"Slave Privilege"

The “Slave Privilege” argument comes from a book called “The Redneck Manifesto” by Jim Goad, who is someone you (and your followers) should be aware of. Goad makes a compelling case that poor white people are the scapegoat for systemic oppression by elites. There are obvious problems with the argument, but it appeals to the impulse within white people to think they’ve had it just as bad. Goad raises many overlooked facts about white-on-white exploitation, but draws the wrong conclusions.

For example, Goad points out that white people were bought and sold as chattel in colonial America along side slaves of African origin, and that a significant portion of whites ended up in the colonies as indentured servants, and that many came into this life after the purging of the debtors’ prisons in England  (the English sold those who could not pay their debts into indentured servitude as a means of recouping their debts owed). He also points out that indentured servants were typically treated worse than slaves— a slave was owned for life, so they were worth taking care of, while an indentured servant was like a 5-7 year lease, so fuck it, ride them hard as you can while you’ve got ‘em.

The principle thesis of his book is that currently it is poor, working-class, whites who are scapegoated for societal ills. PoC cannot be publicly demonized in the media the way that poor, undereducated whites can (and white-liberals are most guilty of this).

The danger with Goad’s reasoning is that it is based in fact and extremely well researched. He’s not making any of it up, but he is overlooking so much that tips the scales even further against people of color. Incarceration rates, high-school graduation rates, poverty rates, life expectancy, all make it impossible to draw an equivalency regardless of how much unacknowledged shit white people have suffered at the hands of other whites.

Perhaps most importantly, any white person— Bill Clinton comes to mind— can easily transcend their WT origins if they are smart enough and educated enough. There is nothing inscribed on their bodies that identifies them as “other,” and this is the most critical consideration that Goad overlooks. We all speak a language of race and our bodies all refer to a received code of meaning about race, regardless of how we feel about it. As a white man my body speaks of the success of every other white man, while arab bodies refer to terrorists and the oppression of women and black bodies refer to welfare queens and the guy whose mug-shot was on the 11:00 news last night. 

It is worth noting that people like Chuck Palahniuk and Patton Oswalt both cite Goad as an influence, so his ideas are pervasive among those who are generally accepted as progressive white folks. 

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    First clue that the book is written by a worthless fuck: “‘REDNECK’” in the title. Second…what the? I can’t...
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    I saw that Slave privilege bullshit on my dash last week and all I got to say is for him go all the way to the deepest...
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    Let’s not forget that the name “white trash,” while certainly discriminatory, reveals itself that “white” trash is the...