White Privilege ll

In my last Point of View I tried to explain White Privilege origins and development. Unfortunately, I ran into a firestorm of criticisms. So, let’s set the record straight. I know the native Indian people were here before the white settlers came from Europe, I did not name them as the first settlers because I considered them indigenous to the land since they had been here so long. Most dictionaries define Indigenous peoples as “ethnic groups who are the original inhabitants of a given region, in contrast to groups that have settled, occupied or colonized the area more recently”.

Some thought that the white men slaughtered the Indians but simple history tells us there was slaughter on both sides. Actual wars broke out starting with the Beaver Wars, many followed; the Powhatan wars in Virginia, the Pequot War Connecticut, war along the Hudson River and King Philip’s War, all were a series of uprisings and conflicts between various Native American tribes and the French, Dutch, and English settlements of Canada, New York, and New England.

Native American tribes would continue to be embroiled in conflicts involving England, France, and their colonists during the ensuing French and Indian Wars which were a series of conflicts that occurred in North America between 1688 and 1763. When in a war you fight to win and luckily we did win and yes the Indians did suffer but if they had won we would have been the ones suffering and like it or not that is the way wars work. Yes, the English colonies prevailed and settlements moved west.

Someone commented that America was built on the slaughter of Indians and the back of slaves so let’s talk about slavery in this country. This is not about the slaves the Indians held which they had won in battle but about the 13 colonies’ slaves. Originally, the slaves were indentures European people who had to pay off a debt, but about 1619 the first slaves from Africa arrived in Jamestown. All the colonies eventually had slaves but many northern colonies began outlawing them starting in 1783 and the last northern states to abolish slavery was in 1865. None of the southern states abolished slavery but the Civil War settled that issue.

Since slavery was abolished over 150 years ago there is little evidence that our modern country was built on either Indian wars or the backs of slavery. However, there was discrimination against both these people. This discrimination probably held our economy back because many great ideas may have been lost because these people had very little standing in our society and no one listened.

Many things have changed since the end of the Indian wars and slavery. But things do change slowly when you are dealing with discrimination. Generations must change as new ideas and beliefs creep into our civilization. That said, we are changing as was my main point in the first article. We are evolving into a merit based society but certainly not as fast as some would like but it is happening. Interesting that we are one of the few countries where this is happing at such a paced that we are experiencing.

But one other thing that is affecting all this change is the bringing in of total outsiders in huge numbers, but more about that next time.


  1. Terry Donnelly says:

    Mike, this column only works if you agree that while it is certainly a goal, we are nowhere near being a meritocracy in the U.S. today. The best jobs are still gotten by fathers for their sons and sometimes daughters, by fraternity legacies for recent grads from prestigious universities, and that older, white men are the main group out there hiring, and they tend to stick to those in the neighborhood. One need look no further than the current Executive Office administration to see just how true this is. Two words are sufficient to prove my point: Secretary Pruitt. And, I’ve got a column’s worth of names to back up my opinion.

  2. Kevin Johansen says:

    Looking forward to Part III and further clarification of these statements of yours from Part I: 1) “The solution is bringing in those who wish to become Americans; they do not have to have the same religion but cannot be anti-Christian.”, 2) “Some talk about a multicultural society and sing the song of diversity. They want to change this country, . . . into something else; Bringing large numbers of people into our country that do not have the same beliefs, education and even language can overwhelm the local communities. 3) “Those that fit in the best (spoke the same, looked the same, had the same values and even the same religion) did better.” 4) “All over the world there are tribes of people who have the same values and societal make up. Whether it is in Norway, France or Somalia, most of the people talk, generally look and think alike.” It might also be helpful if you defined what you mean by “anti-Christian”. If I am an atheist am I anti-Christian? If I am Jewish, Buddhist, or Muslim, am I anti-Christian? Christ taught that the two greatest commandments were to love God and to love our neighbor. He also taught “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” I agree that it would be good if we followed these core Christian tenets in our debate but I do not agree that we should require that others share these (or any other Christian) beliefs. Again, looking forward to further clarification because for some of us it seemed like your message was that the “song of diversity” was not a beautiful symphony that is at the heart of what America is when at it’s best.

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