White Privilege, Race, and the Stewart-O’Reilly debate (online writing)

Published October 17, 2014 by djlwsu

Watch interview and write a letter to Bill O’Reilly and Jon Stewart in response to their conversation.  Using specifics from readings, details from class, and other specific information (course films) enter into their conversation in an effort to advance the discussion of privilege, model minority myth, antiblack racism, housing discrimination, and racism. Imagine your the third member of the panel and have the opportunity to integrate your knowledge, experiences, and understanding of CES 101 themes/concepts into the conversation

400-450 words

50 Points
Last Day, November 15


17 comments on “White Privilege, Race, and the Stewart-O’Reilly debate (online writing)

  • Dear Bill O’Reilly,

    In response to your interview with Jon Stewart on white privilege and whether or not it exists, I would just like to bring out a few points to be made about your argument of the lack of white privilege. You used the fact that there is no more slavery, Jim Crow laws, and that the most powerful man and woman in the world are black. Although (except for Oprah) these are true, it does not get to the actual point at hand. Just because one man is successful doesn’t mean everyone has an equal opportunity. Jim Crow laws are no longer around, but the effect they had on the black population is still very prevalent today. I think understanding this would be a big help in your understanding of white privilege.

    Over the course of American history, blacks have been oppressed. One way was forcing blacks into lower standards of education, which means their children didn’t have parents that are as able to help them as white children, which can lead to a recurring theme in a family. Blacks weren’t given the same ability to get mortgage loans after WWII, which helped so many whites (such as your own parents) own a home easily. Through both of these facts, we come to another fact, which states that average annual pupil spending in urban communities in public schools is $566 lower than that of the national average. Blacks came to live in urban communities not through laziness, but through the systematic oppression from whites.

    Some more current inequalities are with what could be done to help gain equity for all races. Black names have a 50% lower call back rate for jobs, while 40% of jobs as it is are taken because of someone you know. If blacks were held back from getting jobs in the past, and from statistics we know that many jobs are taken because of someone’s connections in the professional world, and that blacks don’t have an equal chance to get hired, this is a continuing inequality.

    Another continuing inequality is shown in crime statistics. Now, we may say that blacks are more prone to crime, growing up in an urban and gang centered environment, but isn’t that a residual effect of Jim Crow and housing discrimination perpetuated by whites? As for crimes, 90% of those stopped according to the stop and frisk laws in New York are minorities. As of 2000, in 15 states, blacks were sent to prison from drug related charges at a rate of twenty to fifty-seven times great than that of white men. In 1991, bail for black defendants was set at an average of 70% higher than whites. This seems to point towards an excessively high amount of profiling and racism in the current law system.

    Through the points I have made, I feel it becomes clear what we mean when we say we have white privilege. We haven’t been kept out of schools for centuries, we’ve been given loans not afforded to the black population for housing, and we get called back at a much higher rate for jobs we send resumes too. We also don’t have to constantly fear about being profiled by the police, who should be protecting us, not searching us for drugs constantly, and making it harder to set bail. Blacks may not be slaves anymore, but this does not mean whites and blacks have achieved equity.

    Thanks for your time.


  • Dear Bill O’Reilly and Jon Stewart,

    Your discussion is a prime example of the closed-mindedness that most white American’s suffer on the understanding of the idea of white privilege, and the controversy that it can cause. Bill O’Reilly, it is clear that you strongly believe that there is no such thing, and that in this country all honest and hardworking people will be able to make a successful living. While this is true, you fail to acknowledge the invisible knapsack that aids most white Americans in their journey of life. Perhaps you should read some of the work of Peggy McIntosh. This knapsack can be also viewed as an invisible bank account with constant deposits of which these assets are unearned.

    Further, you don’t realize all the ways that you are the dominant majority and have the upper hand because of it, and the fact that even your white-sounding name has benefited you in ways to the same extent as it has been an obstacle to your black counterparts. However, it is understandable for you to want to deny this privilege. It took me a few weeks of listening and learning to begin to understand as well. After all, accepting this would challenge your meritocracy, acknowledge the impact of racism in the present, challenge the desirability of colorblindness, and make you accountable for the ways in which white people benefit. I noticed that something you especially struggled with was the idea that racism that still occurs today, and were adamant that it was only a plague of the past. When Stewart suggested that blacks struggle was somewhat institutionalized by housing difficulties, you responded by asking if they were “forced” to live there. This shows that you don’t have an understanding of the racism in the housing market and FHA that goes on. However you were very much aware of the “privileges” of being a model minority, by stating that Asian-American’s make a higher income than their white counterparts.

