One Last Look at White Privilege

The Amazing Atheist recently replied to a video circulating around that tlly pwns n00bs on their yt privlige, yo. You should check out his reply; I think he makes some good points. But the White Privilege Explained in Five Minutes video is apparently very popular. I feel the need to add another dissenting voice to the fray here because, really, if this is what’s considered an epic laying down of the law, a flawless bit of perfectly digestible argumentation, then no wonder the left is losing so much political ground. It’s lost the ability to tell when it’s being educational and convincing and when it’s just being condescending as all get out.

So let’s get started tackling this behemoth of intellectual arguments, I guess.

Have you ever been called unprofessional for wearing your hair the way it naturally grows out of your scalp?

No. While I’m not under the impression that this never happens, I hesitate to call it racism. It seems like professional settings tend to like hair to be contained, and black people’s natural hair just happens to be big and puffy, and just happens to lend itself more towards hairstyles like dreadlocks that are considered too casual. I’ve known white people with dread locks who got in trouble for being unprofessional. I’ve known white people with long, thick hair who have gotten in trouble for being unprofessional. By the way, I work in a professional setting, and here is what my hair looks like (it’s actually bigger now), and, as I’ve said, I haven’t once gotten in trouble:

daphne

Is your race accused of being terrorist for wearing scarves on their heads?

No.

So that’s why people associate Islam with terrorism. Scarves. Of course. People associate Islam with terrorist activity because Islamic extremism is the number one source of terrorist activity in the 21st century. The Communists are catching up, but they haven’t surpassed them yet. This doesn’t mean that every Muslim is a terrorist–Muslim communities are often the number one victims of Islamic extremism–but can we all just stop fucking pretending that people are making the Islam/terrorism association out of nowhere and for no reason? Can we also stop pretending that a hijab is just a scarf? Iranian women dressed like women pretty much everywhere else until the Islamic Revolution happened and all of a sudden no make-up and headscarves were all the rage. But it was just a fashion choice, guys! It’s not archaic religious garb forced on women in most Muslim majority countries under threat of punishment and/or violence. It’s just a scarf! Look this little American girl is wearing a headscarf with flowers on it!

Also, Islam is not a race. A huge percentage of Muslims don’t even come from the Middle East. A huge percentage of Muslims aren’t Middle Eastern or black. They’re Asian. So . . . what race are we talking about here?

Have you been stereotyped as a thug, terrorist, gang member, ghetto, lawn-mowing guy, rapper, or immigrant for no reason at all?

No. I have been stereotyped as a coon before, though. Does that count?

I guess a South African guy I met in a European airport once mistakenly thought that I wasn’t from the United States, but not having to deal with two seconds of extra awkwardness whilst talking to a foreign stranger in a Frankfurt airport is a very esoteric form of privilege.

I have resting-nice-face and dress like a hipster, so no one’s going to look at me and think I’m a thug or a gang member. I don’t follow a stupid religion, so being a terrorist in this day and age would be kind of difficult. I’m pretty sure I look like I haven’t done a hard day’s work in my life, so no one’s going to mistake me for a landscaper any time soon. And, as I said above, the only time anyone has ever been confused about my nationality is when I wasn’t even in America, and since this entire idea of “white privilege” has always come across as egregiously USA-centric, I’m not sure if that counts.

And, by the way, the “immigrant” example is accompanied by a picture of a presumably East Asian woman. Yes, East Asians, very frequent immigrants to the United States (so the chances of an East Asian person actually being an immigrant is fairly high) and one of the most financially successful racial demographics, above white Americans. White privilege, ya’ll!

If you answered no to any of these questions, then you have whiiiiiiiiite privilege!

Looks like I have white privilege, guys! *Looks at skin tone and becomes very confused.* It’s almost like homogenizing people’s experiences based off of race is stupid and not very helpful or accurate.

*rants about how black people’s only privilege is being considered as a race to be good at music and sports*

Is that not significant? People really like music and sports. Being successful in music and sports is very impressive and, as a concept, has carved itself out as a very distinct part of the American Dream that many, many people aspire to. White privilege is apparently oppressive and awful because white people don’t get asked awkward questions as much, but black people being considered to be naturally talented at things most people can only dream of being good at is just some little thing that can be swept under the rug as insignificant and culturally irrelevant and not worth anything? Consistency, dammit!

