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White Privilege and Meritocracy in the US

Home Free essays Sociology White Privilege and Meritocracy in the US

The United States is the most developed and one of the most democratic nations in the world. This multi-ethnic community also leads in terms of living standards. Recently, many people have labeled the United States as the land of opportunities. For this reason, the United States has been seen to attract people of different religious affiliations, gender, race, and color from all over the world. Over the years, the United States of America has made great strides in all sectors, rising to the position of the world’s superpower. Whereas the nation has registered many gains sections of her citizens, especially the blacks, feel that they do not enjoy the privileges that come with such gains. The sections that do not enjoy some of the privileges believe that they are discriminated against based on some underlying factors. They include such as gender, race, color, and religious affiliation. White privileges must be strongly condemned in United States society. The reason is that it poses serious threats to the idea of meritocracy. It is an affront to the Constitution at the same time.  

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The United States of America has registered its tremendous growth over the years, rising  to the position of the world’s super power. The registered gains could be attributed to the years of hard work in both the country’s leadership and citizenry. Although the country has experienced many challenges especially those that are economic in nature, it has always survived through such hardships. The spirit of meritocracy has propelled the nation to its current position. The country has always made use of the abilities and talents of her citizens. Whereas the spirit of hard work has been cultivated in the country’s citizenry, white privilege poses a great threat to meritocracy. The US is a democratic state which also advocates for the rights of all people within and beyond its borders. However, as far as meritocracy is concerned, the practice of granting all citizens equal rights has not been followed to the latter. The white majority has always been given the upper hand in occupying positions, especially positions of influence.

Being white is in itself a qualification for either a job position or a business deal. This scenario has continued to propel whites above the social ladder. However, the occupation of positions by the white people is not necessarily based on merit. While some of them are adequately qualified to hold the positions they are in, others are not. The whites find it easy to be given such positions because they belong to such a race being rarely discriminated or scrutinized. The Bank of America is one of the institutions which has been reported to have engaged in unacceptable hiring practices. The bank has been accused for leaving out many qualified blacks by concentrating on employing the whites. In fact, the Bank of America was slapped with $2.2 million fine for its hiring practices that have been viewed as racist. Such incidences have seen the number of the whites who hold positions that are not compatible with their skills and talents continues to rise every year. This poses a threat to meritocracy because the occupation of positions by the whites in some cases is not on merit.

White privilege is emerging to be a threat to meritocracy because the whites have not necessarily earned this privilege. The whites have resorted taking advantage of their numbers to influence things to take directions that work for them. The whites constitute a majority of the U.S populations, something that has made it easy for them to be adequately represented in all sectors of the economy. For this reason, some whites do not follow formal procedures in seeking employment. Instead, they choose to use their connections to get jobs. For instance, cases of the whites using the people they know such as their friends and relatives have been adversely reported in many parts of the U.S. These whites use the people they know to get the good jobs while other people who belong to other races are left out.

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Whereas the problem of the white privilege has proven to be a thorny issue in the United States of America, the dominance of the whites in positions of influence makes it hard to change this situation. Since the whites are widely represented in almost all positions of influence, their representatives always ensure that the interests of the whites, whether genuine or selfish, are protected. Wherever the whites go within the US borders, they are likely to be served or to come across their fellow whites. Therefore, the whites always have people to turn to for protection. However, it should be noted that the protection of interests of the whites comes at the expense of meritocracy. Although some whites may not qualify to hold certain positions, they may go unquestioned. The reason is that no one race can stand up against the domination of the whites. Therefore, the domination of the whites makes the situation worse. They take advantage of numbers to do whatever works for them.

The white privilege poses a threat to meritocracy because many people now view it as normal. As such, those who look at it as normal cannot raise concerns over the same. People continue to assume that the scenario is normal. Therefore, there is no need to control it. It means that the public is not keen to ensure that people are assigned to responsibilities that they have the required qualifications. People are likely not to notice that the whites are enjoying more privileges compared to other races when they perceive it as normal. Therefore, the reason is that the white privilege goes unquestioned, it is bound to continue to the point where meritocracy will be completely unheard of. The whites continue to take the advance of silence of other groups to continue benefiting themselves. When these whites are questioned about the issue of the white privilege they usually come out to deny it. The whites usually counter such accusations with the argument that such cases should not and do not exist in the current world. However, it is evident that the problem is far from being solved.

The domination of majority whites in almost every sector of the economy is in itself a threat to meritocracy. Despite the fact that many people recognize the fact that meritocracy is being undermined by racial preferences, not much has been done to change the situation. The whites who occupy top positions usually speak on behalf of their fellow whites being in relatively lower positions. Therefore, the highly positioned whites use their power to put their fellow whites in positions of influence as well. However, when concerns are raised on the criteria used, those ones who are highly positioned come out to justify their actions with the reasons that may not make sense. It is not the same thing among people from other races because individuals speak on their own behalves. Therefore, non-white individuals have to exercise caution so that they do not to arouse a public attention. The non-whites have always been aware that they are accountable for their actions. Unlike the whites, the blacks and the other races that are discriminated against may not have people to protect them and champion for their rights.

The white privilege has proven to be a problem to meritocracy in the United States because it locks out many people belonging to other races from contributing towards the development of the nation. Although many people possess great talents and abilities, their skin color has been their major undoing. Since the whites have always been given some priority, they are always picked while other people being more qualified are left out just because they are not white. It defies the spirit of meritocracy because instead of picking out the best talents and abilities, people who cannot perform are sometimes picked. Although the whites may benefit from the privileges that they are accorded, it breeds dissatisfaction among the parties left out unfairly. Since the privileges can easily be observed by the general public including those ones being not white, the message communicated to the public is that meritocracy slowly dying down. It should be noted that for meritocracy to succeed, the public support is important. However, it cannot make sense to the public when the top leadership, which should lead by an example, acts in a manner suggesting otherwise.

It should be noted that the ultimate damage brought about by the white privilege is the slowed development of the nation at large. Meritocracy ensures that people being highly qualified are placed in the positions where their abilities and talents are utilized maximally. Developments that have been realized in science in the US can particularly be attributed to meritocracy. However, many sectors have been registering the slow development compared to others because they have suffered the effects of white dominance. Furthermore, the whites have always been treated with lenience compared to other groups having different skin color because they are not white. Individuals being not white are usually put under pressure to perform while the whites are not subjected to as much pressure. It also puts the country’s development at risk because the whites control almost all sectors. As such, more pressure should be directed towards the whites. However, it is not the case because the whites tend to enjoy lenience. Apart from getting little pressure to perform, they always have a network of people who can protect them from critics. It encourages laxity among the whites because they do not have to worry so much about protecting their jobs.

Whereas the United States has registered tremendous gains in respect to racial equity a few issues. White domination is dragging the country behind. The US is a home to people of all races being entitled to equal rights and freedoms. However, other races do not get to enjoy as many privileges as the whites do. The situation in the US depicts the white race as superior to all other races. The white dominate all crucial sectors in the US, especially holding positions of influence. Whereas some of the whites who occupy different positions have the required qualifications, others do not. Some land in the positions they hold by virtue of being white and, therefore, may lack an ability to discharge the duties that come with such positions. However, it should be noted that the US is a nation believing in meritocracy. As such, individuals are expected to fill positions that are compatible with their abilities and talents. Putting this in practice becomes a challenge as long as the white privilege exists. The whites tend to get opportunities that they cannot handle leading to poor performance. Therefore, the white privilege poses a threat to meritocracy, which in a long run slows down the country’s development.

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