle in solidarity with those who share their economically/socially depressed condition but by having common cause with their fair-weather racial kinfolk.

I think outside observers, those who aren't poor or White, tend to miscalculate the freakonomics involved -- poor Whites may be the first Americans who exhibited the low-level, bottom rung (racial) "gang" mentality. IMO, outsiders routinely fail to see things from the perspectives of poor Whites.

First, they've seen repression in action -- whether it was the way the government repressed Black rebellions or infiltrated communist organization that tried to organize workers then later via Reagan busted up unions or how the government infiltrated the clan. Second, and perhaps more important, not only is the American Dream, the Meritocracy Myth an intoxicating brew of European cultural dogma but it is a tantalizing carrot on the end of a stick that they know is a bit shorter than others:

quote:
Although whites suffer poverty too, black poverty is more severe and more likely to correlate with crime. Seven out of ten poor whites live in stable, mostly non-poor neighborhoods, while eighty-five percent of the black poor live in mostly poor areas (Johnson and Chanhatasilpa, 2003: 98; also, Smith, 1995: 128). Blacks are three times more likely to live in extreme poverty than whites (less than half the poverty line) and six times more likely to live in concentrated poverty neighborhoods (Wachtel, 1999: 294, fn15.) Indeed, three-quarters of persons living in concentrated poverty neighborhoods are people of color (powell, 2001: 6).

http://www.zmag.org/sustainers/content/2004-04/01wise.cfm

So, not only does white racial kinship have its privileges -- perhaps what we see in differential treatment/punishment via the criminal justice system -- but proximity, in and of itself, via racialized residential segregation does more than splash some random spillage. It might be indirect but it's a historical constant.

There's also another view. Think about the classic distinctions made between American chattel slavery and African slavery. What often distinguishes the two is the degree and/or speed of social/economic mobility. Like the African prisoner-of-war made slave, poor Whites at least have (a better) chance or tangible perception that they can "marry up" and, if nothing else, at least not have their race held against them in places where their class won't hurt them.

Whites infer from their arguments that their lives can speak and does speak for the lives of the collective of "white people". In other words, they ignorantly or devilishly employ the fallacy of composition by suggesting what is true for a part is thus true for the whole.

There is no general rule for most whites. One cannot make a statement that is essentially indicative of the general rule (majority rule) of a group. Hence, when one makes a statement about whites as a collective, it is only seen as having validity if the statement is without exception or ubiquitous. The first line of defense for the white collective, by individuals, is to defend the collective by means of demonstrating that their individual lives is an exception to the general rule noted for the collective. They want to tell you about their black friends. They want to tell you the different races they have dated. They want to tell you they are not racist. They want to tell you how blacks have been racist toward them, ect. Therefore, all this, in their minds, makes any claims against the collective, which does not manifest as true in their individual lives, as invalid.

I have had thousand of conversations with whites and they personalize everything. They can defend and excuse all charges against the white collective, and its impact upon black America, through their individual life experience. So, all the studies done to show racial discrimination in housing, lending, and employment (such as a University of Chicago study that note résumé's with black sounding names were rejected at twice the rate of resumes with white sounding names, all other things being equal), is contradicted and void by the claim that in their personal lives, they are not racist. So there! You're a lair. If they are good white people, then all white people are good people and hence such claims and studies have no weight in truth.
quote:
I have to disagree somewhat with this statement, because in actuality, the system was not set up for the benefit of persons like herself either -- poor white Americans -- which is something that poor whites in this country live in denial about; poor whites have only vicariously benefitted from the system, via its random spillage. The system was designed for truely priviliged white males; whites not fitting that discription have merely been lucky or been able to "pass" in the priviliged white male's rush.

A group of 'truely privileged white males' cannot exist without a system protecting them and without granting privileges, direct or indirect ones, to those who keep this system intact. While it is true that not all whites benefit directly in financial terms, whites as a group benefit from the system in other ways, regardless income.

One of this benefit is a psychological benefit and is strong enough to divide people. Instead that poor whites/working class unite with non-whites against the system/ruling class/government, they unite against non-whites.
Important is the feeling of power [not necessarily individual power], superiority and belonging. They may be poor with tragic individual life stories, jobless and sometimes without any real chance to ever get a job, but it seems that the psychological impact of feeling better/superior is stronger than any rational thought. The dominant culture is something they can identify with, they want to defend this culture against the imagined evil (non-whites). They live an illusion, but this illusion is powerful.
Not all the benefits of wp have to be material.
quote:
many suffer from some sort of amnesia, they tend to forget all the many instances of harrassing, insults etc white vs white.