    However, it wasn’t all just O’Reilly’s closed-mindedness that was an issue. Jon Stewart, you could have gone about your argument in a much more appealing way that could have been much more progressive in expanding O’Reilly’s knowledge on the subject. You could have benefited from reading Jamie Utt’s article, “How To Talk To Someone About Privilege Who Doesn’t Know What That Is” which states six ways that can make the conversation go over easier. In summary, he says to appeal to the ways that the person may not have privilege, stress that privilege is relative, explain that privilege and oppression hurts us all, it shouldn’t mean guilt, offer ways to undermine privilege, finally, make it about action and not about character. If you had gone about the conversation more in this direction, it could have gone more smoothly.

    Altogether, this conversation brought up a lot of great ideas but it is clear you both have a lot to learn on the idea of white privilege in America.

    Thanks for listening!

    Clara Kerrone


  • To be honest, there are two extremists in the conversation here and it feels as if their high forms of intelligence and highly opinionated personalities have very much hindered the effect of this conversation on each other. I do not believe that Bill O’Reilly’s opinion has changed at all and I very much do not think Jon Stewart has any second guesses either. Both parties have strong points and both parties do have skewed views on a few things. Jon Stewart makes a good point when he mentions how the way someone is raised effects their life. As we have discussed in class, black communities tend to be less maintained and have a lower economy. While this may be remnants of segregation in the past, this is a free country now. Yes, Jon Stewart is right in saying that black families may have a harder time getting out of the social status as their upbringing, O’Reilly is very much correct in saying it is possible. While these black communities are lower income communities for the most part, the families do have an option to leave. We discussed earlier that real estate agents tend to show black families in the market for a home houses in other black communities. However, you cannot attempt to accuse the real estate agent of being racist or discriminatory. It is someone’s job to observe and act on patterns that will be most efficient. Showing a black family a home in a black community is not being discriminatory, it is being scientific. The agent noticed that black families tend to live in one area, so he decided to show a family one of those houses. To not notice the pattern of people of a certain skin tone tending to live closer to people of similar skin tone is plainly idiotic and they would not be doing their job if they were blind to this pattern.

    Jon Stewart’s point at the very beginning was that white males set the system of how the country and how the world operate. This is a fact, however, O’Reilly retort is very much on point even though Stewart decided to interrupt him. White people have very much been in the drivers seat of what the guidelines of the world are and some of those laws have leaked into today. But I would back O’Reilly up in saying that an African American is president of the United States and therefor the most powerful man on earth. He sets the rules now not necessarily through passing random laws as Congress has to approve of these laws, but through his leadership of America and his access to the media. America is predominately white and as a country we have chosen a black leader to follow. That statement should show that in general, white people are OK with looking to a black man in a time in need especially when taking into account how a larger percentage of african americans do not vote than white people. Also, I would add that in our generations, being white is not ‘cool.’ If someone says, “You are so white,” that is used as an insult. This is the same thing as saying, “You are so gay,” except for the color of your skin is even less of a choice than being homosexual. What I am trying to say is that our generation, while we do have stereotypes, we are different. We do share many things considering stereotypes about things like intelligence and athletic ability, but we were brought up and educated so much about how we cannot judge each other, I truly feel that the assumption that being black is not a good thing has been very much lessened. The issue of racism and having a racial lens will always be an issue just like any other major controversy, but the barriers that used to be there about staying away from certain people have been broken for me. I speak for many others when I say that our generation has an extremely low percentage of people that are actually racist and I really feel that the issues of the past will disintegrate by themselves from here on out.


