You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘White Male Privilege’ tag.


HAMILTON, OH—Despite being the beneficiary of numerous societal advantages and having faced little to no major adversity throughout his life, local man Travis Benton has spent the last four years squandering his white male privilege on a sales floor job at Best Buy, sources confirmed Tuesday. “You can get by with a regular HDMI cable, but if you’re looking at a length longer than 10 feet, I’d go with a gold-tipped one,” said the man dressed in a bright blue polo shirt and pin-on name tag as he continued to fritter away such innate life advantages as greater access to higher education, leniency from the justice system, and favorable treatment from other white males who lead and make hiring decisions at a disproportionately high number of American companies. “The AudioQuest gold-tip is actually the cable I use in my own home entertainment center and it provides excellent audio and video clarity, plus it comes with a full five-year warranty, unlike the 90-day warranty of a bargain brand. For your money, you’re not going to find a better cable.” At press time, the man born into the world’s most affluent and privileged socioeconomic group was spending his 15-minute break silently consuming a sleeve of Donettes purchased out of a vending machine.


[Source:The Onion]

Huffpo occasionally publishes an interesting article, this would be one of them.

“What I want to point out here is how the category of “young white men” has emerged from all of these horrible incidents unscathed as a group – and how this is one of the starkest examples of white male privilege imaginable (or another term I use, “unearned advantage”). Unearned advantage is how we whiteserialkillersdescribe the fact, for example, that virtually all of the culprits on Wall Street who were responsible for bringing our economy to its knees in 2008, the politicians and corporate figures found guilty of premeditated, injurious and heedlessly greedy crimes are white men, but white men are not condemned as a group for their behavior. In fact, some part of us thinks that would be silly.

However, whenever a black man appears on the nightly news or in the newspaper having committed a crime, the automatic association, the schema or framework that most people default to renders black men (as a group) as mostly dangerous, menacing and scary. I believe it is even worse for young black men. In fact, in 2014 the American Psychological Association released a study found that, “Black boys as young as 10 may not be viewed in the same light of childhood innocence as their white peers, but are instead more likely to be mistaken as older, be perceived as guilty and face police violence if accused of a crime…”

short answer: White Men control the discourse. Our failure to properly evaluate white male criminality is a side effect of the privilege, entitlement and institutional protection that create the environment for these crimes to thrive.

Brilliant post about the shit women have to put up with a daily basis.  Some highlights here, but follow the link for the entire post, it is must read material.
[Captain Awkward responding to letter:]

“Dear Creeper, No Creeping! and Creeped Out:

I’m not slithering around on the floor and hissing with my forked tongue when I say that the situations described in these two letters are pretty good examples of what Rape Culture is and why it is so insidious.

Step 1: A creepy dude does creepy, entitled shit and makes women feel unsafe.

Step 2: The women speak up about it to their partners.

Step 3: It gets written off as “not a big deal” or “he probably didn’t mean it” or “he’s not a bad guy, really.” Any discussion of the bad behavior must immediately be followed by a complete audit of his better qualities or the sad things he’s suffered in the name of “fairness.” Once the camera has moved in and seen him in closeup as a real, human, suffering person, how can you (the object, always an object, as in “objectified,” as in a disembodied set of tits or orifices, or a Trapper Keeper, or a favorite coffee mug or a pet cat) be so cruel as to want to hold him accountable for his actions?  Bitches, man.

Step 4: Everyone is worried about hurting creepy dude’s feelings or making it weird for creepy dude. Better yet, everyone is worried about how the other dudes in the friend group will feel if they are called out for enabling creepy dude. Women are worried that if they push the issue, that the entire friend group will side with creepy dude or that they’ll be blamed for causing “drama.”  Look at how LW #323 put it:  ”how can I approach this subject with my boyfriend, and make him understand a) how serious this is, and b) that he is not responsible for Ben’s reactions, without making him feel defensive?”

Wouldn’t want someone who covers up for and defends a proto-rapist to have to have SADFEELS, right? (LW, it’s not your fault you’re asking the question this way, it’s just that our culture sucks about this and your boyfriend and his friends have been giving you constant messages that Ben is to be coddled while you are to be shushed in the hopes that it will all blow over).

Step 5: Creepy dude creeps on with his creepy self. He’s learned that there are no real (i.e. “disapproval & pushback from dudes and dude society”) consequences to his actions. Women feel creeped out and unsafe.Some of them decide to take a firm stand against creeping and not come to parties anymore. They slowly slide out of the friend group. Some of the woman decide to just quietly put up with it, because they’ve learned that no one will really side with them and it’s easier to go along than to lose one’s entire community. The whole group works around this missing stair.

