How to end “white privilege”

City Managing Director Brian Abernathy, still working after announcing his resignation after less than two years on the job, lit my fuse with two comments in a single paragraph, putting into relief a couple of things wrong with (some?) Democrats today.

Brian Abernathy feels guilty about his privilege. (Photo: 6ABC)

Depending on which version you read, he wants out to spend more time with his family (the traditional exit parachute), or to make way for more diverse leadership (the woke departure line).

“It’s important to broaden the table,” he said, “broaden the decision-making, and frankly I hope the next managing director is an African-American, and maybe even an African American woman. 

“We have deep racial divides here,” he continued. “I am painfully aware of that . . . . I’ve been born with privileges that frankly are unfair.”

I am guessing the moonfaced executive was referencing his race. He’s white. Very white.

Let’s start with his hope that his replacement will be an African-American, because of our racial divides, and all. And because diversity is an end in itself, let’s integrate the managing director’s office. Abernathy makes race the most important qualification, rather than one of them.

And he’s too late. It’s been done.

He should have known, but apparently didn’t, that Philly’s first African-American mayor, Wilson Goode, appointed former Army Major Gen. Leo Brooks to be the city’s African-American managing director — more than 30 years ago. Brooks was not the first — Goode was, under Mayor Bill Green.

Goode put Brooks in charge of the 1985 final confrontation with the Black, radical MOVE group, and Brooks was criticized for dropping the ball.

The decision-making was broadened, in Aberanthy’s words, but what about the result?

This is not to embarrass Abernathy or Brooks, but to illustrate that decisions can be good or bad, independent of the color of the leader’s skin.

Now let’s deal with “privilege.“

Abernathy appears to be guilty about his “unfair” advantage. He reminds me of last year’s flash in the pan, Beto O’Rourke, who flagellated himself for his wealth (inherited) and his privilege. 

“White washing” is all the rage now. There must be two dozen books on “whiteness” and “white fragility” and “white entitlement” and “white supremacy” that guilt-stricken whites are rushing to read.

And when they read them, they will realize they are in the most hateful, corrupt, bigoted, unfair society that has ever existed on the face of the earth. It’s progressive self-hypnosis.

I feel no guilt because I have never taken advantage of anyone. That Blacks have gotten less than they deserve does not mean that whites have gotten more than they deserve. Equity is not a see-saw, with one rising only when the other falls. All right-thinking people should want to level the playing field, but no one should want to hold to account the blameless.

Because I always want to be helpful, I have a suggestion for people like Abernathy, O’Rourke, and anyone else who thinks they have gained some kind of an unearned advantage through the color of their skin.

If you have received some benefit you have not earned, you must return it. If you stole, you must make restitution. 

Instead of accepting the job of managing director, Abernathy should have declined in favor of deputy managing director David Wilson, who is Black. Why didn’t he think of that? Where was his wokeness then?

O’Rourke should have dropped out of the presidential race and pledged his fortune to the candidacy of Kamala Harris, for instance. If “privilege” was such a burden — he should have surrendered it.

If you are white and plagued by your “privilege” — give half of your money to a minority person. Or buy some minority family a house in the suburbs, or fund a minority person’s college tuition.

I am not kidding.

Don’t just wear a hair shirt and bleat about your privilege — end it! 

It’s not enough to read an anti-racism book or to march with BLM. That is superficial. You must put your money where your mouth is. You must feel the pain you have caused. Defund yourself.

Until you do that, don’t lecture me. 

31 thoughts on “How to end “white privilege””

  1. HAPPY SUNDAY !!!
    Stu,
    After reading up on Mr. Abernathy, I can understand why he is a “privileged white guy”! Because he is !
    I can’t say the same for me. Like you, I tried not to take advantage of anyone. Also like you, my family was a given the opportunity to achieve, and we did. However, if being raised in Port Richmond back in the ’50s is considered being “white and privileged”, then sign me up ! ( actually, it was not even close ). To retell my story: The family’s first house was in the Oxford Circle area. After a few years, they had to move, and that’s how we got the house that I grew up in. I didn’t know prejudice, but my parents did. They were not welcomed in either family because they married out of their ethnicity. That plus Philly was very much divided both racially and ethnically back in the ’30s & ’40s & even in the ’50s.
    We were so “privileged” that we had 4 boys in one bedroom and a sister in her room. The parents got the third bedroom. Because of the times, work was available and my father got into construction. He made good money when he worked, but if he worked 7 months (total) out of the year, he worked a lot. To supplement the lost wages, he drove a truck – sometimes cross country. Us kids didn’t know the hardships growing up. The word privileged was not part of vocabulary. Sure, we did better than some, but there were a lot more families that did better than us in the “Port”.
    As I have said often. Our parents gave us the best that they good. Part of that family was the values that we each learned. No, we were not financially well off. We did have a loving caring family, that to this day, still cares about the other siblings. “Privileged White Person”! Not in my family.
    Tony

      1. that “privilege” was shared by everyone that I knew back then. All colors, all ethnicities. If there was not a father in the house, he was probably KIA during one of our many wars ( to end all wars )

  2. “What are the alleged “compelling” benefits of “diversity“? They are as invisible as the proverbial emperor’s new clothes. Yet everyone has to pretend to believe in those benefits, as they pretended to admire the naked emperor’s wardrobe.”

