Artificial constructs have been around since the birth of political parties within early modern Europe. A simplistic definition of an artificial construct is something that is not real, but has a meaning that can be seen or understood by the observer. The appeal of using artificial constructs is that they do not have to be based on actual fact. They simply must give the appearance of being grounded in some element of truth. They also must be easily explained and presented in such a manner where there can be no real discussion of the facts.
The artificial constructs of white privilege and guilt
Three semesters ago, I was approached by a first-year Caucasian female student in the last week of class. She had attended every lecture but one, completed every assignment, and had scored in the top percentile of the class on each exam. She wanted to discuss the grade I would be giving her once the course was completed. I went through her grades with her, showing her how she had earned an A in the course. Her response shocked me – she wanted me to give her a C because if she had an A, it would prove she was a racist and benefited from being white.
White privilege is about political power
There is a reason the American Left began promoting the idea of white privilege into the political discussion during the Obama administration. It is a theory that has been around since the mid-1970s, but never had any traction until more recent times. At the core of this artificial construct is the idea that no white person has achieved anything on their own. They are a product of a society that rewards whiteness. On the opposite side, if we apply the converse theory of mathematics to this social movement, a more sinister side emerges: if you’re not white in America, you will never succeed... Unfortunately, many Americans believe this.
The next part of this particular false construct is the notion that only Liberals care about this serious divide between the races in America. With the mainstream media firmly supporting the artificial construct, it then becomes accepted as undisputed fact. It doesn’t matter there are plenty of success stories out of every ethnic and racial group in America. It also doesn’t matter that minorities in the United Stats have more opportunities than their counterparts in other nations. To this date, no other Western nation has had a prime minister or president who was from an ethnic minority group.
White privilege destroys individual merit and achievement
In the case of my former student, she saw her race as the only reason she achieved such a high grade in my course. She didn’t consider the amount of time she spent in our campus’ Writing Center working on her project paper. She never considered her efforts in completing the coursework and argued the only reason for her grade was her race. Unfortunately, this is becoming more common on larger campuses as some students self-sabotage themselves by not completing assignments or setting out to miss a percentage of exam questions so not to be an overt racist by achieving the highest score they can.
For the minority student it sends the message of “there’s no use in trying, you’re not going to succeed…” Nothing is more discouraging than to be told your best efforts aren’t good enough. It also sends the message that hard work and determination isn’t what drives personal success. Students of any race or ethnic group already have enough stress associated with higher education. The cost of education, the post-graduation job market, and family issues are already adding stress to the typical college student. The artificial construct of white privilege simply adds another one, even though it is an artificial issue in our time.
White privilege is about social and political oppression
Even on the small community college campus where I work I have seen this demonstrated. The American left solely identified white privilege as an issue that infests American society. If you disagree with this narrative or you fail to support the concept, you are deemed a racist. Even on the college campus, where individual thought is traditionally encouraged, there are real efforts to silence alternative views. There can be no debate. For the American Leftist, there can be no competing views on the issue.
What is truly unnerving about this whole social justice campaign is the broadness of its application. Nearly every social issue has now been tied to white privilege. The American Left has vaulted itself as the protector of minorities and has turned everything to a debate on race. But the goal is not to have an honest and meaningful dialogue among Americans of all backgrounds. The goal is to build its political power by creating division among the American public. As long as it can maintain an us-versus-them attitude and make the sharing of diverse opinions impossible, then it has achieved its goals.