People like to say—incorrectly—that the United States is a democracy. While we have democratically elected representatives, the United States’s official government system is not a democracy. Rather, the United States is a constitutional, representative republic. Many of the founding fathers actually despised pure democracy.
James Madison defined “pure democracies” as “[being] spectacles of turbulence and contention; [they] have ever been found incompatible with personal security, or the rights of property; and have, in general, been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths.” (1)
It has long been said that pure democracy is “mob rule,” or “two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote.” Pure democracy, without a constitutional framework, is truly evil because whatever the majority agrees on becomes law. A constitutional republic assures that the smallest minority, the individual, has rights that are protected.
So, how does this relate to white privilege?
In any nation where one demographic is the majority, it is inevitable that the social and economic systems that govern a system are designed to support and assist the majority. Pathetic attempts like affirmative action, or attempting to the reduce the population of whites in the United States, have been embarked upon. This is done by encouraging things such as anchor babies and illegal immigration—both of which are immoral. I believe the best way to reduce any hint of white privilege that remains in this nation—however small it is—is to expand the rights of individuals and stop grouping people based on race.
As Americans, we all have a high standard of living and grouping people based on race, for any reason, brings back Jim Crow-era segregation. Whether you refer to white people as a whole in a joke, or make a joke about intelligent Asians, race in the United States is practically irrelevant. The Pew Research Center reports, “While Asians overall rank as the highest earning racial and ethnic group in the U.S., it is not a status shared by all Asians: From 1970 to 2016, the gains in income for lower-income Asians trailed well behind the gains for their counterparts in other groups.” (2) The fact is that Asian household have the highest median income of any racial group.
However, one may make a legitimate argument for the importance of white privilege. I have heard several democratic presidential candidates using the following argument, “The majority of Americans support ‘INSERT FOOLISH SOCIAL PROGRAM HERE.’” So what???? The majority of Americans can support a stupid, social program that will drive this nation to bankruptcy. Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Kamala Harris have all used this argument for universal healthcare, and it is such a flawed argument. Those who support white privilege are merely expressing human nature, because deep down, you would want your race to be successful.
Majority approval does not condone any legislation being passed. So, if the majority of America, which is white, supported white privilege policies, should we support it? I would hope not! The same applies for social programs. These social programs, that tax the rich by increasing rates, expand medicaid, or welfare programs, hurt the most marginalized people group in the United States: the middle class. The middle class is full of individuals who are too rich to qualify for these social programs, yet are not rich enough to easily afford these subsidized programs. In nearly every case, a subsidized industry increases prices for non-subsidized recipients and decreases quality for everyone.
- James Madison, Federalist 10, 1787