But we’re not talking about rapping, dancing, singing black privilege. We’re talking about world dominating, culturally appropriating, ruling almost every nation white privilege!

I’ve touched on all of these topics multiple times. These points are shit.

  • How much of an inferiority complex do you have to have to say without irony that white people “dominate the world” and rule “almost every nation”? I think most of the world would beg to differ. It’s not like every country outside of North America and Western Europe exists or anything.
  • This is also an incredibly limited world view to have for another reason: There are relatively few countries that care about skin tone more than they care about nationality. The racists in Western European countries are racist towards other pale people. The Scandinavians apparently fucking hate each other, and I doubt anyone would be able to visually tell apart a Norwegian and a Swede. The racists in Africa are a bunch of black people being racist towards a bunch of other black people. The racists in East Asia are a bunch of East Asians being racist towards other Asians. Because all of these people care about nationality and ethnicity more than looks. So this preoccupation with looks and looks alone is a very specific thing that really can’t be applied to the rest of the world.
  • Yes, the white privilege of being in charge of nations! Go on over to the Ukraine or Siberia or most of Russia and see how much privilege those people have because the government officials in charge of them are also a bunch of pale people. I’m sure they’re just living the high life. The kinship of the white race really keeps them warm during those Eastern European winters.
  • He used Katy Perry’s Dark Horse video as an example of cultural appropriation. I guess appropriating long-dead ancient Egyptian culture is now an offense as well. I bet the Pharaoh is sitting behind his MacBook right now writing an angry blog post about how Katy Perry shouldn’t dress in an over-the-top artists’ rendering of ancient Egyptian aristocracy garb. Wearing togas is still okay, though.

*does what I assume is supposed to be a humorous impression of a stereotypical white person, who, as per usual, is a borderline illiterate, racist hick. Said hick denies that white privilege is a thing and that he worked hard for everything he got*

This is, for some reason, not the same thing as stereotyping black people as thugs or Muslims as potential terrorists, though. Because, you see, when we unironically portray a race of people as only the most negative of the stereotypes about them, we’re being clever and thought-provoking and fighting against power and shit. This message has been brought to you by It’s Okay When We Do It!, the world’s leading brand in hypocrisy cover-ups since 1992.

Dave Chappelle you are not.

I’m sure you did, Mr. or Mrs. White Privilege, but your skin made it waaaay easier.

Pro tip: If you’re going to accuse white people of having it easier and not having to work as hard for their accomplishments, maybe don’t address that idea to a hickish, white trash stereotype. You know, the stereotype about poor, underprivileged white people. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. Are white people a bunch of suit-wearing super villains who run the world, or are they a bunch of inbred hicks who want the niggers to get off their lawn? These are two very contrasting portrayals, is all I’m saying.

White privilege means no one questions how you got into that really, really great school or how you got that really, really great job. They just assume that you were highly qualified.

What about the white people who don’t go to a really great school or who don’t have a really great job?

What about all the white people in New Mexico, one of the most impoverished states in the US, who are now jobless because an overwhelming majority of them make their paychecks by doing potentially lethal grunt-work in the state’s currently failing oil business that’s laying off workers by the thousands? I know I’ve mentioned this before, but white males are on their way to becoming the least educated demographic in America. High school dropout rates are skyrocketing as well as general, honest-to-god illiteracy rivaled only by ESL speakers. Less of them are applying to colleges, and less are gaining higher education, which means they are one of the groups most effected by competition among unskilled workers and one of the groups most prone to long spans of unemployment because of it. Meanwhile, black women are up there with Chinese and South Asian immigrants as the most highly educated demographic in America.

But white privilege, yes, of course. Please, continue to complain about how no one listens to you or takes you seriously . . . in this video that has been liked and shared millions of times, with essentially all of the feedback being positive and supportive.

As for the “assumption” point, I’ve said this before and I’ll reiterate myself again. It is liberals who have gone on the record insisting that we need race quotas and affirmative action in schools and hiring. It is liberals who promote the notion that POC need an extra leg-up in order to be represented in hiring and academia. So, in short, if you don’t like everyone thinking that you’re an affirmative action hire, stop insisting that we should keep using affirmative action hiring practices. If you don’t like people questioning your merit and assuming that you’re not as competent as those around you, stop insisting that you’re not as competent as everyone else and need quotas to help you out. This is a problem you made, not racist white people.

