The Entitlement Argument

I was in a less-than pleasant argument in a chat room with a couple of obviously, sheltered white people loaded with tired-ass explanations on who black people are and why they just don’t like them. One of the arguments mentioned was that they both felt that black people think that America owes them, and that they are entitled to be treated special for nothing. Immediately, a red flag rose and my white translator was activated. What I heard was:

“Black people love to complain about every little thing like equal opportunities and fair human treatment after all they’ve been through in this nation. Come on! All the bad stuff like that slavery happened in the past I don’t want to acknowledge! I wish they would get over it! They are free now! They got their gottdamn civil rights! Enough, already!”

The argument didn’t go well. It was like watching an atom bomb exploding in slow motion. I left to escape the blast, but then I thought of two things I never mentioned in the chat, but should of despite that it would just dissipate in the radiation of whiteness. I thought about the differences between the feelings of entitlement between blacks and whites.

For as long as I know, I’ve never heard black people ask for any “special” treatment. I never heard any black person say they want something for nothing. I only remember reparation arguments and how the black community should be paid back for slavery and other forms of oppression. To some it was quid pro quo. To others it was a wish too complicated and too late. In the end Black Americans have mostly asked and fought for basic human rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Nothing more, nothing less.

This makes me conclude that any movement for those rights is seen as uppity black people who should go back to their proper place beneath the foot of white supremacy. Black people should be thankful for the shit they have more so now than say – 50 years ago. The ones who complain are just whining and crying for nothing.

Of course, the follow-up is that the naysayers had to work to get where they are. Their parents didn’t have much and they worked their asses off to survive. They didn’t ask for any special handout. They worked for theirs. Again, the assumption is that black people are basically lazy who want shit handed to them on a silver platter.

Then, I heard about something known as white entitlement. From what I’ve seen, those who suffer from it are mostly whites who adopt racial stereotypes, statistics to support their stereotypical views, see racial groups as less-than-human monoliths, hate affirmative action, and feel their shortcomings and failures are the fault of the world, or more precisely, people of color (POC).

During the argument, I felt white entitlement slap me across the face through the monitor. They felt entitled to be right and feel scared of black people. And those who argue should just shut up and deal with it.

Most whites don’t even know their own since of entitlement. They believe that everyone deserves their fair share. What they don’t know is that racial oppression is still common and that nonwhites do not get the same amount of treatments or the same level of respect that whites get.

Whites who are treated positively, with respect and with many privileges afford to them because of their physical features will learn to expect this kind of treatment all the time. They will construct a worldview where theirs is seen as “normal”. They will even feel they deserve certain treatments and positions not because of their skin, but because they are valuable and more qualified.

If they are shortchanged, then resentment surfaces. Some will feel ostracized. Some will resort to blame others, especially people of color for attaining what they feel should be theirs based on their false sense of merit, never on whiteness. Yet, whiteness is still the subject of arguments as to why there aren’t any institutions for whites or why individual whites did not get accepted in certain institutions, even those mostly white, and passed up for the assumption that less qualified POC filled their spots.

The racial assumption is always that POC are not as qualified as whites for top positions are become members in institutions such as college. The core of the argument is always affirmative action, even though it largely favors white women. Nevertheless, POC are suspected of given special treatment, never seen as people who earned their spots but as undeserving people who were just given a hand-out, and that (always presumed) hard-working whites are now marginalized. And instead of looking somewhere else, they demand changes in their favor, despite the fact they live in  a society where almost everything is in their favor.

Everyone, at some point, feels a sense of entitlement, but white entitlement is especially unique. It is racist in its actions, but is hardly ever considered, least of all by whites. It is a hidden privilege that makes itself as fair and liberal beliefs while exposing preferential treatment based on skin color alone. This post alone may make me appear arrogant because it doesn’t confirm to social norms. It may not be seen as a post by someone who questions the norms that refuse to grant dignity and respect to people based on race. That is how crafty this privilege is.

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24 thoughts on “The Entitlement Argument

  1. Brothawolf

    Never engage the European in verbal combat. It’s a waste of precious energy. Block them out totally if you can. Do not acknowledge them on any level.

    Your continued attention only serves to feed the Beast.

  2. This makes me conclude that any movement for those rights is seen as uppity black people who should go back to their proper place beneath the foot of white supremacy.

    Yep…pretty much.