Possible Step 6: Creepy dude rapes someone. If he does, there’s a less than 50% chance that the woman will report it. Why?

Could it be that all the people who surround her have taught her that if she speaks up nothing will really come of it anyway? Could it be that she doesn’t trust her friends and the people who love her to have her back on this? I CAN’T IMAGINE WHY. They couldn’t even kick this dude off their weekly trivia team.

Could it be that the authorities, the police, and the court system will treat her like this is something she caused to happen? Worse, will the dude’s history of being creepy come up and, instead of being used as evidence of a pattern of behavior, be used as evidence that the victim tolerated his advances in the past?

So, yeah, I wanted to be very clear that these letters are part of a larger cultural paradigm that is a direct outgrowth of male privilege. Can women be creepy? Yes, for sure. They are human and capable of anything that humans are capable of. But when they are creepy, they don’t have an entire culture backing them up and explaining why their creepiness isn’t that bad.”


I am continually amazed by people and their ability to be rational in one aspect of their life and the ability to completely ignore rationality in other aspects of their life. The example that I often see is people who are in evidence based professions, especially the ones that require the application of scientific rigor, that ignore the same critical thinking skills when it comes to their theism. However I now have a new shining example of this and it saddens me because he used to be a person I had a lot of respect for.

What Happened!?!?

The person I am talking about is Thundefoot of course. For the people who don’t know him, he is a scientist who has gained popularity on Youtube mostly by debating theists. Although debate may be a poor choice of term to describe what usually when on when he talked with these people. Evisceration perhaps? But I digress, this post isn’t really about that. It’s about what happened since he joined Free Thought Blogs. Thunderfoot decided to throw his hat into the ring in a controversy in the greater atheist community.

This controversy started when Rebecca Watson gave a talk at a skeptic conference about sexism and added personal antidotes about how being sexualized at these conferences creeps her out. Later that night (at 4am) she was at the bar and decided to call it a night. Unfortunately another attendee decided to tailgate her into the elevator and ask her to his room for “coffee” in an overt pickup artist move of cornering. When Rebecca Watson got home, she posted a video of experiences and talked about the cornering and said Guys, Don’t Do That. Apparently this act of defiance of male privilege was taking things too far and she was sent a shitstorm of death and rape threats by the skeptical community at large.

The saga continued up until this year’s convention where recently the organizer of the event had the gall to blame her for the extreme reduction of female attendees. And this is where Thunderfoot enters the equation. He entered with a blatant sexist joke with a picture of Darth Vader, jabbed with a “This isn’t a big problem” (correction , it read “*THIS REALLY ISN’T A BIG PROBLEM*”), a left cross of Talking About Sexism Is The Problem, Not Sexism, and delivered the knockout blow (paraphrased) So STFU About All This Stuff. It was a truly epic saga of bullshit.

After he got called out on this by P.Z. Myers he got all butthurt. And since then he’s been removed from Free Thought Blogs. And the butthurt continues. Once wonders where it will end. For more on this simply google elevatorgate.


Thunderfoot goes all sexist and then gets all butthurt when there is a blow-back from the womenz. Sad days for Bleatmop as someone he used to respect makes a mockery of himself.

Discussing our society is difficult at the best of times.  Getting a handle on some of the basics can never hurt as we struggle to make our civilization more progressive and humane.  Toward that end a look at some of the salient features of how we have organized our society is in order.  I’m borrowing from FinallyaFeminism101, a blog that helps set the stage and create the tools for discussions on how society has been structured.

**update** – A big thanks to Rob F from the Words on What for bring to my attention to a specific listing of male privilege on the blog, Alas a blog.

The first installment is about privilege or white male privilege (WMP) and how it affects all aspects of our society.

Privilege is: About how society accommodates you. It’s about advantages you have that you think are normal. It’s about you being normal, and others being the deviation from normal. It’s about fate dealing from the bottom of the deck on your behalf.

[Betty, A primer on privilege.]

Since social status is conferred in many different ways — everything from race to geography to class — all people are both privileged and non-privileged in certain aspects of their life. Furthermore, since dynamics of social status are highly dependent on situation, a person can benefit from privilege in one situation while not benefiting from it in another. It is also possible to have a situation in which a person simultaneously is the beneficiary of privilege while also being the recipient of discrimination in an area which they do not benefit from privilege.

