Let’s pick up where we left off. For those of you just tuning in, check out part I of this piece, here.
Money solves everything yet solves nothing
In my post, White Privilege: A Minority’s Perspective, I mentioned that per my experience I have observed four types of privileges. One of the most influential privileges for one to have is economic privilege.
Like White privilege, Economic privilege also has various definitions. To understand what it means, first we must understand that owning or having privilege in some ways can also be referred to as your safety net; the more privilege you have, the more security your life has. And so economic privilege can stem from the rewards of hard work, generational wealth such as inheritance, properties, assets, or liquid currency.
Gaining wealth in North America is not exclusive to white people. Of course, it is evident that the rate at which BIPOC gain “economic privilege” in North America (NA), particularly those born in NA and multigenerational Americans (or Canadians), is disproportionate (hang on my dear white friends, I’m not saying there aren’t any poor white people in NA). But there are BIPOC who have experienced success and gained access to economic privilege, which further influence their social and political views.
Take the controversial, Candace Owens, for example. She is a Democrat-turned-Republican. She had security and stability being raised by her grandparents but was also faced with horrifying racial threats. It’s alleged that the son of Democratic Mayor of Stamford, Connecticut, Dannel Malloy, was complicit in those threats. Her family filed a lawsuit for failure to protect her rights and the city eventually settled for $37,000. Nevertheless, Candace remained a supporter of left politics and used her platform in 2015 (CEO of Degree 180) to attack now-President Donald Trump and the Republican Party. She further used her economic privilege to support the left and kickstart an online anti-bullying movement meant to expose bullies (in general). This backfired when she started getting personally attacked by the very people she supported, the left. In 2017, she walked away from her long-time relationship with the Democratic Party and identified as a Republican, (Wikipedia, 2020). My point, here, is that not only does (economic) privilege contribute to shaping your opinions, but also to shed light on how counter-productive some left-liberals are to their anti-racist movement.
My final point is on immigrants. There was a time when the United States was less diverse than it is today. During that time, we can argue that there were only four or five races, with one that was superior to the other three or four: Indigenous, Black (American), Hispanic, (Chinese), and White. At some point, more immigrants started to settle in the United States looking for their so-called American Dream. All immigrants bring with them their culture, traditions, history, ethnic background, AND… their money. After all, it’s not cheap immigrating to the United States or Canada. And so with this continued flow of immigrants, it’s not unusual that they don’t share the same views and history; also, it’s not unusual that their head start in achieving the American Dream is different than those born in poor communities across the country. There are also Black people immigrating from African countries, and different parts of the world, who may empathize but are unable to fully understand the systemic racism that continues to hold Black Americans back because of all the above factors I mentioned and in my previous posts.
Racism has no political affiliations
It’s important for those of us who genuinely want to tackle issues of racism (I would like to believe that that’s everybody, but you know, people are different) to understand that this is much bigger than your basic left and right politics. I addressed this article to the White left allies because they claim to be anti-racist and are open to being educated. Knowledge and being educated are important factors in a movement as complex as anti-racism. And the best thing an ally can do besides being educated is openly identifying their contribution to racism. It’s OK to recognize and acknowledge something you do or have done wrong and commit yourself to become a better human being. And it’s OK that you don’t change overnight. We have 100+ years of hate to peel off just like an onion, and no one expects you to be this God-sent, anti-racist, perfect, White hero. This isn’t a Disney movie; it’s real life.
All this is to say that everybody – including BIPOC – experiences their reality differently leading to different social and political opinions and that no one is perfect. Don’t be too hard on yourself, and take it one step at a time; however, start by recognizing your contribution to racism.
Candace Owens. (2020, June 15). Retrieved June 21, 2020, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Candace_Owens