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"Straight Talk for White Men" - Nicholas Kristof

paddymcdougall

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I thought this op-ed points out pretty well how our country is still geared so that white men have more privileges just by virtue of being white men. And sure, there are white men who don't get to leverage that privilege due to their poverty or where they live. But for many, it seems true.

I'm pasting more than I normally would due to the paywall; but there is more to the article. If you can't get to it, might try google searching it and see if you can get to it that way.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/22/opinion/sunday/nicholas-kristof-straight-talk-for-white-men.html?smid=tw-share&_r=0


Those studies are a reminder that we humans are perhaps less rational than we would like to think, and more prone to the buffeting of unconscious influences. That’s something for those of us who are white men to reflect on when we’re accused of “privilege.”
Continue reading the main story
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White men sometimes feel besieged and baffled by these suggestions of systematic advantage. When I wrote a series last year, “When Whites Just Don’t Get It,” the reaction from white men was often indignant: It’s an equal playing field now! Get off our case!

Yet the evidence is overwhelming that unconscious bias remains widespread in ways that systematically benefit both whites and men. So white men get a double dividend, a payoff from both racial and gender biases.

Consider a huge interactive exploration of 14 million reviews on RateMyProfessors.com that recently suggested that male professors are disproportionately likely to be described as a “star” or “genius.” Female professors are disproportionately described as “nasty,” “ugly,” “bossy” or “disorganized.”

One reaction from men was: Well, maybe women professors are more disorganized!

But researchers at North Carolina State conducted an experiment in which they asked students to rate teachers of an online course (the students never saw the teachers). To some of the students, a male teacher claimed to be female and vice versa.

When students were taking the class from someone they believed to be male, they rated the teacher more highly. The very same teacher, when believed to be female, was rated significantly lower.

Something similar happens with race.

Two scholars, Marianne Bertrand and Sendhil Mullainathan, sent out fictitious résumés in response to help-wanted ads. Each résumé was given a name that either sounded stereotypically African-American or one that sounded white, but the résumés were otherwise basically the same.

The study found that a résumé with a name like Emily or Greg received 50 percent more callbacks than the same résumé with a name like Lakisha or Jamal. Having a white-sounding name was as beneficial as eight years’ work experience.

It’s not that we white men are intentionally doing anything wrong, but we do have a penchant for obliviousness about the way we are beneficiaries of systematic unfairness. Maybe that’s because in a race, it’s easy not to notice a tailwind, and white men often go through life with a tailwind, while women and people of color must push against a headwind.
 

Paschendale

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Nothing pisses off a conservative white male more than the suggestion that they would be just like the "thugs" they feel superior to if they'd been born into the same circumstances, or that those same people would be just as prosperous as they are if they'd been born middle class and comfortable. We fetishize personal success in this country, to the point where the reality that most "success" is really just staying where you started out freaks a lot of people out. Most people, be they rich, middle class, or poor, stay in the class they were born. Very few people are exceptional enough to rise above their origins, and most who do only do so because of a lucky opportunity. The talent and drive to take advantage of such an opportunity is not rare, but so few people ever get the chance to use them. This doesn't sit well with a lot of cynical people who think themselves superior to others around them.
 

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Hold on, let me get ecofarm...:lamo

At what point does affirmative action come into play here? Honestly my first reaction to names such as Jamal/ Laquifa is chances are they were not nnecessarily the best canidate for the job, but an affirmative action pick. You know kinda like Sonia Sotomayor, who essentially admitted she wouldn't be where she's at if it wasn't for affrimitive action.
 

joG

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Nothing pisses off a conservative white male more than the suggestion that they would be just like the "thugs" they feel superior to if they'd been born into the same circumstances, or that those same people would be just as prosperous as they are if they'd been born middle class and comfortable. We fetishize personal success in this country, to the point where the reality that most "success" is really just staying where you started out freaks a lot of people out. Most people, be they rich, middle class, or poor, stay in the class they were born. Very few people are exceptional enough to rise above their origins, and most who do only do so because of a lucky opportunity. The talent and drive to take advantage of such an opportunity is not rare, but so few people ever get the chance to use them. This doesn't sit well with a lot of cynical people who think themselves superior to others around them.

