The article, “Whites Swim in Racial Preference” was extremely interesting and full of valuable information. The article clearly displayed numerous key terms from our text, in regards to racial inequality. These terms include, but are not limited to, social control mechanisms, discrimination, social stratification, and white privilege.

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The article, written by Tim Wise, perfectly demonstrates a social control mechanism called censorship. Censorship is where authority figures control what the citizens know by only bringing certain information to light. This is shown in the article when President Bush disapproved of Michigan’s policy of awarding points to undergraduate applicants who are members of underrepresented minorities, such as African Americans, Latinos, and American Indians.

He failed to mention, however, that greater numbers of points are awarded for other things that amount to preferences for whites to the exclusion of people of color (Wise, 2003, para. 16). Thus, Bush was leaving out information and only allowing people to know what he wanted them to know. Doing this was supposed to get his audience to see the issue from his perspective.

Discrimination is widely demonstrated in this well-written article. “Affirmative action for whites was the essence of the 1790 Naturalization Act, which allowed virtually any European immigrant to become a full citizen, even while blacks, Asians and American Indians could not… racially restrictive housing policies helped 15 million white families procure homes with FHA loans from the 1930s to the ’60s, while people of color were mostly excluded from the same programs (Wise, 2003, para. 4-6). Clearly, people of color were discriminated against when it came to becoming a citizen and securing a home for their families. Also, it is demonstrated, inadvertently, through the point system of Michigan University.

Points are awarded to any student from a low-income background, regardless of race. Since these points cannot be combined with those for minority status (poor blacks don’t get 40 points), in effect this is a preference for poor whites. Then Michigan awards points to students who hail from the Upper Peninsula of the state: a rural, largely isolated, and almost completelywhite area. Although the preferences may be race-neutral in theory, in practice they are anything but.

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As a result of intense racial isolation, students of color rarely attend the “best” schools, and on average, schools serving mostly black and Latino students offer only a third as many AP andhonors courses as schools serving mostly whites (Wise, 2003).

Another key term from our text that is shown in this article is social stratification. President Bush is a prime example of wealth, power, and prestige. So are whites, in comparison to minorities in the United States. Minorities are a prime example of “ascribed status” because they are born into their social position.

Whites are born into their social status, as well, but they have the racial preference to lean on, whereas minorities do not. The article has a sense of “life chances” in it, as well. It shows an inequality when whites are compared to minorities, in regards to the opportunities they are given to fulfill their potential in society.

Lastly, white privilege is the main topic of this article. White privilege is defined as “Rights or immunities granted to people as a particular benefit or favor simply because they are white” (Schaefer, p. 263). This is demonstrated through the entire article. Wise wrote, “White preference remains hidden because it is more subtle, more ingrained, and isn’t called white preference, even if that’s the effect (2003). Though preferences that were disproportionately awarded to whites remain uncriticized, preferences for people of color caused anger (Wise, 2003). This is shown through Bush’s reaction to Michigan’s point system. Another example that was provided by Wise is the amount of money and property baby boomers are inheriting.

“The value of preferences to whites over the years is so enormous that the current baby-boomer generation of whites is currently in the process of inheriting between $7-10 trillion in assets from their parents and grandparents” (Wise, 2003). I think Wise provided a great analogy for the privileges of whites. He stated, “Privilege, to us, is like water to the fish: invisible precisely because we cannot imagine life without it” (2003).

Whites have been given so many opportunities that other minority groups have been denied. This is what creates the white privilege. The only reason such opportunities were given to them, and denied to minorities, is the color of their skin. Simple as that.

Wise wrote a very intriguing article that really shed some light on the issue of racial inequality. His article, “Whites Swim in Racial Preference” was very straight-forward and provided a lot of valuable information.

There were many terms from our text that were demonstrated in this article, such as social control mechanisms, discrimination, social stratification, and white privilege. Wise did a fabulous job of breaking down his main points about inequality in comparison to whites and minorities. I would recommend this read to anyone who is interested in our history, as well as our role in racial inequality.

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