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White Privilege Vs Majority Privilege

(180 Posts)
Bumpitybumper Wed 10-Jun-20 09:44:17

I want to start this thread by stating that white privilege undeniably exists and I'm not intending to deny it's existence or the advantage it bestows on white people.

I have noticed recently a number of BLM posts on social media centred around everyday white privilege. They include things like:
- a child going to a white friend's house, having an accident and the parents only being unable to offer a plaster of the correct skin tone
- a black child not having the experience of having a black teacher or other black classmates

In my region of the UK less than 1% of the population in black and the demographics of my child's school represents this. I imagine the majority of parents buy plasters that match their children's skin tone and the teachers, parents and children are overwhelmingly white.

When these kinds of examples are used to explain white privilege I wonder how protesters think these kinds of scenarios should be tackled? Surely we should be looking to (for example) make sure that the teaching staff of a school are representative of their local population rather than suggest that all schools should have at least one teacher of each minority group? AIBU therefore to suggest that tackling white privilege is sometimes (not always) a different issue than tacking majority privilege?

OP’s posts: |
WhenAllsSaidandDone Wed 10-Jun-20 09:57:45

From some of what I've read, I think white privilege can also be both majority privilege and power privilege. In that even where they're not the majority, white people still hold the power. I could be wrong here or may not explaining things well.

On the plasters issue, I've never bought plaster because it's my skintone. I bought plasters to dress a wound. However the fact that they happen to be close to my skin tone and I never realised how it would feel to have 'nude' or 'natural' be automatically close to a white person's skin tone and how difficult it would be to look for one close to yours as a PoC is part of white or majority or power privilege.

Bumpitybumper Wed 10-Jun-20 10:18:50

@WhenAllsSaidandDone
From some of what I've read, I think white privilege can also be both majority privilege and power privilege. In that even where they're not the majority, white people still hold the power. I could be wrong here or may not explaining things well
I think white privilege needs to be differentiated from majority privilege to tackle the former properly.

Majority privilege will surely exist in most places and it will transcend race. If you can speak the majority language, are part of the majority religion or are the same race and culture as the majority of people then you are bound to benefit from that. You will have more resources available to you (e.g. more places of worship, access to more services provided only in the majority language) and feel better represented as there are more people that share your characteristics amongst the population. I don't think these things are examples of white privilege per se as the trend will hold true in lots of countries where white people aren't the majority. I would imagine that actually those countries where majority privilege doesn't exist are more likely to suffer from other forms of privilege such white privilege who have a disproportionate amount of influence, power and resource.

OP’s posts: |
BluntAndToThePoint80 Wed 10-Jun-20 10:22:19

That plaster argument is ridiculous- I buy paw patrol ones. They match no ones skin tone !

BluntAndToThePoint80 Wed 10-Jun-20 10:23:04

Sorry - that comment adds nothing at all to the intellectual debate.

Osirus Wed 10-Jun-20 10:26:08

I have never, ever thought about skin tone when buying plasters. I usually buy unicorn ones grin!

But this is probably because I’m white and it’s never been an issue, which I guess is an example of white privilege.

We don’t have many black members in our community either.

shakeyourcoconuts Wed 10-Jun-20 10:32:38

I'm a minority, my kids are mixed (and look white) but ultimately a minority. What I can say is that my kids do feel disenfranchised with my culture/ethnicity because there is no representation and they don't know anyone like them. The plasters argument is stupid but not having someone like them to relate to is true (IME).

JustFloatingBy Wed 10-Jun-20 10:33:08

I can genuinely say I have never thought about the colour of the plaster.... I buy the ones available and I don't think I've ever seen any skin tone other than pale available...

Does that make me racist? Or the supermarket for not stocking other colours or the manufacturer....?

Given the ratios, the companies are surely just catering to what sells?

Maybe everyone should just have those blue plasters you need for catering?

