Access: Fox News
Summary: This video offers a common reaction to conversations of white privilege, and a misunderstanding of the way it works. Princeton University Freshman Tal Fortgang appears on Fox News to defend himself against claims that he has white privilege. Fortgang argues that advocates do not actually understand what "check your privilege means" and that there are many white males that do not have the privileges that people think they have. He states: "It's just as wrong to judge someone on the basis of their skin if they're white ... if they're not prejudiced on principle." Fortgang concludes by arguing "The idea that my white skin has gotten me everything that I have handed to me on a silver platter is laughable because I am two generations removed from Hitler trying to kill my grandparents." While Fortgang is correct in stating his white skin has not given him everything he has (anti-racist activists do not suggest it is), he ignores the role that being white plays in according white people various social advantages. For example, being white accords people many invisible advantages in wealth accumulation, the labor market, schooling, everyday encounters, and politics. Viewers might critically reflect on whether or not individuals have to be prejudiced for white privilege to be reproduced? The reality is that institutions are structured in a way that systematically reproduces various privileges for whites. For a thorough discussion of this, see our blog post analyzing white privilege (contrary to Fortgang's comments, these links state quite explicitly what it means to have privilege). It is also important to note that discussing white privilege does not preclude the reality of other simultaneous forms of privilege and disadvantage, including disadvantages that Jews, the working-class, homosexuals, women, and so on, have experienced (or the ways in which those disadvantages intersect and overlap). Thanks to Avery Winston for suggesting this clip!
Submitted By: Paul Dean