Privilege is living in a country in which 87% of the lawmakers look like you despite the fact that your race makes up nowhere near 87% of the country.

But black actors making up a proportionally equal amount of award winners in American TV and cinema is racist because proportional representation is dumb and racist, and there should be more of them! Once again . . . fucking consistency. There is none.

I’m really wondering what these people think will change if POC get more “representation.” Race relations in America got worse under our first black president than they were back during the race riots of the 1990s. Newark, New Jersey has been under black governance since 1970. It’s longest serving black mayor, who was supposed to care so much about the black community and represent them better than any white man ever would, gave himself a pay raise at the overt and crippling expense of the mainly-black poor neighborhoods of Newark. The black mayor of Atlanta, Georgia took funds that were supposed to go to improving Atlanta’s dismal public schools and used it to buy himself a private helicopter. If only more strong black men like them were in power! We blacks would finally get the representation and power that has been denied us!!!!

This is the last time I’m going to make this point. If you think someone looking like you means they represent you, then you are an idiot with a very shallow idea of what “representation” means, and anyone you vote in is likely to exploit that stupidity for their own personal gain and leave you in the dust, laughing all the way to the bank.

White privilege is Googling the word “beauty” and it showing hundreds of pictures of white women.

Do you know how Google works? It factors in where you are from and what language you use. If you used an American server and you typed “beauty” in English, you’re going to get skewed image results because the US is mostly white and English is a language spoken by mostly white people. This is ignoring that Googling “beauty” isn’t some sea of whiteness. There are other races peppered in there. Beyonce is pictured twice on the first fucking page. Also, according to super official dating site statistics, Asian women are the most attractive demographic by a fucking landslide, to everyone of other races. How does that factor into white people apparently having the gift of being the hottest?

Guess what, if you type in 美しさ, you’ll get hundreds of pictures of Japanese women. If you type in جمال, you’ll get hundreds of pictures of Arab women. If you type in güzellik, you’ll get hundreds of pictures of Turkish women. Are you starting to see my point?

White privilege is Googling the word “God” and it showing hundreds of pictures of white men.

Blame the Catholic church for popularizing the image of Jesus as some white hippy dude. I also feel inclined to bring up TJs point that most physical humans who we have given god-like qualities to in pop culture are a bunch of black dudes, Morgan Freeman having the voice of God being the biggest example.

This is also yet another esoteric point because you’re assuming that I give any amount of fucks what people think God looks like, and I don’t. It doesn’t make me insecure to think that people’s imaginary friend doesn’t look accurate in the pictures they draw of him. I’m sure there’d be some amount of controversy among the various sects and localities of Muslims over what the Prophet Muhammad looks like if people were actually allowed to draw him, but it looks like we’ll never know for sure.

White privilege is not being monitored in a store because you look like you steal stuff.

I can only recall this happening to me once for the entire time I’ve been alive. The irony is that I actually did go through a petty theft phase in high school where I would steal random things all the time, and I was never monitored and never caught doing it. Yay, stereotypes!

In all honesty, that’s just anecdotal evidence and I’m sure this does legitimately happen to people. But the whole point of this video is to be some huge gotcha on white people. “SEE, you don’t have to deal with THIS, and WE do!” So the sole fact that I’m a black person who doesn’t have this experience shoots the message of there being some homogeneous black struggle where we all have to deal with this because we don’t have racial privilege in the foot. What’s their argument going to be? Did some white privilege just rub off on me, and that’s why I never got in trouble?

White privilege is being six times less likely to be arrested than black people.

Are you doing things that warrant getting arrested? I’m against arresting people for petty drug charges as much as the next guy, and that’s where the brunt of police profiling of black people goes. But that still doesn’t say much about the fact that black people are committing disproportionately more actual crimes like armed robbery and murder. I’m not going to die on the hill of “Let this guy who robbed someone at knifepoint go, because he’s black, and there are too many of those guys getting arrested!”

White privilege is your history being taught as a core part of the curriculum and mine being an elective.

