Illustration: iStock

White people are oppressed.

Stop laughing. It’s true.

In recent years, a narrative has formed and spread among the masses that asserts that white people in America are being subjected to reverse racism, ridicule, public scorn and discrimination. Before attempting to examine (and ultimately dismantle) this preposterous hypothesis, we should acknowledge all the ways in which this premise has manifested itself in mainstream society:

In October 2017, a poll by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Harvard revealed that 55 percent of white Americans believe there is discrimination against white Americans. More Americans agree than disagree that “white people are under attack in this country,” according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll. Numerous studies have shown that “racial resentment” was the overriding factor for people who voted for Donald Trump.

Anecdotally, there are cases like the recently approved White Civil Rights rally coming to Washington, D.C., sponsored by the same activist who organized Charlottesville, Va.’s Unite the Right march; the rise in claims of “reverse racism”; and the main refrain in the white national anthem: “Not all white people.”

Not to mention the white-tears-induced furor over people of color who blatantly discriminate against the Caucasian masses by using heinous racial slurs like “wypipo,” “colonizer” and—no, this is not a joke—the actual word “white”:

Advertisement

Their monuments to the Confederacy are being dismantled. Their potato salad is subjected to ridicule. People even poke fun at their dancing just because they choose not to adhere to the racist tradition of moving to the rhythm. Who among us will fight for the downtrodden, forgotten Caucasian victims of racism?

We will.

Well ... maybe.

If we want to end the oppression of white people, we must attack it in every sector in which it exists. Any kind of discrimination is wrong, including the newly branded form of bigotry referred to as “reverse racism.”

Advertisement

But, first, unlike police officers who respond to 911 calls and people who watch Fox News, we must investigate the veracity of these white people’s allegations.

Are white people really oppressed?

The previously mentioned data proves that most white people feel that they are being attacked and oppressed. But if we accepted white people’s “feelings” as fact, we’d have to believe that Taylor Swift was better than Beyoncé, Jesus was white, and Donald Trump was an economic genius in perfect health whose inauguration was attended by invisible supporters who lived in the once-great part of America.

Advertisement

Economics

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (pdf), the “not seasonally adjusted” black unemployment rate in May 2018 was 5.7 percent, almost twice the not seasonally adjusted white unemployment rate of 3.2 percent. When numbers were controlled for education, Pew Research reports that white males outearned every group of men except Asian men, and white women make more money per hour than every group of women except Asian women.

When the Center for Investigative Reporting and Reveal News looked at 21 million home mortgages in 2015 and 2016, it found that whites were more likely to be approved in almost every region of the U.S.

Advertisement

Image: Pew Research Center

Not only does white homeownership outpace that of blacks 72 percent to 43 percent, but blacks are routinely subjected to higher interest rates on car loans and higher payments on car insurance, even when they have the same financial qualifications as whites.

When it comes to wealth, the wealth gap between whites and blacks continues to widen. A white household headed by someone with at least a bachelor’s degree is 11 times wealthier than a black household headed by a college graduate, according to Pew Research.

Advertisement

I wish I were that oppressed.

Education

White people might have an economic advantage, but what about when it comes to education? Everyone knows that affirmative action has made it tougher for white kids.

Advertisement

A 2015 study shows that the larger the black population at a school, the less funding that school receives. This wouldn’t be troubling if not for the fact that a UCLA study (pdf) shows that American schools in the South are more segregated than they were 50 years ago.

On the college level, black students are more underrepresented at the top colleges and universities than they were 35 years ago. While the college enrollment rates for both blacks and whites increased from 2000 to 2016 (pdf), the moment a white kid graduates, he owes less money and earns a higher income than his black counterparts.

Politics

Non-Hispanic whites make up 62 percent of the population in the U.S. but make up 81 percent of Congress and 89 percent of federal judgeships, and hold 49 of the nation’s 50 state governorships.

Advertisement

Even at the state level, in 2015, 81 percent of the members of legislatures were white (pdf), and there was no state legislature where whites were underrepresented in their state government as a percentage of the population. Whites control the U.S. Supreme Court, both houses of Congress, the White House and the judiciary. Aside from ordering Ben Carson’s office furniture, they control every imaginable seat of power in government.

Criminal Justice

Whites are less likely to be stopped by law enforcement officers while driving. Even though whites use and sell drugs at about the same rate as blacks, blacks are more than 2.7 times as likely to be arrested for drugs and more than five times more likely to be incarcerated for drugs.

Advertisement

When it comes to all crimes, blacks receive sentences that are 20 percent longer than those for whites who commit the same crime. Whites are even granted bail more often than African Americans and released on their own recognizance more often than blacks.

Although blacks are less than a quarter of the white population, in 2017, police killed more black people who were unarmed and not attacking than they did whites.

White oppression is a myth.

White people are not, and nor have they ever been, under attack. The overwhelming sentiment they are feeling is that of reality. It is that of truth.

Advertisement

No one is attacking white people. What is happening is that people of color are increasingly unashamed to point out discrimination and racism. Combined with the legitimate measures taken by some people and organizations to untilt the playing field, any attempt at fairness might feel like an attack on whiteness.

So calm down, white people.

The truth is, you have been perched on your pedestals of privilege for so long, when you are asked to step down, your fragility might make you feel as if you are being attacked.

Advertisement

That’s not oppression.

That’s equality.