Henderson: Why the Whole Concept of White Privilege Is Wrong—Part 1
Under this framework, the success of whites and failure of non-whites is a product of centuries of systemic racism. As one scholar notes, “White privilege is an institutional (rather than personal) set of benefits granted to those who, by race, resemble the people who dominate the powerful positions in our institutions.” As it stands, white privilege presupposes that differences in group outcomes are a feature of historical discrimination.
But who preaches against the evils of white privilege? Well, white liberals mainly.
According to Pew survey data collected in 2017, 79.2 percent of white liberals agreed that “racial discrimination is the main reason why many black people can’t get ahead these days.” In fact, white liberals are to the left of blacks on this issue, with 59.9 percent of blacks viewing discrimination as the main deterrent to upward mobility. A similar trend can be observed in a 2018 ANES survey where 87 percent of white liberals reported that an increase in ethnic diversity would make the U.S. a better place to live.
White liberals were also the most likely to both support race-based affirmative action and the removal of racist books from public libraries. In general, the percentage of white liberals who perceived discrimination against blacks to be a “very serious problem” increased from 25 percent in 2010 to 58 percent in 2016, with 70 percent believing the criminal justice system was biased against blacks. Compare this to the 75 percent of minorities that reported rarely or never experiencing discrimination in their day-to-day lives.
In fact, the Democratic shift toward leftism has been attributed to greater support for social issues regarding race and gender among non-Hispanic Whites. According to Gallup, whereas 39 percent of white Democrats reported being liberal on social issues between 2001 and 2005, this increased to 61 percent in 2015. More to the point, nearly 60 percent of young white liberals considered themselves activists.