  3. White privilege / entitlement also conveniently forgets nepotism and ‘legacies’, as well as the fact that Black people were (and still are) hobbled by the after-effects of slavery, Jim Crow, and the continuation of legalized discrimination. Having the unfair advantage of a head start doesn’t make you superior; it makes you the beneficiary of unfair treatment and injustice.

    Asking for equality is not asking for special treatment – I get tired of hearing whites claim otherwise.

  4. White people are deeply aware of their privilege. One time Jane Elliott asked a large group of White people to raise their hands if they want to be treated the way Blacks and other POC are treated in America. She asked the question twice and not one person’s hand was raised. She said that it told her two things:

    1. That they KNOW how Blacks and other POC are treated in this country.

    2. They do not want that type of treatment for themselves.

  5. I am read Langston Hughes’s The Ways of White Folks. Even though this was written in the 1920’s or 1930s during the Harlem Renaissance, I feel this is him holding up a mirror to white America. It is scathing. And I feel everyone should read this excellent piece of literature. It is showing how ugly racism in America was then only today it’s more subtle. But it’s racism none the less. The entitlement a lot of whites feel today. The priviledge to go and do what ever you want and not be questioned about their actions. Why do they think that it’s ok to lie about doping in sports competitions and not think they will get caught? Why do they think they can do ponsi schemes and not think they will get caught and not have to suffer the consequences. They can secure jobs and lie on their resumes about their job experience and levels of education. A coworker said to me “I’m glad I am a white man in American society, I wouldn’t want to trade places with you guys for anything”. I just looked at him. That was a shaking my damn head moment. That goes with Mickey’s comment about the Jane Elliot experiment. When she said whites would never want to trade places with us. But as you said in previous posts, “whitness is a hell of a drug.” As Truth Be Told on Diary of A Negress blogger says “Whites are unable to reflect. And they have the nerve to say “What more do you people want”? We want to be treated with the same priviledges as you people. It’s an asymetric society we live in and we are just second class citizens. It does’nt matter that we have a black president and first lady. Just my two cents.

    1. As always your two cents are worth a million bucks. Those are a lot of excellent points. White people are unable to reflect, and are also unable to believe in ’cause and effect’.

  6. Great post!

    My issue with this is the fact that they are fine accepting the privileges they deny having. They just don’t want YOU pointing out that they have them. They’re used to special treatment based on race. They believe that being born white affords them these privileges, they’re at the top, and they control access to any progress for the rest of us. They rationalize treating us like second class citizens by insisting that we are inherently flawed, and treating us as “flawed” allows them to dismiss our arguments. We’re undeserving so anything we say clearly is as well, in their point of view.

    This is what allows them to inject themselves into conversations and act like their opinions and actions should be given extra weight, regardless of what we PoC experience daily. That is what allows them to feel that their problems are the world’s problems and anyone else must just be unfit. It is what allows them to feel like they should decide what stories are told and who is erased.

    1. Co-sign! Anything that happens to POC is in their heads and, if there is any truth to it, then the POC MUST have done something to deserve it since POC are such defective individuals. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

  7. I believe that this article is right on target. Could not have expressed it better myself. No, I am not black.

  8. Wow! Your arguments and points are at best dumb and at worst stupid. I cannot tell you how the numbers play out for all the negative aspects of society because you would just find some way to justify it, but I will give it a try. #1) what race of people commit the most crimes in the United States? #2) What percentage of black women raise their children on their own, meaning the father is missing in action? #3) What race of people have their own month for history? When I look outside what race of people walk around with their &^% hanging out and holding their pants to keep them up? There is no mystery here. The truth is told by this races actions everyday. The good news is that with time this attitude of entitlement will go away, I see it all the time. I personally don’t care what your race is. Pay taxes, help out in your community, and above all respect others no matter what their race is. Assume they are an individual and never judge them by their race and try to remember that first appearances can be deceiving. If you want to really help out with people in general begin by facing the truth, then bury your hatred and know that no matter what your race is people are people, i.e. sinners.

      1. That’s your triumph card isn’t it. Your excuse to say and behave the way you do. You yourself are obviously racist and you believe it’s justified. It doesn’t take a psychologist to see how your mind thinks. I only hope you reach higher ground someday. By the way, you don’t really know what race I am do you? To satisfy your curiosity, I am not Caucasian, but a mix of three races or genetic backgrounds, but who cares? Let’s just say you won’t see me marching in Washington D.C. for my racial rights unless someone pulls out an eye chart and says your eyes are too dark or your eyes are too light. The very idea of superiority based upon someone’s pigment color is ludicrous.

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