Why You Should Never Apologize For Your White Male Privilege

Time recently published this article by Tal Fortgang, a student at Princeton:

http://time.com/85933/why-ill-never-apologize-for-...

I'm sure I'll get some monkey shit thrown at me, but I have to say I share much of the same sentiment. Sure, there are exceptions to every rule, and unfortunately real bigotry still exists in this country, but I think hard work and playing by the rules pays off in the end. This reminds me of @Marcus_Halberstram post on laziness and the merits of hard work...we have a lot of average, unambitious people in this country who want a scapegoat.

And before I get plastered in monkey shit for being a "racist" I am a third generation non-white male, who comes from a family of working class immigrants.

When I was applying for college admission as a freshman, I received scholarships from several school simply for being a minority. Granted, they were all private schools, and they can do what they want, but I think it is absurd that I should receive a scholarship just because I checked off Hispanic/Latino on my application. Why should a white kid with the same grades, extracurricular experience, and (pretty decent) family income not receive the same opportunity as me?

Just because I'm not white doesn't mean I can't swing through the jungle too. I expect to have to hustle just like everyone else, and I know it will pay off in the end.

Fire away monkeys, and share your experience of this on Wall Street please.

Region: 
United States - Northeast

Comments (42)

May 6, 2014

I am so tired of race discussions.

heister:

Look at all these wannabe richies hating on an expensive salad.

https://arthuxtable.com/

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May 6, 2014
GoldenCinderblock:

I am so tired of race discussions.

Seconded

May 6, 2014
GoldenCinderblock:

I am so tired of race discussions.

+1

May 7, 2014
GoldenCinderblock:

I am so tired of race discussions.

I'm a minority and couldn't agree more.

May 6, 2014

Third, the only way to fix race relations is to realize there is no such thing as race and stop bringing it up.....

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May 6, 2014

I'm pretty tired of it too but it seems that for the most part, the people bringing it up are the ones who want to regulate race relations. Yes I realize I'm contradicting myself by even talking about it, but I think it's import to address it because it ultimately affects Wall Street in a serious way.

-Wall Street has been seriously villainized since 08 (mostly by liberals, but also by cons).
-There's a significant correlation between race and income.

This equates to Wall Street being painted as a bunch of old white guys trying to screw over blacks and hispanics, which really isn't the case. As a result, everyone wants to overtax and over regulate, without a true understanding of how a mixed capitalist economy works, or what anyone on Wall Street actually does, which is bullshit.

Don't get me wrong, there are situations that warrant regulation, and anyone who intentionally discriminates based on race doesn't deserve the wealth they have. But I don't think people who literally have no fucking clue how to run a business, or what actually makes a person successful should be talking about what is fair and what isn't. It's great that everyone pretends to have a degree in sociology these days, but at the end of the day, our country is essentially one giant collection of businesses. Again, I'm sure there are plenty of exceptions, but the whole subject of race is becoming an emotional cheap shot for people who feel that they've been wronged because they can't find success.

I'm glad the decision against affirmative action in Michigan still stands. Anyone who has brains and isn't a social retard should be rewarded. And again, as a non-white, I realize more than anything that if I have the attitude that someone slighted me, I'm not going to find success either way because ultimately, no one wants to hear my sob story.

"Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will."

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Nov 25, 2015

I think it's pretty easy for you to discuss this issue, since you yourself have stated that you are a "underrepresented" minority. Were you an Asian male, per se, you would certainly feel differently given that you would have actually experienced real bullshit.

May 6, 2014

I think it's a misunderstanding on both sides of the issue. This guy is right to say, Hey I'm a straight, white male but don't assume that I didn't work hard to get where I'm at.

It seems to me like many of his critics are simply saying, Yes, we do not doubt that you worked hard, but many other people just like you seem to think that there is no such thing as structural "racism" in America today.

The idea that you can free someone who has been locked up their whole life, rush them to the starting line of a race and tell them that they have the same shot at winning as everyone else, is a bit ludicrous. I think that should be the takeaway here - not that white people should feel guilt, but that we need to understand that the system is in fact biased against minorities, and has been since Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. None of us are at fault, and very few people alive today can be blamed for the far-reaching consequences of Jim Crow laws, but we all should take a step back and use our critical thinking skills to assess the situation instead of following some knee-jerk reactions.

This coming from a straight, white guy who went to private school his whole life and now works in investment banking. the fact that I feel the need to qualify myself should tell you everything you need to know about this thread.

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May 6, 2014

Freshman in college....peoples perceptions tend to change when they are out in the real world.

May 6, 2014
Cardinal:

Freshman in college....peoples perceptions tend to change when they are out in the real world.

HilbertSpaces:

^ exactly. I don't blame the naive freshman, I blame Time magazine for proclaiming it as newsworthy.

