I don’t think you understand Privilege

Yes I’m talking to you want to be social justice warrior. You have failed to grasp the nuances of your own term. And you, pretend victim Mennist, stop your nodding in agreement, because you are failing to comprehend just as hard. So both of you pay attention now as I walk you through the basics and how it affects you.

The truth the about Privilege, whether White, Male, Straight, Able-Bodied, Wealthy, 1st world, or whatever, is that it definitely exists. Yup, whiny white boy, Privilege is a thing. Stop denying it because it makes you look ignorant and slightly hateful.  Chances are you even have some, even if your life have been a pile of shit, filled with trial after trial and no breaks. I know you want to scream that you too are frisked by cops for no reason, are paid nothing more than your female co-workers, maybe even suffered some form of abuse too, and that you are in no way advantaged over the Non-Privileged(ugh, that phrase is horrible and just typing it makes me feel dirty). However there is one that almost privilege  you almost certainly have. The privilege not to give a fuck about this shit.

See White people really don’t have to worry about racism, because turns out we won the race war and we’re on top. Nor do Males have to worry about sexism because for all of human existence we’ve run shit. And for basically every other “privileged” category that’s true. A rich person doesn’t have to care about poor people, straights down have to worry about gay rights, ect ect. If you’ve been the short end of the stick as a white male you never have to give to shits about inequality due to color or sex.  However if you’re a black female, even if you’re fucking Oprah, you kinda do. Just that natural sense of empathy as being a fellow “person of color”(That phrase isn’t as terrible but still makes me want to puke) and woman, she will naturally relate to the struggles that come with those stations.

In case your about to use the Oprah argument as a reason why privilege isn’t real, stuff it. You’re making the same dumb mistake I’m about to attack SJW’s for. Privilege isn’t about individuals. It’s about trends. White Privilege isn’t the privilege you have for being white, its the general trend of privilege that white people are far more likely to have than non white people. See that’s how “systemic” racism, sexism, homophobia, ect all work. In trends. See even when groups are being oppressed as a matter of state law, sometimes individuals thrive despite it. And even when certain groups run shit, there are 1000’s of examples of people seeing no actual benefit of being the privileged group, see indentured servitude in the early American Colonies.

That’s the problem with the over used phrase “check your privilege.”  Well, one of many problems and the only one I care to talk about it. It assumes you, the SJW, understand the life and struggles of the one your are talking to and whether they have benefited from privilege. It’s possible, maybe even likely they have but it’s also entirely possible they missed out on all the benefits the categories they belong to normally get. You could argue they have the privilege of not being born a crack baby black women in South Central…but most American blacks and women also have that privilege and that person has the privilege of not being born in Cambodia death camp. That’s personal privilege, not group privilege and comes back to my point. You need to understand an individual before you can understand if they have privilege as a true benefit.

More than that though, you need to understand that the main privilege, the ability not to give a shit, is the important one. I, as an able-bodied wealthyish(30K yearly, which is alo compared to the average human, meaning I make enough to pay rent and eat in Boston, even though I’m po as fuck for an educated white male New Englander) straight white cis-male can just say nah fuck it, I don’t care about your problems. And if you want things to change, guess what? You need to change the minds of people like me. No matter how many laws and rules we pass, no matter how much social pressure is put on organizations and corporations, if the hearts and minds aren’t changed, society will continue to be sexist, racist, and generally shitty to itself.  The hearts and minds that need to change? Mostly White Males. I mean sure there’s lots of “minority” views that need to change and women are just as responsible for sexist attitudes as men, but really the big change needs to be White people and significantly more males than females. And when you tell white men to check their privilege, you tend to push them farther into the conservative mind-state. Which is probably fine if you’re talking to a lost cause, say someone actively and proudly racist, but if you push out the person who is slightly on your side, but not “Feminist” enough, you’ve lost an ally. They’ll just use their privilege and check out. Woo hoo, we just set back equality. Go us!

Instead maybe try a more nuanced approach. Like when explaining privilege and someone claims they don’t have maybe ask politely if they’ve ever felt they had to stay at a bar till their friends wanted to go home, for fear of a sexual predator. Or ask them if they’ve ever defended themselves in court and if they were shown any leniency. Then present the statistics showing much harsher sentencing for black people committing the same crimes as whites. It won’t prove they benefited from privilege but neither you nor they can be sure. The truth is many White Men have had some minor benefits from their position, but you can’t just say “you are privileged for being white”. You need to get them to see the specific example, which you might not be able to find. And you need to be willing to concede that they may have even been at a disadvantage from it. For example a man trying to get into a primarily female field, beautician, dancer, nurse, may suffer all sorts of discrimination. Or a white person may be bumped from a college for a black student with worse qualifications for affirmative action.  It’s important to remember that privilege is not about individual stories but about inequalities as trends across large sections of population. White Privilege benefits the white race…but it might not benefit me.

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One thought on “I don’t think you understand Privilege

  1. A smarter person than me quipped that telling someone to “check your privilege.” means you have just a) made assumptions about the level of privileged they grew up with and b) making that assumption just disqualified you as an SJW.

    Like

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