Debunking White Privilege—The Economic Reality

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From my upcoming book A BIRD WITHOUT WINGS: Taking Flight When Facts Say Otherwise—A Memoir and Media Anthology in Essays

White privilege is the concept of the economic, social and political institutions in liberal democracies like America benefits whites while disadvantaging racial minorities. However, the evidence does not back up this claim. White Americans do not have the highest household medium income, Asians do. According to The Institute on Assets and Social Policy Asian American median household income is $57,418 per year. White Americans have an average household income of $48,877 per year.

Let’s look at this by ethnicity. Japanese households make $70,216 while French-American households make $63,847, Iranian-American households make $66,163 a year, and Dutch-American households make $59, 089 a year on average. The three ethnic groups that make the most on average per household in descending order are Indian-Americans, Filipino-American, and Taiwanese-Americans.

Therefore, how can the notion of white privilege exist if nonwhite ethnic groups make more than whites in purely economic terms? Despite the issue that African Americans or Blacks are experiencing racist white privilege because of their ethnicity; the facts go on to further debunk such. In fact, Nigerian’s average household income is $61, 289 per year and Ghanaian household income is $57,029 per year (higher than French and Dutch Americans)[1].

The question, therefore, is not one of racism but one of responsibility. The National Center for Policy Analysis says that there are three basic steps that should be taken to avoid poverty and all of them deal with decisions the individual must make. They are as follows:

1.    Stay in school: Simply completing high school greatly increases a person’s chances of not being poor. The Census Bureau reports that:

  • Only 9.6 percent of high school graduates are poor, compared to 22.2 percent of those without a diploma.

  • Of those people who complete some college, only 6.6 percent fall below the poverty line.

  • This drops to 3.3 percent of those with a bachelor’s degree or higher.

2.    Get Married: Marriage is also a strong deterrent to poverty.

  • Only 4.0 percent of married couples without children are in poverty, according to Census data.

  • In contrast, the poverty rate for singles without children is 8.6 percent.

3.    Don’t Have children out of Wedlock. Having children outside of marriage is costly for both the individual and the child. The Census Bureau reports:

  • Of those households with two or more children under the age of 18, 7.9 percent of married households were poor, while 51.6 percent of never-married households were poor.

  • Of those households with two or more children under the age of 6, 11.5 percent of married households were poor, while 62.4 percent of never-married households were poor[2].

 The issue, while not black and white supremely in the sense of being a blanketed scenario applying to all exclusively it is still one of the major factors causing poverty within minority communities, particularly the Black community. The time is now for us to decide to change from within first; allowing the facts to speak and not the sensation.

[1] Media, Rebel, director. Debunking White Privilege: The Economic Reality. YouTube, YouTube, 16 Nov. 2016, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AoHAG9UFaKI.

[2] “How Not to Be Poor.” National Center for Policy Analysis, http://www.ncpathinktank.org/pub/ba428.