  • Dear Bill O’Reilly and Jon Stewart,
    I recently watched the video where the topic of white privilege was brought up. I noticed in the video there was two sides of the discussion. Bill O’Reilly believed that white privilege existed in the past but since we as a nation are post-civil right there is no such thing as white privilege. O’Reilly stated that anyone could make it in America as long as they “work hard, get educated and be an honest person.” While Jon Stewart was firmly set on believing that white privilege is a thing and it factors into the success of minorities. Jon Stewart also pointed out that real estate plays a vital role in white privilege. In this letter I want to address some of the issues that the video brought up and go more in depth into what white privilege is.
    Bill O’Reilly I notice that you said in the beginning of the video that “If there is white privilege then there has to be Asian privilege because Asians make more money than whites.” The quotes represents this ides of the model minority myth. The model minority myth erases inequalities experienced by Asian Americans by only celebrating success. Though 70% of Asian Indians have a bachelor degree less than 1/10 Samoans have a degree. This is a problem with the model myth is that it only focuses on a small percentage of Asian Americans that are successful. This example makes your point invalid due to the fact that you cannot make generalization of all Asians when in fact you are only talking about a small portion that make more money than whites. Also I would like to bring up your other point where you stated that to make it American all you need to do is “work hard, get educated and be an honest person.” Though this idea is good in theory there are many faults in it. In the black community getting out of the poverty cycle can be a challenge. For those that do make it out they still face more obstacles. When applying to get a job employers are less likely to go with someone with “black sounding names.” This shows that one can work so hard, but that cannot force anyone to hire them. This is where white privilege comes in because white males do not need to worry about their name being a factor when being chosen for a job.
    Through my counter examples to your point’s one can see that though white privilege is not as prominent as it was Pre- Civil Right era such as the FHA and naturalization act, it still exists in more subtle way Post- Civil Right when it comes to education and incarceration for blacks.


  • Dear Mr. O’Reilly and Mr. Stewart,

    Thank you for having this debate. I think this conversation is very important and should take place more often. I would like to add my comments to the discussion.

    First, Mr. O’Reilly brings up the topic of “Asian privilege”. Mr. Stewart did not directly address this, and I would like to. The concept of “Asian privilege” is directly combated by the model minority myth. This myth is described in “Model Minority or Potential Terrorist? Affective Economies, Rhetorics of Silence & the Murder of Sunando Sen” by Vani Kannan. Kannan describes the danger of having the idea of a “model minority” because “socioeconomic needs are obscured by the model minority trope”. Not only does this concept obscure the true disadvantages that minority group may be facing, but it also does not provide any evidence against white privilege. Mr. O’Reilly uses the success of Asian Americans as evidence that white privilege does not exist, but this is flawed logic. It is the same logic that is used later in the discussion when he points out that there are certain African American people who have become very successful and powerful. Individuals succeeding does not show that they have had an even playing field; it is simply an example of people succeeding despite obstacles.

    The main problem Mr. O’Reilly seems to have with admitting that white privilege exists is that it would conflict with his notions of the American dream of meritocracy. He seems to believe that anyone who tries hard enough can succeed in our country and he doesn’t believe that there are currently any obstacles in anyone’s way based on race.

    Mr. O’Reilly does not see how the obstacles that occurred in the past have relevance to today. The in-class cartoon video depicted a running race with a few different races represented. The white runner was able to have a huge head start over the other races. This is what Mr. Stewart was trying to convey.

    Mr. O’Reilly has personal experience with Levittown and the discrimination there in the 1950’s; however he might not have been exposed to the realities of redlining. By redlining communities, the FHA created less valued neighborhoods where minorities lived. Once communities were segregated, “urban renewal” began and was never completed. In this program 90% of homes that were destroyed were not replaced and 2/3 of those displaced were black and Latino. I would be interested in what Mr. O’Reilly would have to say about that.


  • Dear Bill O’Reilly,

    In watching your interview with Jon Stewart I found myself asking many questions. You stated that there is no longer white privilege, because if there is white privilege, then their needs to be Asian privilege and black privilege and it gets to complicated. In the interview you say that there is no more white privilege because slavery is gone and Jim Crow is no longer in effect. I think that you are correct to a certain point. Even thought Jim Crow many not be in effect, slavery still does exist. We live in a society where the rich can afford to hire “ servants “ to clean there house, cook them food, wash their clothes, and drive them places. Isn’t this similar to slavery only now the rich pay them a little more and maybe treat them a little better?

    I also believe that white privilege still does exist. Growing up I lived in one of the worst places in the country, Oakland California. I was a white teenage girl driving through the poorest parts of Oakland just to get to school. Some mornings I would rive past a street that had an outline of a body in white chalk on the ground, while other days I wouldn’t be able to leave school because a man was running around the school with a gun. I know that many of my friends that are African American, who live in the ruthless parts of Oakland, and wake up every morning worrying about if they will make it through the day without being questioned by authorities. Every morning I wake up, go to practice hang out with my friends at school and come home to my family and don’t worry about being questioned by authorities or wondering if ill get in a gun fight with someone in the neighborhood because we disagree on something. White privilege is the reason why I do not have to worry about those things. As the interview goes on, several points were made from Jon that blacks and whites weren’t given the same opportunities, therefore will take a long time before people start to consider both races as equal.

