White Privilege

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I remember reading in a book around 30 years ago (entitled ‘Zen Flesh, Zen Bones’) an ancient story about a fish that visits the king fish to ask a question.  The fish asks the king what is water?  The fish had heard of this all-embracing entity, but was not sure what it was.  In fact the fish doubted the existence of water because he could not ‘see’ it.  The king fish laughed and said that the fish was born in water, lived in water, breathed in watered, would reproduce in water, and eventually would die in water.  The king fish explained that water was so much an integral part of the fish’s life that he did not possess the cognitive ability to perceive it as an objective fact.  This means that for the fish, water was an established fact unaffected by his opinion about whether water exists or not.  This is similar to those who deny that the force of gravity exists as they step from the cliff.  Such people drop to their doom denying the existence of the very force that is killing them.

White, European people, whether they be lower, middle or upper class, are historically a part of the European racism that fuelled European imperialism and colonialism over the last five hundred years.  It does not matter whether each of these white individuals are a) aware of this reality, or b) in agreement with its definition.  European imperialism spread around the world as a dominant and oppressive power that deemed ALL non-Europeans to be a priori racially, politically, religiously, socially and culturally inferior.  In fact, European colonialism (through the pseudo-science of Social Darwinism) did not even acknowledge that non-Europeans were ‘human’.  This racist ideology stemmed from the bourgeoisie or the ‘middle class’ who gained control and extensively developed the means of production throughout the Industrial Revolution and beyond.  This edge in technological innovation and mass production created the ships, chains, guns, canons, crosses and bibles that were the implements of European political and military expansion throughout the world.  Populations in other places outside of Europe existed in modes of cultural and technological development that were representative of far earlier times in human development, and were therefore unable to materially compete with the mass production of modern industrialisation.  The Europeans encountered other ethnic groups and cultures in an over-powering and totally dominant manner.  If local people rose-up at any time, their outdated warrior weapons and tactics were destroyed through canon and rifle fire.  The Western Christian Church, in its usual duplicitous manner, ignored the material origin of this dominance, and ahistorically attributed this to their god being ‘white’.  This removes the logical material basis for the European dominance, and instead ascribes to it an irrational ideology of politicised theology.

Today, many Western countries are described as ‘multicultural’, because non-European peoples have settled in the homelands of their previous colonial masters.  Whether black, brown or yellow, these people have faced racial prejudice and discrimination from the white population.  This is because the capitalist system encourages all forms of blatant competition between individuals and groups, with racism being akin to nationalism, and being proud of one’s country and imperial history, but whose ‘white’ history is this?  The white working class are victims of the bourgeoisie who own the means of production and virtually all the profit, but it is white middle class that perpetuates class distinction, racism and oppression.  White working class people are discriminated against because they are working class (and not because they are ‘white’).  Black, brown and yellow people – regardless of whatever class they happen to belong to in society – are routinely discriminated against due to the colour of their skin, their religion and their ancestral history.  Being middle or upper class does not prevent this racism from occurring, and can even serve to intensify it through resentment.  The middle class uses racism within a society to keep the working class from uniting.  It does this by making platitudes about being ‘anti-racist’ whilst continuously and ruthlessly pursuing a racist agenda designed to keep white, black, brown and yellow-skinned people perceiving one another as a ‘threat’.  If working class people are kept apart in this manner, they cannot ‘unite’ to form a correct class consciousness.  Part of this racism is to ascribe a ‘specialness’ to being ‘white’ that automatically lifts the poorest white person ideologically above the richest and cleverest black, brown or yellow person.  Of course, the stupidity of this thinking is that the poor white person is not enriched at all simply by thinking deranged thoughts of racial superiority – but this is exactly what the bourgeois want.  Poor white people are taught by the bourgeoisie to blame the oppression they experience (which originates solely from the middle class) on other people with differing skin-colour, language, and religion, etc.  This is nothing but a sleight of hand designed to prevent poor white people from seeing the truth of bourgeoisie oppression and uniting together to over-throw it.  White working class people are not racist but are made racist through bourgeois brain-washing.  The white working class should throw-off bourgeois oppression and reject all forms of racism – and unite with black, brown and yellow-skinned people to over-throw the true enemy – which is the bourgeoisie.  White privilege should be acknowledged as existing and then thoroughly rejected as a legitimate manner to run society.  White supremacy is a lie that does not help poor white people out of poverty.  White people are poor because the bourgeoisie constantly ‘steal’ wealth from them.  It is not black, brown, or yellow skinned people that impoverish white people – but the capitalist system within which they live.

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