    — Thomas Sowell

  3. “If there is ever a contest for words that substitute for thought, “diversity” should be recognized as the undisputed world champion. You don’t need a speck of evidence, or a single step of logic, when you rhapsodize about the supposed benefits of diversity. The very idea of testing this wonderful, magical word against something as ugly as reality seems almost sordid.”

    — Thomas Sowell

    1. HAPPY SUNDAY !!!
      Ralph,
      Couldn’t agree with you less. You are of Italian lineage, possibly on both sides. I am Italian on my mother’s side. Being raised Italian in Port Richmond is a big difference from that of South Philly. Even West Philly. Forget about New England or New York Italians. Pittsburgh ? Nah. Nothing like South Philly. Out here in Chester County, you are Italian in name only, and that has no bearing on life, unless you own a shop or store. We are all diverse, yet somehow, we try to blend. And that’s just the Italians. If we want this country to be the best that there ever was, we all better work on diversity.
      Tony

  4. Stu as you know we grew up in the South Bronx you went to PS 44 and I went to P S 52. You were smarter than I and went to an SP school. I went to the local junior high school. I was the only one in my school to pass the entrance exam to Stuyvesant. The color of my skin or religion had nothing to do with the fact that my parents made sure I did my homework. They were poor and I paid for my own college education. It took me 14 years to finish college. I gave money home until my mom passed away at the age of 94. I know there are quotas today for everything. I am sure you know as well as I that Jews were discriminated against in many schools and neighborhoods

    1. Jerry, you may recall my family escaped the South Bronx for a housing project in Brooklyn and, like you, paid my own way through college. I often have to explain to “some people” that a white skin does not deliver privilege. Wealth does.

  5. Anthony, I’m kind of a fake Italian, only half, with the other half being Lebanese.

    Stu, as we all know “diversity” is part of the religious dogma at our former employer, so we shouldn’t speak too much blasphemy. Regarding our moon-faced managing director, a lot of folks are saying he was fired by our stand-up mayor. Stu, are you hearing any of that?

    1. I am hearing that only by reading between the lines in Your Favorite Broadsheet. Reading that he was “moderate” and was “friendly to police.” It’s like reading moose droppings but I have had a lot of experience with the Morning Yawn, I term I was ordered to not use.

      1. That’s funny Stu..The Morning Yawn..I almost missed it. I dropped you and Christine and Dom’s name in a letter I sent last week just to remind them how stupid they are. It won’t pass muster..nothing I say will. My op represents many, they get the message.

  6. Philadelphia, PA

    Dear Stu and readers,

    I like your challenge to “white guilt.” Let the genuinely guilty pay up!

    Notice that this attitude has more bite among folks who did not grow up in the families of working people. It arises, chiefly, for those who did have the privilege of money and/or insider connections. These are people who “knew the ropes” from the start and knew how best to use them for self-promotion. What is going on, in part, is that such folks are debating among themselves what “identities” to count toward job promotions. Its a debate among elites. You can be sure that growing up in a blue collar family won’t count by itself. Notice that our growing inequalities over decades have chiefly pointed downward –disadvantaging the lower middle class generally. Wages don’t keep up.

    As for “diversity” –within limits– it generally acts like a stop sign for ideas and attitudes moving between people with differing cultural backgrounds, ethnicity, religion, etc. Everything tends to get re-thought at each stop and that inhibits emotionally based mass movements. That is one function of the prohibition of the establishment of religion in the first amendment. Countries with a great majority of the population with just one faith or denomination tend to be more militantly “secularist” (as contrasted with our constitutional protection of religious practice). What they fear is that the folks prominent in the majority church or confession will come to dominate everyone else socially and politically. Recall that the French Revolution simply regarded the church as part of the aristocracy, and tried to eliminate it in favor of a “religion of reason.” People who doubt the value of our historical diversity of backgrounds and religion should maybe try living in a country with an ethnic or religious mono-culture for a while.

    We go to Europe to be Americanized.

    We have the advantage that if you don’t like how familiar people are treating you, you can go around the corner and find others who do things differently. We tend to take it for granted, but this definitely does not exist everywhere in the world.

    The current trend, of course, is to make a quasi-religion out of the value of “diversity for its own sake.” This is itself a politically based, top-down and emotional mass movement –generally supported by our high, economic establishment and the establishment media. They are recruiting “diverse” support to maintain their own economic privilege. But this will never benefit ordinary people.

    H.G. Callaway

  7. Do none of you believe that just getting dressed and going out in our white skin is white privilege? People ascribe to whites certain acceptability, deserved or not, that blacks don’t get. And that is a privilege without merit.
    I am not embarrassed by my skin, but I try to understand the feelings and realities that skin color affords.

