Friday, May 01, 2015

What White Men Think, And Why They Are Wrong


14 comments:

5string said...

You are wrong about white men and I am offended at the stereotyping. Most folks would misuse the term and call you racist.

Idleness is a sin. Hard work is good for the soul. If you've never done physical labor on a hot day where at the end you literally have salt deposits on your skin from the sweat you don't know.

In the USA "those folks" aren't even happy with 24/7 leisure, free housing, food, health care, cell phones, air conditiong/heat, transportation, education.
They live better than a king did 500 years ago.
Yet they still covet. Ya think it might have to do with the messages they receive from the so-called do-gooders?

PBurns said...

As the sign says, if hard work and enterprise was all it took to get wealthy, African women would rule the world.

It takes paying a hundred years worth of taxes to create a middle class infrastructure.

It generally takes the luck of being born in the right country at the right time and to parents that can supply some modicum of stability and services.

It helps a lot if you are a man and are white -- easier to get a loan, easier to get a job, more likely to get a higher wage in a job with a pension, easier to stay employed (because never pregnant).

White American men are born on Third base and most of them pat themselves on the head because of NOTHING they did. Gee you showed up for work 10 minutes early and stayed 20 minutes late? You sweated a little bit. Here's your fucking medal. Folks do that every day and do not make it rich.

The simple truth is that LUCK has a lot to do with it, and you don;t realize that being born a white American man is like winning the lottery, then you are simply DENYING white prvilege. Which is fine, because like science and facts, it exists whether you believe it or not.

PBurns said...

And, as all things based on facts and science, there is data. LOTS of data.

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2015/02/white-privilege-quantified/386102/


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/21/upward-mobility-race_n_6016154.html


http://mic.com/articles/89653/7-actual-facts-that-prove-white-privilege-exists-in-america


http://www.jbwtucker.com/ultimate-white-privilege-statistics/

John Watts said...

Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.

Peter Apps said...

Hi 5string

"Hard work is good for the soul. If you've never done physical labor on a hot day where at the end you literally have salt deposits on your skin from the sweat you don't know."

Ain't that the truth !. Nothing like an honest day's work, especially if you start out with a full stomach and can wash off the salty sweat with a hot shower, followed by a couple of cold ones and a steak dinner.

Trouble is though that in the rural third world (not just Africa and not just women) days start on empty stomachs, and water doesn't come out of taps so sometimes the dirt and salt has to stay on. Calorie intake is just enough to balance energy costs, and diets are way to low in protein and vitamins. At the end of the day, and the week and the month and the years of hard work, nobody is any better off than they were when they started. If you have never done it you don't know.

jeffrey thurston said...

My Dad (H. David Thurston) was a tropical agriculture expert- a plant pathologist who set out fresh from college to "help the world: with the Rockefeller Foundation. He spoke these same words back when- and all that bleeding heart liberal good will and empathy was for nought- we here in The West are all guilty- our lifestyles are bought at the expense of others but if you feel bad about it maybe you should give all your money to an African or give back your little piece of heaven to the Native Americans or whichever native people some white ancestor stole it from. I'm sure Pulitzer winner George Monibut will do so soon. The fact is that the only thing that will cure the Third World is more AK-47s and more hideous bloodshed. I used to tell my Dad that he was wasting his time because he was really a cog in the System. In real life all the belly-aching and hand-wringing we do in The West is useless- we here in America should become and isolationist constitutional country again instead of trying to Save the World...

PBurns said...

What African countries have you lived in. And for how long Jeffrey? Any? Ever?

jeffrey thurston said...

? What does that have to do with anything? I can read and I lived in Colombia for 13 years- the exact same woman (but Indian) carried around the same pile of wood- Bogota at that time (1953-1967) has been called the most glaring example of the difference between rich and poor in South America. My Dad traveled to Africa often as his specialty crop was casava (yucca). I know from an observer's point of view Third World misery. I believe that the best thing for most of Africa -especially those countries with natural resources coveted by us- would be revolution either communist or nationalist which gets rid of the neoliberal and neocon shackles- bloody revolution.

PBurns said...

I am always amused by people who have never been to Africa who speak of it as experts.

Africa is enormous. All of the U.S., Europe, China, India and Japan could fit inside it, but people assume they are experts because they read an article in The Economist.