    Most of the time I am not in fight or flight mode, I feel safe and loved. I grew up in a place of values, where I was taught that by working hard, you would get what you need. I disagree with what you say about white privilege not existing anymore because it does, and ignoring it doesn’t make the situation any better.

    Thank you,
    Monica McNamara


  • Dear Bill O’Reilly,

    This debate brought up great points about whether white privilege is a real thing or not. Your argument was true to an extent but I feel there is a lot that you are missing. You brought up the point that in today’s society everyone, black or white, has an equal opportunity to find success. This is true; but the way they seek success is much different for various racial groups and how people defined success is much different. White’s are given more opportunity to seek success with multiple things; things like the Social Security Act, Minimum Wage law and Ivy League Admissions. In today’s society it is almost impossible to be successful without any type of higher education. If you are white and your parents have a higher education you have a greater chance to receive a higher education than that of a black who’s parents didn’t have a higher education.
    Also Stewart brought up the point that more whites use drugs in this country, but more blacks get in trouble with them. When we experienced the prison boom it was because of drug convictions. But the people being sent to prison weren’t white; they were black. Kathryn Russell argues that black and criminal in the dominant white imagination are one and the same. She describes this with criminalblackman, where criminal equals blackness.
    When talking about white privilege you must bring up stereotypes and how those stereotypes effect how we look at different racial groups. A study in the Journal of Alcohol and Drug Education found that while African Americans constitute 12-15 percent of all monthly drug users, 90-95 percent of respondents pictured a black drug user. How we stereotype different racial groups has a massive impact on their success and how they achieve their success. Blacks have gone to the extent of changing their name to sound more “white” while applying for a job because research shows that a white name has a better chance of getting specific jobs than a black name.
    I’m white and I don’t have to worry about the way people think or look at me, while some of my friends, black kids, have to worry about it everyday. Blacks are looked at from a completely different perspective in today’s society than white and it’s not in a good perspective.
    In conclusion, white privilege is definitely a real thing, and has been for a great amount of time. Even though slavery isn’t a thing anymore, it once impacted many black families and that impact is still seen today. Although we have become better about giving everyone an equal opportunity to succeed, it is still evident that it’s not equal.

    Thanks for your time,

    Ben Larson


  • Dear Bill O’Reilly and Jon Stewart,

    I appreciate this discussion and I feel like it is one that isn’t talked about often. That being said, I would love to join in on the conversation.

    Bill O’Reilly, when you stated that Asians make more money than Whites, I was taken back. I felt that you were stating that to help confirm that white privilege no longer exists. Reality is, is you are a perfect example of someone using the model minority myth. Although I am proud that Asian-Americans are successful in their careers, you have to realize that that Asian-Americans face disadvantages that are ignored. Many disadvantages that whites don’t have to face. This is all explained in Vani Kannan’s study, “Model Minority or Potential Terrorist? Affective Economies, Rhetorics of Silence & the Murder of Sunando Sen” where Kannan states how, “socioeconomic needs are obscured by the model minority trope”.
    You also said how if there’s a white privilege, then there has to be Asian privilege. That isn’t true because who we are today, and how our country is, is based on history. And historically, whites have always had the upper hand in America. An example of this, is how the most ghetto communities that exist today, are the same ones that were created back when the FHA were redlining communities. Redlining communities resulted in minorities living in less valued neighborhoods, and “urban renewal” didn’t help fix that either. I do agree with you that if you work hard and educate yourself, you can succeed. But I also agreed when Jon Stewart said that minorities have to work harder from the history that led up to minorities’ path to success today.

    Jon Stewart, I understand all your points and have agreed with a lot of what you said. When you stated that whites do more drugs, but more blacks are arrested for drugs, I couldn’t emphasize and agree with that enough. Blacks represent 53% of those sent to prison for a drug offense. I believe that that’s due to being brought up in a bad community due to the history of housing and community segregation. Upbringing develops each and every single individual. People live different lives and deal with different experiences that shape who they are. It is just unfortunate that there are more minorities that are dealing with the effect of historical white privilege.