I actually think the way the US teaches history is stupid, so I’d actually be inclined to agree with this. Not for the race-baity reason of “white privilege,” but just because it’s never made sense to divide up historical events by the race of the people who are contributing to them. Did you know that the fight for black civil rights was happening at the same time as McCarthyism and ‘Nam? I didn’t for an embarrassingly long time. American history books tend to be really shitty at putting things in a full historical context. They’re prone to making it seem like all of these events were single isolated moments where nothing else was happening, and that’s especially true of “black history” which doesn’t bother telling you the context of any of the shit you’re learning about. The rise of funk and soul had a very reciprocal relationship with the rise of rock n’ roll, for instance, but you’d never be told that. You’d just know that both of them happened.

So, yes, this is stupid, because dividing up history like it’s made up of individual isolated incidents that never interacted with each other is stupid and all of these “[insert race here] history” courses further promote that style of teaching. On the college side of things, though, this is the fault of POC, not racist white people. It’s POC who insisted that academia should begin catering more to ethnic groups and ethnic groups specifically, which is why you got entire departments dedicated solely to only talking about certain racial groups.

White privilege is having a history book that doesn’t start off with you being a slave or a barbaric savage.

Well, if you’re reading an American history book, what do you want? Africans were brought to the US as slaves. That’s how they got here. I’d be inclined to agree that history courses are incredibly one-sided on this topic because they never talk about how they became slaves to begin with, and they never talk about the fact that not all black people in the US were slaves. But, in general, that’s how black people showed up here. Do you want a history book that starts off talking about warring West African tribes that kept people from other groups as slaves, who they then sold to the white people who arrived as a means of resource trading? Would that make you feel better?

Also, what history book is depicting Native Americans as barbaric savages? I took lots of history classes in elementary, middle, and high school and every single one of them spent the first couple weeks talking almost exclusively about how much the Native Americans got screwed over by colonists. I didn’t know how political parties worked or what countries had colonies where, but I sure as fuck knew that the Trail of Tears was evil.

White privilege is being able to teach history only from the perspective of the colonizer.

Two of my assigned text books for Advanced Placement US History (a standardized-across-all-schools course) were one book that focused exclusively on Native American accounts of colonization and one book that focused on the African American perception of slavery and post-Civil War attitudes. Fail.

Also, white people aren’t the only ones who colonized shit. Just going to throw that out there. Hell, when the first batch of colonizers showed up on the coast, the Powhatan tribe just got done fighting a bloody land feud with multiple neighboring tribes, where they took over territory and made many women and children from those tribes slaves. African slaves were gained mainly through this same type of territorial feud where larger groups pushed in on the land of smaller ones in an attempt to take it and its resources over.

The thing is, I’d be okay with teaching a more rounded view of history. I’d prefer it, actually. I’m not a fan of the American exceptionalism you find in a good number of history text books that makes it seem like America is just awesome and amazing, and the Trail of Tears and slavery were sad moments on an otherwise spotlessly heroic and gentlemanly past of exploration and innovation. That being said, it seems like many liberals who fight for a reformation of US history textbooks want to go in the complete opposite direction where the colonists did nothing good or admirable a day in their fucking lives and everyone was evil and awful, look how bad we treated minorities. That also seems like a really wrong way to go about things.

On an off-note, these guys would fucking hate taking history classes in Japan. Fun fact: they don’t make it seem like everything was hunky-dory until evil Western colonizers showed up and ruined everything.

White privilege is getting lost at sea, thinking your going to India, winding up somewhere that’s already inhabited, and still get credit for discovering it.

Well, he did discover it as far as Europe was concerned. No one else from where he was had been there before. I’m just going to apply your standards to something totally mundane to show you how stupid this point is. I’ve started listening to the goth metal band Ghost recently. I had no idea that band existed. I’d never heard a song by them. I’d never seen a picture of their album cover in passing. I had absolutely no knowledge of them whatsoever. I was looking for a song by another band that I already knew about when I stumbled across them on accident.  So, according to these guys, because Square Hammer by Ghost had already been viewed a couple million times before I stumbled across it, I didn’t discover it. I introduced my friend to this band, but he cannot say, “My friend found this band and told me about it,” because other people already knew Ghost existed.

What.

White privilege is the fact that anything you didn’t know about is a new discovery as soon as you notice it.

Japanese privilege is the Japanese aristocracy introducing Dutch Studies to its universities like a new thing they just discovered even though the Dutch had those studies first. The bastards.

White privilege is when you can ask for equality and not be considered a hate group.

