Jared Leingang, Reporter
It’s come to the point where people feel bad for having a certain skin pigmentation.
White people feel bad for something they have no control over. White guilt is wrongly used as an excuse to divert the real problem and disguise it as something else.
When people apologize for the actions of their ancestors, they aren’t acknowledging the wrongdoings of the past, they do it to feel good about themselves by feeling bad about being white. They aren’t focusing on the acts that happened, but the acceptance they’ll receive from the person they’re apologizing to.
Feeling guilty for something someone never did makes no sense. It may make them seem like a good person for apologizing for the acts of a racist white person that lived years ago, but then that brings up the question what a good white person is.
People blame the fact that ancestors contributed to everything negative like imperialism and slavery and will continue to people of color. It doesn’t make sense for someone to feel inherited guilt for something they were never apart of and had no control over.
Sure slavery and the violence of the past were terrible and the lowest point of human history (so far) but that isn’t what’s allowing racism to live on today. Instead of feeling guilty and living in the past, white people need to actually take action and try to fix the problem. Apologizing means nothing unless an action is taken on that apology.
Guilt implies the understanding of the harm one has inflicted, and it’s highly doubtful one understands the pain their ancestors caused on another. People apologize for the past to make themselves feel better.
It’s a narcissistic mentality. Apologizing for the past and feeling guilt is incomprehensible. Someone can’t apologize for something they had no part of. It makes no sense.
Don’t feel guilty, act on it. It’s not productive to feel guilty, but being aware is. That’s what white people should focus on. Not about apologizing and wallowing in guilt, but being aware of the past and taking actions that will positively affect society today.
The first step is acknowledging white privilege. It’s real, and it’s apparent in our everyday lives.
Anti-racism activist Peggy McIntosh wrote a paper called White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack, which outlines the various privileges white people have. From the sense of security walking down the street to knowing their socioeconomic status won’t be judged based off the level of melanin in someone’s skin.
Most white people don’t realize they have this privilege. It has been slowly developing and evolving over the years and was subtly forced upon society through history books, the media and people in power. It’s kept secret from the people who have this privilege, so when someone brings it up, they deny it.
White privilege is a social construct that quietly reinforces racism and stereotypes
Skin color doesn’t and shouldn’t give someone certain advantages over another group. Skin color is all biological and based off the demographics of where someone’s ancestors lived. White people have these intangible and seemingly invisible privileges due to a various reasons.
It starts off with looking back into history. White people consistently enslaved and overran other societies and viewed these societies as lesser beings and dehumanized them. White people wouldn’t adjust to other societies, so they’d force those societies to conform to western culture. Eventually, as society became overall more liberal, equality was earned by people of color.
But there’s still the stigma that if someone’s white then they have an advantage in life. They’re expected to succeed and are given more opportunities than people of color.
Since the Civil Rights Movement in the ‘60s, the common assumption is we’re a more equal nation. Now people should be focusing on equity.
For example, there’s an image by a professor named Craig Froehle that has been circulating around social media. The image portrays three people watching a baseball game. One half of the image represents equality, in that half, each person gets a stool to stand on to see over the fence to see the game. The problem is, one person is short, that even with the stool they can’t see the game.
The other half of the image represents equity in that the shorter person gets a taller stool while the other 2 people who can easily see the game get a smaller stool. Everyone can watch the game but one person, the shorter person, receives more help to watch it.
In America today almost everyone has the same opportunity to succeed, but it’s not just about opportunity.
Some people need that extra boost and need more help to be successful. That’s what equity would help provide, and what equality currently doesn’t.
The Puyallup Post is the award-winning student news of Pierce College Puyallup in Puyallup, Washington. Copyright The Puyallup Post 2017. Twitter/Instagram @puyalluppost