Bumpitybumper Wed 10-Jun-20 10:34:25

I've also read other examples around buying make-up and particularly foundation from shops. Whilst I can sympathise that it must be frustrating, I also think there needs to be some acknowledgement that some foundation shades would be quite niche products and catering for all skin shades would require shops to invest in lots of space and stock. Some of the chemists near me are tiny and you are lucky to find more than a few different options so I don't really know what can be done in these kinds of scenarios.

Anecdotally as a very pale person, I struggle to find appropriate shades of make-up when abroad in countries where pale skin is rare in the population.

OP’s posts: |
KitKatKit Wed 10-Jun-20 10:36:57

What?

Surely we should be looking to (for example) make sure that the teaching staff of a school are representative of their local population rather than suggest that all schools should have at least one teacher of each minority group?

So if a school/village has 99.9% white pupils, are you suggesting that the staff should reflect this and therefore be 99.9% white?

justanotherneighinparadise Wed 10-Jun-20 10:37:44

This majority privilege and the comment about 1% BAME in certain regions reminds me of a comedy skit where the comedian said it’s not about certain areas being predominantly Asian or black or Eastern European. It’s that when this demographic move into an area, all the white people move out.

Bumpitybumper Wed 10-Jun-20 10:44:23

@KitKatKit
So if a school/village has 99.9% white pupils, are you suggesting that the staff should reflect this and therefore be 99.9% white?
What I'm suggesting is that in that kind of scenario then it isn't necessarily a sign of white privilege if the demographics of the teaching staff reflect the demographics of the local area. The chances are that the vast majority of other positions in that community will be occupied by white people and that isn't necessarily wrong or perpetuating prejudice and discrimination.

OP’s posts: |
GrumpyHoonMain Wed 10-Jun-20 10:47:23

The white privilege shows up like this:

1. White skin toned plasters are cheaper to produce - even in Africa and India where most of the population have darker skinned. Companies (owned by white people) don’t produce darker ones unless they perceive a lucrative market for it - which is why they tend to be only available in the US / Europe. As a result there is often no choice for the majority. This is, of course, as a result of white centric imperialism that negates black needs (or minimilizes them) and so black and white people alike like to say it doesn’t matter. But it does. Plasters (and bandages) not being skin toned is a reason why many African and Indian people take them off (they are more noticeable) and explain the higher rates of sepsis / infections from conditions that are curable in white countries.

2. In India and Africa centuries of white imperialism has meant the majority populations have been taught their skin colour is not beautiful. It’s ingrained into culture. Thus creating a market for skin whitening products (again from companies owned by white people - almost all the daily brands we use in the UK have a stake in this). This is a multi-billion dollar industry based around white people telling black and Asian people their skin is too dark.

3. White privilege is assuming hair guards (as part of PPE) aren’t necessary because white women don’t need them as they can wash their hair easily everyday. So companies owned by white people don’t produce them for anyone. But that means black women and Asian women (and men) in Africa and Asia who can’t wash their hair easily / regularly are exposed to and die of infectious diseases.

3. The so called smart hair paradox. I have been disciplined for not having ‘smart hair’ as per white standards despite my being of Indo-aboriginal descent making it impossible. The examples given to me by the bullying manager were Bollywood actresses who were probably all from one specific region of India - my racist white boss didn’t even attempt to look for other Indian ethnic groups.

SunbathingDragon Wed 10-Jun-20 10:49:24

BluntAndToThePoint80

That plaster argument is ridiculous- I buy paw patrol ones. They match no ones skin tone !

Same here or blue unicorn and rainbow ones.

zoemum2006 Wed 10-Jun-20 10:50:56

It's very hard as a white person to understand white priviledge because a lot of it is invisible.

It's the looks you don't get in a shop by the security guard.

It's not being stopped and searched by the police.

It's people not seeing you as a threat or a problem to be dealt with.

You're not a white person: you're just a person. You don't represent all your 'people' or colour ... you are just you and that's very calming.

TheQueef Wed 10-Jun-20 10:51:25

Racial privilege is undeniable.
White/black applies to the UK and US but the rest of the world often aren't covered.
If it's racial instead of white it doesn't automatically ruffle non privilege people who happen to be white and isn't as contentious.

