|White privilege is so insidious it's easy to miss when it's in operation.
Governor Romney has made a couple of remarks which seem boneheaded on the surface, but may in fact be messages for particular Republican constituencies. There was this quote where he endorses off shore tax havens and tax loops for big business: “They know how to find ways to get through the tax code, save money by putting various things in the places where there are low tax havens around the world for their businesses,”. Romney would certainly know all about that, which is probably why we will never see his tax returns.
And given that we will never see his tax returns, I personally was stunned that while campaigning in Michigan he had the audacity to say this: “No one’s ever asked to see my birth certificate. They know that this is the place where both of us were born and raised.” Romney says he was trying to be funny by alluding to the 'birther' insanity. I don't think it's at all funny, especially given he endorses big business stashing profits off shore and won't release his own taxes. Or maybe it's just that Romney realized he screwed up by blithely endorsing off shore tax havens and now is using the birther issue as a distraction. I swear to God the Republican party can't seem to get it's act together, but then the party itself is attempting to forge an unwieldy and motley group of supporters. Birthers/Tea Party on one end, Wall Street on the other, and I guess Donald Trump to tie the two together. And that doesn't include the Todd Akins Evangelical mysoginists. The one thing that really ties all these men together is 'white male privilege'.
Anthea Butler has written a letter to Governer Romney over on Religion Dispatches. She gives voice to just how entitled Romney is, and makes the point he should think twice about this aura of privilege. The following excerpt is the last two paragraphs of her letter:
....What’s more, your own family history points to a painful past. Your grandfather escaped to Mexico to be able to practice his belief in polygamy (you and President Obama both have polygamy in your family history). Mormons have been persecuted for a long time, though your money and your father’s position protected you from associating with that persecuted past. It is part of you, no matter how much you cling to your privilege. Would it be too difficult for you to exercise some discretion, noting your own past, and realize that many African Americans are sick and damn tired of white people questioning the President of the United States about his birth certificate? (And lots of white people are damn sick and tired of white people questioning the President of the United States birth certificate.)
I hope you realize that because President Obama won in 2008, he had made it easier for you to run for President in 2012. Both the Republican Party and the religious right shunned you in 2008. Many Christian power brokers are holding their noses to vote for you because they hate President Obama more. Many wonder if you even are a Christian. So please, before you use racism and dog whistles against the president, consider your church’s past of persecution, and bigotry. Choose the right, if you can. (Mitt does seem to have a very very short memory about his shunning in 2008.)
I have come to the conclusion the white male privilege is so much a part of the Republican party that men like Romney and Akins can't even see it. This is really evident when they engage in 'mansplainin' and are completely unaware they are 'mansplainin'. Their world of white male privilege is so much a part of who they are they just seem to breathe it in and expel it like the unnoticed air that sustains their biological life. The idea that other people might be offended by this never seems to cross their minds, except to dismiss those people as not living in the 'real' world.
Cardinal Dolan seems to be another such privileged white male. Actually most of the USCCB falls in that category, as does most of the Vatican bureaucracy They too seem oblivious to the fact they teach what it means to be Catholic strictly from the isolation of their own white male privilege with a good dose of clerical privilege to boot. They can not teach from any sense of the 'real' world unless those they teach agree that the clerical world view is the way God wants the real world viewed. Except Jesus taught the real world is the world of the marginal and the poor and that's the world His followers should serve. What we now have is His supposed followers redefining Jesus' mission and actually telling the poor and marginal their status in life is good for them. Apparently it's so good for us, that Cardinals like Dolan and Bishops like Morlino are quite happy to help other privileged white males create more opportunities for giving more of us a shot at being poor and marginalized. Praise Jesus.
So I'm preparing myself for a whole lot more 'mansplainin' as the Republicans begin to gather in Tampa. I will view some of the convention if only to try and figure out how much fantasy I will be expected to swallow about how 'the real world' needs another dose of white male privilege in order to fix all the problems privileged white males have given the world. I think there's a definition of insanity in there somewhere.