'I'm a Young White Male; What Do I Have to Apologies (sic) For?'
A 21-year-old chemical-engineering student asks a question. DiversityInc CEO Luke Visconti has an answer.
I'm a 21-year-old white male. Why does it seem like I must apologies (sic) for it? I'm not racist, sexist, nor feel any kind of discrimination towards anyone. I respect individuals based upon their character and merit. My parents and extended family share the same attitude and just a few generations ago my family were immigrants to this great country. Why does it seem that many people, like those behind this website and the hypersensitive groups at my University, make the assumption that I have some sort of advantage or I am given a better opportunity or even that I am prejudice because I'm a white male. I would not really notice race or feel uncomfortable around certain other races if I didn't sense the animosity coming from the other direction.
It's hard out there for everyone, my peers and I will have the same opportunity to achieve success, no matter what race or sex or religion or however else you people categories individuals. It will be based upon our character and merit... that is unless this "diversity" stuff keeps holding all of us back. So I ask again, why does it seem like I must apologies for being a white male?
If you have a passion in life and are sensitive enough to what is going on around you, patterns emerge to give you clarity. Today, I received your email; yesterday, I was speaking at a conference for the construction trade where I apologized to the mostly non-white crowd when I told them that they, the oppressed, were the ones who had to lead their companies out of oppressive behavior. And two days ago, I received an email from a fan who sent me my own words from this Ask the White Guy column I wrote years ago:
Some non-white people do "play the race card." However, I'll point out that white people "play the race card" every day of their lives. They may not know it, but they do. Such is the privilege of being white in this country.
The Legacy of Slavery & Racism
The legacy of slavery has benefited every white person in this country—directly and personally. In a very gross analogy, if you run a series of foot races over 300 years but prevent 13 percent of the participants from learning how to run for 180 years and then give them concrete sneakers for another 80 years—but allow them full access for 40 years—it will take the 13 percent quite a few races to be competitive because the other 87 percent advanced their skills by practice and repetition.
Life is not a foot race, but it is a fact that the average white person would not economically benefit from switching places with an average Black person (Black households average one-tenth the household wealth of white households. Click the image above to view additional factoids). If you believe all people are created equal, there has to be a reason for this—and there is: racism.
The core aspect of your ignorance is the assertion that you did not have "some sort of advantage" or that you were "given a better opportunity." You are profoundly wrong in that statement.
The animosity you sense being directed at you is due to your behavior, which is shaped by profound lack of knowledge and perspective on how our current national situation has come to pass. You dismiss the very thing that shapes your entire life: white privilege. The fact that you think you can describe your life in absence of racial terms is the pinnacle of white privilege.
Being white means you never have to think about race; you never consider that your application to college will be treated differently; that the police officer stopping you isn't out for anything more than how fast you were going; that your boss didn't really mean to insult you to your core when he said "You're so articulate" or dismiss your entire being by saying "I don't care if you're Black, Yellow, Brown, Green or Polka-Dot …" Read 10 Things Never to Say to a Black Coworker for more.
Shifting Demographics Bring Awareness for Diversity
I am a baby boomer. My generation could get away with being sharp-elbowed in its ignorance of race, gender, orientation, disability and age discrimination and could maneuver just fine in society because America was far less diverse then and people outside the dominant group didn't have enough political or economic power. Non-white people didn't see codification of their human and civil rights until after the last baby boomer was born (1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act).
You, my sheltered friend, cannot maintain willful ignorance without detriment to yourself. Because of immigration reform in the mid-1960s, when non-white immigration quotas were lifted for the first time in American history, your generation is where our country crosses into profound diversity. Less than 50 percent of the children born in our country today are white, in contrast to 60 years ago when only one out of nine Americans was not white.
Corporate Success Through Diversity Management
My publication exists because corporate America has enough of a thirst to understand how to profitably manage this diversity to keep us economically viable. You are an anachronism, and your attitude will sharply reduce your potential for career success in any well-managed company because progressive company leaders understand their fiduciary responsibility to manage diversity. This accountability is discussed explicitly in our Q&A with Ameren CEO Tom Voss:
You cannot have professional success if you think those around you are "hypersensitive." Here's a basic fact of life: Your feelings of discomfort are self-inflicted. YOUR behavior must change to lower the "hypersensitivity" that you think is not coming from yourself. It is your responsibility—and your repercussion—that if you continue on your current track, you will simply be sidelined in any organization you find on our DiversityInc Top 50 list.
As it is your responsibility, I will leave it to you to read up on the three-fifths rule in our Constitution, the Civil War, the Jim Crow era, the civil-rights era, and things such as the Civil Rights Act, Voting Rights Act, Community Reinvestment Act of 1977 and the Americans with Disabilities Act.