Juno231 Wed 10-Jun-20 10:59:45

I agree with you OP. I understand there's white privilege but a lot of the anecdotes given air time on TV just undermine the anti racism work I think through using so many silly examples such as the plaster one.

On BBC breakfast this morning a man was complaining that in his class at art school there were only 2 black people in his class (of 20!). Erm that's 10% of the class and is higher than the prevalence of black people in the wider population?? Likewise I keep seeing stats of only X% of black people on TV - which again was higher than the wider population. I'd expect more people of Indian heritage on British TV to be honest?

Just doesn't help the debate at all?

letmethinkaboutitfornow Wed 10-Jun-20 11:00:14

@GrumpyHoonMain

2. In India and Africa centuries of white imperialism has meant the majority populations have been taught their skin colour is not beautiful.

I think African skin is beautiful. ☺️ I am white. Snow White! 😔 And I always admired their beautiful skin, whether it was the texture, the shade or the fact that women in their 50s or 60s look a lot younger.

I hope they know or will learn this. ☺️

Bumpitybumper Wed 10-Jun-20 11:04:49

@Juno231
Yes, I keep seeing references to how girl groups or TV shows have a "token black person". Of course, I don't agree with tokenism and can see why people want proper representation but I guess the difficulty comes in defining what adequate representation is. Britain is still a majority white country so most of the time when you randomly select a group of people it will contain mostly white people. This isn't white privilege, it's just reflects the composition of the population.

For some, it seems that using the overall population to help guide us on what representation should look like isn't enough? My fear though is any real departure from this will mean that some groups end up underrepresented.

OP’s posts: |
kazzer2867 Wed 10-Jun-20 11:07:50

BLM argument on plasters may seem irrelevant to most, but as a black woman I think it is important. Growing up all plasters were (and the majority of them still are) skin toned but did not match my skin tone. I now purchase plasters that match my skin tone, and so do my black friends. My mum used to have to buy skin toned tights. These never matched her black skin. it's the same as not being able to buy toys that reflect you and having to search high and low for them.

Of course there are more important issues, but the bigger issue is that the very existence of all people of colour is routinely ignored. Are we part of this society or not???

Newjez Wed 10-Jun-20 11:08:49

I am worried that all the racial issues being brought up alongside BLM are distracting from the important issue which is BLM.

I'm also concerned that we seem to be heading towards a cultural apartheid, where races can only pursue comedy along their own racial lines.

I'm starting to look at romesh ranganathan's impression of his mother as racist. Is this mad?

Colom Wed 10-Jun-20 11:12:34

Depending where you live, it's not plausible/financially viable to cater to minorities in every instance. More should be done across the board in terms of representation in the media/government etc. but if schools where I live were ordered to appoint a certain percentage of BAME teachers they'd have a job on their hands to fill those posts and would have to recruit from far afield.

BlackKite Wed 10-Jun-20 11:12:59

Danny Finkelstein argued in the Times today that a better description for many of these things is White Default.

EerieSilence Wed 10-Jun-20 11:17:56

the majority of parents buy plasters that match their children's skin tone

I can frankly say that my daughter is neither pink with hello kitty spots over her body, nor is she dark grey with moles in shape of Darth Vedar.

I am white but I am aware of the colour of my skin being a very visual privilege. Nobody judges me on the street for "not belonging here", being a refugee, an immigrant with lower education and cultural background. That's what the black people get on a daily basis. Once upon a time, when we still lived in a rented house, we had a flatmate who was from Nigeria. He was university educated and highly skilled, yet he was judged on daily basis, called a scammer, expected to be a sponger. Both me and DH would honestly say that he was the best flatmate we've ever had. He was very honest about sharing this experience and it really made me aware of how lucky we were.

RaspberryIsMyJam Wed 10-Jun-20 11:22:23

I’ve never ever matched a plaster to my skin tone

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