Like a Tsurezuregusa for a philosophy grad student.
White privilege is your history being taught as a core class and mine being taught as an elective.
please let them know.
white privilege is your history being taught as a core class, and mine being banned because it would promote "the overthrow of the U.S. government, foster racial resentment, and advocate ethnic solidarity."
That’s more than “white privilege.” That’s white supremacy.
White supremacy is when you, as a Black person, can see the inherent racism in the institution called american education, but you cannot see far enough to create your own institutes and leave their’s behind.
NO. Absolutely not.
It is not the case that African-Americans cannot see beyond the institution of American education, it is that we lack the resources to go beyond it. More specifically, it is that the attempts by the African-American community to claim more resources for education and the generation of positive structures of education within the African-American community have been co-opted and manipulated by white supremacy to prevent the very thing you are speaking about.
Let’s look, specifically, at Derrick Bell’s critique of the Brown decision, the thing that supposedly generated equal opportunity for education among African-Americans and white Americans. To summarize, one of Bell’s primary points is that Brown resulted in the closure of the underfunded black schools which, not co-incidentally, taught the history of America through Black eyes. With Brown, white America could justify the closure of Black schools and the busing of Black students to white schools on the basis of inferior resources. In doing so, Black students were enmeshed in an education system where a particular cultural narrative was taught, which ultimately benefited their oppressors.
Let’s take it a step further and look at the social systems designed to redress the historical injustices of minority population, also known as Affirmative-Action. This set of policies, despite the popular conception, overwhelmingly benefits straight white women, as opposed to people of color who are the assumed beneficiaries of Affirmative-Action. Despite the intention to open access for minority populations to institutions that they had previously been denied access to, the actual enforcement of Affirmative-Action still leans heavily towards reinforcing and supporting the interests of white supremacy and whiteness. This critique does not even begin to discuss the cultural backlash that has effectively hamstrung the application of Affirmative-Action in all but middle and upper middle class populations, and even then, limited the scope of its application within these populations.
Further, we can look at how the current structuring of education funding privileges schools in predominantly white areas by connecting funding with standardized testing, student retention, and other metrics with a bias towards K-12 education in predominantly white areas. Chicago Public Schools’ closing of several schools in predominantly Black areas of the city, due to the inability to fund them, while schools in predominantly white areas maintain their levels of funding is a good example that hits close to home for me. By tying funding to achievement on tests where the assumption that African-American students will not do well is just as dangerous as poor instruction, the current educational situation is almost designed to fail African-American students and the educational structures that support them.
You argue that African-Americans cannot see beyond the institutions of whiteness to build our own? I argue that it has been the project of whiteness in an educational setting to deny African-Americans the capacity for self-education by co-opting those things that would enable the African-American community to do the very thing that you seem to deny. This is not a new function of an oppressive system: the easiest way to destroy a people is to destroy their culture, and what better way to do that than to hijack their modes of education about their history and their place in the world. And this is exactly what has happened.
You say African-Americans can’t see past white institutions? I say that African-Americans are denied the ability to make what they see beyond white institutions a reality.
This line bothers the hell out of me.
Not because the destruction of “ideas,” which really should read “ideologies,” that perpetuate oppression is not something we should strive for, but because it ignores that ideas and ideologies emerge from people who engage in the organization of society around ideas and ideologies, and one of the primary functions of society is self-perpetuation.My problem is that the statements do not address the actual, problem: they address the symptom of a larger problem. To this end, you can attempt to “destroy” an idea all you want, but, to quote a particular movie “ideas are bulletproof.”
If we’re to take a lesson from oppressive ideologies, the easiest way to destroy an idea or ideology, or at least limit its impact, is to deal directly with the people involved in its maintenance. To take an example, there is a quote that argues that an end to sexual violence will come when the concept of rape is as unthinkable as the concept of murder. While I might get the exact quotation incorrect, this is what the destruction of an idea would look like: to end an idea, you have to eliminate the context where the positive actualization of that idea is possible. In short, it’s impossible to destroy an idea, because there are no forms for ideas: you need to generate a situation where thinking of the idea is so repugnant that it cannot be actualized.
Returning to my point about society and its self-perpetuation, which is really just me paraphrasing John Dewey, it we change the social conditions such that the perpetuation of oppressive ideologies becomes unthinkable, then we have effectively destroyed the idea by removing the possibility of its perpetuation. This is, I think, an existential moment that statements that “destroy the idea that black kids who like different things are white,” misses: we need to destroy the situation that enables the idea to come into being.In so far as culture and society generate the situations that we are embedded in, it is these situations that need to change before the ideas, which are simply the responses to our engagement in a situation, can change. Attacking the idea is merely treating the symptom of a disease rather than considering its source.
Further, I would argue that our most oppressive ideologies have understood and learned this lesson well, as have the people who perpetuate them. If we consider the idea or the ideology of racism, in order to continue to endure, it hadto adapt to the changing social situation in such a way as to allow for society itself to continue its perpetuation. That is, the situations and systems of oppression that constitute the ideas that these “destroy the idea of x” statements are pushing against are adaptive in ways that enable their continued perpetuation because they change. Problematic ideas are bulletproof precisely because the ideas are not static and adapt to the situations as they change in order to continue their perpetuation. This capacity for adaptation is precisely why things like racism, sexism, and homophobia are so hard to stamp out.
You don’t take aim at an idea as though it were something that could be attacked directly, you concern yourself with the situations (cultural, social, whatever) that enable the idea to arise and then you change them, and you change them in such a way as to make the environment hostile to their perpetuation. This is how you kill an idea: not by “destroying” it, but by choking it to death, poisoning the soil it grows in, and creating a situation where its articulation is unthinkable.
You destroy an idea by changing people, not the ideas themselves.