If you have been paying attention to the news in the last six weeks you probably have seen the digression of events where we have gotten to the point we are no longer talking about the original incident but everything around it. The media has moved on and the conversation has moved away from justice for Floyd to tearing down statues and then to checking your white privilege.
As noted in a recent article we all agree what happened to George Floyd was horrible. We all hope that justice is served to the officers involved. We can talk in circles about what statues should stay standing, which ones should be moved to a museum, and which ones need to come down. That is a debate for another day, but what is up for debate here is whether white privilege exists to the extent that the left continually claims or not.
The left has been loud and clear about this for a long time, but especially so over the last couple of weeks. If you are white, you have privilege and you need to check it. That isn’t enough though; you need to apologize for it, join the rage mob, and be outspokenly against all things that could be potentially racist, like Ulysses S. Grant (insert eye-roll emoji). This past Fourth of July weekend has been littered with the left saying things along the lines of “we should not celebrate a flawed country” as well as many sharing the reading of Frederick Douglass’ speech on the Fourth of July from 1852. While it held true in 1852, pretending we have relegated ourselves back to that year and reading the speech is a far cry from accuracy. This is 2020 and we celebrate a country that has gained freedom from an unjust ruler and has given up its original sin. While far from perfect, which no country is, the United States of America is the best country in the world.
This circles us back to the topic of privilege in America, specifically white privilege. After reflecting on the greatness of this country over the weekend, the conclusion is quite simple: Every American has privilege! White, black, brown, and every other race in America enjoy privileges. The left claims that white privilege exists with the underlying implications that white people are the only ones that benefit from the privilege. The fault that lies in this claim is simplifying privilege into the single category of race when in reality several categories play a role.
Let’s be clear. Privilege does exist. In the United States, though, privilege is not at all based solely on race. The top two greatest privileges are 1) two-parent homes and 2) economically with a steady income. The former typically includes the latter but not always. Neither of those factors for privilege are related specifically to race in any manner. Let’s look at the data. As a precursor, from 1970 to 2018, two-parent homes have dropped from 85% to 69% meaning the inverse for single-parent homes which was a low of 12% in 1970 and more than doubled to 27% in 2018.
Minnesota Psychological Association conducted a study on fatherless homes for the entire United States. Children without a father are more likely to suffer from attachment issues creating a negative cycle for future generations. Continuing in the same theme, children are two times more susceptible to physical and verbal abuse, more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety, and more likely to drop out from school or never pursue higher education. Children of single-parent homes are four times more likely to live in poverty, which we will get to shortly. They are also more likely to join a gang, abuse drugs, but the most alarming the incarceration rates. The study shares that for female inmates over half come from fatherless homes. Youth who never had a father living in the home had the highest incarceration rates compared to two-parent homes, divorced parents, or single dads. They did note that not all children who are raised without one parent will suffer these adverse effects, but the statistics show it is an uphill battle.
Economically speaking, according to the Pew Research Center, 27% of single parents live in poverty, while 16% of parents cohabitating are poor, and 8% married are below the poverty line. 30% of solo mothers are poor and the median income for them is $25,500 per year compared to $81,500 in two-parent homes. Remember that median is the average, some Americans are above the median, but to counterbalance the average, others are making less than $25,500 a year. Sadly, for some, disposable income is not even in their vocabulary.
According to a study by Aurora University, 33% of single-parent families were “food insecure,” It also included that 27% of single parents did not have health insurance. Thanks Obama. Finally, 42% of single-parent homes are met with at least one of the nine economic hardships listed from the Census Bureau. These hardships include not paying rent, utilities, services cut off, not seeing healthcare doctors, and even being evicted.
Privilege comes in all different forms, but to say that white privilege is the most predominant form of privilege is ignorant of the facts found from the Census Bureau and multiple studies across the country observing the discrepancies. Reading between the lines, those people who fall into these statistical categories continue to increase the chances of the next generation to suffer negatively, as well.
We haven’t even mentioned college education, occupation, or just flat out physical ability like Lebron James. It is safe to say he lives a more privileged life than the overwhelming majority of us. We can all think of people, some we even know, who do not have white privilege or less privilege than another race. It does not mean that one race has more privilege over another. When asking if white privilege exists, the answer is much more complicated and goes far past skin color. What makes America great is that we have the opportunity to increase our own privilege and for our future children if we so choose regardless of what the statistics tell us.