While one or some negative experiences with a non-white person is good for some as an excuse for being racist/biased... they don't become phobics, when they make the same negative experiences with whites.

yeah
"It's all about the the mindset poor Whites have had (or have been given)"
-------------------------------------------
That's basically what I mean, they either live with the false belief that they are all inclusive the white American privilidged class, when in reality they are not; and are not preceived to be by those of the privilidged class.
-----------------------------------------------------

"that they ultimately benefit not by waging class or condition-based struggle in solidarity with those who share their economically/socially depressed condition but by having common cause with their fair-weather racial kinfolk."
-------------------------------------------------

No, the way I see it is that those them 'who share the same economically/socially depressed condition' will struggle against their minority equivalents in this country and against their own socio-economic interests because they wrongfully believe that there is some commonality between them and the privilidged class just for merely being white, while the feeling is not mutual.
------------------------------------------------


I think outside observers, those who aren't poor or White, tend to miscalculate the freakonomics involved -- poor Whites may be the first Americans who exhibited the low-level, bottom rung (racial) "gang" mentality. IMO, outsiders routinely fail to see things from the perspectives of poor Whites.
----------------------------------------------
And those outsiders historically included the privilidged class who never saw or accepted poor whites as their equals, yet, would not hesitate to use poor whites' 'gang mentality'/ the racism they have been indocrinated with to keep the masses neatly separated into controllable groups, all the while keeping poor whites at bay on the fringes of their society; just like any other groups that are not part of the priviledged class/elite in this country.
--------------------------------------------------



"First, they've seen repression in action -- whether it was the way the government repressed Black rebellions or infiltrated communist organization that tried to organize workers then later via Reagan busted up unions or how the government infiltrated the clan. Second, and perhaps more important, not only is the American Dream, the Meritocracy Myth an intoxicating brew of European cultural dogma but it is a tantalizing carrot on the end of a stick that they know is a bit shorter than others:"
-----------------------------------------------------

Therefore, ultimately, the poor whites in this country are no different that the Black house negroe when it comes to their own interests; often their socially conditioned contempt for the very group they trully belong to keeps them from admitting any commonality and therefore, unifying with for the good of the entire group, i.e., all the other groups in their same socio-economic class. - Which makes it possible for wealthiest 2% of the nation to ultimately control the fate of the masses, the other 98%, which includes the poor whites, even though they chose to live in denial about that fact.
-------------------------------------------------



[QUOTE] Although whites suffer poverty too, black poverty is more severe and more likely to correlate with crime. Seven out of ten poor whites live in stable, mostly non-poor neighborhoods, while eighty-five percent of the black poor live in mostly poor areas (Johnson and Chanhatasilpa, 2003: 98; also, Smith, 1995: 128). Blacks are three times more likely to live in extreme poverty than whites (less than half the poverty line) and six times more likely to live in concentrated poverty neighborhoods (Wachtel, 1999: 294, fn15.) Indeed, three-quarters of persons living in concentrated poverty neighborhoods are people of color (powell, 2001: 6)."
-------------------------------------------------

I don't know if I believe these stats to be accurate because I doubt that seven out 10 poor whites live in any more stability than any group living in that same level of poverty and usually poor whites live in poor areas (how would poor whites come to live in stable middle class communities without the income to afford it?)
I don't believe that Black people live in any more extreme poverty than poor whites in this country, however, prior racist practices in housing and banking has funneled Blacks into predominately Black communities, a lot of which are poverty stricken; but, how is living in a housing project apartment in poverty or extreme poverty any different than living in a trailer park in the same level of poverty?
---------------------------------------------------



"So, not only does white racial kinship have its privileges -- perhaps what we see in differential treatment/punishment via the criminal justice system -- but proximity, in and of itself, via racialized residential segregation does more than splash some random spillage. It might be indirect but it's a historical constant."
-------------------------------------------------

White racial kinship only has its privilidges when the white privilidged class allows it to have. Now, there are advantages poor whites have, for example, like Blacks that could/can pass for white, poor whites, given the right dress, hair dresser, education or acting ability - can 'pass' for being part of the white privilidged class, and often long enough the make it without or before being caught.
--------------------------------------------------



"There's also another view. Think about the classic distinctions made between American chattel slavery and African slavery. What often distinguishes the two is the degree and/or speed of social/economic mobility. Like the African prisoner-of-war made slave, poor Whites at least have (a better) chance or tangible perception that they can "marry up" and, if nothing else, at least not have their race held against them in places where their class won't hurt them."
-----------------------------------------------

I think that is is basically what I am saying, with a big emphasis on their "tangible perception" being much more perception than often tangible.
quote:
how is living in a housing project apartment in poverty or extreme poverty any different than living in a trailer park in the same level of poverty?

I don't understand what you're questioning. You said you didn't believe 7 out of 10 poor whites live in stable neighborhoods. The trailer parks could fall in that 30%. Your question is posed as if there was some claim that there wasn't trailer parks or or extreme poverty among whites.


quote:
Conventional wisdom holds that poor people naturally cluster in poor neighborhoods, and that high-poverty, inner-city communities are the inevitable result. But the conventional wisdom is wrong. In the Washington metropolitan area, white and Hispanic poor people are widely scattered throughout the region's suburban neighborhoods, while many poor African Americans are living in highly concentrated pockets of poverty in the inner city. An analysis of census data reveals the starkness of the region's residential segregation: Poor blacks are four times more likely than the non-black poor to live in the District and 14 times more likely to live in a neighborhood with a high concentration of poverty.

http://www.urban.org/publications/900238.html


quote:
* About 70% of poor non-Hispanic whites live in non-poor neighborhoods in the 10 largest cities in the central U.S.
* 16% of poor blacks live in non-poor neighborhoods in those same cities.