The only thing more absurd is the notion that because your parent (or wife, or second cousin, or neighbor) did something somewhere sometime, you derive their expertise and knowledge. That's not how knowledge and experience actually works. Dating a surgeon does not make me a surgeon.

I would suggest that writing off a billion people you have never met who live on an enormous and diverse continent you have never visited is not a sign of deep thinking, but of ignorance and prejudice. Of course, that will be denied. Right there is the source of ignorance and prejudice.

As for your father, he sounds like a man who was trying to make a difference and no doubt did.

The agricultural work supported by the Rockefeller Foundation dramatically improved farm yields in India and Mexico and parts of Asia, and those countries are not only feeding themselves today, but they are actually exporting food as well as making many of the prescription antibiotics we take every day.

Narrow, reactionary, right-wing thinkers have always been with us; war mongers writing off entire people based on prejudices and completely untested theories of development. It's always fun to go back and read people like William Vogt who, in Road to Survival, said Japan would never amount to a hill of beans and the rest of Asia should be written off as well. You can read? Fantastic. Then start there. It is cure for hubris, for rarely has anyone gotten it more wrong. The Rockefeller Foundation and your father, however, got it just about right.

jeffrey thurston said...

Not a very good read of me- and you misunderstood my point to boot. I don't mind so much that you think I'm a narrow reactionary right wing thinker (prejudiced to boot) but it pisses me off you think I read something in The Economist. Economists are like psychologists to me- practitioners of a false discipline. My point was that Africans need to throw off their own yokes- give them AK-47s to do so. All the well-meaning "help" in the world will not substitute for actual self-determination. As it stands now most African (and Third World) countries are pathetic fake democracies run by small kleptocracies. Do you deny this Mr. Africa Expert? If so- enlighten me! Maybe South Africa is sort of Second World and maybe there are some small exceptions but for the most part many Africans live like the woman in your photo. I do take exception to the idea that those who have "been there" necessarily know the most about a situation. Just because I didn't live in Africa doesn't mean I can't know a lot about it. I would consider myself proficient in WW2 history but I wasn't there. I may not know how Africa smells (oh wait- I probably do- it's probably that smell of vomit and semi-rotten fruit like in a Colombian market) but I do know the basic outlines of her history. Finally- Hubris IMO belongs to those who believe that we SHOULD try to fix other countries- we have plenty to fix here.

jeffrey thurston said...

PS- I will agree that most Americans- especially those who consider themselves poor- have NO idea the hell they could really be going through- they'd last about a day in Third World conditions...

PBurns said...

Jeffrey, my not dismissing an entire continent does not make me an expert. It means I have common sense. No one is an expert on Africa -- that's why I talked about the size and diversity of the place. All of China, India, Europe, the U.S. and Japan can fit in there with room to space. The world is a very big place and Africa is at the top. It is not a country, or a people, or a religion, or a culture. It is a massive part of the globe.

As for kleptocracy, that happens all over, and if you want to storm the U.S. Capitol with your AK47 or AR15 in order to prevent the Koch brothers or Exxon or Tenet Healthcare from stealing from the American people, let me know as I will be there to film it.

The developing world is best thought of as a process, and one that is very, very rapid. No region on earth has developed faster than Africa in the last 100 years, and Asia and Latin America are doing pretty well on that score as well. The notion that throwing guns and chaos into the mix is the way forward is simply facile thinking. The way forward is as it has always been: with education, transportation, commerce, and communication. That's how you build a middle class. And yes, there are many countries in Africa that are building a middle class. If you know what you are looking at, you find Nigerian spam emails to be a wonderful thing, as it means electricity, computers, data lines, code, English, entrepeneurship, international banking. And all of this in a country that was in the Stone Age only 100 years ago. In 100 years they have done what it took Europe 2,000 years to achieve. And you write these people off? Not me. I will pit the ingenuity of Africa against that of any place on earth. Spam emails. From Nigeria. Imagine!

jeffrey thurston said...

Glass half full I guess- anyway- I would never storm the capitol- after all- I'm an American- living the good life. I lived in a Third World shithole for 13 years- I LOVE America with all her flaws and bizarre solipsism.

Mary Pang said...

Africa is a huge Continent, rich in natural resources including her people. Their time will come (again). Nations rise and fall.
The better half is Nigerian. He'd get a kick out of this thread.