White Privilege and the Inequality Today in South Africa

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“White Privilege and the Inequality Today in South Africa”

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This research paper, will be based on the concept of white privilege in mainly the educational sector and investigate whether it truly is the cause of much of the inequality and social issues faced in South Africa such as black poverty and high black unemployment .
Secondary and primary material will be gathered from the web and physical books in the form of articles, documentary as well as eBooks (electronic books) which are relevant to the topic of white privilege and its effects on the quality of education for individuals in South Africa. Trying to explain it and its causes. These will be summarized in the form of literature reviews that will be used to add more substance, and validity not to mention weight to the argument that will take form of an essay following after the literature reviews.
As the research of the topic develops potent questions will emerge and branch off and will have to be discussed to aid in substantiating the deduction of this paper. Questions like, Can black poverty to a certain extent be blamed on white privilege? or, does white privilege affect black males or black females more?, but at the same time not falling into the trap of telling a single story from one perspective as Chimamanda Adichie a well-known Nigerian author would put it. As there is a great danger of a single story.

This research paper will further explore who has the power to deal with privilege. As some would argue it’s the government while others would debate it’s a case where we need white people to realise they possess immense power which they either need to give up or share, instead of using to further personal gain. As there have been instances where white privilege was shared by its white recipient with those who are not afforded the same opportunities as them. As well as instances where a recipient of white privilege acknowledges they are a beneficiary and then try to minimize the effects of the privilege on their life so that they can be in a fair race with others. This paper seeks to explore why either of these have not become a common practice by all white people in South Africa. One doesn’t have to search for long or hard to see the effects of this privilege. It can be observed on almost every street corner one can easily spot a black’ beggar being passed by white commuters who don’t even look at them twice but as soon as they come across a rare site of a white beggar they are quick to offer them aid, from the element of preference as white is viewed as better.

Arguments where the points are raised about whether the use and abuse of privilege by white people has basically shaped the unequal and unethical communities we live in today. In which the most of the black youth are unable to further their studies due to the fact that they come from financially struggling homes. Or how when others from neighboring provinces do make it they are forced to sleep in toilets and lecture rooms as they do not have a place to stay since they cannot afford accommodation. While at the same time their white counterparts do not experience such or even think such is possible due to white privilege shielding them from such. The paper will furthermore seek to prove that people are being deprived of needed opportunities, which would assist in them bettering communities while minimizing if not eradicate the effects of poverty and other social issues such as unemployment or lack of education experience within their communities.
But the paper also seeks to address the issue of people needing to understand that white privilege is inherited by these current generations and not created by them so it firstly makes sense that most of them feel they have worked as hard as the next guy of colour to accomplish everything they have. As it also makes sense they are unaware of the fact that they are beneficiaries of white privilege as they have been exposed to it sense birth and that it made it less challenging for them to accomplish everything they have. Secondly that the anger expressed to them by black people is because they are privileged and do not seem to want to acknowledged they are. The tension between the two races further escalates with racism and white superiority coming in to play while they seem to deny the existence of white privilege. In situations where white people seem to think it’s acceptable to undermine and disrespect black people whether old or young because of the fact they are inferior, poverty stricken and less intelligent than them. A perfect example of this would be Penny Sparrow and her all too familiar comments on Facebook that describe black beachgoers as “monkeys”, in an apparent reaction to litter left behind after New Year’s celebrations, even more so basically stating they are uneducated and that are a source of discomfort to others(white people). Or how white people are quick to jump to the aid of a white beggar at a street corner rather than a black one. Such leading to the conclusion that white people only love and value their own hence to the example of the beggar stated above or Penny Sparrows remarks. The same way a white tragedy gets more attention compared than a black tragedy. Which makes it clear that being white carries power because of the past practices and beliefs of Eugenics throughout the world and Apartheid in South Africa.

The main issue to be dealt with in this task is how it’s believed white privilege has become a transparent power that assists white individuals accomplish more in their lives while also shielding them from difficulties, compared to their colored counterparts.

Review of literature
(Summary of evidence)

Source A

The article is written in response to a video that displays where white privilege is in South Africa, as it exposes a white man for assaulting a traffic police officer. The video depicts how the black body is rendered imaginary and the invulnerability of white privilege. The disgraceful appearance of a police officer, a representative of state power, having to get his cap off the ground is a standardized daily occurrence of a black individual.

