*America’s population has become increasingly diverse, perhaps more now than ever before.
Naturally, every racial group and demographic in the country has an agenda or a laundry list of grievances that haven’t been resolved. But among these many issues, those belonging to African Americans are prioritized first by the news media and the government.
I’ve created the term “Black Privilege” to define America’s prioritization of black issues and sensibilities above those belonging to other ethnic groups.
This phenomenon stems from a general sensitivity toward the atrocities of American slavery and how they have impacted the black population over time. Whites, in particular, harbor a sense of guilt, albeit waning, over the transgressions of their slave-owning forefathers. This is why blacks receive preferential treatment from the white power establishment — it’s a form of compensation.
Needless to say, there’s an abundance of evidence to prove that Caucasian Americans have the ultimate upper hand in society, particularly as it relates to business and government. However, the second tier of the country’s social hierarchy has, for decades, been occupied by the black population. This concept doesn’t apply to economics, education or employment. In fact, according to statistics African Americans lag behind nearly every other racial group in each of the aforementioned categories. Studies show that Asian Americans, the Chinese particularly, have practically closed the gap of wealth between themselves and Whites. Also, Hispanics are producing new generations of eligible voters at such a rapid rate that they will eventually dictate the pace of politics in this country.
The type of power, or privilege, that blacks possess cannot be measured in wealth, status or academic achievement. However, even in the midst of America transforming into a place where voices from all backgrounds can be heard, the most powerful voice still belongs to African Americans. From this perspective, the country’s population can be seen as a family wherein the patriarch (Whites) exercises complete authority over his children (minorities).
In this scenario, the youngest, most underdeveloped child (blacks) receives more attention than the siblings who have demonstrated a greater level of independence and maturity (Asians and Hispanics). When black organizers gather in protest, it’s viewed by whites in the same fashion that a father would view his crying child — eliciting a combination of sympathy and aggravation. As a result, for three straight years, the grievances of the black community have been prioritized above those of other racial groups. This is a form of privilege.
“Black Privilege” applies to the social liberties and advantages belonging exclusively to African Americans. This concept may seemed farfetched at first glance, but it’s very real and very pervasive. Take police brutality for instance. According to the FBI, whites are murdered by police twice as much as blacks. In fact, the rate of murder by law enforcement between blacks and Hispanics is practically indentical. Nevertheless, the news media appears to be more sympathetic toward the killing of blacks by police as opposed to other racial groups. Ever since Michael Brown’s death at the hands of a policeman in 2014, the media has boosted ratings by providing a disproportionate amount of coverage to African American victims. This disparity suggests that priority coverage is afforded to blacks exclusively when incidents of police brutality occur. I’m not suggesting there’s a silver lining associated with the slayings of unarmed people. I’m merely highlighting that as a result of the outrage that typically surrounds these killings and other forms of social injustice against African Americans, it has incentivized the media to align itself, at least for now, with the black agenda. This is called “riding the hot hand.”
“Black Privilege” also applies to the fact that although whites still, and will probably always, dominate the television and film industries, the “leftover” roles are almost exclusively reserved for African Americans. According to a new study out of the Media, Diversity & Social Change Initiative at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, in 2014, 73.1 percent of characters in the top 100 films were white. Middle Easterners and Latinos had some of the worst showings, holding 2.9 percent and 4.9 percent of the roles, respectively. The remaining opportunities were afforded, primarily, to African Americans. Moreover, according to an analysis of Oscar selections, 10 percent of Oscar nominations since 2000 have gone to black actors. But just 3 percent of nominations have gone to their Hispanic peers (16 percent of the population), 1 percent to those with Asian backgrounds, and 2 percent to those of other heritage. I must reiterate, this isn’t an attempt to make light of Hollywood’s diversity issue. It’s simply another example of blacks gaining a larger share of the pie, or at least what’s left.
The term “Black Privilege” refers to a set of rules designed to protect the delicate sensibilities of the black race. On the flip side, according to these rules, the black race isn’t expected to accommodate the sensibilities of other racial groups, whites in particular. These “unwritten” rules prohibit non-black entities and persons from using racially insensitive language to publicly offend or humiliate African Africans. This underscores the criticism heaped atop the shoulders of former basketball coach Phil Jackson who in December made an ill-advised statement in regard to NBA superstar Lebron James’ team of handlers, calling them a “posse.” It resulted in Jackson being excoriated by the media, and it also prompted tens of thousands of angry messages on Twitter.
In contrast, there’s evidence suggesting that blacks have the freedom to practice racism without incurring the wrath and judgement of society. I call it the “Slavery Exemption.” This explains why black comedians like Dave Chappelle ultimately feel comfortable with getting in front of an audience and rattling off slurs like “cracker,” “wetback,” and “chink.” Of course, I am by no means condoning racism. I’m just making an observation.
The concept of Black Privilege might seem outrageous to many of you. I can already hear the chatter: Isn’t he aware that blacks are among the most oppressed people in America!? Doesn’t he know that blah, blah, blah, blah. Yes, I understand, it’s not easy being black in a society dominated by whites. But look on the bright side…being Asian or Hispanic is apparently worse.
The Black Hat is written by Southern California based Cory A. Haywood, a freelance writer and expert on Negro foolishness. Contact him via: [email protected] and/or visit his blog: corythewriter.blogspot.com, or send him a message on Twitter: @coryahaywood