You actually made it a national issue, by writing that it’s a national issue.
This is repeated every day across the USA. Roger is not unique, nor am I.
Your experience is actually pretty unique. Roger’s might not be. You might not realize it. But that photo? That’s a photo of an elite wedding. You bought the British Upper Class Wedding. For six figures. Then paid the balance after an exchange bubble with credit cards which themselves had limits exceeding what a poor single parent can earn in a year. That’s elite level wealth.
“With respect to the millionaire comment, this is specifically included to illuminate that I didn’t have power or wealth to influence a major bank’s mortgage decision making process, but I did have whiteness. “
Do you think that whatever level of wealth you have doesn’t matter? Your credit? Your income? Come now. Be serious. You did have the wealth, did you not mortgage your foreign purchased house overseas or the one in the US? If you just bought it outright, then the bank’s mortgage decision isn’t an issue, again taking this out of the realm of “actually happens to normal people. Happens everyday in America, if Roger were white he could do it too.” If you did mortgage it, do you honestly expect anyone to believe that it was your race that got you that? That beggars belief. You have to have the money to even be on the phone with the banker. You are ignoring the intersection of ready wealth, credit, connections and race in decisions on mortgages. You bought a house, in another country, over the phone. Normal people? White or not? Brother, they don’t do that.
Privilege is the most misused term in identity studies today.
Privilege is certainly about money, as money is one intersection. But the rest of the intersections are often ignored. If you are poor and powerless and bound to stay there, then the level of privilege you have, might very well be more than someone who is poorer and has less power and is more trapped but that’s only in relative terms. In terms of absolute comparison someone with no to very little money, or power, or mobility has nothing in their view, and the fact that they are doing better than someone who is even more wretched than themselves isn’t very comforting. Here’s a vignette. Someone up to the chin in the water is doing better than someone up to their nose. You are standing in a boat or rather sitting in between the maintop and the topgallant telling the former that they have the upperhand.
My initial critique was that those examples of yours do not translate to the normal experience of the vast majority of Americans. It’s a solid critique. Six figure weddings and mortgage on demand by a simple phone call are not the norm. I hope that helps to sharpen your story in the long run.
“The problem originates from the systemic racist systems maintained by white people, creating privilege. Privilege is the problem.”
It seems to me with this you have exchanged one set of glasses for another, same prescription. Privilege in the sense of the relative advantage a dirt poor person has over another dirtier poorer person is not the problem. Send me a pound of privilege. Show it to me as anything other than a construct of each individuals’ intersectional experience. Intersectional experiences that are set in a context of economic and cultural competition instead of cooperation. Othering instead of togethering. All of it framed in a society that somehow believes in the perfectibility and fitness for elite levels of success in everyone (which is itself nonsensical), and that at the same time that doesn’t see everyone as worthy of their human dignity, especially when they have made the mistake of being poor or desperate. The American economic structure is so much more complicated than a “racist system created by and maintained by white people.” That’s simply not accurate. Talk of privilege, without intersectionality, doesn’t mean anything. And once you add intersectionality, our ability to track some sort of workable pattern out of whiteness literally disappears down the rabbit hole of variegated intersectional experience. Blackness on the other hand, we can track. But you don’t want to talk about that. You and the current current are focused on the haves, not the have nots.
And you’ll allow that elitism and the upper class transcends race…a meta-race, but it’s somehow still a fault of whiteness? Overall, it doesn’t wash. Black America is caught in a negative feedback loop that started when they were kept out of post WWII prosperity and to this day a large part of Black America are stuck in poor neighborhoods, under capitalized and as a result have missed out on 2 maybe 3 intergenerational transfers of wealth, the rest of the country (barring immigrants post WWII) has not. And the US is not structurally or culturally capable of finding the will to permenently and totally fix the undercapitalization of Black America. That’s the problem in terms of economics. Or one of the biggest ones. Privilege is a complete red-herring here. And although racism was the factor in keeping Black America from boarding the train to prosperity, it’s not what is keeping them waiting on the track today. But it makes a great excuse, for the people who don’t want to change the route table.