Are White Men The New Racially Oppressed Group in America?

April 20, 2011  |  

Ever since the media began reporting on various statistics that people of color will become the new majority by 2050 in the United States and throughout most of the globe, there have been parallel reports circulating about the plight of the oppressed white guy.

Yeah, you read that correctly. White men, who have long lived off of the divine privilege of whiteness, are now pulling out of the ole’ proverbial race card and claiming that their whiteness is somehow prohibiting them from moving ahead in society.

You need a second to stop laughing? Sure, I’ll wait. Okay, got that out of your system? Good. Let’s continue.

CNN published a story a last month asking if whites are racially oppressed. In the story, there were various accounts from white folks who thought that they were losing their country, their identity and more importantly, their jobs to blacks, immigrants and Jews. To counteract their impending loss of white privilege, one of the many things these dispossessed white folks are doing is starting courses at colleges called “Whiteness Studies.”

I’ve tried to ignore these stories, but the same premise kept showing up in other places like in a Public Religion Research study that suggested that 44 percent of Americans believe that present-day discrimination against whites has become as much of a problem as discrimination against blacks and other minorities. Most recently, Newsweek ran a piece called “Can Manhood Survive the Recession,” which highlighted the true victims of the down economy: “The same guys who once drove BMWs, in other words, have now been downsized to BMWs: Beached White Males.”

As defined by Newsweek, these BWMs are the former white corporate suits who are now finding themselves out of work and on the unemployment line with those “other” people. Apparently, its pretty bad for these BWMs—in the first quarter of 2011, nearly 600,000 college-educated white men ages 35 to 64 were unemployed, which equates to a jaw-dropping five percent of the unemployment rate. Shocking, isn’t it?

I find it hard to pity the “plight of the white man,” which so happens to be one of the most entitled positions in our society. Before I can even get to the point of shedding a tear or two for the alleged racial oppression of White America, we must first address the history of racial inequalities against people of color.

Despite Newsweek’s best attempt to garner sympathy, the story failed to acknowledge the other color spectrum of manhood, i.e. men of color who have seen an unemployment rate in the double digits since the beginning of the recession. According to the Center for American Progress, the unemployment rate in 2010 for African Americans and Latinos was upwards of 15 percent compared to 8.7 percent for whites. In that same period, homeownership rate for African Americans and Latinos was 45.0 percent and 47.0 percent, respectively, while the homeownership rate for whites was 74.7 percent.

According to the National Urban League’s 2010 State of Black America report, whites are still more than one and a half times as likely as blacks, and more than two and a half times as likely as Latinos to hold a bachelor’s degree. Also, whites are more likely to have health insurance and six times less likely to be incarcerated.

By definition, oppression is the systematic mistreatment of one group of people by another group of people or by society as a whole, with institutional power as a means of asserting that mistreatment. By sheer birthright, white men have had a historic advantage to feel secure in the fact that when it says ‘All men are created equal’ that it really means ‘all white men.’

So Mr. White Man, if you still feel like society is giving you the short end of the stick than it’s best not to point the finger at blacks, Hispanics or women. Instead, point it at your fellow white men at the very top of this pyramid, who seem to be doing quite well for themselves unlike the rest of us who are losing out on jobs and benefits.

Charing Ball is the author of the blog People, Places & Things.

Trending on MadameNoire

View Comments
Comment Disclaimer: Comments that contain profane or derogatory language, video links or exceed 200 words will require approval by a moderator before appearing in the comment section. XOXO-MN
  • mlewis73

    Fathers are CERTAINLY an oppressed group in America today, and men in general are disrespected and used.

  • Aaron Barr

    Oppressed, no. It’s hard to oppress a majority group that controls the bulk of the money, businesses, politics and other levers of power in a country. But it does seem like white men are being turned into a convenient scapegoat. It’s perfectly acceptable to say that if I disagree with anybody whose not a white, heterosexual, Christian man like myself, that some form of bigotry is at the root of it.

  • Zach Huffman

    It’s possible that we (white men) will be discriminated against for what our for father’s did. Much like what happened in South Africa. It’s not my unborn grandchildren’s fault for what my grandparents did.

  • johhny boy

    stfu white man!

  • Racist, and homosexuals will enlightened our heterosexual counter parts on how sneaky the mindsets of racial minorities are. Blacks are very racist resentful and homophobic, even latinos are aware of. But dont worry browns and yellows do it too. Were going to achieve eqiality for all.. Not judt for racisl minorites, whom sre just as crazy bogotted and racist as what your imaginational invention of the so called ” white man”. You do realize racial minorites think off whites as the white man, or generalize about whites in America as if we never intermixed with other ethnicities of white. White is no longer the English conizers. Raise your kids not to use tje white man as an excuse, and maybe then we can tackle the true problem: classism.