    Overall, I really enjoyed watching this interview and I am glad that at the end you both were able to agree that white privilege is in fact a factor success.

    Thank you,
    Nicole Nguyen


  • Dear Bill,

    Your success and popularity continue to surprise me each day, yet I will admit listening to your idiotic opinions has provided me a better understanding of the continuing ignorance that still cloud many American’s perspectives about “White Privilege”. Your argument starts out strong with a blatant denial of white privilege and the idea of any form of institutionalized racism. You seem to be so grounded in your own opinion that the truth of this white privilege is simply an inconvenient truth to your twisted perspective of the many inequalities that are prevalent in our country today. Soon after you bring up the fact that Asian Americans in recent decades have experienced significant success but fail to understand the very different circumstances of the African American and Asian American experience.

    The historical differences of the treatment of the two groups are a large reason for the different types of burden and racial prejudice these two groups of people are faced with. The comment Jon Stewart made to you about your experiences in Levitt Town really exposed the flaws within your argument. Your families admittance to Levitt Town was said to be due to the fact that your father was a Veteran but what you failed to mention was the fact that Levitt Town was populate by solely white residents. When your hometown accepted you because of your whiteness there is no way you can deny the white privilege that served as your ticket into your first home.

    Of course, you are ancient… and your childhood was nearly a millennium ago but as Mr. Stewart put it so well, “The residual effects of institutionalized racism are still present today.” The inequalities within our society stretch far beyond the inequality of housing. There is unjust advantage for whites in the work world as well. It has been proven through various studies that individuals with “Black Sounding” names have a significant lower chance to receive a call back for job opportunities vs. individuals with American sounding names. How is this not a clear example of the lasting impacts that segregation, Jim Crow Laws and the systemized subjugation of the black community by the white majority.

    Any individual can be subjected to unfair treatment based upon stereotypes but the individual burden bestowed upon the shoulders of black individuals in our society is substantially worse. The perception that our society holds of blacks connection to the world of drugs and crime plays a huge role in the high percentage of black individuals unjustly incarcerated for the possession and sale of drugs. Sir, your ignorance of white privilege is a gleaming example of the continuous problem our country has with challenging racism and the unfair treatment of members of certain ethnic groups.


  • Honestly what I saw coming from Bill O-Reilly’s end was an explicable amount of ignorance. It was pretty funny to see how worked up Mr. O-Reilly got when the crowd literally started challenging his meritocracy. O-Reilly even pointed the finger at Stewart in the beginning of the interview stating, “well, for you there is white privilege… He doesn’t even shave!” It seems like Bill O-Reilly believes that everyone has privilege besides himself because he goes on to say that Asians are actually the ones who have the privilege, not whites. I believe this was one of his many deflections throughout the interview and really holds no weight nor adds to the progression of the topic. Mr. Stewart informs him that Asians have done better in the recent years, but white males ultimately run the “system” and have systemically subjugated blacks and other minorities.

    Bill O-Reilly then tweaks his earlier answer and claims that there was once white privilege, but it no longer exists. Slavery and Jim Crowe laws are gone, but that does not mean that white privilege is anywhere near extinct. Whites like myself do not feel the need to be on high alert when we are confronted by police. Whites make up for most of the drug using percentage yet blacks are more likely to be “randomly” searched. Another aspect of privilege is in the job force. Having an ethnic sounding name decreases the odds of you getting a call-back dramatically. Studies found that just being white accounted for 8 years of work experience. About 40 percent of all jobs are given to someone a current employee knows. Due to white-named people getting more jobs, odds are they recommend their white friends and the vicious cycle of inequality continues.

    I like the point that John Stewart makes when he says that there has been a systemic subjugation through real estate and ghetto neighborhoods. Mr. O-Reilly’s response was just ridiculous. No, Of course blacks are not truly “forced” to live in ghettos and projects in the classic sense of the word. Due to Redlining, Block busting, the FHA, Homeowner associations, and White flight black Americans are systemically impoverished and have no means to move out of the ghetto areas.

    All in all this interview could have shed a lot more light on a very sensitive topic if their wasn’t as much hubris present in the dialogue from both parties.

