I may be in a small camp of liberals that disagree with much of this essay. For one white privilege stems from the manifest destiny that came over with the Mayflower. It’s as mush a Christian failing as whiteness. Second there are plenty of American white folks out there that, like the writer, don’t ask for more because of their humble or acetic upbringings. Further, there are plenty of people in minority groups that do ask for more. “More-ness” is not a product of white-privilege, it a product of privilege. Period. No matter your upbringing, if you attain any modicum of prosperity it’s because you demanded more. One who transcends poverty or stigma of any sort did not settle for less.
I’m as liberal as the day is long. I understand the privilege that came with my white skin and see the unfairness of it. I’m ashamed of the direction that this country has taken in the last presidential election. However, I feel that it is short-sighted and frankly, prejudicial, to pin this so-called “more-ness” on one group. “More-ness” is an individual trait. There are plenty of example of minority more-ness in the US just as blantant and in some cases, as dangerous as the white variety.
Yes there is a pervasive sense on manifest destiny still in this country. The legal system is stacked against poor and minorities as a means to create poverty class so that there are more low-wage drones and fodder for the corporate-prison complex. Bigotry is disturbingly alive and well in the US. It is shameful. Fifty years after the Civil Rights movement after 100 years of post Civil War oppression cannot be emphasized enough — and that is just one ethnicity. Natives, Latinos, and all other non-Caucasoid peoples are subject to prejudices to some degree. Also, remember that it wasn’t that long ago that being Irish or Italian or Jewish was as bad as being “brown-skinned”.
Why? It all comes down to competition of resources and who to blame or target for having enough to go after. It’s primitive instinct and why I can safely say in light of Trump’s election that we are not so evolved from our tribal Cro-Mangnon and Neanderthal ancestors warring over the same hunting grounds for food. The desire for personal gain and comfort seems to outweigh our sense of humanity more with every passing generation. Yet we know better. We know right from wrong, compassion from greed. Yet we fail those altruistic tests as a species.
Since 9–11 we Americans are now faced with the fact that we are not able to provide a better life for successive generations than our own because we as Americans are not equipped of making due with less. That is not what was promised in the American Dream. As antiquated as that notion is we still cling to it like a child to it’s “blanky.”
There has been no catastrophe in recent years that makes ALL humans see each other as exactly the same. Whether its a plague or alien invasion, we seem to need a common foe to thin the heard and overcome (if possible) in order to start fresh out of necessity for survival, because without one we certainly don’t seem to have the impetus to forge this of out our own free-will or better nature.