Who are you talking about? Black Lives Matter? The media and left-wing darling that can’t do a thing wrong as far as they’re concerned, to the point where they’ll edit footage to make it seem more peaceful than it is? The group that is in no way classified as a hate group by any reputable source? Yes, there are individuals who think it’s a hate group. I sometimes think it’s a hate group depended what offshoot of it we’re talking about. Oh no, people think things about a group you like, that you don’t agree with! Privilege!

Also, antifa is a mostly white group that protests racism, and they’re getting a pretty cold reception in the mainstream. Just so you know.

Also, having a hate group like the KKK be listed as a non-violent Christian organization and not have the rest of your race be labeled as terrorists.

The KKK is listed as a non-violent Christian group because that is what the KKK is at this point. If they were still lynching people in the street on the regular, they’d be acknowledged as violent. But they aren’t. The KKK is a half-dead organization gasping out its final breaths as humanity is dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century. I live in a town where the KKK holds rallies and stands on street corners asking for donations every now and again, and people laugh at them. I gave the KKK a few bucks once, because they are a joke. The police presence at their rallies is to protect them from people who would otherwise harm them.

When ISIS starts being a joke, when open members of ISIS are begging on street corners for monetary support, and they have to get the local authorities to protect them from the violence of people who don’t tolerate their hate mongering, when the religion behind ISIS stops violently manifesting its laws and oppressing huge swaths of people. When that is the case, you can make this comparison. Until then, this comparison is garbage.

White privilege is not having your application thrown out because your name is weird. White privilege is when everything that is not regular or common to your race is weird!

Are you talking about the job application thing? You want to talk about the college application process where applicants with Asian names are put on the bottom of the pile because they have too many impressive Asians, and blacks/Latinos are put at the top? Applications suck. There should be blind hiring and blind college acceptance where you don’t know the name, race, or gender of the applicant until you’ve already decided whether or not you want to give them the time of day. Until then, these kinds of unfair things will happen. But if we do that, how will we give priority hiring and acceptance to black people in order to fill our affirmative action quota? These are the important questions. Also, on an off note, I wouldn’t hire someone named Sholodanay either. Call me racist all you want. I don’t care.

On the second point, how is this a “white” thing? People thinking that things that come from other groups is weird isn’t new and it isn’t unique to white people. My black classmates thought I was weird because I watched anime. My white mom thinks I’m weird because I like anime. My Japanese host sibling thinks English is stupid and doesn’t sound like a real language. My white friend with curly red hair was seen as weird by other white people because that color and type of hair is relatively rare. My school had a white Russian exchange student, and everybody thought his Russian name was weird. We also had an African speaker come to a black conference I went to in high school and everyone there, all black kids, thought that her African name was weird. How is this a white people thing?!

 White privilege is being able to walk into a church, kill eight people, and be walked out by police and taken to Burger King.

Is white privilege also killing yourself to avoid getting arrested? Because that’s what happens in the case of the majority of mass shooters. The second most likely occurrence is that they get gunned down by the cops. A mass shooter making it out of a mass shooting is exceedingly rare, and using one example of some racist white kid not getting killed by the cops as if it offsets the overwhelming majority of other examples where the shooter gets gunned right the fuck down either by himself or others, is disingenuous. What, do you think it’s because he killed some black folks, so the racist cops decided to go easy on him? Do you have any proof of that whatsoever? Because if you don’t, that’s just what you think happened with your Everything is Racist lens, and it’s just as likely a reason for why he got out alive as any other reason I can pull out of my ass to explain it. The Burger King part is weird, though. I’ll take your word for it and assume it happened, but weirder things have happened.

White privilege is having the cool stuff your ancestors did be talked about every other month, while my ancestors only get one month.

You do realize that Black History Month is something asked for by black people, right? Just throwing that out there. I’ve already talked about how this is stupid. Here’s a question, though: If we expand our cultural and historical breadth, can we talk about the shitty things black people have done, too? Can we talk about how Africa has an award for leaders who actually step down when it’s their time to without becoming violent dictators? Can we talk about that, or do you just want to talk about the cool, awesome things? If white people have to own all the shitty things their ancestors have done, black people have to do the same thing.

White privilege means you won’t be told to go back to your country.

Tell that to the Polish people who live literally anywhere other than Poland. Europe hates them for some reason.