Why be pissed off? Give thanks and get on with the fun, is all I can say.
 

paddymcdougall

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Nothing pisses off a conservative white male more than the suggestion that they would be just like the "thugs" they feel superior to if they'd been born into the same circumstances, or that those same people would be just as prosperous as they are if they'd been born middle class and comfortable. We fetishize personal success in this country, to the point where the reality that most "success" is really just staying where you started out freaks a lot of people out. Most people, be they rich, middle class, or poor, stay in the class they were born. Very few people are exceptional enough to rise above their origins, and most who do only do so because of a lucky opportunity. The talent and drive to take advantage of such an opportunity is not rare, but so few people ever get the chance to use them. This doesn't sit well with a lot of cynical people who think themselves superior to others around them.


Well written. Thanks for the thoughts
 

Fenton

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I thought this op-ed points out pretty well how our country is still geared so that white men have more privileges just by virtue of being white men. And sure, there are white men who don't get to leverage that privilege due to their poverty or where they live. But for many, it seems true.

I'm pasting more than I normally would due to the paywall; but there is more to the article. If you can't get to it, might try google searching it and see if you can get to it that way.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/22/opinion/sunday/nicholas-kristof-straight-talk-for-white-men.html?smid=tw-share&_r=0


LOL !

Imagine that. The NYT publishes a article that perpetuates some progressive false narrative and demonizes " White people " at the same time.
 

paddymcdougall

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Hold on, let me get ecofarm...:lamo

At what point does affirmative action come into play here? Honestly my first reaction to names such as Jamal/ Laquifa is chances are they were not nnecessarily the best canidate for the job, but an affirmative action pick. You know kinda like Sonia Sotomayor, who essentially admitted she wouldn't be where she's at if it wasn't for affrimitive action.


that's pretty much the point of the op, right? Without affirmative action to set a level playing field (or cancel out the headwind affect) people like Sonia Sotomayor - who is pretty awesome - would have a lot harder time moving ahead in their careers.
 

Ryan5

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You know what I love about the world (as a white male) is that everything is cumulative. Everything is full of contradiction and irony.

People will elect a politician whom they think is going to deliver them some grandiose form of "justice" and then, due to the way things actually turn out at the end of the day, that politician ends up merely creating enough opposition on the other side that any net gain that would have been had via their election is totally negated by the other sides attempts at thwarting them both publicly and behind the scenes.That's how life works. The more subtle policies and figures always have more effect long term than the loud blaring ones because their efforts are thwarted early on due to the publicity of them. Such is why leftist white politicians are always able to do far more for minority employment than actual minority candidates and the reasons for that are obvious.


At the end of the day Obama is a perfect example of this. Black unemployment is unchanged. At the end of the day Obama's election likely hurt the average minority more than it helped because most employers are white and likely "made up" for his election with even more subtle discrimination. In other words, total irony and complete contradiction of what Obama's presidency was supposed to do (Mass black employment). At the end of the day all races stick together and nobody's going to ever change that and it will always ring true.
 

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If it's "unconscious," then it's irrelevant. :roll:

I also love how they just casually brush off the fact that a great many white males are living in poverty, and therefore not experiencing any "privilege" whatsoever.
 

azgreg

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MMC

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If it's "unconscious," then it's irrelevant. :roll:

I also love how they just casually brush off the fact that a great many white males are living in poverty, and therefore not experiencing any "privilege" whatsoever.



They don't count.....they have Harleys and live in Mobile homes and are always catching tailwinds. Says so Right there. :lol:
 

ThePlayDrive

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If it's "unconscious," then it's irrelevant. :roll:

I also love how they just casually brush off the fact that a great many white males are living in poverty, and therefore not experiencing any "privilege" whatsoever.
Many Americans live in poverty, but wouldn't you agree that poor Americans have certain privileges that poor people in Rwanda do not have just by virtue of being American?
 

SBu

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Nothing pisses off a conservative white male more than the suggestion that they would be just like the "thugs" they feel superior to if they'd been born into the same circumstances, or that those same people would be just as prosperous as they are if they'd been born middle class and comfortable. We fetishize personal success in this country, to the point where the reality that most "success" is really just staying where you started out freaks a lot of people out. Most people, be they rich, middle class, or poor, stay in the class they were born. Very few people are exceptional enough to rise above their origins, and most who do only do so because of a lucky opportunity. The talent and drive to take advantage of such an opportunity is not rare, but so few people ever get the chance to use them. This doesn't sit well with a lot of cynical people who think themselves superior to others around them.

Outside of you being emotionally invested in it...what does repeatedly bringing this up have anything to do with making it better? Tearing down one part of our community doesn't raise up the other, it just breeds more contempt and racial tension...and that isn't healthy for society or people. We should be asking ourselves how we can lift everyone up, without turning people against each other for circumstances that are largely outside of their control.
 

