Home / Top Story / Eddie Murphy got it right, 1984 SNL skit on white privilege

Eddie Murphy got it right, 1984 SNL skit on white privilege

Shaun King

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Friday, October 23, 2015, 6:17 PM

The SNL skit starring Eddie Murphy called "White Like Me."NBC

To dispute that white privilege exists, is to dispute the very basic idea that privilege exists, in any form whatsoever. That argument, of course, is preposterous.

The problem is that privilege does not like to be exposed and people prefer to think that everything they achieve in life comes exclusively from their own hard work and ingenuity and never from the benefits of an unequal system they were born into. In an ideal, just world, that concept is true, but this world is far from ideal.

In America being white comes with very real privileges.

Way back on Dec. 15, 1984, Eddie Murphy and Saturday Night Live produced a hilarious skit called “White Like Me” in which Eddie attempts to expose the amazing privileges of being white in America.

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As white Eddie Murphy ventured out into New York City, he comically found that other fellow white people gave him stuff for free and held goofy parties with bad snacks when the last black man left the room. Soon, though, Eddie learned it wasn’t all fun and games when he discovered how outrageously easy it was for a white man to get a loan at the bank.

In 2015, white privilege actually looks a lot like the fake SNL world — only worse.

White people absolutely do throw goofy parties with bad snacks when black folks aren’t around. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Whites are more likely to do drugs than African Americans, and whites are more likely to sell illegal drugs as well.African Americans, though, are arrested, convicted and incarcerated at drastically higher rates for drug crimes.

A black man, who has since moved from New York to Augusta, Ga., spent six weeks in Rikers in 2012 because, in spite of his rock solid alibi, he vaguely matched the description of another black man who stole a woman’s backpack. He was breathing and he was wearing a hoodie.

A white man in South Carolina pulled a gun on his black neighbor and threatened to kill him in front of the police. He was recorded in the Aug. 25 confrontation calling the neighbor a n—-r, but wasn’t arrested — simply told to go back home.

That’s white privilege.

Young black men are 21 times more likely to be shot and killed by police than young white men. Heck, even having a name that “sounds black” can cause problems in America.

White privilege.

The SNL skit starring Eddie Murphy — especially the bank scene — rings true.

“Let me get this straight, Mr., um, Mr. White,” a black banker named Harry says to Murphy’s character. “You’d like to borrow $ 50,000 from our bank, but you have no collateral. You have no credit. You don’t even have any ID.”

The banker begins to turn him down when his white boss interrupts, telling the black banker to take a break.

“What a silly Negro,” Murphy says in the skit before the white boss slides him stacks of cash.

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In real life, Countrywide Mortgage admitted that it deliberately charged equally qualified Black and Latino homeowners higher interest rates than white borrowers and was forced to pay $ 335 million in fees over the discrimination.

While many white people ignore the very existence of white privilege or even go so far as to claim it’s a figment of the black imagination, Toure, a cultural commentator and author, recently held a very interesting discussion on the topic. In it, white friends and strangers alike confessed to a wide variety of benefits, large and small, that being white has afforded them. It was a fascinating read.

Ultimately, acknowledging that white privilege is a real thing is the first step to dismantling it for a more fair and just society.

Tags:
eddie murphy ,
saturday night live


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