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White Privilege In Politics

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What is White Privilege one may ask? White Privilege is the ideological assumption and belief based in political practices placing white people and communities in position of privilege financially, politically, socially and educationally. In the book Race, Class, and Gender in the United States, written by Paula S. Rothenberg, it focuses on the time that white privilege came about politically. Donald G. Baker, in his book Politics of Race, talks about the restrictions against the Blacks. Manning Marable, in his book Beyond Black & White, he focuses on elected Black officials over the years. With the help from these three books the reader will be able to see the huge amount of white privilege in political issues over the years to the present, where there are still an insufficient amount of African-Americans in politics.

Rothenberg introduces white privilege when it is first of a political fashion. It was first used in a political way when White servants were given their freedom at the end of their indenture, but the Black servants were not. "Whites but not Africans had to be given their freedom dues at the end of their indenture" (p. 33). Whites were given more rights then Blacks. They had the right to bear arms and the right of self-defense. White servants could own livestock, while the Black servants could not. The White servants were also given the easier things to do. Blacks were not allowed to have their own family, while Whites had the right to control their wives. "White men were given the right to control their women without elite interference; Blacks as slaves were denied the right to family at all since family would mean that slave husbands, not owners, controlled wives" (p. 33). All of the African women were considered laborers, while the White women were just considered the keeper of men's homes. It was illegal to whip naked White men, but a person may inflict as much pain as they want onto a Black man. So, a person can see how white privilege in politics was first used, and that Blacks had basically no rights.

Baker focuses on when the black slaves were given their freedom. They were free, but there were laws and restrictions basically stating that they weren't a citizen. As the number of free blacks grew, there were more restrictions set for them. Many cities didn't want to have anything to do with the free blacks and some banned blacks from entering their cities: "Many colonies during the eighteenth century took steps to prevent the manumission of slaves, to force out any free blacks who might be in residence, and to bar any other free blacks from entering" (p. 54). Baker states that some blacks were active in politics, but none could vote: "Blacks were politically active, but restrictions were usually placed on their voting privileges" (p. 54). Also blacks weren't able to testify against whites: "Blacks, including free blacks, were generally barred from testifying against whites" (p. 54). So, blacks weren't given any rights back then and weren't seen as equals.

Marable first points out that thirty years ago there were barely one hundred black officials and only five African-Americans served in Congress. Also he states that the number of black mayors of U.S. towns and cities was zero. "the number of elected black officials nationwide was barely one hundred; the number of African-Americans in Congress was five; and the number of blacks serving as mayors of



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