Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Legend of the Persecuted White Guy

David Sirota's new essay in Salon is good reading.  Here's the article from Newsweek asking whether or not white masculinity can survive the recession.  With a straight face.

We all know the truth about white male privilege. Even now, white men are statistically the most insulated group in society.

The legend of the persecuted white guy (and his girlfriends) exists even in Korea, where white guys love to write I Hate Korea blogs because Koreans don't privilege white people by default. The white power structure is in full effect here and the privileges white skin with good English with good education affords translates into a standard of living that is, in fact, more comfortable stable than for the majority of Korean citizens. Koreans know it and some--not all mind you and nowhere near close to all--resent it. White people are massively privileged in Korea.

Imagine what would happen in the US if our government used tax revenue to bring native-speaking Spanish speakers from Mexico into public elementary, junior and high school classrooms--and paid those native speakers with graduate degrees more than many of the citizens who teach at those schools get paid, paid for their flights to and from the US each year, paid for much of their housing, paid for their medical care, paid for their pleasure, paid for their pensions, and when they left paid them nice bonuses. Imagine what would happen then.

White people, especially white men, hate unpackaging privilege and thinking about it. Talk to a libertarian about privilege and you'll see where I'm coming from. Bring up white power structure with many liberals and you'll get a fight.


Blackchild said...

I agree there is white privilege in Asia but I think you are conflating it with market realities. Korea is an awful place and because it is awful they have to pay a premium to get people to come from their economically superior countries to go there. As for your other point we(Americans) do hire foreign teachers and give them stipends from overseas and in most places they make about 6,000 more than there American counterparts.


Gary Norris said...

Seems you're in Korea, or have been. I don't know if you're fucking with me or trying to make a serious point.

The story from the Post has nothing to do with the kinds of teachers Korea recruits, nor the program to teach Koreans English. The NSET program in Korea is much different than say a program in the US to recruit foreign teachers to fill vacant spots in US public school districts. It's pretty simple to understand how the two programs are different.

And privilege is absolutely a part of market realities. The two aren't even close to being mutually exclusive. White privilege via the white power structure isn't something that only white people have access to, btw. I'm sure you're aware of this.