Does the Color of your skin determine your level of success?
Disclaimer: I am giving my opinion based on my experience here. Facts will also be added. Please take my information and come to your own conclusions with the actual facts being your guide.
Depending on what social media algorithms you are affected by, you may see this interesting theme going around. Essentially this fringe trend is a concept saying that a fellow like me has "White Privilege". And the color of my skin is how I am able to accumulate wealth in the USA. I do not normally like people speaking on my behalf since they are not me. So I decided to take this topic on and do some research. Since poverty is a topic I am particularly passionate about, this gives me a great opportunity to learn.
To be honest, when I first heard this quote, I was deeply offended. This is because I felt as if all my hard work was being discredited. After reading many arguments about this topic, I discovered a speech by Dr. Martin Luther King talking about Two Americas. After watching that video, I don't feel so offended anymore. So I think the argument is that some segments of the population feel marginalized. Emotionally I can relate. Seriously... Hear me out. I grew up near Rocky Mount North Carolina in a rural town. This town is predominately African American with a lower than average income when compared to the nation. I went to many Southern Baptist Black churches growing up. At least from my perspective, I did see lots of hardship in the black community. I also saw the kindest, gentlest people I have ever met. Notice how I use the word "color of skin" instead of "race". Black American's, or any other kind or human I meet is not a different race than me. According to science, there is only one race, the human race. Therefore, I view my fellow church goers as brothers and sisters and love them as such.
So, do I have White Privilege? As mentioned above, I grew up in the same city as thousands of black people, my Mom served tables at the same restaurant, we prayed in the same building and sang the same hymns on Sunday mornings. And in terms of income, we lived in the same homes and drove the same beat up rusty cars. But something did change for me. At the age of 14, my family moved to Indianapolis. This was in the early 2000s. At that time, the cost of living in Indianapolis was lower and the jobs paid more. So by virtue, my parents received a higher standard of living. I tried to convince a few of my black friends to follow me up north, but it didn't work. Fast forward to today, I am now an adult and am able to connect with all my friends that lived near the neighborhood I grew up in as a child. I cannot say if my observation is indicative of the entire city, but every individual albeit Black, White or Latino has prospered by leaving this rural city when compared to the people who stayed. So based on my single situation, there is a geography privilege not a white privilege.
Another interesting fact, my older brothers who spent a majority of their teenage life in North Carolina, have a higher criminal record when compared to the younger half of my family that grew up in Indianapolis. This makes me feel that geography is a bigger influence than I first recognized.
Now let’s examine the facts:According to a study done by Politifact, there are numerous White majority counties in the US that earn less money than predominately African American counties. If there is such a thing as white privilege, how is this possible? Moreover, According to Dr. Thomas Sowell in his book “Black Rednecks and White Liberals”, African American’s that have emigrated to the United States from the West Indy islands, earn more than the average black US citizen. Yet these black people from the West Indy islands look the exact same as the American citizens that are also black. How is it that foreign black people currently earn more money than the native black US Citizens? Do these foreign blacks have privilege too? How about Asian-Americans, in the same book, Dr. Thomas Sowell points out that on average, Asian Americans earn more money than white people. But you don’t hear much about Asian privilege nowadays.
Now I know what you are saying, "black people get turned down for loans when compared to white people. That is why they cannot afford to simply do what your parents did and purchase a home in Indianapolis." According to Dr. Thomas Sowell in his book Intellectuals in Society, White people, when compared to black people have higher credit scores which is one of the major qualifiers of obtaining a mortgage home loan. In the same book, Dr. Thomas Sowell also points out that the Asian population receives more home loans when compared to white people. But is there such thing as Asian privilege? You decide.
I will concede that a person born in a rich neighborhood, with access to a high-quality education will have a greater chance of becoming wealthy through high paying jobs etc. Whereas a person born in a ghetto or a rural area will have less access to 5-star elementary schools or high paying jobs. But that has nothing to do with skin color, there is indeed a geography privilege in this situation. So there just isn’t any evidence to back up any claim of white privilege.
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