Like it or not, there has been an affirmative action program in place in America from its very inception. It is a program that has given white males a leg up at the expense of all others, be they black, brown, yellow or female. Under the Constitution of 1789, only men could vote. Women were excluded from suffrage for some 130 years. Even today women are paid less than men for comparable work. Black people were denied voting rights for decades longer, and one need only look to a recent court ruling in North Carolina that newly-enacted state legislation was designed with surgical precision to suppress minority voting.
To understand white male privilege, one need merely look at what the facts tell us: that if you are a white male in America there is a good chance that you are wealthier and healthier and have greater access to resources than those of a different race and gender.
I chafe at the notion that the government spends money on programs for those who seem unwilling to pull themselves up on their own. At the same time, I recognize that there are many living in America who have never known the seemingly inherent benefits that come with being white and male in America. And the reason is simply because they are neither white nor male. Rather than look to blame some who are in need because of their own poor decisions, I choose to err on the side of empathy and compassion, hoping that my tax dollars will help at least some who have so little simply because of a simple “accident” of birth.
I likewise chafe at government programs that assist the less advantaged both because I wish that there were no need for such government programs in the first place, and because I fear that many of those programs are ineffectual. They provide assistance and help in the short run but by failing to address the underlying reasons for income, gender and racial inequality, they only perpetuate the very ills they are meant to address.
Simply put, until America decides that it wants every American to prosper, it will remain a divided bastion based on white male privilege, and our government will continue to spend taxpayer money on programs that will continue the status quo.
In short, if everyone does not thrive, then none of us thrives. It’s a simple as that.
By Richard Sciaroni