Male privilege is a set of privileges that are given to men as a class due to their institutional power in relation to women as a class. While every man experiences privilege differently due to his own individual position in the social hierarchy, every man, by virtue of being read as male by society, benefits from male privilege.

When first dealing with the concept it might be easier to approach it from a systematic, rather than personal, approach. Consider what Lucy says here:

[T]rue gender equality is actually perceived as inequality. A group that is made up of 50% women is perceived as being mostly women. A situation that is perfectly equal between men and women is perceived as being biased in favor of women.

And if you don’t believe me, you’ve never been a married woman who kept her family name. I have had students hold that up as proof of my “sexism.” My own brother told me that he could never marry a woman who kept her name because “everyone would know who ruled that relationship.” Perfect equality – my husband keeps his name and I keep mine – is held as a statement of superiority on my part.

[Lucy, When Worlds Collide: Fandom and Male Privilege.]

In this case the inequality is perceived, in part, because taking one’s husband’s name is considered “normal” for a woman, whereas choosing to keep one’s own name deviates from that. Popular culture often labels this behavior as “emasculating” to a man, but never bothers to question how a woman might feel being asked to give up something that has been part of her since her birth. This is an example of a culture of male privilege — where a man’s position and feelings are placed above that of the woman’s in a way that is seen as normal, natural, and traditional.

Going back to Lucy’s article, this is what she said in the paragraph directly preceding the one quoted above:

Male privilege may be more obvious in other cultures, but in so-called Western culture it’s still ubiquitous. In fact, it’s so ubiquitous that it’s invisible. It is so pervasive as to be normalized, and so normalized as to be visible only in its absence. The vast, vast, vast majority of institutions, spaces, and subcultures privilege male interests, but because male is the default in this culture, such interests are very often considered ungendered. As a result, we only really notice when something privileges female interests.

[Lucy, When Worlds Collide: Fandom and Male Privilege.]

Most people do not think twice about a woman who shares the same name as her husband; they simply assume that the shared name is his family name. This is an illustration about how male privilege operates in stealth. When a wife does not share the same name as the husband, however, it often leads to confusion and even anger — as Lucy’s example illustrated. This is because the male-oriented option (wife taking husband’s name) is seen as default, and the neutral option (both parties keeping their original names) is a deviation from that norm and therefore comes across as privileging the woman because it doesn’t privilege the man.

It is important to keep in mind that the above example is not an outside incident; male privilege is an institutional problem that has a long history associated with it. In addition to her anecdote above, Lucy discusses how male privilege interacts with fandom; in “Occasionally Conversations with my Man Are Instructive” Ilyka talks about the impact of it in terms of male commenters on feminist blogs; and in her “Privilege in Action” series tekanji takes instances of privilege that she’s witnessed in various aspects of her life (both online and off) and deconstructs them, looking specifically at why they are problematic. All of which points to one thing: it’s not about one person saying or doing one thing, it’s about a whole lot of people saying and doing things that, collectively, end up giving men an overall advantage.

Sociological Images also comes through with some data about women and the workforce and the precentage of money they make in relation to a man doing the same job.

One of the most frustrating parts of attempting to discuss White Male Privilege (WMP) with oh say white males is the denial of the fact that it exists and it is an intrinsic characteristic woven into the fabric of our society.  It is nice when another study is done (adding to the large body of work) to show its existence and how thoroughly embedded it is in our culture.   A big hat-tip to Sociological Images for the leg work (which I am reposting it its entirety) in condensing the study originally found on Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting.

In a post at Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, Steve Rendall and Zachary Tomanelli investigated the racial breakdown of the book reviewers and authors in two important book review venues, the New York Times Book Review and C-SPAN’s After Words.  They found that the vast majority of both reviewers and authors were white males.

“Overall, 95% of the authors and 96% of the reviewers were non-Latino white (compared to 65% of the population).

Women accounted for between 13 and 31% of the authors and reviewers:

This is some hard data showing that white men’s ideas are made more accessible than the ideas of others, likely translating into greater influence on social discourse and public policy.  These individuals certainly don’t all say the same thing, nor do they necessarily articulate ideas that benefit white men, but a greater diversity of perspectives would certainly enrich our discourse.”

It is really hard to argue against the substantive data collected about the influence of WMP on our culture and how it conditions us to think and act.  As the quoted material says, just imagine if more people were able to influence our culture how much more rich and diverse our culture would be.

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