Fox and Friends Don’t Like Mention of White Privilege

The three lilly white — and astonishingly stupid — hosts of Fox and Friends are mighty upset. You see, the Department of Justice had a meeting with residents of Ferguson, Missouri to talk about the situation there and the discussion included questions about white privilege. Cue the ignorant outrage:

National Review spoke to a single attendee who said that officials reportedly tried to help residents process their anger with questions like “How does white privilege impact race relations in our community?”

Other questions included “What stereotypes exist in our community?” and “Is there a need for personal commitment to race relations?”…

“The Justice Department vowing to fix racism in America, but did you know they lectured Ferguson residents about white privilege?” Fox News host Steve Doocy alerted viewers. “How does that help?”

Co-host Brian Kilmeade spoke to former DOJ staffer Robert Driscoll, who he acknowledged did not “know about this specifically.”

“It would be contrary to CRS’ mission, which is to be neutral, a facilitator, not take sides,” Driscoll said. “And their mission statement specifically says they’re not supposed to render judgement or make a determination as to who’s at fault in a given situation. And so, it looks like they increased tension rather than reduced it.”

“Is the term white privilege considered fact within the walls of the Department of Justice?” Kilmeade pressed.

“I don’t think so,” Driscoll opined. “I think that usually comes up in academic and other contexts. And so, I can’t think of it being necessarily relevant to a discussion with the community, trying to reduce tensions in the wake of Ferguson.”

“So you don’t see anything positive going into a, I assume, mostly African-American town hall and talking about white privilege in a way to understand what’s going on with Michael Brown?” Kilmeade asked.

Gee, I don’t know, you morons, but maybe white privilege is important because understanding how the experiences of black people with police differs from the experiences of black people with the police helps shine a light on inequality and injustice. Of course, Fox and Friends only cares about “injustice” when it involves fake stories of Christian persecution or the War on Christmas. That’s cause for outrage. The fact that blacks and whites are targeted for arrest and prosecution for drug use or sale in inverse proportion to their population numbers even though they use and sell drugs at the same rate? Who cares about that? Who cares about white privilege, say rich white people who are totally unaware of their own privilege and wouldn’t care if they did know.

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  • frankgturner

    Oh for the love of Pete. I may have taken issue with how certain words are used given that I think they have meaning by consensus but I take serious issue with Fox News trying to censor the words “white privilege.” These people seriously need to learn what sociologists are saying. I may not agree with everything in the article that I am linking here but it has a lot of important information.

    http://www.edchange.org/multicultural/papers/caleb/racism.html

    .

    Can some of these people get their heads out of their overly conservative asses for just a few minutes?

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    The first rule of White Club is you don’t talk about White Club.

  • matty1

    On the unawareness, I have to say that this is the most useful part of ‘privilege’ as a way of thinking about relations between different groups for me.

    It is easy to say “I don’t think racist things” and sit smugly back assuming the solution is for the bad people to start thinking like I do. The concept of privilege forces me to confront the fact that whatever my intentions being white* means not only that I have faced fewer barriers in life but that I may not even notice the barriers other people face and so fail to work to remove them.

    *for white please substitute male, straight etc

  • frankgturner

    @matty # 3

    In the United States, yes for the most part, white male, straight, Xtian, conservative (for the most part) and having no disabilities.

    Another article on the topic that is important.

    http://sociology.about.com/od/R_Index/fl/Racism.htm

  • cptdoom

    It is easy to say “I don’t think racist things” and sit smugly back assuming the solution is for the bad people to start thinking like I do. The concept of privilege forces me to confront the fact that whatever my intentions being white* means not only that I have faced fewer barriers in life but that I may not even notice the barriers other people face and so fail to work to remove them.

    Great description of the concept. I think one of the major challenges we have in this country vis-a-vis racism is the notion that only evil, Archie-Bunker like stereotypes are “racist,” so the rest of us can ignore it. Only when you see white privilege working – like when a subway station accosted the two black guys among a group of my college friends because he claimed we were being too loud (then why ignore the 4 white people? ). The worst part was watching two intelligent, great people just deflate in front of us as “it” happened yet again – and they refused to even file a complaint, which the rest of us wanted to do.