  • Brian

    I'm a devoted, hard-working employee wherever i go. In fact, let me dispense with any false modesty–I put in an outstanding effort at my jobs. I have been laid off at two jobs (notwithstanding my seniority) in human services, both times when black administrators came in and "cleaned house." I hold no racial animosities myself, but am not so naive as to believe the layoffs were about anything but my skin color.

  • jay

    This is racist garbage. Nonsense. Come to West Virginia and see how us “lucky privledged” whites live. You ever seen a pregnant 11 year old girl or a family of 4 or 5 living off of 7 or 8 thousand dollars a year? Yeah you probably haven’t because even though you cry about how bad you got it you don’t know what struggling to survive is.

  • Zero221

    I dont think its as bad as some people think but yes in some cases white people are being oppressed i live in south africa and im white fact is that in south africa if you applay for a job that a less qualafied black person applies for you will not get that job.Its not a single person thats doing this its the actual law of the country a country that wanted racial equality.Fact is that alot(not all) of black people think that the colour of their skin frees them from being racist.

  • Lovely 02

    "According to the National Urban League’s 2010 State of Black America report, whites are still more than one and a half times as likely as blacks, and more than two and a half times as likely as Latinos to hold a bachelor’s degree. Also, whites are more likely to have health insurance and six times less likely to be incarcerated."

    Sorry to break it to you honey, but all this proves is that more whites actually go to college to EARN a bachelor's degree than do "blacks or latinos." It's not like it was given to them as a handout the "blacks and Latinos" seem to think – they had to work for it.

    And if whites are more likely to have health insurance, it's probably because they are more likely to be responsible and PAY for health insurance. IT"S NOT FREE!!! Why don't you buy it, if you want it? My parent's pay $5,000 per year for health insurance. Government is not responsible for your health – YOU ARE!!!

    If whites are six times less likely to be incarcerated, it is because they are six times less likely to commit a crime for which they deserve incarceration. Would you have those who have committed a crime go unpunished and allow them to roam the streets? What would you have them do? "This Black man committed murder but, uh-oh, there are 5,000 whites in jail and 5,000 blacks. If we add one more black, the ratio will be uneven. Better let him go…"

    All the statistics you provided only display your ignorance and your inability to correctly interpret the information you yourself provided.

  • lovely 02

    Oh, please. Get over yourself. So because these things have been done by white people for centuries, they should be done to white people now. I don't think so. I am not the same person my ancestors from 100 years ago were; nor do I share the same views as them.

  • lovely 02

    Help poor how? By taking money away from the rich in taxes? My parents are rich, but it is because they worked really hard to get that way.

    *Flat Tax!!!*

  • WhiteRabbit76

    Everybody says there's this RACE problem. They say this RACE problem will be solved when the third world pours into EVERY white country and ONLY into white countries.

    The Netherlands and Belgium are as crowded as Japan or Taiwan, but nobody says Japan or Taiwan will solve this RACE problem by bringing in millions of third worlders and "assimilating" with them.

    Everybody says the final solution to this RACE problem is for EVERY white country and ONLY white countries to “assimilate,” i.e., intermarry, with all those non-whites.

    What if I said there was this RACE problem and this RACE problem would be solved only if hundreds of millions of non-blacks were brought into EVERY Black Country and ONLY into black countries?

    How long would it take anyone to realize I’m not talking about a RACE problem? I am talking about the final solution to the BLACK problem?

    And how long would it take any sane black man to notice this and what kind of psycho black man wouldn’t object to this?

    But if I tell that obvious truth about the ongoing program of genocide against my race, the white race, Liberals and respectable conservatives agree that I am anaziwhowantstokillsixmillionjews.

    They say they are anti-racist. What they are is anti-white.
    Anti-racist is a code word for anti-white.

    • lovely 02

      Agree! LOVE your point.

    • kim

      You and Lovely02 are STUPID!!!!!!! I did not think that websites like this existed, but it shows racism is still high. Also, I agree with the fact that you can make your own way, however, after being slaved and uneducated and generations of peopel being afraid of reading a sentence, how does educated and on top come out of that. From a psychological standpoint, when all a person knows is violoence then that is the resut and vice versa. Other words, black people have known violence against them for thousands of years based on the color of their skin what do you expect is going to come out of that? How about men being taken from their familes and not teaching these black men how to be men? These growing boys are clueless as to how to be a good man and trying to survive. White boys have never had to deal with problem so they wouldn't understand. Oh yeah, I am a black female.

  • Guest


  • Haze

    It's not even about race, it's about class. The rich people crap on poor folks regardless of color.

    • God of the Gaps

      I’ve never yet been given a job by a poor person. However, a number of wealthy people and companies have employed me. I don't feel crapped on. I'm not a victim.

      • lovely 02

        Thank you!! You make an excellent point.

