According to Buck, white privilege was established in the USA. To explain it, she takes us back to the 16th and the 17th century. Before the construction of race that exists today, there were only two main classes of Europeans and Africans or whites and blacks. And the whites dominated over blacks using them as slaves. The Native Americans were also treated as inferior to the whites. They suffered from the same oppression that the blacks did. To support her rationales, Buck uses examples of historical changes like the Bacon’s Rebellion. “Given the tendency of slaves, servants, and landless free Europeans and Africans to cooperate in rebellion, the elite had to "teach Whites the value of whiteness" in order to divide and rule their labor force.” (P. S. Rothenberg, 32) After that rebellion, the Europeans implemented stricter voting rights that prevented Africans, Native Americans, and sub tribes who did not identify themselves as Europeans from voting. They even increased the punishment for white women who married African men, and black children of white fathers were given the status of slavery rather than 30 years of indenture. Many such punishments were implemented to maintain the status quo of white privilege.
I agree with Buck’s position on constructing race and creating white privilege. I have seen prejudices in my own life in the USA. Even an educator once told me how my race wants to accomplish as much as possible in as little time as possible. It is clearly a prejudice in my case because I have spent years in school. While I am aware of the cultural influences, they still have no relevance over individuality. And, all Asians are not necessarily Math pros as they are labeled. Buck’s article is mainly about Europeans and Africans in the early America, and Asians did not even exist in the 16th and 17th centuries. Specifically, my ethnicity of India came here much later in the 19th century. However, the racial differences that the Europeans and the Africans faced are still present in the diverse America that we know of today. In fact, the categories are many more than just Africans and Europeans now. With the civil movements and freedom activisms over time, discrimination seems to have been hidden below the surface like an iceberg. When that iceberg breaks, however, it becomes visible as we can see the incidents of police brutality and such. Such discriminatory acts are the violation of human rights, and such violation has happened throughout the history all over the world. The contributing body for such violations is corrupted politics, as I explain below by correlating the story of C.P. Ellis.
In his article, C.P. Ellis takes us to the root causes of racial segregations. It is not just the blacks who were oppressed by slavery and other forms of labor, but the poor class of whites was also mistreated and oppressed. Going back to how the Africans were brought to the USA, it was the African leaders of who sold their enslaved blacks to Europeans for trade benefits. Hence, it is politics that is the evil not the people themselves. People were simply the puppets of their lords, masters, or elites. Even those whites who were members of the KKK were brainwashed as C.P. Ellis explains in his article. Whites who dared to raise their voice against black slavery were punished, so fear kept maintaining the passive racism. C. P. Ellis’s earlier behaviors themselves explain the concept of white privilege. He looked at blacks as outsiders because of the way he was raised by white values. Until he worked with a black woman for a school committee that wanted to handle the racial issues more constructively, he did not realize that the racist dialogues were created to cause divisions by the elites. And, his narrative relates to what Buck explains about constructing race and the white privilege.
To conclude both articles, however, it surprises me to note that America has not gone beyond mortal differences in dealing with its challenges. The American history does not reflect any wisdom of humanity and the Universe, which is why I think that the history repeats itself. Whites and blacks have not resolved their issues for centuries because of an eye for eye reactions. While the white leaders who established the racist system were guilty of violating human rights, the African leaders who sold their enslaved blacks were no less guilty. Neither of the articles mentions how the Africans were brought to the USA. To understand an issue truly, one has to go down to the roots. Blacks were still slaves under their African masters when they were in Africa. Therefore, saying that only whites have mistreated blacks would send a wrong message. Both articles make it seem like it is all just whites’ fault. But, the whites could abuse and oppress the blacks only because the black leaders cooperated with the white leaders. Hence, the evil is politics and not the races. Divisions have always been created by leaders to force their agenda onto the general public. Whether that agenda is of slavery, oppression, or any such ill treatment. Even the whites were not all treated in a justified manner by the white elites. The poor whites were used as puppets. Therefore, this is not a race system but rather a class system. It is all about wealth and prestige inequality. Education must now come to a full circle to create the right awareness. Some blacks and whites still hold bitterness of each other simply because of brainwashing methods that still exist. Not all whites are blacks’ enemies, not all blacks are blacks’ friends, and not all white leaders are in favor of whites. Everyone needs courage to accept the truths and fight the injustice of class inequality together as a diverse nation. It is only right versus wrong not black versus whites or majority versus minority.
Buck P. (2010). Constructing Race, Creating White Privilege. In Race, Class, and Gender in the United States (8th ed.). New York City, NY: Worth.
Studs T. (2010). C. P. Ellis. In Race, Class, and Gender in the United States (8th ed.). New York City, NY: Worth.