    1. Andrea, you hit the nail on the head. Unfortunately some/many/most/all of the people here are very much aware of it but refuse to acknowledge it because it does not fit with their thought process.

    2. No, as I explained, that is not “privilege,” that is the norm. This is not zero sum.
      I would explain what happens as “Black short-change,” not “White privilege.”
      And if you feel you have gained what you have not earned, please do not be a hypocrite and keep it. You must defund yourself, give it away.

    3. Philadelphia, PA

      Dear Andrea & readers,

      Strangely enough, perhaps, I experience something of the same phenomenon while teaching at a university in black Africa–many years back. People assumed that “Europeans” (judged by skin color) had all sorts of advantages, and they tended to be deferential and solicitous. Your taxi driver might try to get a job from you for a sister as a house cleaner, say. It was assumed that you had money and power which ordinary people did not have. (True.) Nonetheless it was the indigenous elites who were running the country; and there was a great deal of deference and solicitous behavior toward these elites. Was this privilege without merit?

      I guess my point is that it was substantially a matter of the perception of economic class –and people wanting to associate with those who might benefit them. This kind of problem gets worse as economic inequalities grow. I wonder if you have noticed, of late, the influx of poor whites (often from South Jersey as it happens) begging on the Street corners in Center City? We seem to have a lot of “lost souls” of various colors. On the other hand, we also see people of every color, extremely well dressed and apparently prosperous on Center City Streets. How people typically dress is a sign of their social and economic status, and tends to evoke better treatment. Is this privilege without merit?

      We all know that not everything is about race. Still, black Americans want their freedom, and good for them!

      H.G. Callaway

  8. It offends me that this has to be a topic. It never occurred to me that being white was privileged. Or that black lives didn’t matter.
    Or that cops should be defunded. All Duhs!!

    I’ll venture to opine that Brian Abernathy and Beto O’Rourke, like so many young college educated today, and some of their parents, yield to white guilt because of their education, unlike Stu, Anthony, Vince, and others here because of the time period. I am not saying the latter would yield. And diversity just to fill vacancies, for diversity’s sake, will, and breeds resentment. I know too many who have been victims of diversity when it was called quotas.

  9. Abernathy’s statements just quite simply made me want to throw up.
    Yes, I am white and I am privileged in many ways. But I refuse to accept that everything I’ve accomplished in life is credited to the color of my skin. I came to this country from a refugee camp in 1952. My parents waited 5 years to legally immigrate and after paying for the fare on the Queen Elizabeth, we arrived in New York with little but the donated clothes in our meager suitcases. Nobody gave us anything concrete to make my life better — no welfare, no handouts, no health care. My parents both worked at low level jobs, went to school at night, managed to raise two children, and despite the post traumatic symptoms that plagued them, we remained an intact family.
    Being not only a DP (displaced person) a pejorative term back then, but also not a native English speaker, and (gasp) Jewish and growing up in a NJ town where there were only a handful of us, I sure didn’t feel privileged.
    But I do realize that in many intangible ways I was privileged. I was privileged in that values like faith and the importance of education were passed along to me. My parents played an active role in my education, teaching me Hebrew and Polish reading and writing, as my brother and I taught them the English we learned in school. Their involvement in my education, and the role of their oversight of my public school education in my eventual success cannot be overstated. It wasn’t easy but I don’t ever remember them voicing any feelings of aggrieved entitlement. I do remember their having a determination to make a better life for their family, in the face of great odds. So, here’s the inconvenient, unwoke truth that I learned from them: it’s not a matter of white or black or brown, male or female or any other division, but a matter of the values we pass along and live, and, the legacy we leave, that perpetuates “privilege.” And those cannot be bought or mandated. There will be those who say, that my life experience is still a function of my whiteness. Sure. But it’s not about whose suffering is worse. It’s about those values that that two determined people passed to me. And I will put my parents’ and their struggles to survive Siberia and the death camps in Poland up against any suffering experienced by anyone in the contemporary U.S.

  10. Everybody is different. I barely made it out of HS and wanted nothing more. My “privelege” was being a little brother to four siblings who watched after me closely after Dad passed when I was eleven. And a son to a very young widowed Mother. Everybody is different!

  11. I listen to mostly young urban Americans expound on racism and social justice in today’s society, and I am struck by how little they seem to know and appreciate, as to how far we have come in a relatively short time. I have seen firsthand the advances made in race relations, through both legislation and public enlightenment, over the last 60 years. I recall when the N word heard regulary with few even batting an eye. Schools, businesses, recreation and sports practiced segregation that was actually legal! You never saw any diversity on TV newscasts. Now, there is complete diversity. The entertainment and sports worlds are diverse as they ever will be. All I would ask is that the “woke” acknowledge that this progress is an ongoing and inevitable tide, and realize that it came about due to the efforts of the last few generations. The older generations that they are so eager to disparage. The blatant wrongs of the 1950’s are long vanquished. Public violence and destruction in the 1960’s only caused delays in changing people’s mindsets.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *