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Does white privilege exist? Show more Show less

White privilege, the notion that white people are afforded societal benefits that members of other races are not, has seeped into our lexicon to explain racial disparity in wealth, race and health. But are racial privileges responsible? Does white privilege exist? Can it adequately explain individual experiences? Or are other factors at play in creating racial inequality?

No, white privilege doesn't exist Show more Show less

White people can be just as disadvantaged as black people. There is no deliberate policy that seeks to afford white people additional privileges and by many measurements, white people are struggling as much, if not more, than their counterparts in other minorities.
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There are no policies that deliberately benefit white people

For white privilege to exist, there would have to be specific policies in place that explicitly benefit whites at the expense of other races. These policies do not exist.
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Context

To cite the existence of ‘white privilege’, there must be specific policies that benefit white people at the expense of minority groups. Those policies don’t exist. Therefore, white privilege does not exist.

The Argument

Policies are not implemented with the intent of benefitting white people. They are not race-centric. While it is true that these policies will sometimes disproportionately benefit groups living in certain geographies, from a specific economic class, working group, or demographic, because they are not implemented with the express objective of benefitting white people, they cannot be attributed to white privilege.[1]

Counter arguments

Firstly, real policy objectives are rarely articulated to the public. It is perfectly conceivable that there have been many policy objectives deliberately designed to benefit white people at the expense of other demographics. Secondly, there have been policies deliberately designed to marginalize and assault black communities. One example of such a policy was President Richard Nixon’s ‘War on Drugs’. Nixon’s domestic policy chief John Ehrlichman even admitted as such, saying that “we knew we couldn't make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities." [2] Finally, privilege does not always stem from policy. It could be something as simple as seeing your race represented on television, or being able to buy cosmetic products for your skin tone.

Framing

Premises

[P1] Societal privilege is afforded through policy. [P2] No policies solely benefit white people. [P3] Therefore, white people do not have societal privileges. [P4] Therefore, white privilege is a myth.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P1] Privilege does not always stem from policy. [Rejecting P2] The real beneficiaries of policy are not always recognisable. [Rejecting P2] Some policies have deliberately sought to marginalize people of colour.

Proponents

Further Reading

References

  1. https://www.racefiles.com/2014/02/05/the-problem-with-asian-americans-and-racial-privilege/
  2. https://edition.cnn.com/2016/03/23/politics/john-ehrlichman-richard-nixon-drug-war-blacks-hippie/index.html

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This page was last edited on Friday, 17 Apr 2020 at 12:07 UTC