Jeison Morel's Op-Ed: A True Threat

A True Threat: White Privilege

By Jeison Morel

Terrorism. A problem that threatens the United States. But what truly threatens the U.S isn’t a foreign threat but something from within. This is a threat that prevents the United States from being what it proclaims it is. United. The threat that prevents us from being united is white privilege. White privilege is a problem the U.S faces within itself, even to this day. When you compare whites to People of Color(P.O.C), whites are more privileged than P.O.C. This is because whites have created a system where whites are empowered while P.O.C are kept powerless. This is a system that even today you can see traces of in our government.

 

Many don’t realize the privileges whites hold that we and society have accepted as “normal.” In the Article “White Debt” by Eula Bliss, the author addresses the issues that are known as white privilege but we perceive them as something that is normal within society. The author speaks about one such privilege being that whites are less subjected to the law than other people. “The previous night, a friend and I had pasted big posters of bombs that read ‘‘Bomb the Suburbs’’ all over the town. ‘‘Bomb the Suburbs’’ is the title of a book by William Upski Wimsatt, whom we had invited to speak on campus. The first question the Amherst Police asked was whether I was aware that graffiti and ‘‘tagging,’’ a category that included the posters, was punishable as a felony. I was not aware. Near the end of the interrogation, my campus officer stepped in and suggested that we would clean up the posters. I was not charged with a felony, and I spent the day working side by side with my officer, using a wire brush to scrub all the bombs off Amherst."

White privilege has become a legal system where not everyone was equally bound, A system that makes graffiti a felony does not apply to  a white college student. “Even as the police spread photos of my handiwork in front of me, I could tell by the way they pronounced “tagging” that it wasn’t a crime invented for me.” The author continues on to explain what white privilege does to a community. “When the laws that bind a community apply differently to different members of the community, It undermines the solidarity of the community.”

It has come to the point where whites subconsciously treat P.O.C differently. And example of this is shown in “Black Men and Public Space” by Brent Staples deals with the authors take and experience on how P.O.C are treated and in this case blacks. The authors comes to the realisation that just his presence alone can frighten others and this isn’t because he looks scary or something like it’s because the skin of his color. “At dark, shadowy intersections, I could cross in front of a car stopped at a traffic light and elicit the thunk, thunk, thunk, thunk of the driver--black, white, male, or female--hammering down the door locks. On less traveled streets after dark, I grew accustomed to but never comfortable with people crossing to the other side of the street rather than pass me. Then there were the standard unpleasantries with policemen, doormen, bouncers, cab drivers, and others whose business it is to screen out troublesome individuals before there is any nastiness.”

In the same situation P.O.C are treated differently than were it a was a white person. In one instance the author entered a jewelry store at night before and interview and was perceived as a robber. “I entered a jewelry store on the city's affluent Near North Side. The proprietor excused herself and returned with an enormous red Doberman pinscher straining at the end of a leash. She stood, the dog extended toward me, silent to my questions, her eyes bulging nearly out of her head. I took a cursory look around, nodded, and bade her good night.” This Shows how the treatment of P.O.C is vastly different than the treatment of whites.

We can see the difference of treatment in plain sight, something that we watch, movies. Actor Dylan Marron has created a campaign called Every Single Word. Every Single Word is where the actor edits mainstream movies and cuts it so only scenes where P.O.C speak. And example of this the movie Noah. Noah is a movie based on the bible, more specifically the great flood where humankind boards the ark of noah to survive.

So what’s so wrong here? The director has an all white cast, no P.O.C are included. This gave a troubling message to some viewers, “It’s a world where only white people get saved.” This movie recording at 2 hour and 19 minutes was cut down to a minuscule 11 seconds. 11 Seconds. This is truly atrocious as there are no P.O.C actors in the film. But these 11 second are lying, The actual video is 11 seconds of the intro sequence for the scenes. This is saying in a movie that suppose to have an abundance of diversity there are only white actors. The actor has also edited movies like “Fault in Our Stars”, “Wedding Crashers”, “Lord of the Rings” and other mainstream movies.

Media has been influenced by this system. For some reason media humanizes white killers while dehumanizing victims of color. You can see it in how the media phrases the titles and frames white killers as something that is humane. Titles like “Theater shooting suspect was a brilliant science student” this is about a white shooting attempt on a theater, police investigated his home and found home chemical jars and wires ready but the shooter was labeled a “loner”. While titles referring victims of color dehumanize them “Police: Michael Brown struggled with officer before shooting.” A post by The Washington Post states “ shooters of color are called “Thugs” and “Terrorists” while white shooters are called “Mentally Ill.”

In the end, White Privilege isn’t a problem that’s been erased, just faded. White Privilege is a threat greater than any foreign threat the U.S faced. This is a nation that claims to be “United” but in reality we are anything but united. White Privilege is the threat that prevents the U.S from being truly United but one day I hope we destroy the threat known as White Privilege and achieve unity, then can we truly move forward as a nation.