White privilege, and how to get it

The figure above shows that Indian American women make $1.21 for every $1.00 that a white man makes. I knew this data, but the infographic was brought to my attention to illustrate that not all South Asians are privileged. Pakistani women make $0.84 and Bangladeshi women $0.69.

Here’s the “problem” – 84% of “South Asians” are Indian American.

The reason that Indian Americans do so well is pretty obvious: human capital. They’re educated, they’re entrepreneurial, etc. At least to me. What if you believed that all outcome differences between nonwhites are due to white supremacy?

What have you heard about this? How is it people who now accept The Narrative explain how brown-skinned Indian Americans do so well while brown-skinned Pakistanis don’t? What have you heard?

19 thoughts on “White privilege, and how to get it”

  1. I would like to think parochially that it is the “great work ethic” that unites Indian, Chinese, Malay and Taiwanese women in surpassing white men earnings.

    But, in fact, it could very well be that white men are now culturally accustomed to get in to symbiotic work relationships with women of specific ethnicities. Ever seen a barbell clean a hippo’s teeth?

    Seeing someone get a higher salary than oneself triggers a whole lot of submissive/dominance paradigms at the workplace. After seeing a whole lot of “pay raise” shit at the workplace, I have come to the anecdotal conclusion that the people who sustain a pay raise consistently across years are the ones who don’t break the “dominance” matrix at the workplace. In other words, some one getting a pay raise consistently is doing so because others let them survive. The survival of the meek.

    This might be the case here – women of these ethnicities are better paid consistently because white men “let them be”. Funny thing is that these women do not out-earn, as a cohort, the men in their own ethnic countries.

      1. Getting big bucks by being meek is an amazing, paradigm busting notion. I’ve never read it anywhere before.
        Ugra needs to write a book. he’ll make millions.

  2. I am assuming this isn’t adjusted for eduction, field, position etc.

    I know people including former presidents of the US have used similar data to show women make 0.73 cents to the dollar for men, so I suppose its fair game.

  3. Maybe differences in fertility rates could explain some of it.

    Unlike Pak/Bangla ladies, Indians don’t get green-cards easily so getting a H1B eligible job is the only option. H1B eligible jobs usually pay a lot more than the average white guy’s salary.

  4. i’m asking if you believed in white supremacy.

    there are plenty of rational explanations (bangladeshis are skewed toward the diversity lottery, for example)

  5. I’d flip this back at you Razib and point out that when Economists did similar studies for Canada, they found huge variation from city to city. So the children of Indian immigrants (they excluded new immigrants due to language barriers) would earn as much as their white counterparts in Vancouver, but ~10% less in Toronto and ~20% in Montreal.

    Some of that may be attributable to different subgroups migrating to different areas (Vancouver has a higher % of Sikhs for example), but it also seemed like the relative ordering of the cities was constant across multiple ethnicities.

    So I think in the Canadian context at least the evidence is that the attitudes of the dominant groups around you are at least partially if not wholly explanatory of economic disadvantages.

    Google “index of evil” if you want to see the relevant study.

  6. I do believe in white privilege that exists as a cultural preference for Western norms of behaviour. These norms give privilege to whites across genders, incomes and sexual orientations by molding society’s cultural expectations closely to one group, forcing others to adapt. However, calling it “supremacy” is likely over the top. Jordan Peterson calls it “majority privilege” and I think that’s a reasonable conclusion, but in a Western context that de facto translates into white privilege.

    Instead of ranking people by their incomes – regardless if you want to talk about privilege or “contribution” – we should look at a wider scope of metrics. For example, brown women do better than white men universally if you look at crime rates and anti-social behaviour more generally. Razib posts income charts but he should try looking at crime charts next 🙂

    Therefore, whether most South Asian/brown women in America make more money than white men is almost irrelevant. They simply contribute more to society by making it less crappy, less violent and a more pleasant place to be. That’s a contribution to society that necessitates them being treated better. If you want more of something, incentivise it. Naturally, there should be space for indivividual considerations but we really need to move beyond incomes as some kind of iron law since it can obscure so many other aspects to society.

    1. The whole concept of privilege in Intersectionality and Critical Race Theory is hot garbage.
      It’s the 21st century equivalent of phrenology for a new generation of race hustlers.