I'm so glad you two pointed this out. @"big f-ing deal": you're right in theory, but in practice things are a little different. You're by no means wrong but there is a reason these things exist.

May 6, 2014

Sure, I can concede to that. I'm not denying that structural racism exists in real life. I'm saying that the notion of having to keep your successes to yourself because of your race is absurd. And if we don't want wealth and success to be a determined by someone's race, then how does a program that directly acknowledges race and rewards people based on race fix the problem of racism?

"Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will."

May 6, 2014

^ exactly. I don't blame the naive freshman, I blame Time magazine for proclaiming it as newsworthy.

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Best Response
May 6, 2014

I literally have never encountered someone who has seriously talked about white privilege. I think you are worrying about nothing. Just be successful and enjoy your life. But also realize that some people have an automatic leg up and others have a harder time. People shouldn't use that as a crutch or look down at others, but realize that someone not doing well as you doesn't mean they don't work as hard as you.

In short, humility.

May 6, 2014

Lol you must not live in MA then. Honestly I feel the same way, it just seems like success is taboo these days.

"Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will."

May 6, 2014

I also have never encountered someone seriously talking about white privilege; however, I have heard people pointing out the discriminatory oppression of minorities when it is in fact not there. Here's true examples that are both completely ludicrous but true nonetheless: (1) a few months ago, I was listening to Songs of the Key of Life by Stevie Wonder on youtube. Some guy had commented on the video that he thinks that this is Stevie Wonder's best album. So I replied to his comment saying that while I very much enjoy songs in the key of life, in my opinion, Innervisions is his best album. Not 5 minutes later, a bunch of crazy black nationalists accused me of white imperialism and attempting to steal black music from them as a means of perpetuating white supremacy and that my opinion is irrelevant and that if a black person does not love songs in the key of life, then they are "white washed." the astounding thing is that all of these other people started commenting and agreeing with the initial group.

2. A few weeks ago at a club meeting at my school a girl stormed the podium, and stole the microphone from the guy who was speaking. He calmly approached her and asked for his microphone back so he could finish his speech, and she punched him in the face. A nearby stationed security guard promptly restrained her, and she threatened to sue the guard for discriminating against her because she is a lesbian.

I guess the moral of this super long post is that while there are definitely legitimate claims of racism and white privilege, shit like this detracts from those arguments. I'm not racist at all, and think that anyone who judges people by anything other than the value they add are stupid and have too much free time on their hands, I just figured I'd put this out there.

Oh lets not forget about the African American girl who sued the university of Michigan for rejecting her because she is black. It should be noted that she got a 23 on her ACT (so barely literate?)

May 6, 2014

I knew there would be a post on this on WSO!

.

May 6, 2014

I think a lot of this commotion has to do with the term "Check your privilege". It's reactionary and condescending, and of course someone is going to take offense to some snarky comeback. To be honest though, I've never heard anyone say it in real life, which makes me think that this kid is either a huge tool or that no one has ever said to him and he just wanted to make a point (in which case he's still a huge tool). I really like the top two comments in the original article, because they do a better job of explaining the issue than I can and don't attack the original author. "White privilege" isn't about you feeling guilty for your accomplishments because you're white, but simply recognizing the advantages that being white confers in a society with a deep legacy of institutionalized racism.

It's easy to say "work hard and success will come" but there's some black kid out there in the ghetto who was born into generational poverty, whose family was barred from buying a house in the suburbs before white flight due to discriminatory housing policy, who has to attend a shit underfunded public school where guidance counselors are more worried about dealing with kids suffering from PTSD than college admissions. That kid, if caught with weed, is much more likely to end up in jail and with a record than a white kid, is more likely to be profiled, etc. etc. etc. For all we know, they're working harder than anyone, but the odds were stacked against them before they were even born. Or even in a less dramatic example, the (alleged) racial bias in the SATs, or a very recent study where they pretended to be students reaching out to professors for mentorship roles and found a 25% gap in the response rate to white males vs literally any other demographic.

I think Beachbum pretty much hit the nail on the head. No one should feel bad for their accomplishments, but it's important to at least recognize how race plays out to this day. And I think these are discussions worth having, even if they're uncomfortable and inconvenient, because it's a reality of life and race in America that most people never have to think about. What's the solution? Fuck if I know.

May 6, 2014

I'm going to start telling people to check their privilege haha.

May 6, 2014

It's 2014, I don't see why we can't just all be judged as human beings. Period.

Policies like affirmative action and the ramblings of "social justice warriors" just ensure that bigotry is perpetuated and even institutionalized. We need to reset it all. My generation (and probably almost all of yours), the millennial generation, is the most tolerant by a large margin according to almost every poll and survey.

