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Does white privilege exist? Show more Show less

White privilege, the notion that white people are afforded societal benefits that members of other races are not, has seeped into our lexicon to explain racial disparity in wealth, race and health. But are racial privileges responsible? Does white privilege exist? Can it adequately explain individual experiences? Or are other factors at play in creating racial inequality?

No, white privilege doesn't exist Show more Show less

White people can be just as disadvantaged as black people. There is no deliberate policy that seeks to afford white people additional privileges and by many measurements, white people are struggling as much, if not more, than their counterparts in other minorities.
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White people commit suicide more frequently

Suicide is indicative of extreme depression, helplessness, alienation, and loneliness. A privileged demographic would not feel these emotions and commit suicide in numbers as high as white people do.
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Context

Suicide is indicative of deep unhappiness, loneliness and alienation. These are not something you would associate with privilege. White people commit suicide at much higher rates than minority groups. Therefore, white privilege is a myth.

The Argument

White Americans have a suicide rate of around 17 per 100,000 people. By contrast, only 6.9 African Americans commit suicide per 100,000 people, the same rate as Hispanic communities. Asian Americans have a suicide rate of 6.6.[1] Only Native Americans commit suicide at a higher rate than white Americans (22.2 per 100,000). White men, who are allegedly the most privileged demographic in the world, account for seven out of every ten suicides. If white privilege existed, why would such a privileged group decide that their life is not worth living?

Counter arguments

Suicide is not a metric of privilege. It is possible to be privileged and depressed. It is possible to be privileged and lonely. It is also possible to be privileged and feel alienated. There is no connection between privilege and these emotions. Therefore, just because white people kill themselves at a higher rate than non-whites, does not mean that white privilege is a myth.

Framing

Premises

[P1] People who commit suicide feel depressed, unhappy, lonely and alienated. [P2] People who are privileged generally do not feel depressed, unhappy, lonely, and alienated at the same rate as those who are not. [P3] White people commit suicide at a higher rate than other races. [P4] Therefore, white people are not privileged.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P2] Privileged people can feel depressed, lonely, alienated and unhappy.

Proponents

Further Reading

References

  1. https://www.sprc.org/racial-ethnic-disparities

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This page was last edited on Friday, 14 Feb 2020 at 15:10 UTC