Paschendale

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If it's "unconscious," then it's irrelevant. :roll:

I also love how they just casually brush off the fact that a great many white males are living in poverty, and therefore not experiencing any "privilege" whatsoever.

No, you don't get it at all. The privilege is that a white male is less likely to live in poverty than any other demographic. Unless you're actually going to argue that white males are actually superior to everybody else, you must see that there is a benefit conferred upon that group by society. White males in poverty are still experiencing privilege. They would be worse off if they were anything else. Privilege does not necessarily make your life good. It just means that society will act to make your life better over other people, despite there being no reason to choose you over another.

Outside of you being emotionally invested in it...what does repeatedly bringing this up have anything to do with making it better? Tearing down one part of our community doesn't raise up the other, it just breeds more contempt and racial tension...and that isn't healthy for society or people. We should be asking ourselves how we can lift everyone up, without turning people against each other for circumstances that are largely outside of their control.

Do you not think that the first step to addressing this problem is to first acknowledge that it at least exists? Look in this thread or any other on this topic and you'll see a lot of denial. In the example the OP mentioned about the resumes with no difference but adding a black-sounding name, don't you think that if an HR person knew about this trend that they'd be more likely to notice it in themselves and choose to move past it? The very fact that you think that acknowledging this trend means tearing down white males is part of the problematic mindset. It's not a contest. No one is getting torn down. It's just about society realizing that it should stop treating some people as if they're better than other people.
 
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Gathomas88

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Many Americans live in poverty, but wouldn't you agree that poor Americans have certain privileges that poor people in Rwanda do not have just by virtue of being American?

Yes, but what's your point?

I can't help that. It's also not like I did anything to put them in poverty in the first place. They largely did that to themselves.

Why should I feel anything about that trick of circumstance one way or the other?

White males in poverty are still experiencing privilege. They would be worse off if they were anything else. Privilege does not necessarily make your life good. It just means that society will act to make your life better over other people, despite there being no reason to choose you over another.

This isn't necessarily the case, first off. "Privilege" can actually be a disadvantage under some circumstances.

Whites are expected to do better than other groups, so whites who fail to live up to that standard are often judged rather harshly for it.
 

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Do you not think that the first step to addressing this problem is to first acknowledge that it at least exists? Look in this thread or any other on this topic and you'll see a lot of denial. In the example the OP mentioned about the resumes with no difference but adding a black-sounding name, don't you think that if an HR person knew about this trend that they'd be more likely to notice it in themselves and choose to move past it? The very fact that you think that acknowledging this trend means tearing down white males is part of the problematic mindset. It's not a contest. No one is getting torn down. It's just about society realizing that it should stop treating some people as if they're better than other people.

I do think it is important to recognize a problem in order to fix it, but I disagree with the premise of your diagnosis which seems to be, "white males are a problem that needs to be fixed". Clearly white males can't help that they are white, or male, or the target of 'social justice' campaigns...whatever that means.

So, the first step is to identify the real problem, which is (insert your answer here if you want to have a real debate).
 

Paschendale

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I do think it is important to recognize a problem in order to fix it, but I disagree with the premise of your diagnosis which seems to be, "white males are a problem that needs to be fixed". Clearly white males can't help that they are white, or male, or the target of 'social justice' campaigns...whatever that means.

So, the first step is to identify the real problem, which is (insert your answer here if you want to have a real debate).

Never have I said "white males are a problem that needs to be fixed". If that message is being sent, it's sent by a tiny minority of those who are discussing this issue. Societal preference for white males is a problem that needs to be fixed. That is the real problem. That's what the OP is talking about and what I am talking about. But I understand that it is natural to resent the idea that your successes are due (in part) to privilege and not to your own efforts.
 

SBu

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Never have I said "white males are a problem that needs to be fixed". If that message is being sent, it's sent by a tiny minority of those who are discussing this issue. Societal preference for white males is a problem that needs to be fixed. That is the real problem. That's what the OP is talking about and what I am talking about. But I understand that it is natural to resent the idea that your successes are due (in part) to privilege and not to your own efforts.

Again, I think you are misdiagnosing the problem in favor of a racially charged disposition. Perhaps a better diagnosis would be 'race or gender discrimination is a problem that needs to be fixed'. Or even, 'how can we make success more gender/race blind?'