  • my2cents

    Privilege is one of those words that for some people it means one thing and for others it means something entirely different. When it comes to white privilege specifically I think many white people (myself included in the past) don’t consider not being followed around stores, being treated by cops fairly, not having your race be a factor in employment, etc privileges. They consider them the default treatment everyone should get. For most white people their own experiences show this to be true. Now, that is probably due to the fact that 75% of white people in the US have almost no real interaction with non-white people. Yet I believe ignorance is not excuse for poor behavior.

    I do agree 100% with the points above about racism though. You don’t have to be an archie bunker constantly using nasty racial slurs or a member of the KKK burning crosses in peoples yards to be racist. People have been socialized to have unconscious negative biases towards other races. Sadly for Blacks and Hispanics the negatives stereotypes perpetuated by our society do serious harm and make it hard to have these conversations in a public forum.

    My advice whether you’re black, white, hispanic, asian, native american or whatever make friends with someone from a different group. It is very hard to have negative ideas about people once they’ve been humanized. Just don’t fall into that racist trap of thinking, oh so and so is just “one of the good ones” if that thought ever crosses your mind you should see it as a red flag of your own racism glaring up and do your best to correct it.

    Breaking the trend of heavy socialization won’t happen overnight.

  • carter

    It’s been an hour and no one has complimented Modus (#2) on today’s contribution?

    Ok, I’ll do it: brilliant, and thank you.

  • Crimson Clupeidae

    Cue the ignorant outrage[.]

    To be fair, informed outrage is way above their pay grade.

  • frankgturner

    @my2cents # 6

    Words have menaing by concensus. Sometimes an attempt to change a word or how it is used in public can backfire and sometimes a word has a professional usage that differs from common usage. The word “theory” as used in scientific circles is much different from the way it is used colloquially, which is closer to the scientific word “hypothesis.” Many individuals are aware of this but it does not seem to change their common usage. For a while I wanted to change that and corrected people a LOT on the usage as I thought it was creationists trying to prevent evolution from being considered “more than a theory.” I see now that some people are not doing that, they have just had the word “theory” drilled into them a certain way for so long that it is hard to change.

    .

    I argued on another message board about the word “racism” which is you read the links that I provided, has a different meaning in sociology circles than it does colloquially. A search for “Racism = predjudice + power” will give you a few links that explain the sociological definition too and arguments against this redefinition, many of which are bad but some make a little sense. It largely has to do with racism including systems of power in which groups, sometimes not even in the minority, are racially oppressed. Sociology professionals argue among this themselves, so it is not exactly like they have declared the definition official, but they WILL be more than happy to discuss with you their usage of the term.

    .

    I don’t entirely agree with their redefinition, probably because I have had the term “racism” drilled into my head a particular way from growing up, as have other people. Also despite this “Racism = prejudice + power” idea not being new in sociology circles, it is not exactly common knowledge either. Over the past week I have discussed this with dozens of people and very few know what this is about. More are familiar with the scientific definition of “theory” than they are of the sociological definition of “racism.” You and captain doom did not even use that word the sociological way (their way is effectively racism = “racially institutionalized oppression” rather than just racism = “racially motivated prejudice”). However, despite having a hard time changing my usage of it, I still think what the professional sociologists are saying is important and very eye opening. You really should read the links. That goes for everyone.

    .

    And frankly this sounds not only like Fox news is trying to redefine “priviledge,” but deny that they even have it. As if they know that they do and are attempting to censor it. That seems to be what a LOT of conservatives, creationists for example, try to do, hide from the facts/truth, as if they KNOW it holds merit and are terrified of what it could mean. It is the kind of ignorance and fear that drives this bullshit. It doesn’t matter if something is primarily discussed in academic contexts (and FYI, “white priviledge” is known outside of academic contexts). Brinigng things into the public eye and allowing them to be part of the free market of ideas is NOT something members of the media should be spouting against. They would if they were insecure and terrified of the implications though.

