Here’s a puzzle for you. Item 1: Hope Hicks is the current (as of this writing) White House Director of Communications. Item 2: according to a recent story in the New York Times, a former member of Donald Trump’s legal team, Mark Corallo, will shortly tell (or perhaps has already told) Robert Mueller that Hick and Trump were both on a conference call in which Ms. Hicks hinted that she planned to destroy emails from Donald Junior which showed that he had sought “dirt” on Hillary Clinton from Russian sources. Item three: if that’s true, then Hope Hicks could be investigated for obstruction of justice.
But, and here comes the puzzle part, in recent days many individuals on social media…including some on the Left… have rushed to the defense of Ms. Hicks, saying that she is very young and very inexperienced, and shouldn’t be held responsible for her actions. Why this sudden mercy from a crowd not normally known for a forgiving nature?
Chauncey DeVega (whose essays appear in both Salon and on his own blog) thinks he knows why. In The Hope Hicks pity party: White female privilege in action, he argues that Hicks is being given a free pass from the greater American culture because she is young, pretty, and…white. He writes, “Because Hope Hicks is a young white woman — and one who by conventional white American standards is viewed as ‘attractive” — she enjoys privileges and other unearned advantages that are denied to nonwhite women.”
Implicit, albeit unstated in his essay is the question of what would have happened if Hicks had not been a young white woman, but rather a middle-aged woman of color. Had that been the case, would anyone on the left have called for forbearance? The answer, of course, is a most emphatic no.
Mr. DeVega’s essay is thus worth a read by many of us on the left. It may be a useful corrective to biases we did not even realize we possessed.