White, Male Privilege Illustrated

Swedish artist, Emanu, published a cartoon that perfectly illustrates white, male privilege. You can probably throw straight and cisgendered into the mix, as well.



This post isn’t really about white, male privilege. There’s plenty about it in other posts on this site, as well as the website for my MA project. Nope, this is about tracking down the artist.

The text was originally in Swedish, but the Internet – you know, THE Internet, singular? – decided it needed to be in English, as well. Thus the creative photo editing began. The wording on the version I was first shown was, “Quit whining. It’s the same distance.” This interpretation likely wasn’t British since the word choice would have been “whinging”. I suspect it was contributed by an American seeing that the message is a bit more abrasive than the artist’s own translation, shown above.

This illustration is definitely a case of a picture being worth (more than) a thousand words. I love how succinct and clear the message is, distilling a seemingly complex issue into something easily grasped and shared. When a piece of art I like is being shared liberally online with no proper attribution, I often attempt to track down the creator – but Emanu’s signature on the copy I received was garbled. This was probably due to the editing and lossy compression that happens when images are shared across web platforms multiple times.

I had a hard time tracking him down. In the course of my search, I came across some alternate, mirrored versions that attempted to refute the existence of white, male privilege. Unsurprisingly, they were on sites that promote so-called “reverse racism”, claiming that white people suffer due to quotas, affirmative action, and political correctness. (You know, things that limit the abilities of bigots to be open about their hatred.) It did not help me locate the mysterious Emanu (or Enanu or Emmm… wha…?)

I’d tried both Tineye and Google Image search, but wasn’t having great luck. My text search led me to a website I thought had great promise, but returned an error code when clicked. Finally, I asked a French friend whose wife is a comic artist for help. She had better Google karma that day, it seemed, and immediately discovered Emanu’s Facebook page. Oddly, it had a link to the promising website I’d found previously, but this time it worked!

I immediately sent a message through the page and was pleased to hear from Emanu himself a short time later. I asked for permission to use the image in blog posts(!) and, possibly, future academic presentations. Not only did he give me a gracious yes, he also sent me an official, high res version of the English translation. I was delighted! It’s the closest you can get to having a signed print without any exchange of actual goods.

…Which brings us to where we are now: viewing a jpeg that’s only a couple of generations of lossy compression away from the artist’s own computer. Huzzah!

As he says on his page, “Late to the party, but finally made an official english language version of my most popular cartoon. Let it loose all over your tumblrs and twitters and so on!”

So have at it, folks! Share away. But please do give credit where it’s due. Cheers!

Emanu’s website: www.emanu.se
Emanu’s Facebook page: facebook.com/EmanuSatir


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