White Slavery & The Myth of White Privilege

image35DeAnna Calderon,
Austin, TX.

I grew up poor in the Southside of Chicago. We were extremely poor and even homeless at times. Sleeping outside in the middle of winter when I was a child. When I was 22 I joined the Army. The treatment I faced as a woman in the military felt like it was 1954, instead of 2004. A man of any color was treated better than a female. When black people and white liberal suburbanites talk of “White Privilege” I asked myself, “Where was my ‘White Privilege'”?’ A lot of poor whites live in the same neighborhoods as blacks and Hispanics, go to the same schools, and work at the same jobs; yet, white privilege is thrown in our face as if we do not have the same struggles. Slavery didn’t start with the Atlantic Slave Trade and black people were not the only victims. In the Bible, Egypt (in Africa) enslaved the Jews. Millions of Europeans were enslaved by North Africans and brought back to the Barbary Coast (http://researchnews.osu.edu/archive/whtslav.htm). The first slaves in America didn’t come from Africa, but from Ireland. The Irish Slave Trade dropped the population in Ireland from 1,500,000 people to 600,000 within a decade. “African slaves were very expensive during the late 1600s (50 Sterling). Irish slaves came cheap (no more than 5 Sterling). If a planter whipped or branded or beat an Irish slave to death, it was never a crime. A death was a monetary setback, but far cheaper than killing a more expensive African” (http://www.africaresource.com/rasta/sesostris-the-great-the-egyptian-hercules/the-irish-slave-trade-forgotten-white-slaves/). The term slave actually comes from the Slavs or the ethnic Polish. The Slavs were enslaved by the Ancient Romans. Slavery even continues today in most countries, but the victims are women and children that are sold into sex trafficking. Life isn’t easy for anyone. The only privilege that exists today isn’t white, but green. Money and power will get you whatever you want. Michael Jordan, Russell Simmons, and other wealthy minorities have Green Privilege and with that privilege comes power.

Keep the conversation going - comment and discuss with your thoughts

  • Green privilege has always existed, but since being created “white privilege”, as much as I (we) hate the term, has been just as real.

    What we was remember is that it doesn’t refer to and describe the individual, but the system and the combined acts and thoughts of the many.

    • olblue9

      Green privilege does not discriminate against colors. Green privilege created slavery! Their are more slaves of all color in the world today than any time in history… Let’s work together to fight this slavery… Then remember the past so that it does not happen again.
      I would trade my ” white” privilege for some green privilege any day.

  • Howard Bonds

    My only disagreement with your statement is that the Irish were not the first slaves (native Americans unfortunately hold that title), and in fact came here as indentured servants, voluntarily and at the end of their service were paid as outlined in their contract and at no time were treated like cattle. that 5 sterling actually went to the Irishmen…that 50 sterling didn’t go to the African! Also, you seem to hold the bar of complaints at slavery….African Americans (and native Americans) don’t hold whites eternally responsible for slavery…its everything AFTER slavery that’s the complaint, jim crow, sharecropping, sterilization, lynchings (complete with those photos and postcards of those murder picnics that was just so awesome to attend back then), riots, church bombings, curfews, complete with a rigged voting and employment system….nobody blames all Germans for the Nazis…but at the same time Germany owned it and has tried to make right with the Jews…are their poor Germans? of course their are….are all Germans evil? Of course not….

    • Choco Prince

      Nicely said.

    • olblue9

      Agreed. The white race as a whole should not be held as guilty of the crimes that you name. Any person who is serious about the subject should do the research and find names of the people who profited from slavery..then demand compensation from them or their ancestors. Otherwise you come off as just another racist to the good folks who agree with your case. Good luck!

      • Howard Bonds

        The US government passed those laws and allowed for those things to happen…As the German government to the Jews…The US government to its victims. I would agree with individual blame, but the government enforced these things to existance.

        • olblue9

          Good point, … We can’t even get politicians to agree that every American child deserves a true proper education.
          Some politicians feel that slavery has been paid in full by social programs that they then refuse to fund. All the while gladly increasing funds for prisons, war, militarized police forces, etc… The list goes on.

    • Pick up a book and stfu

      • Howard Bonds

        Hey scumbag..you might actually want to check your library before you get into it with me..All those things I wrote ARE ALL IN BOOKS…maybe you should actually try living in reality for once in your life….so STFU yourself. POS.

    • Laurence Almand

      Keep in mind that so-called “native American” tribe often enslaved each other. And slavery has always existed in Africa, going all the way back to Biblical times. It was (and is) common practice for African tribes to conquer and enslave each other. The people who sold the Africans to the White slave traders were the Black African slave dealers.

  • disqus_42IY2210D1

    White privilege is often invisible. To paraphrase Alan Johnson (“Privilege Power and Discrimination,”) being privileged doesn’t necessarily mean feeling privileged. Any woman can feel the sting of discrimination in a society organized around male privilege even if she enjoys the privileges associated with whiteness. White privilege isn’t an accusation (at least it shouldn’t be); it’s a way of revealing how racial thinking has organized our lives.

    • Justin W

      So if it’s invisible, then how can one assert or affirm it’s existence? It is logically fallacious to refer it’s supposed invisibility only in the face of arguments from those who deny the existence of white privilege.

  • olblue9

    Great story! Glad to see another point of view that helps to show just how closely related the poor European’s are to those of African descent. Too bad when the reader refuses to listen to the writer’s point of view. Stories like this can pull together reader’s of different colors. If we will look past our difference’s.

  • Laurence Almand

    Excellent article. Read the good book THEY WERE WHITE AND THEY WERE SLAVES to learn the truth about early White slavery in the USA.
    As a White male who has worked and supported himself since the age of 18, I am sick and tired of hearing about “White privilege” – whatever that is.
    And what about all the competent White males who have had their jobs and promotions stolen by less competent Blacks and females? Is that an example of privilege? The Dayton Police Department had to scrap its entrance tests because the stupid Blacks could not pass them. Is that privilege?

 

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