I was on Salon.com today and they had a piece talking about how conservative CNN commentator Glenn Beck feels that he “can’t win” because he is “American,” “white,” “Christian,” and “conservative.” In case you misunderstood him, Beck went on to say, “I mean, I was talking about it with my family yesterday. I said, ‘I’m tired of being the least popular person in the world.’” Now I trust that most readers of this site, (regardless of background) think that this type of language is inflammatory, repulsive and disrespectful. I would agree.
However, as I reflect on how the affirmative action fight went down in Michigan, I try to imagine the conversations that White couples had in bed when they could unload their deepest prejudices without fear of being judged. I am sure many conversations revolved around feeling victimized.
“Why can’t they just get in on their own merits?”
“If my kid is smarter then a Black kid, why are they being penalized for being White?”
What bothers me though is how easy it is to take on the victim role. If we all agree that (and I think most would) there is still institutional and systemic racism that plague Black people and other communities of color, then certainly there are groups that benefit, correct? I wish the benefits were more highlighted. Thankfully, there is a book entitle, “Black Wealth/White Wealth” that will learn you to realities you always had an inkling about, but didn’t want to know.
Nevertheless, for an example of how popular being a victim is, there are many Whites that will vote against affirmative action policies even when they are confronted with information explaining that White women are the biggest beneficiaries.
That shows me that it’s not just about being ignorant, because the feeling of being victimized has caused White people to vote against their own interests. I don’t want to get caught up in the affirmative action debate per se, but I think that debate provides an interesting and probing look into perceived white victimization.
I think comedian Paul Mooney said it best when he said, “Everybody wants to be a n-word, but nobody wants to be a n-word.” I just don’t know why, being a victim is not fun. Someone please help me understand.
Stay up fam,