By associating a certain group with the problem whether directly or indirectly, you are feeding the hate machine.
 

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Yes, but what's your point?
You argued against the notion of "White privilege" because some White people are poor. I pointed out that American privilege exists even though some Americans are poor. Poverty does not erase racial, national or other types of privilege.
 

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Never have I said "white males are a problem that needs to be fixed". If that message is being sent, it's sent by a tiny minority of those who are discussing this issue. Societal preference for white males is a problem that needs to be fixed. That is the real problem. That's what the OP is talking about and what I am talking about. But I understand that it is natural to resent the idea that your successes are due (in part) to privilege and not to your own efforts.

Again, I think you are misdiagnosing the problem in favor of a racially charged disposition. Perhaps a better diagnosis would be 'race or gender discrimination is a problem that needs to be fixed'. Or even, 'how can we make success more gender/race blind?'

By associating a certain group with the problem whether directly or indirectly, you are feeding the hate machine.

As Paschendale said, social preferences for white males is the problem of the op and that needs to be addressed.

Social preference for women or minorities doesn't need to be addressed because it doesn't exist.

And certainly, women and minorities, as part of our culture, also preference white men.
 

LowDown

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Nothing pisses off a conservative white male more than the suggestion that they would be just like the "thugs" they feel superior to if they'd been born into the same circumstances, or that those same people would be just as prosperous as they are if they'd been born middle class and comfortable. We fetishize personal success in this country, to the point where the reality that most "success" is really just staying where you started out freaks a lot of people out. Most people, be they rich, middle class, or poor, stay in the class they were born. Very few people are exceptional enough to rise above their origins, and most who do only do so because of a lucky opportunity. The talent and drive to take advantage of such an opportunity is not rare, but so few people ever get the chance to use them. This doesn't sit well with a lot of cynical people who think themselves superior to others around them.

Privilege? Naw, whites are just better, :2razz: it doesn't matter where they started. How's that for straight talk?

People who can do the job are the ones who tend to be highly valued. This is the basis of meritocracy - efficacy trumping identity politics. Nobody gives a hang how people got to be good at what they do, they just need that kind of person working for them. They run businesses, not social justice projects. Let's not talk of meritocracy like it's a bad thing.

It's not true that most people stay in the class where they were born. About 60% of people drop out of the top quintile of wage earners in their lifetimes, which means that another 60% move up to that quintile. 43% of of those in the top quintile fall to below average. A similar percentage move in and out of the lowest quintile. That's quite a bit more than "very few". (Wikipedia - socioeconomic mobility in the US)

If there were perfect social mobility, if someone born in one quintile were equally likely to end up in any quintile, then 20% would stay in the top quintile. What we have in the US is 40% staying in that quintile, and the social justice freaks talk like it's some great tragedy of injustice. It's absurd.
 

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Oh shut the **** up with this white male privilege garbage.
 

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As Paschendale said, social preferences for white males is the problem of the op and that needs to be addressed.

Social preference for women or minorities doesn't need to be addressed because it doesn't exist.

And certainly, women and minorities, as part of our culture, also preference white men.

I think to say that social preference for women or minorities doesn't exist is extremely naive.

The problem with your assessment, still, is that it identifies a certain group for scrutiny and glosses over the real problem which is discrimination itself and across all races and genders. This 1) alienates that group from being part of the solution (because you have identified it as part of the problem, either tangentially or directly), and 2) limits the possible solutions to the problem to those dealing with 'white men' and presumably how to undercut them so that others can have a better chance.

If the problem, as state in the OP, is that some names are disproportionately screened favorably than others, presumably due to race or some other inherent bias, then that seems to be the problem, and not 'white men'.

Therefore, wouldn't the easiest/non-racially provoking solution be to simply forbid companies to have names and genders attached to resumes in the screening process? (until the actual interview process which such a requirement becomes impossible)

*I'm not saying there isn't a problem of some kind. What I'm saying is that the way you are structuring your diagnosis is actually counter to your presumed goal of solving it. That is unless your goal is to stoke tensions.
 

Henrin

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Never have I said "white males are a problem that needs to be fixed". If that message is being sent, it's sent by a tiny minority of those who are discussing this issue. Societal preference for white males is a problem that needs to be fixed. That is the real problem. That's what the OP is talking about and what I am talking about. But I understand that it is natural to resent the idea that your successes are due (in part) to privilege and not to your own efforts.

So basically it's not that I made myself a success, but that other people preferred me over my competition?
 
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