    Thank you,

    Chris Nielson


  • Dear Bill O’ Reilly and John Stewart,
    Your conversation was a perfect example of both sides where both sides are completely out of agreement. Bill O’ Reilly when you were talking about white privilege you had a very difficult time trying to say that white privilege doesn’t exist, your examples always showed a sign of white privilege while you talked. Then when you finally emitted that white privilege existed then the conversation went to if it still exist today. You started saying that it doesn’t because Jim Crow and slavery doesn’t exist anymore but like we learn in class the new Jim Crow exist in today’s society. An example of new Jim Crow is redlining and blockbusting, which forced minorities to live in ghettos and unable to move into white suburbs because of new Jim Crow made it impossible for minorities to afford houses in white neighborhoods. Since minorities cannot live in white neighborhoods they face new challenges since they have to live in ghettos where it’s very poor. Bill your argument was that you can overcome white privilege if you work hard and get educated. When minorities live in ghettos then they have to overcome obstacles that whites don’t ever have to worry about. It’s like the video we saw in class where the minorities are and whites are racing, whites get a head start and when the minorities start catching up they face the obstacles of poverty, poor schools, and have to try avoiding drugs and crime. All these factors are a result of white privilege and cause whites to be head of minorities. So what I would ask Bill to think about is with all the factors that work against minorities how doesn’t white privilege exist and what type of privilege would minorities have. I say this because Bill brings up that if there is white privilege then there has to be a privilege for all minorities. When he brings up Asians privilege he is bringing in the model minority myth which doesn’t help that race just adds racial pressure to them. Also it can be argued that model minority is just a form of stereotyping. In conclusion white privilege exists in today’s society and whites need to understand this in order to overcome many racial issues in our country.


  • White privileged exist from history but doesn’t exist today in “Modern America” in the words of Bill O’Reilly. O’Reilly had points that I can understand why he would feel like there isn’t white privileged, but just because our president is black doesn’t mean there isn’t white privileged. O’Reilly is an example of how blinded people are of their own privileged and sometimes of the privilege they don’t have. O’Reilly believes he had to work hard for where he was at in life and he was lucky enough to make, but doesn’t believe he is as successful as he is because of his skin color but because of his hard work. O’Reilly believes if you work hard, get an education, you don’t have to be poor nor in the ghetto. He also said historically there was white privilege, but because there isn’t slavery and Oprah is an icon in America white privilege has diminished. I totally disagree with O’Reilly’s ignorant comments and response in this debate. Does O’Reilly know that during January and February “ghetto” and black face parties are taken place yearly? If O’Reilly could look at statistics of minorities in jail or being suspected for being violent just by the way they look maybe that could change his mind, or the case of Trayvon Martin. Maybe if he looked at how many whites get rushed to the hospital for drug overdose (which is 3 times more likely than blacks) and how many minorities actually go jail for drug association (blacks are 3.73 times more likely to be arrested for use of marijuana) he would realize more whites get out of that situation because of their color, not because of their action. The media portrays African Americans as violent and malicious people; if you really look at stats you can see a lot of crimes aren’t caused by African Americans. O’Reilly fails to look all aspects of America and how it’s set up. He is failing to realize that white privileged was set up to never be taken over by minorities. A prime example that Stuart gave was neighborhoods, white neighborhoods and black neighborhoods. White people may not sale their house because a black family resides next door but you will not see multiple blacks in that neighborhood, which is still a form of redlining. Privileges are rights unearned, genetic lottery, and legacy. Sorry to prove you wrong O’Reilly, privileged is still alive and active today, even if our president black.


  • Dear Bill O’Reilly,
    In response to your interview with John Stewart on white privilege your comments on whether or not white privilege exists or not are baffling. The fact that you said that black people are not subjugated to slavery or reduced back into the time of Jim Crow as a examples of how white people have an advantage over the minorities of contemporary America is ludicrous. If anything African Americans are placed underneath a blanket in which society no longer accepts “outright” racism, and better yet condemns it. Yet we still see instances of institutional racism and prejudices that come into play when talking about African Americans. We see examples of it in the workplace, in stores, our education system, etc.
    White privilege is something that is inherited whether it is wanted or not. We can breakdown where these privileges come into play by looking at some policies, such as education and housing. Housing and education go hand in hand. Individuals attend schools that are closest to them, whether it is public or private. Proximity is key when determining what school to attend. That is why we have districts in order to have children attend schools in their area. Now this is where housing comes into play. In states like Georgia and New York where there are still segregated communities (for the most part), schools are still divided up between rich and poor communities. Education is poor in the poor communities, while the children whose parents are wealthy and can pay taxes for the schools to be rebuilt, distribute textbooks and hire quality instructors. It is no shock that for the most part minorities live in these impoverished neighborhoods and are forced to attend these schools due to the proximity. How is this not an example of whit privilege? The cycle continues, the children in the poor neighborhoods have a low graduation rate and few attend college. After this many people fall into low income jobs and end up staying in their communities, and if not fall into a life of crime, which is already prejudged as a stereotype for most African Americans.
    Pretending that white privilege does not exist and that racism is dead is absurd. Working hard, and getting education and being honest does not necessarily mean that you are going to make it out of poverty. It is difficult for someone to do this with bountiful disadvantages.


