Black Lives Matter Movement Explores Advantages of White Privilege

People+took+to+the+streets+this+summer+to+demand+change+in+the+system+that+allows+for+events+such+as+the+Death+of+George+Floyd.+

FROM NURPHOTO/GETTY IMAGES

People took to the streets this summer to demand change in the system that allows for events such as the Death of George Floyd.

White privilege has long plagued this country, and now more than ever, people need to recognize both its existence and its impact. 

Social privilege is the entitlement and advantage that benefits one person or group of people either via their advancement or at the expense and detriment of another person or group. White privilege uses both. White people, throughout history, have been advanced as a race, but also because those same white people forced the idea of inferiority among people of color. From very early on, when Europeans came into the country, they took every opportunity to build their power, and keep it. And since the Caucasians were at the top of the food chain in America, they used their authority to enslave and discriminate against people of color. And this white privilege persists to this day, whether people accept it or not.

George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, was killed in police custody as Derek Chauvin, a policeman, kneeled on Floyd’s neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds. The actions taken by the police officer were an unnecessary use of force on a black man and the fundamental question is: would the police officer have done the same thing to a white man? 

Comments following a report by the Mercury Times, written on May 30th, 2020 (https://www.mercurynews.com/2020/05/30/minneapolis-officers-work-personal-background-detailed-2/) show that many believe that the policemen would have done the same thing to someone who was white. This is ignorant. Others argue they would not have treated anyone else that way. To rationalize the behavior of Chauvin and his fellow officers, people have even argued that the policemen only treated Floyd so forcefully because of his criminal history. 

According to a June 12 piece published by Snopes, (https://www.snopes.com/news/2020/06/12/george-floyd-criminal-record/), Floyd has been arrested nine times, mainly for drug use and theft. Public comments in the Mercury Times report employ this in arguing that either the policemen were justified in killing Floyd or that Floyd did not deserve to be the inspiration for the protests that followed his death. 

Would the same people say the same things if a white person, who had the exact same criminal history, was killed in the same manner as was Floyd? Chauvin would not have even thought about placing his knee on a white man’s neck merely because he was accused of passing counterfeit money. Chauvin instead would have acted like Florida officers with Casey William Kelley.

As recounted in an August 3rd report by the New York Post (https://nypost.com/2020/08/03/florida-man-buys-porsche-with-fake-check-printed-from-home-computer/), the white Kelley printed fake checks at his home and proceeded to use them to buy a Porsche and Rolex watches. He was taken into custody, very much alive. Perhaps being white is blank-check for “Handle with Care.”

Why is this the case? Officers like Chauvin use racial profiling in their job and, for them, blacks are ten times more suspicious than any white person would be. So, while those who ignore white privilege’s existence are merely ignorant, those who choose to justify its impact are heartless. 

Even if someone commits a crime, it is impossible to justify their murder by the police. Policemen do not serve the purpose of serving as Floyd’s judges, jury, and executioners. They are supposed to be the middlemen. UNC police (https://police.unc.edu/recruitment/officer-expectations-duties/#:~:text=Duties%20of%20a%20Police%20Officer,Conducts%20interviews) lists all the expectations and duties of an officer, among which is to “protect life and property through the enforcement of laws and regulations”. Not once does it say that an officer’s duty is to kneel on a man’s neck for any amount of time while he is saying that he cannot breathe and calling out for his mother? The policemen have no reason, no excuse, no justification to murder somebody in cold blood. There is no path to empathy for those policemen. 

The racial inequality exhibited by policemen is just one example of how black people, and people of color in general, are constantly inferior to whites. There are so many other examples where people of color experience inequality. Unemployment rates, poverty rates, and those who attend higher education, just to name a few.  If this does not exemplify white privilege to those who refuse its existence, then they are blind to its obvious impact. Even in Benjamin, a racial disparity among students is clear. The school has significantly more students who identify as Caucasian than students who identify as people of color. Hence, Benjamin can do its part in acknowledging white privilege and educating its students on what it is and how it is evident in everyday lives. And it’s time to open our eyes to reality.