I will leave it to you to learn about the prison industrial complex, which, fueled by the 41-year-old "war on drugs," has resulted in our country imprisoning seven times the per capita average of the rest of the world. Fifty-eight percent of American prisoners are Black and Latino; think about the disproportional impact of this statistic on the families of the innocent.
I'll leave it to you to read the Pew Research report showing that because of the overt racial targeting of Black and Latino households in the subprime crisis, Black and Latino household wealth (already behind that of white households before the crisis) is now 1/20th and 1/18th the wealth of white households, respectively. I will leave it up to you to learn about the abject failure of public schools that serve the poor. I will leave it to you to discover Frederick Douglass' wisdom. I will leave it to you to read "The New Jim Crow" by Michelle Alexander.
You are grossly insulting and express profound ignorance when you say that everyone has the "same opportunity" and that "character and merit" are the only determining factors. It's ironic—you don't have to apologize for being white, but if you develop an understanding of why you feel that dissonance in your soul, you will gain a powerful advantage as you will be able to build allies and broaden your world.
Luke Visconti's Ask the White Guy column is a top draw on DiversityInc.com. Visconti, the founder and CEO of DiversityInc, is a nationally recognized leader in diversity management. In his popular column, readers who ask Visconti tough questions about race/culture, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability and age can expect smart, direct and disarmingly frank answers.
NAACP says: While the state has hate crime laws, they're not often enforced.
A white teen, social media identified as a student at Southington High School in Connecticut, made a racist video that included threats of lynching Black people and claims that he "hung 12 Black men from a tree just this night."
"We are tired of the abuse, the insults, the way he talks about us when he knows that we are here helping him make money," said a woman working at Trump National Golf Club.
As President Trump sends troops to the U.S.-Mexico border to "defend" (white) America against the caravans of Brown people and bar some from asylum in the U.S., the history of hiring undocumented workers at his properties in New Jersey and Florida continues to come to light.
Trump has a problem with undocumented immigrants seeking asylum, but not when they are hired to wash his clothes or make his bed.
The Trump administration is creating a narrative that refugees escaping violence and poverty in Central America and seeking asylum are dangerous.
Victorina Morales, an undocumented immigrant from Guatemala, reportedly crossed the border in 1999 and has worked at the at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J, since 2013, The New York Times reported Thursday.
According to a spokesperson for his business organization, she would be one of tens of thousands of people to be employed by Trump, and would be terminated if she was undocumented. Sandra Diaz, 46, from Costa Rica was another.
Both Morales and Diaz, during their stints, washed the Trump family's clothes in a special detergent, made beds and dusted.
"There are many people without papers," said Ms. Diaz, who said she witnessed several people being hired whom she knew to be undocumented.
Morales was initially pleased with her job because she was paid and tipped well, often times by Trump. But her sentiments changed when he ran for president.
"I'm tired of being humiliated and treated like a stupid person," she said in Spanish during a brief interview. "We're just immigrants who don't have papers."
During his campaign in 2016, when he referred to Mexicans as rapists and criminals, he promised to mandate E-Verify, a federal tool to verify employment eligibility, and requested $23 million in his 2019 budget proposal to expand the program for nationwide use. He also bragged when a new Trump hotel opened in Washington, "We didn't have one illegal immigrant on the job."
"The president has been half-serious about stopping illegal immigration by not taking away the jobs magnet," said Roy Beck, president of NumbersUSA, a group pushing to reduce immigration. Beck said Trump has "let us down in his promise to help American workers" because he hasn't "put his shoulder behind a mandatory E-Verify bill."
Trump signed a "Buy American, Hire American" executive order in 2017 restricting visas, but his Mar-a-Lago golf club also has a history of applying for H-2B visas for hundreds of immigrant workers. The H-2B visa is for "temporary non-agricultural workers."
Morales reports being driven to work by staff to hide the fact that she couldn't legally drive, and that after she presented fake papers for work, she was given another set of fake papers by the Trump Organization to keep her employed there.
Morales had a front row seat on the job to Trump meetings as she was cleaning his villa, even when potential cabinet members were interviewed and when he met with the White House chief of staff.
But that didn't come without experiencing verbal abuse from Trump's staff.
Her attorney Anibal Romero said in a statement Thursday that his clients were called racial epithets and threatened with deportation by a supervisor that ironically, "had employed them despite knowing their undocumented status and even provided them with forged documents."
"We are tired of the abuse, the insults, the way he talks about us when he knows that we are here helping him make money," she told the NY Times. "We sweat it out to attend to his every need and have to put up with his humiliation."
Reader Question: Do we need any more proof that he's a liar about everything?
