As we hold our collective breaths and await to know the identity of the bombings in Boston Monday, too many don’t see a suspect but a whole ethnicity or religious group. Tim Wise put it very well in an opinion piece where he makes some distributing revelations about the power of whiteness.
If we understand in Finland, the Nordic Region and Europe that white privilege in the United States means the same thing here, we can begin to understand the social ills that have inflicted us as well.
Being “white” in Europe means that you are a member and identify with the dominant ethnic group of a country. You can speak Italian, be a white Romanian, Estonian-speaking Estonian, or an Englishman or a white Englishwoman to enjoy white privilege over other groups that are visible minorities.
Wise affirms that the Boston bombings are another lesson about ethnicity, whiteness, and specifically of white privilege.
He writes: “White privilege is knowing that even if the Boston Marathon bomber turns out to be white, his or her identity will not result in white folks generally being singled out for suspicion by law enforcement, or the TSA, or the FBI…And if he turns out [the killer] to be a member of the Irish Republican Army we won’t bomb Belfast. And if he’s an Italian American Catholic we won’t bomb the Vatican.”
Anders Breivik, who killed in cold blood 77 victims on July 22, 2011, is a good example of white privilege in the Nordic and Europe. Despite his horrific act, nobody in this part of the world thinks that all white people are mass murderers.
On the contrary. Whites privilege and time make us forget such horrors. Wasn’t Breivik a deranged lone wolf?
We should start to speak more about white privilege.
Not talking about it shows another feat by white privilege: Playing down the issue.