In the documentary “White Like Me” by Tim Wise he discusses how racism is still happening in the United States it is just not as evident as it was back in the days of Jim Crow. The documentary also talks about white privilege and about the history of white privilege and how it has helped many white middle-class Americans be where they are today.
The documentary takes place during the Obama Administration when people were starting to question if America was even racists because Obama was in office. Although many said that America was one step away from being a racists nation, many knew that nothing much had changed for people of color.
Wise begins the documentary by talking about the privileges white people have had and still have that people of color don’t have. From the very beginning of our nation’s birth, there has been systematic white privilege and race base favoritism built right into the foundation of the country.
The Naturalization Act of 1790 said “free white persons and only free white persons could become full citizens of the United States,” taking away opportunities from immigrants of color and the indigenous people who were here before them all. Social programs that helped create the middle-class today were only for white people, helping them climb and succeed after the Great Depression while people of color had to work hard to make it out of the rut the economy was in.
From job insurance, housing assistance, to the G.I. Bill preferential treatment was given to white people leaving people of color no option for the same assistance. However, even if they were given that assistance early on it would be described as a handout or welfare rather than just assistance to help a person become a middle-class American.
The way people of color were treated early on has framed the way they are treated today. The same goes for white people, their privileges has made them oblivious of the mistreatments people of color have gone through and why there is still racism in this country. Even if we did have a black person as a president it didn’t change for the better the way black people were treated or any other person of color of that matter.
People of color are still more likely to be seen as criminals and dangerous to the community. While on the other hand if a white person does something wrong it’s seen as an honest mistake.
Take Ethan Couch, for example, he killed four people while driving under the influence of alcohol and wasn’t even sentence to jail or prison. All he got was a 10-year probation from a juvenile court. If he had been a black person there’s no doubt that he would’ve been sentenced to life or at least 25 years of prison and he would have been tried as an adult.
That is one of MANY examples of white privilege and honestly, I think there’s no end to white privilege. However, white people can use the privilege they have to help minorities have their concerns of mistreatments and disproportionality noticed and addressed.