  • Dear Bill,

    Your argument was really interesting to me. Hearing your opinion actually had me glued to what you had to say next, you made me question a lot of things. I do believe that there is white privilege today, when you said “If white privilege exists, how come the most important people in the world are black?” referring to Barak Obama and Oprah Winfrey. You also said that if there’s white privilege then there must be Asian privilege, explaining that Asians do indeed make a higher income than whites. These are the types of things that really got me thinking. Even then, I still strongly believe there is white privilege. Reading the article “7 facts that prove white privilege still exists in America” by Zerlina Maxwell talks about some examples where we’ve definitely seen white privilege for example, the most popular one, I would say, is when people referred Richard Sherman as a “thug.” We see white privilege here because it is okay for a white person to yell and use aggression in sports without given so much of a hard time whereas Richard Sherman is accused of being a thug. This is also stereotyping. Yes, he is from Compton, California and is black but what a lot of people didn’t know before was that he was an excellent student at Stanford University. During lecture, we’ve seen other examples of white privilege such as the young gentlemen who came into class and talked about his acceptance into WSU and a clip we watched about Jose, a Hispanic male looking for a job, changing his name to Joe. While the young gentlemen who came into class about 4 weeks ago talked about his past mistakes, it made me think “what is he doing here….he really shouldn’t be here right now” I’ll be honest, as he kept talking more and more it made me really angry, not at him but angry at the fact that other students killed themselves to be here today such as myself and here’s this guy in front of us who did everything to NOT make it to college yet he was able to walk to the dean’s office like it was nothing, doing nothing except turn in a simple resume. Know that I am angry at society for accepting white privilege, just like this example, yet claim that white privilege does not exist. In the job market, Jose did not get a lot of job offers that is until he decided to change his name to Joe. This proves that white privilege is seen in education, job markets, and society in general.


  • Alex Keal
    Ces Online writing
    Bill O’Reilly

    Reproducing racism claims that when moving into a neighborhood, “parents choose neighborhoods that will maximize their children’s human capital” (their ability to do well with education and their future). Given the privilege that blacks don’t have it’s harder for blacks to put their children in neighborhoods with environments that will strengthen their “human capital.” Therefore, Bill’s claim to an equal opportunity society in America is somewhat flawed.
    To add onto the topic of minorities in, as Stewart refers to it, “ghetto neighborhoods” or ones with “Low human capital.” There are two reasons why blacks have higher numbers of drug dealing arrests. One, the stereotyping behind stop and frisk. And two, growing up in ghetto neighborhoods gives them a bad public school which ultimately sets a lower bar for their future and leaves them without options. African Americans constitute 12-15% of monthly drug users when 90% said they pictured that population as mostly African Americans. There is just too much incentive for selling drugs bred in these neighborhoods.
    According to Peggy McIntosh, people are born with “an invisible knapsack.” Otherwise known as their privilege. Bill O’Reilly, you accepted that theory and related it to Asian Americans and the fact that they make more money than the average American. With that, Asians don’t share the same background and stereotypes as African Americans. The Asian stereotype is positive which gives them a step forward in this society, whereas, the African American stereotype is not hirable. Therefore, you posed a bad analogy. However, your analogy coincides with model minority myth in that Asian American minority groups are perceived to achieve a higher level of success.
    O’Reilly, you claim, “If you work hard, get education, and are an honest person you can succeed.” Yet you agreed with Jon Stewart on the fact that there has been a systematized subjugation of the black community that has grown and developed in this society.
    O’Reilly, you aren’t putting yourself in the shoes of the people that are affected by these stereotypes. It’s easy for you to say how fair opportunity is because you’re a white male. You were born with white privilege in your invisible knapsack so you have never experienced the struggle these minorities in America go through.
    And even though slavery and Jim Crow aren’t technically around anymore, the background, the racism, and the preconceived notions are still exceedingly relevant.


