Talking about race or racial issues such as BIPOC matters is always a sensitive matter. It can be challenging to stay objective while the writer might fear his words having the wrong effects. In current times, it has grown increasingly difficult to talk about racial issues without the message taken out of context.
But racial issues need to be discussed. While it can be uncomfortable for some, discussing racial problems can help us understand the situation better. When we can understand it better, we become more aware of how to combat racism and handle awkward conversations.
The word privilege often comes up when people talk about racial issues. A privilege is a luxury some members of society have or get to enjoy. The same privileges may not be available to minority groups due to many reasons.
The concept of black privilege is new in racial issue discussion. While it’s not an issue per se, the topic is stirring up conversations and even raise some eyebrows. People are used to hearing terms such as white privilege, but black privilege is an entirely new concept.
What is Black Privilege?
Just as how one argues about white privilege, you can also argue black privilege in the same light. This concept means how there are certain privileges that only blacks get to enjoy.
The discussion of privilege often centers on how white people get to enjoy special treatment denied to blacks or people of color. However, black privilege makes it quite clear how black people also get to enjoy the privilege that white people couldn’t.
In countries like America, it’s hard to talk about white privilege without being labeled a racist. You’re not supposed to believe in or feel proud of having privileges as a white person. It’s not uncommon for people to argue that white privilege is almost the same as a birthright.
Past laws have made it quite challenging for blacks or people of color to gain privilege. Unlike whites, they have to fight for their rights. Any privilege people of color have usually doesn’t come easy.
When talking about black privilege, it’s crucial to understand what it means. Black Privilege is not about having the same rights or privileges white people have enjoyed or are enjoying. It’s about how certain things can be enjoyed or done by blacks without any fear of being called racist.
For example, it’s not unusual for blacks to have a gathering that celebrates their roots and history. But imagine how different things would be if white people were to organize the same. Everyone will be quick to call them out as white supremacists.
It’s also acceptable for blacks to establish a group or club that only consists of black people without anyone batting an eyelid. It can be quite a different matter if a group of white people to form the same type of association or group.
Keep in mind that these examples can be the very reason why white privilege is real and not a myth. White privilege is so ingrained that anything a person of color does for their culture and rights is considered one-sided and flaunting their privileges.
For many, these examples shouldn’t have been black privilege in the first place. These are usual things anyone should be able to do without fear of being labeled anything. They shouldn’t even be considered a privilege in the first place.
Sadly, many of us realize how the world is nowadays. At times, this can be far from reality.
History of Black Privilege
While the concept of black privilege only enters the mainstream discussion quite recently, the rhetoric of the argument is at least some two hundred years old. Since the 19th century, whites believe that black people were not victims of racism because they were victims of special treatment.
In 1883, the U.S Supreme Court declared the 1875 act of discrimination against former slaves as unconstitutional. Justice Joseph Bradley stated that there needs to be a limit of how much blacks are can be a special favorite of the law.
This controversial decision and statement have sparked the start of violence against blacks that lasted for more than a century. It brought the idea of reverse racism into mainstream discussion and how the things enjoyed freely by blacks are now considered black privilege.
In response, an increasing number of whites are advocating white privilege. More whites are saying that they are now racially oppressed and suffer more discrimination compared to blacks or other people of color.
However, the statistics don’t support this claim. Many studies and research found that a high number of blacks and people of color fall behind when it comes to many things like education and many other socioeconomic factors.
The proponents of black privilege don’t deny the grim numbers. They argue how this is the reason why black people have to work harder at proving themselves and making themselves visible. The things black movement are advocating are not privileges, but the rights they could’ve enjoyed had it not been for the discrimination against their race.
Examples of Black Privilege
Many people believe that black privilege is a false concept popularized by white people who are uncomfortable having their rights questioned. Privilege can only be present within a dominant race or group in society.
However, we can use some situations to illustrate the examples of the black privilege concept. For example, a group of young black women can dress in the same fashion as their favourite black celebrities. When a white dresses in the same way, the whites are committing culture misappropriation.
Another example is Black History Month. Many people believe it’s important to celebrate the achievements of black people because of the discrimination and oppression blacks have endured. I agree and it is very important to celebrate culture, the same way other cultures celebrate their traditions. It is significant to celebrate the success of blacks who managed to defy the odds.
Some people believed Black History Month wasn’t entirely necessary( I disagree by the way) . They argued how just because some people have to fight harder than others to gain something, it doesn’t make them extraordinary. In my view, I see it the same way people celebrate a revolution or any other accomplishments.
Another example of black privilege is how blacks can organize rallies and movements such as BLM(Black Lives Matters) explicitly about their race and expect others to understand them. Even though some might question the motivation sparking the movement, black people can rally and organize sit-in to show their protest.
While black privilege may not be inherently dangerous, it does have delipidating effects on the progress of black people. Compared to white privilege that seems to open many opportunities, black privilege can hinder the progress of a black person.
The privilege that black people seem to enjoy can be seen as an excuse not to take black people seriously. Due to this, black people can keep losing opportunities because of the actions of others. Even though people know stereotypes are terrible, it can be hard to shake off.
People of every race need to get equal treatment based on their merits and abilities. Many successful black people work hard to achieve their dreams. Even though they may have to suffer discrimination and prejudice, they did not let these get in their way.
It is unfair how black and people of colour (BIPOC) have to work harder at almost everything before they are taken seriously. However, championing black privilege for the wrong reasons can be harmful to their efforts to empower their community.