8 Examples of “Black Privilege”

October 20, 2011  |  
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We all know white privilege exists. After all, this is America and they did come here first (excluding the Native Americans that were also deceived into making crappy “deals,” then forced into slavery and eventually onto reservations). The establishment lays the foundation for the future, and it is only human nature to create an environment that works to one’s favor.

With that said, there are also instances of Asian, Latino and black privilege. Though not as vast or lucrative, and often stemming from racist stereotypes, black privileges are proof that negativity can work in your favor. Here’s how:

More athletic scholarships.

Let’s be honest, black people have the upper-hand when it comes to being recruited for athletics. The world almost always assumes we are better than our non-black counterparts; and, for good reason. Call it stereotyping but when was the last time you saw an Asian guy who stood six foot five inches, 265 pounds and ran the 40-yard dash in 4.5 seconds? Oh wait, never.

Permission to “Keep it real.”

Because every close-minded individual thinks black women are either uneducated, welfare queens or ill-mannered basketball “wives,” we are expected to be loud, uncouth and totally inappropriate. So, when we slip up and go there from time to time, no one is really that surprised.

We wish a [insert expletive here] would, but they don’t.

Decades of Cops and other shows that perpetuate violent stereotypes associated with blackness have instilled a level of fear into a good amount of people in society. And despite the fact that over 90 percent of crime is intra-racial, that fear makes others hesitant to jump into conflict with a sista (or a brotha).

Every stupid dance we make up becomes a phenomenon.

Thanks to the unfounded belief that all black people have rhythm and, therefore, can dance, everything we do is cool. So cool non-blacks eagerly jump on the bandwagon and (literally) buy into nonsense. I mean, seriously—the Biggie tummy?

White people never really know what we’re thinking.

Over the years, black people (especially those who have found success and reached higher levels of socio-economic status) have evolved into social chameleons. We play “the role” better than any other minority group. Sue at the office has no idea that you spend weekends cursing like a sailor around a spades table with Kings of Comedy running in the background.

We can get away with saying things like “you people” and the n-word.

Some black folks make the most racially insensitive comments and, more often than not, no one blinks twice. We are allowed to insult our own and others without repercussion. When it comes to the You-Can’t-Talk-About-My-Mama philosophy, blacks are exempt.

Mainstream media is, like, totally obsessed with us.

Cable networks, newspapers and magazines are reluctant to hire us, but love to discuss our plight. We only account for 12 percent of the population yet, somehow, make up (an estimated) 50 percent of the news.

We get to claim being grown a** men and women and, at the same time, can play victim.

Black people are quick to brag on their maturity and declare themselves grown men and women. Yet, we are also quick to project our shortcomings onto others. Some of us spend rent money on designer handbags and then complain about how we don’t have the same economic opportunities as everyone else. And we get away with it.

Do you know people who take advantage of “black privilege?”
LaShaun Williams is a Madame Noire contributor and columnist whose work has appeared in the New York Times and across several popular sites, such as HuffPost Black Voices and the Grio. Visit her blog Politically Unapologetic for more on love, life and culture, or follow her on Twitter @itsmelashaun and Facebook.

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