Please don't quote Patrick Bateman.

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May 6, 2014

amen

"Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will."

May 6, 2014

I seriously thought for a long time that "check your privilege" was just something that 4chan made up and didn't realize people actually said that.

If you really want to see racism, travel to a third world country.

May 6, 2014
JulianRobertson:

If you really want to see racism, travel to a third world country.

Or just go to a Spanish soccer match.

http://edition.cnn.com/2014/05/05/sport/football/d...

May 6, 2014

Shit, I only have to take train 3 stops...http://www.boston.com/sports/hockey/bruins/article...

"Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will."

May 7, 2014

It is all about your background and your parent's background. It is not about being black, white or brown it is just the privilege of having money. If your parents have money it directly relates to your success rate.

May 13, 2014
Ghosh:

It is all about your background and your parent's background. It is not about being black, white or brown it is just the privilege of having money. If your parents have money it directly relates to your success rate.

it's not even the money though it helps- it's having a good family and good community...

I went to one of the best funded public schools in my state that could barely keep up with schools with half the spending per student. But the demographics (sadly) explain why pretty well. Most of the rich families in my city send their kids to private schools, and a good chunk of the ones in the public school are from the projects..

May 7, 2014

I saw this shmuck on Fox News a couple of weeks ago and the article is insulting. Family background has a huge impact on your earnings or success factor but race also does. Race can be the difference between getting a new account because your client only wants a good old boy "client / account manager" or having someone going to bat for you in the work place for the next opportunity to get a promotion. Why is there a decent proportion of asians and indians at investment banks at the analyst, associate and VP level but somehow you have majority frat star white guys (majority jewish guys) as MDs, directors, etc? It is difficult to make it in this country as a minority no matter how much education you have. Yes, you might be middle class but the odds of you making real $$$$$$$$ are slim.

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May 7, 2014

I just find it funny/annoying that the author of the article essentially says this: "do you think my father was GIVEN admission to a top graduate school? No. He earned it."

just a littleee tone deaf.

May 7, 2014

Also this.

https://www.linkedin.com/pub/stanley-fortgang/8/90...

Pop's an MD at Jefferies. Fuck this kid haha

Actually, Tal you on WSO buddy?

May 7, 2014

My take:

-White privilege is fairly minor compared to "rich privilege".
-Successful, rich minorities in the media sure do a whole lot of yelling at middle-class kids who are trying to land $60K/year Big Four accounting jobs for their "white privilege".
-Tal Fortgang comes off as a douche. His story- rich kid who got into Princeton (perhaps as a development candidate) does not make an effective case against claims of "white privilege". His parents' story- growing up poor, going to City College and making it- that might.
-If you go to Princeton, you're not allowed to whine about privilege, period. Whether it's white privilege, whether it's getting accused of privilege, whether it's not having enough privilege. Say you're lucky as hell and shut the hell up.

With that, "I am lucky as hell".

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May 7, 2014
VikrumBandit:

the discrimination I deal with everyday.

You're really letting this monkey shit get to you.

May 7, 2014

-8 banana points? How is that possible? Haha

May 8, 2014
VikrumBandit:

I'm a minority and I have to admit there are some days...I wish I was born whtie because of the discrimination I deal with everyday.

I am both Hispanic and Jewish, grew up in a predominantly white, Christian environment. If I had a dollar for every time someone made a derogatory remark involving rice and beans or the size of my nose, I would have a higher base pay than a fucking MD at Goldman makes all in.

If anything, it's just another thing that motivates me to work hard. No excuses.

"Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will."

May 8, 2014

As much as I commend how far you've gotten in life as a Hispanic Jew, I don't think it right for you to hold others to the same standards as yourself just because you ended up "making it". We all walk different paths in life and face varying setbacks and hurdles. And the fact that VikrumBandt admits that he deals with racism occasionally and ponders about how things might be different if he were another race is in no way making "excuses".

May 9, 2014

Negative 16 youre killing it haha the fan club continues.

May 7, 2014

After the Wharton study idk how you can think it's still not a problem today. Not talking about it doesn't make it go away

May 7, 2014

No one is denying that racism exists...the point is that someone shouldn't be told to shut up about their apparent success just because of their race, class, or family history, and that handicapping a particular race only enforces the notion that skin color makes someone intrinsically different.

"Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will."

May 8, 2014

How about just shutting up about their success because having to listen to someone brag is tedious at best and frequently annoying?

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May 7, 2014

Any system that judges or considers anything or any person on anything other than its (or their) own merits, attributes, and qualities is wrong, inefficient, discriminatory, and absolutely contributes to increased division. For example...affirmative action. That's really the only rule that should be followed. End of discussion.

"When you stop striving for perfection, you might as well be dead."

May 8, 2014
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