    • lovely 02

      No. The government craps on rich folks regardless of color. Why are we stuck paying 85% of federal taxes when the lower 50% in income only pay 3% of total federal taxes????!!!!! The top 5% pay well over half of the federal income tax.

      "The latest data show that a big portion of the federal income tax burden is shoul dered by a small group of the very richest Americans. The wealthiest 1 percent of the population earn 19 per cent of the income but pay 37 percent of the income tax. The top 10 percent pay 68 percent of the tab. Meanwhile, the bottom 50 percent—those below the median income level—now earn 13 percent of the income but pay just 3 percent of the taxes. These are proportions of the income tax alone and don’t include payroll taxes for Social Security and Medicare." ~Stephen Moore

      !!!FLAT TAX!!!

  • demetrois

    Not until White priviledge ends, or at least is recognized as a source of power by those who identify themselves as white can the idea that white-men be the new racially oppressed group in America.

  • truthbtold

    None of these comments are indicative of any oppression, just unhappiness. White people are still the majority in this country (over 57%), and certainly over large business in America. They intentionally decided to sell off many small businesses over greed and are now paying for it. Businesses such as dry cleaners, hotels, gas stores, liquor stores, nail salons, beauty supply etc.. are now owned by immigrants who bought these businesses from white business owners who cashed out.

  • Juliemango

    Is the great white myth unfolding???

  • Crash

    last paragraph put the precise finger on it. I am a 46 year old, southern born white male. I am educated, gainfully employed by AT&T and make what I, as well as my peers, would consider a very good income (80% national rank). Why then am I living paycheck to paycheck? Despite the lofty ranking (ha!), I have experienced a few setbacks that anyone, including hardline Republican (what does that mean anymore, anyway?) might consider as a run of bad luck. Unexpected health crisis, loss of income, child with special needs…. Get the picture? These are bad things that can happen to anyone regardless of work ethic, education, moral compass, whatever. To the author's point, as a white male, I grew up with the understanding that if I simply followed the rules, got a degree, pressed the flesh, cajoled, etc, that I would be taken care of, much like a birth rite. What a surprise that the very class of people I held in such high esteem have sold us a bill of goods and abandoned us while their hired mouthpieces, Limbaugh, Hannity, et al. keep the sales pitch to a frenzy.

  • Hispanics tend to have predominant European genealogy, thus making them white for the most part, so i don't see why blacks Americans always feel the need to lump them in with their plights. They can't and don't identify with black people. Sure they may be facing opposition for the dominant groups now, but so did the Irish, and the Italians and yet still the Jews(who don't let that stop them from having the highest personal GDP of all whites in America). I've come to understand that blacks in America are thought from birth that they're victims, and everything and everyone is out to victimize them, thats why we cant get a head. When Hispanics, not blacks, become a major force in the American culture, i bet money, that we're still gonna be hearing the same complaints we're hearing today.

    • theBlackPocahontas

      I agree with MOST of what you said except that Mexicans can become what they want. You first have to have the mental capacity to lead and they do not have that.

      And your info about Jews is WRONG. When Jews were being oppressed they hung out with black folks. They were fed, and befriended. The Jews made money off of us and moved to oppress us and treat us like ish like any other white person.

      The thing is this, instead of us always trying to fight for everyone else or include them in our battles while they sit on the sidelines and do nothing i.e. Mexicans, and then stab us in the back when they get a leg up, we should start only focusing on us and our issues.

      Like immigration, Mexicans pissed right now that blacks won't support them. Too Bad

      Finally, it's important to know that white folks created this dynamic between blacks and mexicans to take the heat off of them. if we are focused on a group of people that don't matter, we don't have time to see what they are doing. Just a distraction.

    • Jordan

      Hispanics are not white, they are the slave race that was conquered by the Spanish. Real Latinos are whites, not Hispanics. Hispanics are offshoots of a slave race that was conquered by the Spaniards(who are whites).

  • lovely 01

    Remember the word, majority! Which does not equal power in this country. How many will be able to legally vote for issues that will benefit the minority. That's why the politicians all over are trying to get law pushed against immigration , or requiring you to take a test to vote, and now they are getting rid of the primaries, so people who are not able to get to a voting both will not be able to vote. I believe there is an oppression against poor white people, but it's nonething compared to oppressions against minorities.

    • lovely 02

      Whites are not going to be the majority for long. Black ppl and hispanics reproduce much faster.

      • noname

        Actually it's really all they ever do….

  • truthbtold

    Who could they be oppressed by? The entire world is aspiring to be or mimic whites. There must be an oppressor in order for someone to be oppressed. So whom has white people oppressed? This is a silly notion!

  • Laura

    No I don't think whites are racially oppressed. When the mexicans take over they will show preference to the white people and black ppl will continue to be discriminated against. Mexicans want to do everything the white man does, in their country blacks are seen as lower class.