Wednesday, October 3, 2007

The Cost of Privilege

I went to a wonderful event last week at the World Beat Center to hear Chip Smith, author of the book “The Cost of Privilege: Taking on the System of White Supremacy and Racism.”

Privilege is an important subject that should be talked about more often, whether in the community, the media or the government. However, the only way that most individuals, or the media for that matter, are able to talk about the subject is through the oppressed. There is another approach that can be taken which is often forgotten—that if there is an oppressed, there must be a privileged. In a town where the dividing lines are almost visual, such as the difference between parts of town on different sides of Interstate 8, one can make plenty of arguments why it is important to not just identify the oppressed, but to also make people aware of the privileged and the society in which they benefit from on a daily bases.

The privileged have created over 300 years of white supremacy rule. Now, I am not referring to the KKK form of supremacy, but rather the built-in institutional systems that the majority shareholders have made for themselves. The privileged white population has been living for hundreds of years with their own form of affirmative action that is much more widespread and effective than what people of color supposedly enjoy. If you take a moment to read history textbooks, you will see the biases that I am referring to.

Though this is a national problem, it is certainly an issue that is being dealt with everyday in San Diego County. The more educated we become on issues of privilege and oppression, the more we will understand the agenda and bias that come of out of the articles we read and the news stories we watch.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this. As someone who lives south of the 8, specifically south of the 94 I can say that it seems that we've been the dumping ground for city of San Diego since I can remember, I mean would auto repair shops and metal shops be zoned with homes and apartments in the same block in La Jolla? Or University City? Or Mission Hiils? I think not. Even though some progress has been made, it seems only like token progress and not in the areas that need it. I mean I love South San Diego but how come they got a nice library and movie theatres and new supermarkets but where is the new library for San Ysidro? Or the supermarket for Barrio Logan that's been promised for years? Fighting to change entrenched institutions is hard and difficult but pressure must be brought to bear and it must be constant. I know that communities are fighting back and I encourage them to keep it up!