VeggieTales creator Phil Vischer penned a blog post last week titled “Racial Injustice Has Benefited Me — a Confession.” The popular children’s program director talked about “white privilege” and how it led to his success.
In the opening paragraphs of his post, Vischer shares a brief summary of his own personal story. His parents divorced when he was only nine years old, and he survived on bologna sandwiches as his mom went to work for the first time in her life.
He then goes on to explain how his family found success despite the events of his past.
“It’s a big success story. And it all happened because we didn’t give up, and we worked really hard,” he wrote. “Except this version of the story isn’t true. I mean, the facts are accurate, but the conclusion is all wrong.”
“Did we work hard? Yes, I guess so. But lots of people work hard and don’t have nearly as much to show for it. So what is the missing factor? The factor that may be even more important than the hard work: We were white.”
Vischer then shared some of the privileges he believes his family had because they were white. He spoke about the opportunities his grandparents and parents had because they had access to quality education.
“How did a wealthy, white suburb help launch my filmmaking career? A good education was part of it,” he recalled. “A high school with lots of resources was part of it…A friend at church had a friend who owned a video production company that just happened to be looking for a summer intern. A couple of phone calls and I had an internship, that led to a job, that led to my work in computer animation, which led to my career as a filmmaker of moderate renown,” he explained.
Although he admits his success story may not appear to have anything to do with race or inequality, it afforded him opportunities that people of color simply don’t usually have.
“We had friends who knew people who owned companies. If we had relocated to a much poorer community — specifically a non-white community — the odds of bumping into someone at church who knew someone who owned a film production company would have been next to nothing. Wealthy communities bring proximity to opportunity,” he said.
At the conclusion of his post, Vischer expressed his frustration with the, If you just worked harder you could do what I did mantra that he believes many white people blurt out. He says this statement is a lie.
“We built a system to favor ourselves. And it worked amazingly well. Every generation of my family has benefited from the color of our skin. Every generation,” he said. “It didn’t stop with the Emancipation Proclamation. It didn’t stop with Brown v Board of Education. And it still hasn’t stopped today.”