White privilege and the benefit of the doubt (Jan. 30)


In 2016, Areva Martin, a Black woman and CNN legal Analyst, appeared on The Rubin Report to discuss race in America and the presidential election. The host asked Martin to address the Black conservative position (expressed by Larry Elder on a previous episode) that systemic racism was no longer an obstacle for Black Americans and the biggest problem in the Black community was the breakdown of the family.
Martin replied, “That’s just stupid. I could be more articulate but it’s just stupid.”
Here, Martin didn’t simply dismiss the proposition; she made a distinction between Black conservatives and liberals. Black conservatives are stupid and their arguments shouldn’t be entertained, and liberals, like her, are properly educated and can correctly diagnose social ills.
Then Martin said, “To say there’s no systemic racism ignores so much data … It ignores reality and conservatives like to deflect from those issues because if they can blame the family, or the victim, they don’t have to accept any responsibility.” Then she mentioned mass incarceration and negative encounters with the police to prove her point.
Here, Martin demonstrated another distinction between liberals and conservatives. Liberals look for systemic and structural reasons to explain social and economic disparities while conservatives examine behavioral or cultural differences.
Recently, Areva Martin was on a SiriusXM radio program discussing CBS’ 2020 presidential campaign reporting team. The team had no Black journalists and the lack of minority representation became an issue. The radio host asked Martin, “[Shouldn’t the] primary requirement, regardless of ethnicity, regardless of network, be that they are capable of covering politics?” Then the host added, “I’ve chosen to cross different parts of the media world, done the work so that I’m qualified to be in each one; I never considered my color the issue; I considered my qualifications the issue.”
Color not an issue?
This is a conservative position. I thought Martin was going to be consistent and reply, “That’s just stupid.” But she didn’t, she said, “That’s a whole other long conversation about White privilege, the things that you have the privilege of doing, that people of color don’t have the privilege of.”
The host asked Martin to explain how he had White privilege.
Martin said, “By virtue of being a White male you have White privilege. This whole long conversation, I don’t have time to get into.”
The host, David Webb, replied, “You’re talking to a Black man…Who started out in rock radio in Boston, who crossed the path into hip-hop, rebuilding one of the greatest Black stations in America and went on to work for Fox News where I’m told apparently Blacks aren’t supposed to work, but yet, you come with this assumption, and you go to White privilege, that’s actually insulting.”
After a pause, Martin explained her people gave her the wrong information and she apologized.
But here’s the insult within the insult.
Two years ago, the Washington Post ran an opinion piece under the headline: This is what White privilege is. White privilege was defined as, the social advantage that comes from being seen as the norm … By virtue of being a White person, of whatever socioeconomic status, you get the benefit of the doubt.
You see, when Areva Martin thought a White man presented her with the conservative concept of a meritocracy, she gave him the benefit of the doubt of being intelligent, and made the “properly educated liberal” rebuttal. But if Martin would have known David Webb’s race beforehand, I guarantee you, she would not have wasted her time articulating a rebuttal, she would have dismissed him as being stupid, because in the liberal worldview, Black conservatives are abnormal.
(J. Pharaoh Doss is a contributor to the New Pittsburgh Courier.)
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