Do White People Need a Civil Rights Organization?

Originally posted on ChapterTK.com

“Why can we have organizations like the NAACP but no organizations for white people?”

This question was the head of a short, frustrating conversation I had last week. My vexation with this issue comes from the same place as my thoughts on cultural appropriation. As I explained yesterday, I accept that cultural appropriation exist and that it can take offensive forms. However, I don’t usually understand why something is or isn’t offensive to a culture. How can I hold an opinion if I don’t understand all the sides? I don’t like to have blind beliefs.

Likewise, I accept that having an NAACP-type organization for white people wouldn’t make anything right or equal. I didn’t know I had this assumption until last week, when someone tried to make the argument that we do need organizations for white people. Without any understanding as to why, I have simply accepted that there is no need for an organization for white people.

Thinking further on this issue, I have come to believe the creation of organizations and non-profits aimed at eliminating discrimination legally and systemically exist out of need. The NAACP was created for the purpose of eradicating racism, a sentiment still ingrained in their vision statement today.

The vision of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is to ensure a society in which all individuals have equal rights without discrimination based on race.

Their objective don’t say they aim to foster the equality of Black people, or Asian people, or Hispanic people or any other specific group. That’s as it should be. Ridding the world of race-based discrimination doesn’t need to have an assigned ethnicity.

Be that as it may, I’m not going to win an argument with the type of person who wants an organization for white people by claiming the NAACP supports their rights as well.

This photo, “stop the hate” is copyright (c) 2014 Liz Henry and made available under anAttribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic license

My gut says there is no need for an organization dedicated to white people. What would such an organization even do? Where are white people being denied jobs, housing or access to higher education on the basis of their race? I know people complain that things like affirmative action are taking away opportunities from white people, but I certainly don’t see it.

I took a number of classes in college on historic and present day racism. It was in one of those classes that I learned affirmative action actually had very little effect on the number of minority students. The only real difference was in the balance of males and females in college. Those numbers are nearly balanced.

Racism isn’t so black and white today. It doesn’t exist in black and white sections of restaurants. Instead, it exist in opportunities or lack there of. It exist in the systemic privileges I have gotten because of the color of my skin that those who happen to have a different skin pigment don’t have.

This all snowballs into one giant misunderstanding. Unless a person chooses to educate themselves on these systemic privileges, they will be hard for them to notice. By definition, those privileges are often taken for granted. As such, it’s easy to say they don’t exist at all. Microagressions are similar. If you aren’t a frequent victim of microagressions, how can you understand they exist?

I wonder if my educational focus is the reason why I know there is no need for NAAWP (which is, unfortunately, a real website). Having chosen a major that focused on human rights in college, I understand how many civil rights organizations came to be. The arose out of a need in the culture to remove racism from our country. To be more specific, many of these organizations came to be because society was systemically set up in favor of certain races and against others.

It seems to me the only reason we would need an organization aimed at advancing white people is if society was rigged against people with pale skin pigments. What I do see is the playing field being leveled. The only thing I see an organization for the advancement of white people promoting is racism. Even if the slant isn’t as out in the open anymore, our society is still rigged towards the befit of white people. As such, there is no need.

There is always the chance I am wrong. Perhaps I am blind to racism against whites in America. I certainly haven’t felt like I had any fewer rights because of the color of my skin, but I am not every person. This question is still open simply because I’m not satisfied with my reasoning. Having a gut feeling that an organization for the advancement of white people is a terrible and unnecessary idea is not the same as having knowledge proving the lack of necessity.

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