In a recent interview with the Telegraph, the Head of Diversity for the BBC, June Sarpong, decided to repeat the by now utterly trite bromide, increasingly beloved by Western elites, that something called “white privilege” exists.
According to Ms. Sarpong—a daughter of Ghanaian immigrants who is paid handsomely by the British taxpayer to work only three days a week—white people can never know what it’s like to be discriminated against because of their race.
But White People Have Been Discriminated Against
In an attempt to clarify what she means, she said, “I don’t for a single second say that all white people are privileged. Of course not. But there are benefits even if you come from a low income and you’re white. You’re never judged on your race. You may be discriminated against because of class, you may be discriminated against because of your age, you may be discriminated against because of gender, size, etc., but you will never be discriminated against because of your race, and that in itself feeds into the concept of white privilege.”
Even with this clarification, however, her statement is demonstrably false. In South Africa, for example, discrimination against white people purely on the basis of their race is a matter of state policy. A policy there known as Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) demands that firms hire black people and pass over white people for all kinds of positions. This includes engineering and other high-skilled fields for which there are often very few qualified black applicants. Failure to do so incurs stringent penalties.
Furthermore, it has long been the policy in countries like South Africa and Zimbabwe to confiscate farmland from white farmers. Even when there is no official confiscation policy, thousands of white farmers in these countries have been murdered over the years for their land.
These murders tend to be infamous for their extraordinary brutality and for the fact that, generally speaking, the authorities are utterly uninterested in investigating them. It is difficult to convincingly explain this unusually extreme degree of violence by reference to anything other than racial animus against white people.
To give some less drastic examples, white students and job applicants are often passed over for less qualified black applicants when jockeying for spots at prestigious universities or at various high-status jobs. In the United States, this policy is known as Affirmative Action. Similar practices apply in Britain.
There is ample evidence that white people, in fact, do face at least some level of discrimination in various societies purely because of their race.
Digging in her heels about her claims, however, Sarpong said, “The thing about modern privilege is that if you’re the beneficiary, often you’re unaware that you’re the beneficiary, and that’s the whole point, isn’t it?”
It did not appear to have occurred to Ms. Sarpong that her statement applies perfectly well to herself.
After all, she lives at the expense of the British taxpayer and spends her time trying to figure out how to make BBC programs more “diverse”—something for which there is little organic demand among the British public.
If this does not make Sarpong “privileged,” it is difficult to know what the term “privilege” even means.