Black Adversity

Via The Field Negro I have found this  complement to Peggy McIntosh’s oft-used “White Privilege” list. Will Capers’ Blaque Ink has published a list called “Black Adversity: The Opposite of White Privilege”.  He opens by saying:

I want to go on record that the list of adversities are not excuses, nor should it be held as reasons for not trying to understand. They do not describe black life in its entirety, and a few, if not some, are not restricted to just blacks. However, the list shows the harsh realities that blacks face no matter the socioeconomic, political, or religious/spiritual sense or status. Some of these vary depending on the individual, but overall, here’s a list of adversities blacks have to struggle with and overcome. Also within the list are things whites must be aware of and overcome which is associated with fear.

Here’s part of the list:

1. If I’m in a group of others who look like me, that is a cause for some kind of suspicion.

2. In order to not cause suspicion, I must be in the company of (mostly) whites.

3. If I move, I can be sure I will likely end up in poor neighborhood whether I want to or not.

4. If I move into a white neighborhood, it will be enough to arouse suspicion with my neighbors.

5. When I go shopping, I can be sure I will arouse suspicion and be followed around.

6. I will be sure that when I turn on the TV, I will most likely see others who look like me as ball players, criminals, clowns or overall failures of society.

7. When I turn to the local news on tv or in a newspaper, I can be sure most of the crime reported will have faces of suspects who look like me.

8. I know that my history is celebrated during the shortest month of the year and will likely not be celebrated any other time.

9. I know that most of the history taught is of history of mainly white people.

10. I can be sure that most of the stories I have to read for class are stories written by whites featuring white characters.

11. I can be sure that in order to pass in school I have to learn history and literature of whites by whites.

16. When I use cash, checks, or credit cards, my skin is enough for suspicion.

22. The way I look contributes to the way I should talk in order to be considered black.

23. I know that making good grades and good manners are signs that I’m “acting white.”

35. I can be sure that I will be pulled over by police because of my race.36. I can be sure that I will either be harassed, abused or even killed by police because of my race.

37. In court, I will likely not get a fair trial.

38. I know that as a male, there’s a 1 in 3 chance that I will end up in prison, and losing my right to vote.

41. I know a new television series will have main characters that will not look like me.42. I know that negative stereotypes about my people will continue despite a high number of those who do not fit those stereotypes. In other words I will be judged by the actions of a few.

43. I know that my experiences with racism mean little or nothing.

44. I know that I will be a scapegoat for almost anything and everything wrong with this society.

45. I know that there will be movies featuring white people saving my people.

46. I know that my history prior to slavery is hardly discussed or brought up in classrooms. We were taught that we came from slaves and nothing else.

58. I am encouraged to be the best black anything in society and not simply the best.

59. I am assumed that any position I’m in is because of affirmative action and not on my own merits.

60. I have to live with the fact that I am not considered a “regular” person, that I am considered a black person

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Author: olderwoman

I'm a sociology professor but not only a sociology professor. I keep my name out of this blog because I don't want my name associated with it in a Google search. Although I never write anything in a public forum like a blog that I'd be ashamed to have associated with my name (and you shouldn't either), it is illegal for me to use my position as a public employee to advance my religious or political views, and the pseudonym helps to preserve the distinction between my public and private identities. The pseudonym also helps to protect the people I may write about in describing public or semi-public events I've been involved with. You can read about my academic work on my academic blog http://www.ssc.wisc.edu/soc/racepoliticsjustice/ --Pam Oliver

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