  7. I don’t know what “white privilege” means. But Indian American do well in US because they come from middle class families that value, “family values” ethics” , hardwork and education.
    Except me, my whole family brothers sisters cousins friends have emigrated to US, Singapore, Europe, New Zealand.
    And they work really hard, they do full time jobs, and raise kids, cook at home with hardly no help.
    And Indian American men pitch in a lot for helping in house, to cooking to helping kids.
    My brother earns 4 times as much as his wife who is a teacher , raises 3 kids and cooks the dinner for a family of 5 so that his wife can work.
    My brother in law cleans the house and baby sits his kids does laundry . Takes off from work so my sister can work without worry.
    So Indian American women do well because their families value them and pitch in to help.

    1. Yeah my Mom and Dad split housework evenly. Not all families were like this but mine was and still is.

      My Dad did a lot of yard work for our decent sized property himself and is athletic naturally so I guess that helped him assimilate well, despite his thick accent. He was raised in New Delhi and went to a pretty cosmopolitan school and did undergrad partially in America.

      My parents struggled a crap ton, when they first came. Neither were full college grads. My dad just had a diploma from India and my mom had to get GED because she only finished 10th in Hyderabad.

      They both worked a lot of blue collar jobs before their white collar ones. My dad worked in some of India’s first car factories, when he was there.

      I suppose my experience is atypical. But maybe not. Indian immigrants work pretty damn hard.

  8. The issue here is that while it is clear that there are cultural, personal, or social traits that allow someone to create their own “privilege,” we aren’t seeing a real comparison. These groups consistently have to outperform whites to reach something close to equality.

    I can bet you Taiwanese and Indian women are in a much higher educational and professional class than the bulk of white men, but will still only be 21% ahead. How many of these women are delivery drivers, construction workers, or factory labourers? Considering their levels of work and achievement, they should be making more like $1.50 compared to the average white man, but they are only 21 cents ahead despite the degrees and career experience.

    There are still some real issues here.

    1. I don’t know man, I think a white delivery driver that is working 12 hour shifts non-stop dealing with road rage and peeing in a bottle deserves to earn higher wage than some Indian lady clerk sitting in an air conditioned office with her fancy masters in English degree doing repetitive data entry which is not even what she went to school for. But then industrial capitalism disagrees, so be it.. race has very little to do with this dynamic, gender – more so.

      Most women of any color (white, black, brown, or pink) should be thankful that they have any economic power whatsoever today, made possible in part by mass industrialization and globalization. Otherwise 10,000 year history of civilization is up against them consigning them to a very different role.

  9. No surprises that Indian women do so well, they’re versatile and wordly wise and practically run the households of the country back home. Juggling family, culture and traditions for as they’ve been for centuries and still being able to excel in a modern world, they’re ideally suited to thrive in the orderly, meritocratic setups that the west provides

    1. @Siddharth If we got an actual representative sample of Indian women I doubt they would be as well off as Mexican women are in the USA. Mexico manages a GDP per capita almost 5 times that of India. It’s just selective immigration that only pulls the most highly educated and ambitious people. Filipinos also make bank in the USA, because they are all Nurses. You can skim the cream off of any nation in the world and get the same results. The only groups of immigrants that do badly in the USA are refugees and illegal immigrants. Or white groups that got in when immigration from Europe was lax.

  10. People in the comments seem to be arguing against a straw man. The assertion in the post is not that white privilege doesn’t exist. Rather it’s arguing against the claim that disparate outcomes are proof of white privilege / discrimination, since that would not explain why Indian women do better than white men.

  11. Hadn’t been following for a while, only just read about Aruna Khilanani.

    Don’t know about her case in particular, but a lot of these types wouldn’t care even if whites were the lowest earning group in the US. To them, majority = supremacists/oppressors, minorities = oppressed. They don’t care about any income levels or whatever else you throw at them. No clue how their heads work.

  12. There’s a big difference between making 100k in San Franciso & 80k in Rural Nevada.
    Adjust for that & poof

    There’s also a large intra-white variance with some white groups making black level incomes & others being up there with everyone else.

    I just don’t remember where I read it now||

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