Speak Now: The devastating consequences of White privilege

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All around the country, people have been protesting against systemic racism. Most recently, in Kenosha, Wis., protests have ensued after the police shot Jacob Blake, an unarmed Black man, multiple times in the back in front of his children. 

During the protests, Kyle Rittenhouse, a White 17-year-old, shot and killed two people and injured another with his AR-15 rifle. He was peacefully arrested by the police. 

Kyle Rittenhouse helps clean the exterior of Reuther Central High School in Kenosha, Wis., on Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2020. Rittenhouse, 17, was arrested Wednesday, Aug. 26, after two people were shot to death during protests in Kenosha over the police shooting of Jacob Blake. Photo courtesy of Pat Nabong / Chicago Sun-Times via AP.

If Rittenhouse were a Black man, his arrest would not have been peaceful. This is not just an unsubstantiated conjecture; this is based on what has happened to numerous Black people the police have gone after, such as George Floyd, Atatiana Jefferson, Breonna Taylor, Michael Brown, Eric Garner and countless others. The police killed these five people and none of them even came close to shooting and killing two people and injuring another. They were killed because of the color of their skin. 

White privilege is a certain societal privilege that benefits White people over people of color. It exists, and feeds into the systemic racism that plagues our society, whether people wish to recognize it or not. It should be blatantly and painfully obvious, given the history and current state of the nation, yet not everyone believes that it exists. 

White privilege is the reason why Blake was handcuffed to a bed in a hospital for a week, despite being paralyzed from the waist down, while Rittenhouse was peacefully apprehended despite being a murderer. White privilege is the reason why Tamir Rice, a Black 12-year-old child who the police killed for carrying a toy gun, was referred to as a threatening 20-year-old man, while Brock Turner, a White, then 19-year-old, who raped an unconscious woman only went to jail for three months as Judge Aaron Persky was concerned that prison would have a “severe impact” on him. White privilege is the reason why Floyd, a Black man, was killed after an officer knelt on his neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds simply because he was accused of paying a clerk with a counterfeit $20 bill, while Matthew Bernard, a White man charged with three counts of first-degree murder, was merely sprayed with pepper spray during his arrest after he ran from the police and tried choking a bystander. 

Clearly, White people benefit from White privilege, while people of color tend to suffer. Yes, there are other types of privilege that come from affluence, religion, gender and sexual orientation, to name a few, but if the color of your skin does not contribute to making your life harder in any way for you, you benefit from White privilege. 

White privilege evidently has devastating consequences. Numerous people of color, namely Black people, have lost their lives because of the color of their skin. In many cases, it is the police that hold these biases. 

As of Aug. 24, 2020, Black people are three times more likely to be killed by the police than White people. Out of all the people the police have killed, Black people make up 28% of the total, despite only making up 13% of the entire U.S. population. 

Police brutality is an obvious problem, and a great part of that is because of White privilege. It is time to recognize this, and work to fix the system. 

In a recent episode of “The Daily Show,” host Trevor Noah emphasized the fact that police brutality is driven by systemic racism. 

“Why is it that the police decide that some threats must be extinguished immediately while other threats get the privilege of being defused? I’m asking these as questions but I feel like we all know the answer. The answer is that the gun doesn’t matter as much as who is holding the gun. Because for some people, Black skin is the most threatening weapon of all,” Noah said. 

Systemic racism and White privilege must be acknowledged, and society must be radically changed so that everyone, regardless of skin color, is treated equally. Start by reading articles and papers and educating yourselves on the issues. Find petitions to sign, places to donate to if you can and people to email or call to demand change. The only way to fix the system and prevent more people from dying is to radically change it as fast as we can. 

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by individual writers in the opinion section do not reflect the views and opinions of The Daily Campus or other staff members. Only articles labeled “Editorial” are the official opinions of The Daily Campus.

5 COMMENTS

  1. This article is ridiculous! It doesn’t even talk about both sides. Everything is the white peoples fault. Nothing has to do with the black peoples actions. Give me a break. I am sick of this

  2. Jacob Blake was on the run for raping a 15 year old girl, at least 2 DV convictions, breaking into cars and houses, a really great citizen. You don’t bother to write that the first video shows he tried to kill the cop with a huge curved dagger. You would have done the same thing if a crazed, drugged up criminal tried to kill you. You’re article is a typical “woke” lie. You must feel real good for spreading the anarchist/blm narrative

  3. It would benefit us all to be informed, here is my contribution to that endeavor on your behalf. The fact is that he was never on the run, and had stopped to break up an ongoing fight. But regardless, once police arrived, they saw him as an aggressor, a trait, typically attributed to black men, and felt compelled to act with deadly force before ascertaining whether or not he was indeed a threat. Those are the facts. https://www.newsbreak.com/news/2050157639584/fact-check-did-police-shooting-victim-jacob-blake-rape-a-14-year-old-child

  4. I think the best comparison is that of Rittenhouse to Dylan Roof — someone else who killed others and was peacefully apprehended. Another thing they had in common is, of course, the color of their skin.
    Ultimately, regardless of what Blake did or didn’t do here, 7 shots to the back, at point-blank range, is excessive. Not to mention that many lies about this that have spread — this includes the facts about crimes he is accused of committing.
    Above all else, the underlying issue comes to the fact that two different individuals were pursued by the police. One was apprehended without issue and despite having actually brandished a weapon on the street. The other became a victim of excessive force. It’s no coincidence as to who received what treatment.

  5. I can see, from the earlier comments, that there are people here who deny that white privilege is such a thing. I should ask – why is is that people such as Dylan Roof and Kyle Rittenhouse were dragged away by the police without so much as a scratch, yet Jacob Blake may be paralyzed for the rest of his life? Roof and Rittenhouse were proven killers. I will concede that yes, Jacob Blake may have committed rape, and he should certainly be brought to justice if he did. Yet, committing rape and killing multiple people are hardly the same. This is a plain and simple demonstration of white privilege. Why was Tamir Rice killed when he was only playing with a toy gun, yet Rittenhouse was captured unharmed when he fired a very real gun? The punishment needs to fit the crime. Even if Blake did reach for a knife (which is tenuous at best, according to Politifact), our police officers cannot be a “shoot first, ask questions later” type of people. Again, the punishment needs to fit the crime. Some people may choose to deny the existence of white privilege. If that is the case, the stories of Dylan Roof and Kyle Rittenhouse ought to be considered and weighed against the likes of Rice, Floyd, Blake, Taylor…the list goes on and on. Not to mention the ‘worship’ of a traitorous force right here in the United States that tried to break up this dear union is also idolized by such people, but that is an argument for a different day. I applaud the author for writing this piece, and hope to see more in the future.

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