Once again, City Guide's Lauretta Charlton and Julian Kimble tackle the most controversial headlines about race that made the news. This month, they address the notion of white male privilege, Questlove's Vulture essays and Ta-Nehisi Coates' strong case& for reparations (for which they are joined by a special guest.)
[Earlier this month, Time published an essay written by Princeton University student Tal Fortgang, who did his very best to explain his refusal to apologize for his white male privilege. Anyone else hear that? It's the sound of swinging and missing.]
Lauretta: So, I really wanted to send Tal Fortgang an email but decided that it would be irresponsible of me as I have nothing nice to say.In fact I have very mean things to say to "Mr. I Will Never Apologize for My White Privilege."
Julian:I'm glad you didn't, because it would've been a waste of time and effort. There's really no reaching people this oblivious. Speaking of wastes of time, his entire essay was a waste of time.It was a hit dog hollering for no reason.
Lauretta:I wanted to be like, "I'm glad your family enjoys their new home in America, but we been here. So. Yes, bitch, check your fucking privilege."
Julian: Was he asked to step up and troll the world by defending his white male privilege which, apparently unbeknownst to him, was his birthright? Also, I used to get riled up in high school when people would compare slavery to the Holocaust. Now I just let it pass.
Lauretta: DANGER ZONE! We aren't supposed to talk about that stuff, but do tell. Do go on.
Julian: Better yet, I remember someone of Irish descent saying they felt little sympathy for blacks because of what the Irish went through in Europe. I'm not here to claim any Lifetime Struggle Achievement Awards for who had the longer struggle, but, at the end of the day, we're talking about something that went on for centuries compared to something that did not.&
Lauretta: Yeah. It's just not worth comparing.
Julian: Look, both are horrible and I abhor them, but if you try to play the "Well, you know, my ancestors didn't have it easy..." card, I just tune you out. It's not worth comparing because there isn't a comparison.
Lauretta: Yes. This guy is so completely naive about how the world works. It's scary to think that he truly believes his argument isn't completely flawed.
Julian: That's what happens, though. People can't even see the error in their thinking. I'm sure he's 100 percent confident he dropped legitimate knowledge in that essay. I can see him figuratively dropping the mic and walking away from the stage.
Lauretta: Right, but he wants to major in history!
Julian:Oh, the irony. Sounds like he's already majoring in life with the blinders on, with a minor in bullshit. His essay was quite literally the answer to the question no one asked. Which, in turn, answered so many questions about him as a person.
Lauretta: I wonder if he knows about the systems in place that provide him with benefits that minorities and women simply do not enjoy.
Julian: Clearly not.
Lauretta: But why not?
Julian: Because we all started with a level playing field, of course. If we just work hard, then everyone can achieve the same things.
Yes, you have a right to be proud of your heritage, but don't conflate that notion with reverse racism or deny the fact that you have benefited from a system built on racist values. Yes, America was built on racist values and sexist values. Even though we have made strides, we still have serious problems.
Julian: I'd just ask him to observe the way people respond to him in public, as opposed to how they respond to his black friends. If he has any.
Lauretta: Ha. I doubt it. OK, final word on this: Yes, you have a right to be proud of your heritage, but don't conflate that notion with reverse racism or deny the fact that you have benefited from a system built on racist values. Yes, America was built on racist values and sexist values. Even though we have made strides, we still have serious problems. If you can't see that, I would argue you're out of touch with what it means to really be an American.
Julian: Not everyone needs to go Gambit and throw the kinetic energy-charged race card on everything, but denying the existence of institutional racism when it's so blatantly obvious just makes you sound silly.
Lauretta: The beauty of being American, to me, is recognizing our flaws and figuring out how to fix them. We have the tools. But they are currently in the wrong hands.
Lauretta: Anyway, Tal, go fuck yourself.
Julian: Way to flex your defensive white male guilt,because that, ladies and gents, is the American way. Now, since we're discussing opinion pieces, what are your thoughts on Questlove's Vulture essays?