Anonymous asked: I was trying to keep it light, not pick a fight. Your "diversity quota" post suggested that US culture unfairly steers opportunity toward whites. But Asian success falsifies the hypothesis that URMs are UR simply because Whitey is hogging the college slots. If Asians can get in in such disproportionate numbers, White Privilege isn't what's keeping URMs out. Bill Cosby suggested as much in 2004. The grievance-mongers crucified him for it.
Super late response since I have 3 jobs now (lol, I don’t know why I do this to myself) and have been volunteering as a PS reader/editor for Pre-Med people lately.
Anyway, your question still reiterates a point I made in the previous ask. White privilege is a concept that applies on a societal level, not a single arena. It describes how a system that exists to indirectly (or directly) benefit White people in social, political, economic (and so on) spaces. This is both on the national and community scale, as well as more “individualized” in the sense of workplace (earning discrepancies, hiring discrimination, promotions, etc.).
Because it is such an abstract idea, you can’t exactly pinpoint any single “thing” as an example of an advantage for white people, as it isn’t always as clean-cut as overt racism/bias/prejudice. However, when you look at things like how not too long ago, policies existed to make it illegal for people of color to interact, marry, or participate in things (e.g. voting) that were deemed exclusive rights for white people, it becomes more apparent how society is established/maintain by the majority in power, which is largely a white narrative/perspective. And because all of this happened less than 100 years ago, I can confidently say that a lot of people who shared those sentiments during that time very likely STILL have that perspective or have continued to pass it on to their children/families. Racial tension and inequality between Whites/PoCs is more easily recognized in areas most heavily affected like the South, as well as in severely impoverished/gentrified spaces.
And other recent policies that keep passing to further discriminate against various groups of historically already marginalized people. Policies that cut welfare for low income families, anti-immigration policies, I think you get the idea.
In light of East/South Asian success in the US economically/educationally, I would be very careful about using them as the model minorities to compare them against other historically marginalized groups. These people, although they did face their own discrimination, (1800s with the Chinese, WWII era with Japanese), do not share the same struggles as Hispanic/Blacks/Native Americans, as they do not necessarily share the same extensive history of discrimination (Slavery, anti-immigration, Genocide). Although the Southeast Asian diaspora/migration into the US is still fairly recent, the circumstances of their arrival is on a more positive note than the arrival/treatment of any other minority group as well. The US was basically like, “damn, we fucked up about the Vietnam War. Let’s pass this policy that will help the Vietnamese and others affected by the war come to the US as refugees.” Compare that to the, “We were here first, this is our land” or the “Black people shouldn’t count as a whole person because they’re only good as slaves.”
On a societal level, you can see how Asians are more readily accepted and expected to succeed among numerous groups, including Whites - just try to think of all the negative stereotypes. Crime, drugs, and an “inferior IQ” are not associated with Asians. As such, you can expect that it’d be easier to foster the supposed cultural attitude that many Asians family have in dumping all the money they have into all these college prep programs (etc) that will help their child succeed in school/life. After all, everyone else already assumes that it’s the norm, so there’s the added pressure of actually living up to that. The obstacles the URMs face are very different, and require a different solution. Sure, a “let’s encourage them all to value education as a culture and pass it on to their children” mentality may help somewhat, but there are other issues at play on the individual, community, and society level that we cannot directly influence with just that perspective.
We can teach all the Black youth that school is important and that parents should work hard to make this happen, but when you look at the disproportionate number of Blacks getting incarcerated for small crimes, countless others who are treated as if they are criminals before they even have a chance, and the impoverished areas in where a large population of Blacks live in, the issue is obviously way more complex. White privilege is not having to wake up and be racially profiled, followed in a store and assumed to be a criminal, being expected to graduate high school and go to college, and so much more. So yes, in a sense, White privilege is a system that is perpetuating the discrimination and indirect marginalization of other people of color. As a result, it is maintaining the status quo we see today and ensuring that (indirectly) representation in higher ed across URMs remains low. I’m tired, and I may be rambling, I’ll probably edit this later for clarity.