A video of a white man yelling at a white cop, without physical consequences, has more than 1 million views.
Botham Jean, Jemel Roberson and Emantic Bradford Jr. were all minding their own business, not mouthing off, and they were shot dead by police. Sandra Bland questioned an officer and wound up dead in a jail cell.
So when a video of an unidentified white man spewing expletives at an officer, throwing his license at the officer, and threatening to kill the officer, without any physical consequences, started circulating on Twitter, it went viral with more than 1 million views this week.
“All Black people have to do is stop mouthing off to police, do as they're told and they won't get shot"....
White people: pic.twitter.com/C7pf122BHm
— Tariq Nasheed (@tariqnasheed) December 2, 2018
People of color on Twitter commented that had it been them in the video, they would've had bullets in the chest by the time the truck passed:
I think that this should be allowed to be shown in the court room when white officers claim they fear for their lives because he clearly said that he would kill that officer now that would be a reason to fear for your life and yet that white man is not shot or is he dead hmmmmmmm
— Kellie Byrdsong (@ByrdsongKellie) December 3, 2018
I've literally seen Black men get manhandled and slapped around over a lot less
— aDORKable_me525 (@JayLaLa_RN) December 3, 2018
The second a black or Latin dude raises his hand and points is the second the cop pulls the trigger... this guy sure represents the power of being white ...
— Alberto Toribio (@ArealMac) December 2, 2018
Boy he would have emptied a clip in my chest for this
— Ahmadd (@amadafrink) December 2, 2018
There are studies that well document how Blacks have been treated differently by police. In the case traffic stops, whites were 57 percent more likely to be spoken to with respectful language, whereas Black drivers were 61 percent more likely to experience an exchange that was the least respectful. Officers language with the least respect included calling people, "dude, bro, boss, man, brotha, sista or chief".
FBI data found that U.S. police kill Black people at disproportionate rates: Black people accounted for 31 percent of police killing victims in 2012, even though they made up just 13 percent of the U.S. population. And 62.7 percent of unarmed people killed by police are Black.
Yet racists, and some conservatives believe the treatment is deserved because Blacks did something wrong.
Angry White Man Invokes Law Enforcement Injustice to Black People When He Thinks He's on the Receiving End: Video
Trump voter expresses frustration at perceived unfair treatment on racial terms.
For example, in Orlando's International Airport in August, a white male Trump supporter tackled to the ground by police for being a disruptive passenger
knew his privilege, when he said, "You're being rough with me. You're f***ing treating me like a Black person."
Reader Question: How does the video of the white man berating the white officer make you feel?
A Black man who was unjustly convicted because of Raimundo Atesiano's actions was deported back to Haiti.
UPDATE: Nov. 28, 2018
Raimundo Atesiano was sentenced to three years in prison for a conspiracy in his department to frame Black people. The former Biscayne Park police chief was allowed him to remain free for two weeks before surrendering to care for his mother, who is dying of leukemia, according to the Miami Herald.
"When I took the job, I was not prepared," Atesiano told a federal judge. "I made some very, very bad decisions."
As racial disparities continue to plague the criminal justice system, a former police chief in Florida admitted to purposely sending Black men to prison. Former Biscayne Park Police Chief Raimundo Atesiano acknowledged at his plea hearing in Miami federal court that he told his cops in 2013 to frame three Black residents, one of which was a 16-year-old, for a series of unsolved home and vehicle burglaries in order get a 100 percent clearance on the department's property crimes record.
"The Second Amendment was not made for Black folks," said Noah.
Jemel Roberson, a Black hero shot dead by police, was laid to rest last weekend as was Emantic Bradford Jr., an innocent Black 21-year-old male mistakenly identified as a mass shooter in an Alabama mall and also shot dead by police.
"How does this shit keep happening?" Trevor Noah, host of "The Daily Show," asked after discussing the incident.
"The cops are called into a situation. They see a Black person. And then immediately they shoot."
The choir at his funeral wore black T-shirts with "SECURITY, #Justice For Jemel" printed on front.
Beatrice Roberson, the mother of Jemel Roberson, a security guard who was shot and killed by Midloathian police after detaining a shooter at a bar, said her son "died doing what he loved," and that the loss "hurts like crazy."
"He was a good person, he had a good heart," she said during his funeral at House of Hope.
Byron Ragland calls for a boycott of the shop. To "punish white supremacy and anti-Black behavior – you hit it hard and you hit it fast right in its pockets," he said.
In response to public backlash on social media, the Kirkland Police Department, which serves the Seattle suburb, offered an apology to Byron Ragland almost two weeks after he was told to leave Menchie's, a frozen yogurt shop, because the owner called 911 as women workers said he "looked suspicious."
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The Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations said it was a "hate incident."