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CNN reporter John Blake may have opened a bigger can of worms than he realizes.
In an article published last week, Blake talked about “how good” black Americans have it, going so far as to mention the term “black privilege.” He even suggested that “white is becoming the new black.”
Not in his own words, of course (after all, he’s not suicidal).
Blake details “one of the strangest conversations I’ve ever had about race” with a white retiree who used the term black privilege:
“In America you can’t even talk about whiteness,” said Drew Domalick, who lives in Green Bay, Wisconsin. “If you try to embrace being white, you are portrayed as being a racist. If we had a White History Month, that would be viewed as a racist holiday.”
Domalick isn’t the only one who believes in black privilege. The term is being deployed in conservative circles as a rhetorical counterattack to the growing use of the term “white privilege.” It’s part of a larger transformation: White is becoming the new black.
Google the phrase “black privilege,” and one steps into a universe where whites struggle daily against the indignities heaped upon them because of their skin color.
All of which tosses the tenets of “critical race theory” — a staple on the left and the foundation of the Black Lives Matter movement — on its head.
Blake shares a “Black Privilege Checklist” detailing “some of the perks blacks enjoy that whites cannot.” A list that seems more intent on sarcasm considering it doesn’t mention a litany of government-funded social justice programs available for minorities.
Blacks can belong to clubs and organizations that cater specifically to their race, but there’s no National Association for the Advancement of White People because such a group would be deemed racist. Blacks can call white people “honky” and “cracker,” but whites cannot use the N-word.
Naturally, those who’ve made a comfortable living trading on the “white privilege” yarn scoff at such a notion.
Blake turns to Peggy McIntosh, a retired Wellesley College professor, who is “arguably more responsible for popularizing the concept of white privilege than anyone else.” McIntosh dismisses the black privilege checklist as a “prolonged whine” from people who resent being challenged about their white privilege.
There’ll only be one class of afflicted people and that will be mine, thank you very much.
To be fair, Blake does give a countering point of view from David Horowitz, founder of the David Horowitz Freedom Center, who says all racial disparities are not inherently racist:
“If racial disparities prove discrimination, then the National Basketball Association is racist,” Horowitz says. “Probably 90 percent of its players are black.”
Black privilege is so pervasive that it’s hard to miss, he says. College professors practicing “affirmative grading” hold black students to lower standards than others. Corporations offer programs and internships to black workers but not to whites.
Black privilege even extends to the White House, he says. Barack Obama was an inexperienced presidential candidate who was elected because Americans wanted to experience a post-racial sugar high, he says. “He wouldn’t be elected dogcatcher if he wasn’t black,” Horowitz says of Obama.
Not lost in Blake’s dissertation is that “white privilege” is treated as a given.
“Arguments for black privilege may face a hostile audience as acceptance of the idea of white privilege grows,” he wrote.
And to drive home the point, he highlights the white rapper Macklemore, who recently released a song titled “White Privilege,” and white comedian Louis C.K., who does a bit on white privilege.
“Here’s how great it is to be white,” the comedian says. “I can get in a time machine and go to any time, and it would be awesome when I get there … A black guy in a time machine is like, hey, any time before 1980, no thank you.”
And there you have it. If white rappers and comedians say it’s so, who are we to argue?
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