  • davek23

    understanding how the experiences of black people with police differs from the experiences of black people with the police helps

    Y’all might want to fix that typo there. And make “experiences” and “differs” agree in number.

  • http://quodlibet-sarah.blogspot.com/ Quodlibet

    People have been socialized to have unconscious negative biases towards other races.

    This reminds me of an experience I had about 25 years ago. (I am a white middle-class woman in my mid-50s.) I had been called for jury duty. The case had to do with a domestic violence incident between a mixed-race couple (white woman, black man). During voir dire, one of the attorneys asked me how I felt about mixed-race relationships (fine), and whether I had any racist tendencies. I remember answering something like, “Well, I think everyone, of any race or ethnicity, probably has prejudices, but we should try to overcome those and treat everyone fairly.”

    There had been some police involvement in the case…one of the other voir dire questions had to do with whether I thought police officers were more trustworthy than civilians. I answered something like “Like everyone else, police officers can have faults, including not telling the truth and including being racist.”

    That was it– I was rejected from serving on that jury! My husband said I was probably too thoughtful for them. :-/ They were looking for a conviction against the black man and an exoneration of the police officer’s racism. :-(

  • scienceavenger

    Toure’ put it best, and I paraphrase from memory:

    White privilege isn’t a guarantee of success. It’s a get-out-of-trouble-free card you get to use in just about every social situation where people who lack it get arrested, expelled, taken to jail, etc.

    Personally I can think of easily half a dozen cases in my life where I was in the wrong place at the wrong time and the cops let me go, whereas had I been black no doubt the story would have been very different.

  • scienceavenger

    “Racism = predjudice + power”

    While I see the academic value of such a term, it’s a big PR loser for two reasons:

    1) It’s too easy for people to dismiss. Trying to convince some white guy working a job he hates for shit pay that this term applies to him but not someone like Jay-Zee because of some esoteric notion of a white power structure is a losing battle. You’d have better luck persuading him he can fly by flapping his arms.

    2) Most of the people we are trying to persuade on these issue are already suspicious of our motives (being “self-hating whites” and all). This term sounds to them like we are just trying to rig the playing field so that no matter what moral failings others have, only whites can be racists.

  • frankgturner

    @scienceavenger # 13

    I didn’t say that I agreed with it, not completely. I just think what the articles linked on the subject have something valuable to say. There is a lot of oppression that goes on due to a set up of white priviledge in this country (the United States) and people are often in denial of this or unaware of it.

    .

    Just because I don’t agree with something does not mean I don’t think that something valuable can be learned from it. I can link to the board on Pharyngula if you like. I got demonized in there for demonstrating disagreement and I was not the only one. I would consider posting a link in there to here where I headed the charge in learning these ideas but I am not sure it would be such a good idea. If you search through the Phrayngula board you can find the article and commentary.

    .

    Although I did not make comments about the altered definition being a PR looser in there a lot of OTHER objections were considered weak argumenst or were not commented on. My best thought is that, unlike the people on that board, sociology professionals like social workers and the like know that official declaration of said terminology would be a PR nightmare so despite trends to think of “racism” that way, coming out and saying it officially is avoided.

  • dingojack

    cptdoom – “Only when you see white privilege working – like when a subway station accosted the two black guys among a group of my college friends…”

    You really know you’re at the bottom of the pile when inanimate built environments accost you!

    (yes, I did work out what you meant).

    Dingo

  • dingojack

    Not quite what I was looking for, but a neat graphical way of showing White Privilege in action.

    Dingo

  • http://denkeensechtna.blogspot.com Deen

    Uhm, simply acknowledging that there is a bias in favor of white people is “taking sides” now? Really? And which sides are you talking about to begin with? Wasn’t it your official position that racism is over?