“And I slowly begin to see why poverty like love is blind.
Or maybe just colour blind?
A tiny inconvenient truth about labour groups
And the masses of the working classes,
But then again some people say that race doesn’t even exist.
Well tell that to the trees still sore from hanging lynches.
But during this day and age,
We have fresh new waves of semi-paid slaves,
Willing to work for less than our minimal wage
And these foreigners don’t understand these foreign concepts
Thought they were Canadian, but slowly dismissed that nonsense
And I hate to be the one to say it, but, this is it
This is your stinkin’ land of dreams
A place where you can still live 3rd world in a first world country”
– Boonaa Mohammed
This post is a response to the following video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Th04ZQCt5A
How long will it be before human beings are treated as equals? How long will it be before human beings are not segregated based on skin colour? At the end of the day, the differences in the colour of our skin, just like the colour of our eyes, the colour of our lips, or even the colour of our clothes, is just a matter of pigmentation. So why is it that in our society White privilege still seems to prevail over anything else?
White privilege is often not seen as such by white people. White privilege is often recognized by ‘visible minorities’ or groups that are not white. White privilege is essentially when upper class white individuals have privileges in society that others may not. These privileges may include accessibility of jobs, accessibility of resources to support the family or yourself, accessibility of political and economical advancements, etc. These things are often more available to white men and women, and are rarely available to anyone else without some type of bargaining or slave-type labour happening to achieve what they want.
Along with ethnic discrimination, there is a further discrimination against immigrants. From the people who have been born and raised in a country, seeing people come in from the outside is often seen as a threat. Residents see immigrants as a threat to their security, a threat to their employment opportunities, a threat to their economy, and essentially a threat to their lives. But why is that? There is a misconception presented by such outlets as the media and political leaders that immigrants are to be a threat. “What [most people] know about war, persecution, and displacement comes mainly through the mass media, and perceptions of refugees… are shaped in large part by the language of journalists and politicians, and the images they create.” (UNHCR, 2012) Residents do not often see the story behind why there are strangers ‘invading’ their land. They are not shown where they come from or what made them need to leave their home country in the first place. They are not told about the abuse stories, the war stories, and so on. What the residents know is that there are these people that are coming in and are different than they are. This causes discrimination and isolation of immigrants, and often these immigrants are forced to return back to a place that is not safe.
Although it has been some time since ethnic equality has been seen as somewhat normal, not everyone understands the ongoing existence of White Privilege. And I suppose that is usually the problem. So many people are ignorant to these dominant hierarchies which causes them to further perpetuate stereotypes and discrimination. So how can we overcome them?
We can begin to overcome this by helping youth to exercise their agency and become active to overcome this for future generations. We can help youth understand a place where things are equal and things are fair, for everyone involved in the situation. If we set an example and start to improve things now, then youth will recognize and be able to apply popular statements like “things get better”. Because they can, and they do.
2012 The State of the World’s Refugees: In Search of Solidarity. Oxford University Press. United Kingdom.