One major problem is that pretty much every social justice major out there is someone who grew up in a 99% white neighborhood, and so the white people who actually grew up with black people as friends and neighbors can do nothing but laugh at a social justice movement that sees “people of color” as mythical others. it seems to me that conservatives are saying racism against people of color does not exist, and it seems that the modern social justice movement really does kind of pass over low income white people. How about racism against black people DOES exist, and at the same time social justice majors need to stop telling low income white people that the oppression of black people trumps their oppression in every way shape and for. Yes if the homeless white man sleeping in a cardboard box was given 1 billion bucks he would get better treatment in life than Oprah Winfrey does because of his white privilege. However, what do you think the honest odds are that $1 billion is just going to fall from the sky?
Also many of the established rules of the social justice curriculum are literally impossible to follow for people who happen to live in black neighborhoods. You can’t step on eggshells when around black people when you spend literally 90% of your time interacting exclusively with black people. it’s one thing if you’re a guest in that neighborhood who decided to move there after becoming a social justice major and “working with those people” but how am I supposed to not culturally appropriate from my own neighbors family and friends… Should I take a bus out to some Walmart in the country and start wearing plaid shirts and cowboy hats, instead of dressing like the people I grew up around and dressing the way that people in my neighborhood have always dressed, including the 10% of my neighborhood that happens to be white? Should I start listening to boy bands, because some wealthy white lady from Berkeley University might yell at me about cultural appropriation otherwise?
I really think that these social justice majors need to listen to some actual black people, I notice that a lot of them jump back in their skin whenever a black person talks to them in person, so I think they need to spend more physical time just being around black people I think a lot of the racism comes from the mythical otherness that comes from the segregation of some of these neighborhoods. there needs to be a bridge built between the social justice community and low income white people, there needs to be a bridge in general built between the activist community and the people they are trying to help. I want to be able to help out at a food pantry or a thrift store, for instance, and have it understood that I cannot donate any money because I myself am three dollars away from homelessness myself. The activist community is a very unwelcoming place for low income people who are not familiar with upper middle-class suburban/metro culture and it seems to assume that the new guy who stepped in the door and wants to help them out couldn’t POSSIBLY be one of the homeless people that was on the other side of the counter just two years earlier.
Also stop accusing people who make fun of “social justice warriors”, of being against social justice. That would be like accusing Tim Wise of hating all white people because he says things about “white” privilege.
I don’t think that white people are oppressed racially, but I do think that homeless white people are oppressed on an individual level as homeless people, and so when the social justice movement says “white people are not oppressed”and the conservatives say “white people are oppressed” they are both wrong.
(John Novak, from comments on this article http://www.buzzfeed.com/regajha/how-privileged-are-you)