* Less than 7% of whites lived in extreme poverty or ghetto areas.

* 38% of blacks lived in extreme poverty or ghetto areas.

* In New York City, 70% of poor whites live in non-poverty neighborhoods.

* In New York City, 70% of poor blacks live in poverty neighborhoods.

http://www.poverty.smartlibrary.org/newinterface/segment.cfm?segment=2087


www.diversityadvancementproject.org/media/StructuralRacism_and_Katrina.doc



Let's put something else in play here: The prison-industrial project. In small and, of course, white towns prisons housing mostly black males move in an employ lower income Whites. It's the small, all-white towns that come to mind when I think about the notion of poor whites living in stable neighborhoods. Those towns may have their trailer parks but it seems to me a lot of the neighborhoods are mixed across with the lower income groups from lower middle class on down.
Last edited {1}
quote:
Originally posted by Nmaginate:
quote:
how is living in a housing project apartment in poverty or extreme poverty any different than living in a trailer park in the same level of poverty?

I don't understand what you're questioning. You said you didn't believe 7 out of 10 poor whites live in stable neighborhoods. The trailer parks could fall in that 30%. Your question is posed as if there was some claim that there wasn't trailer parks or or extreme poverty among whites.
--------------------------------------------------
No, my question is suggesting the opposite; in what I'm saying is that whites living in poverty and/or extreeme poverty in this country are no better off than Blacks (or any other group) living in that same level of poverty.
----------------------------------------------------


quote:
Conventional wisdom holds that poor people naturally cluster in poor neighborhoods, and that high-poverty, inner-city communities are the inevitable result. But the conventional wisdom is wrong. In the Washington metropolitan area, white and Hispanic poor people are widely scattered throughout the region's suburban neighborhoods, while many poor African Americans are living in highly concentrated pockets of poverty in the inner city. An analysis of census data reveals the starkness of the region's residential segregation: Poor blacks are four times more likely than the non-black poor to live in the District and 14 times more likely to live in a neighborhood with a high concentration of poverty.

http://www.urban.org/publications/900238.html


quote:
* About 70% of poor non-Hispanic whites live in non-poor neighborhoods in the 10 largest cities in the central U.S.
* 16% of poor blacks live in non-poor neighborhoods in those same cities.

* Less than 7% of whites lived in extreme poverty or ghetto areas.

* 38% of blacks lived in extreme poverty or ghetto areas.

* In New York City, 70% of poor whites live in non-poverty neighborhoods.

* In New York City, 70% of poor blacks live in poverty neighborhoods.

http://www.poverty.smartlibrary.org/newinterface/segment.cfm?segment=2087


www.diversityadvancementproject.org/media/StructuralRacism_and_Katrina.doc
---------------------------------------------

But, where you live has little to do with the poverty you are living in at the time; poor whites that don't live in the "inner city" are just as broke, or hungry, or are struggling just as hard; poor whites in this country have no more than poor Blacks economically in this country, regardless to the fact that both groups are not living together in the same neighborhood. However, I do accept that no matter how poor you are raising children in a suburban environment considering what many of our larger cities have come to would give your children an advantage where safety is concerned. Now, I don't know where you grew up, but, I think you may be including RURAL area into SUBURBAN--there is a big difference --- the poor in American can do better on less money in rural areas, but sometimes at the sacrifice of what a more suburban area would have to offer: more advance schools, higher paying jobs, exposure to the arts, etc., (which, in my opinion, the poorer you are the better off you would be in a more rural area since your child can still be educated, you may be able to afford to keep a roof over your head while earning low wages and exposure to the arts, etc., can just as well be found at your local library and on the internet).
--------------------------------------------------
--------------------------------------------------



Let's put something else in play here: The prison-industrial project. In small and, of course, white towns prisons housing mostly black males move in an employ lower income Whites. It's the small, all-white towns that come to mind when I think about the notion of poor whites living in stable neighborhoods. Those towns may have their trailer parks but it seems to me a lot of the neighborhoods are mixed across with the lower income groups from lower middle class on down.

--------------------------------------------------
Again, it the rural areas, not the suburban areas; most of these prisons are built in rural areas of the country that ARE predominately white and DO provide the jobs/incomes you mention, which actually puts those who work there into at least the lower-middle class, if not the middle class with two incomes in the household. (And since this is beyond a pet peeve with me, I do plan to ask this question on Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama's websites: "Since the prison industrial complex is predominately Black(and Brown), why are they continuously being built in rural predominately white areas where the jobs/industry has left as well, rather than they be built in the predominately Black/Brown communities that the immates have been instrumental in destroying with the very crimes that they are imprisoned for, when they could be built in or near the communities that these inmates have destroyed and run away the businesses needed to employ the people in those areas with jobs . . .

Add Reply

Post
×
×
×
×
Link copied to your clipboard.
×