The article goes on to talk about white privilege being an unescapable control with a strong hold on the country’s institutions, mines, farms and courts in this. At the same time it also seems that the government doesn’t want to change the conditions of black people or of society. The writer feels that the only explanation that can be given for the officer not retaliating is that he could not bring himself to it because he has accepted it. Just like other black people, that they are utterly defenseless. He has allowed himself to deliberately have a sense of inferiority when in contact with white privilege. The writer goes on to express his views that the worst kind of violence used on a black individual is structural violence, and that the government does nothing to dismantle apartheids legacy on society.
In the writer’s view a solution cannot be found in mass created anger, which mainly gets fueled by political parties that benefit off every racist attack that gets reported by the media. Relationships between political parties and black people need to be reevaluated so that they may realize that the government even after the introduction of democracy has done nothing to change their conditions.

REFERENCE: Mapheto, T. (2018). The position of white privilege. [online] News24. Available at: https://www.news24.com/Columnists/Guest/the-position-of-white-privilege-20170210 [Accessed 27 May 2018].

Source B

The article is written by a white South African, called Lisa and she’s been asking herself questions about white privilege. She’s goes on to explain that people are customary with the term, but fail to understand the notion behind it. She goes on to acknowledge that she’s a beneficiary of white privilege. She states she’s had to work hard for everything, but goes on to admit that based on her race she’s been afforded opportunities that were not available to nonwhites but that does not mean anything was handed to her. But white privilege has made it easier for her to reach her goals and achievements. In her opinion black people are unhappy with white people because they are depicted as being unable of admitting to be recipients of privilege. Lisa also feels whites need to admit many of them are results of white privilege as that would help in the process of reconciliation, since blacks hold hate towards complete strangers because of their race.
Lisa goes on to state that whites must be aware of white privilege and understand while admitting they are beneficiaries. As well as black people need to know white people did not seek privilege, it was inherited. That circumstance created beneficiaries of this privilege. An advantage is given to a white person because of white privilege but all that is being asking is that people understand that. As a white person admitting being a beneficiary of white privilege simply means one is being mindful that because of their skin colour they have been afforded with opportunities. Lisa furthermore explains that acknowledging white privilege is all about being honest and open about the fact that for decades because of having white skin, white people received certain advantages provided to others because of their races.

REFERENCE: Hold, L. (2018). I am a beneficiary of white privilege. [online] News24. Available at: https://www.news24.com/MyNews24/i-am-a-beneficiary-of-white-privilege-20171012 [Accessed 27 May 2018].

Source C

The article is written by a white individual Lisa, who witnesses the aggression of racism and white privilege in a Woolworths store in the north of Gauteng. While looking for a meal, she heard a white female raising her voice, speaking in a loud and patronizing voice to the woman working behind the patisserie counter. The worker attempted to mumble a quiet explanation. Lisa then explains how she wanted to help, because she knows the work has to begin within the white community to challenge itself and its own racist elements. She went on to explain as much as the woman was a stranger her tantrum wasn’t, because she’s also thrown it herself in the past, and the woman working behind the counter is no stranger , and every person in any services position who has to deal with white people and their tantrums.
She explains after they left the store she tried to confront her, but her reaction was atrocious. Lisa furthermore explains how she was left there, soon got into her car and drove home, hands shaking and shocked. It took a few hours of crying before deep anger rose and she thought to herself that all this time all she assumed people needed to understand white privilege. But she was wrong especially after the incident she witnessed, the level of violence and hatred said towards her by a complete stranger for confronting her lack of respect showed her as a white person how far behind whites are as a community. She realized how white privilege has deeply engrained and debased white people. And in her opinion that its time white people act, on a daily we witness these incidences occurring. White privilege has dehumanized white people so much that they need to regain their basic ethics and morals and pass then onto the following generations.

REFERENCE: Golden, L. (2018). If you are a white South African, please read this – The Daily Vox. [online] The Daily Vox. Available at: https://www.thedailyvox.co.za/a-letter-to-white-south-africans/ [Accessed 27 May 2018].

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White privilege and the inequality today in South Africa. (2019, Jul 30). Retrieved February 2, 2023 , from

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