  • Dr. Jon Stewart and Bill O’Reilly,

    Thank you for engaging both your opinions on the subject. This was a near perfect debate containing opposite opinions about the subject of white privilege being a remaining “factor” in today’s society. I agree with Jon, and I believe Bill was the prime example of a white man denying his social status in America being based on his color.

    Bill failed to acknowledge the effects of white privilege on an individual basis. He mentioned that he too had to work hard to get where he was, which strays away from the idea of white privilege. Having that privilege doesn’t mean that you automatically get a free ride to whatever you want to be in life. When Bill mentioned that if you work hard, get a good education and be an honest person, you will be successful, I agreed with it. BUT, as an individual that doesn’t benefit from white privilege, you have to work harder, and it is harder to get a good education as compared to white men. Like Jon said, anyone can do a 100 meter dash, but if you have one leg, it is harder.

    Minorities, both in race and gender, have to manage things and adjust a certain way that white men do not have to even think about. In some parts of the country where crime rates are majorly committed by blacks, when new crimes arise, blacks are the first targets for questioning by the authorities. I’ve heard in some African American families, the parents teach their kids how to converse with police if they are ever questioned or simply pulled over. As a white man growing up in a white family, I’ve never had that conversation with my parents or have never been taught how to act when police talk to me. White men, statistically, are less likely to be second guessed or looked at in a different way simply because of their institutionalized social status that has been created for them over the course of history. This is simply because of the white privilege that I was blessed to have.

    Jon brought up another strong point in saying white people abuse drugs more than blacks, but more blacks are incarcerated for drug use. This goes to show, again, that blacks and other minorities are seen as people who aren’t “as good” as their white counterparts. Bill simply denies these claims as being based on white privilege.


  • Dear John Stewart & Bill O’Reilly,

    In response to the televised debate, I had found myself asking many questions and having a lot of arguments in response to what was being discussion. As third panel personnel, I believe that many of the topics that were discussed about racism and ethnic groups were not explained properly nor were many of terms coined correctly.

    For the first 2 minutes of the debate Bill O’Reilly clearly stated that it was a fact that there is no such thing as “white privilege” but instead there is a privilege for everyone. Honestly, what this does is that it only just covers up what really needs to be shown. Yes, everyone has some sort of privilege, I can agree on Bill on that part. However, there is an extent to how far the privilege reaches. To build on to this argument, as mentioned later in the debate, Bill said “America is a place that now that if you work hard and get educated, you can succeed.” My argument would be, yes, if you were a white man that grew up in a family where your parents could financially support your needs and education you could succeed. Now you can think of a black man that grew up in the ghetto with no support by his parents. It is not impossible for this man to succeed, but it will be extremely difficult. When he becomes successful, he will have a privilege over other kids in his ghetto, as he can financially afford a lot more and was able to succeed. However, the white man still had more privilege due to the fact that he did not have to work hard, even though the black man did become successful and had his own privilege. To conclude this, everyone can have a privilege towards some other individual, however there is an extent to how far that privilege reaches. As mentioned in Peggy McIntosh’s article on “White Privilege”, she discusses that life is like an invisible backpack for a long hiking trip filled with everything you essentially need. You can relate this to some sort of privilege for Blacks. Blacks may have a back pack too and succeed the hiking trip of life which could give them a privilege towards another group, however, the white back pack would still give a privilege against the blacks as they are more readily prepared.

    Another thing I noticed was when John Stewart discussed the fact that white people do more drugs in the united states than black people, however, more black people are arrested form it than white people. As Stewart continued and said that ghettos and environments that they lived in caused them to become more vulnerable to becoming arrested. This is not the best way to correctly explain this occurs. A better way to bring this to terms would be stereotyping. As people view many violent crimes to be associated with black people, they associate drugs to be black people as well. Vani Kannan can correctly explain this in the “Model Minority” by discussing the fact that a Hindu Indian-American man (assumed to be middle eastern) was pushed to his death due to the fact that he was stereotyped as being a “terrorist” with the recent event of 9/11 which involved middle eastern people as well. By stereotyping someone, you are filling in the blanks to questions by simply shoving in your own opinion.

    P.S. sorry that i am 5 mins over due!!!


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