This mentality confuses me, because black people seem very, very intent on seeing themselves a one collective group. The things individual black people accomplished in the past are the accomplishments of all black people through all time. The suffering of black people in the past is the suffering of all black people through all time. A black scientist is a win for black people. A black novelist is the voice of black people. Black people can be represented by other black people interchangeably because we all want and experience the same things. But Africa is not our country. If you tell us that, you’re being racist.

*long rant about how manifest destiny killed lots of people and about how Mt. Rushmore is bad because it glorifies bad people* You’re never called a terrorist, or a war mongering murder, or a psychopath and are glorified as a founding father who did something courageous and beautiful.

Aren’t you calling them out as terrorists right now? Once again, millions of people have seen, shared, and agreed with this video you’re making. It’s not like this is a rare opinion to have in this day and age. You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who a.) knows about the Mexican-American War and b.) thinks it’s something other than a morally awful clusterfuck. You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t acknowledge Andrew Jackson as being fucking crazy, even if they like him.

Were the founding fathers perfect people? Hell no. They definitely aren’t perfect by our 21st century standards. But this hearkens back to the point I was making before about how people of this mentality seem to approach the topic of American history from the most negative stance humanly possible where they want nothing good said about anyone. One of the people on Mt. Rushmore is Abraham Lincoln for fuck’s sake, but apparently he’s just a war mongering murderer who did nothing courageous or admirable whatsoever. Yes, Thomas Jefferson had slaves, but he also penned one of the most important and influential documents in known history that upheld a standard of democracy and personal liberty that stands up as a standard for human rights to this day. Yes, Polk was war hungry and more than a little bit insane, but he also achieved the goal of making and successfully governing over a huge country that stretched from coast to coast during a time when maintaining the integrity of a country the size of Maine was exceedingly difficult.

And, yes, before you go on a rant, I’d be more than willing to acknowledge the good points of questionable, non-white historical figures as well. That also means acknowledging their bad points, though, which I’m not sure these guys want to do. Malcolm X was just a down-home, admirable freedom-fighter!

 *talks about indentured servants in America, who were usually white, and who were made more promises of freedom and land than black slaves*

Good thing they bypassed the fact that the typical way of dealing with an indentured servant was either to a.) work/starve them to death before you had to make good on the promise of letting them go and giving them land or b.) keep tacking expenses onto their indentured servitude so that they remained an indentured servant far past the initial number of years they agreed to or, at best, were set free only to owe a crippling amount of debt that led to them working for the same person for free afterwards, kind of like a slave. This isn’t me saying that indentured servitude was better or worse than slavery, but their attempt to downplay the fact that it was slavery under another name is actually really insulting. Fuck all the people who suffered under that systematically oppressive system! Were they called slaves? Nope. Check mate! Black people win the victim games again! White people were never oppressed! Only us.

*talks about the 200+ years of chattel slavery and how obviously awful it and its rule set was*

No one is arguing that slavery didn’t suck. No one thinks that it was some grand ole time. Even the stupid people who say stuff along the lines of “black people should be thankful for slavery because that’s how they wound up in America” don’t harbor any illusion about slavery somehow being a pleasant thing. This is what conversations about white privilege always–and I mean always–boil down to: slavery and how bad it was. And if you have any trace of a dissenting opinion left in you, they accuse you of not acknowledging how bad American slavery was. “But slavery” is their ace-in-the-hole argument to win any debate.

You want to talk about crime rates in mostly-black communities? But slavery.

You don’t think having the occasional awkward conversation is a sign of living in a systematically oppressive society? But slavery.

You think white privilege is a stupid idea that demonizes white people for the sins of their fathers? But slavery.

And, of course, we’re not going to acknowledge the slavery that happened anywhere else in the world. We’re not even going to acknowledge the other races that were enslaved in America. Black people were slaves once, and it is what’s to blame for literally every even slightly bad thing that has happened, is happening, or will happen in the future to a black person. That’s all you need to know. And if you want to talk about anything any more than that, you just don’t understand how bad slavery was, probably because the existence of slavery hundreds of years ago made you racist.

This argument actually angers me because black American people act like they have a fucking monopoly on being horribly enslaved and that white people have a monopoly on enslaving people. Slavery is such a big deal! It’s such a big deal that we’re going to treat the enslavement of Africans in the US hundreds of years ago like it’s a still-open wound pulsating puss and blood everywhere, a gash on the country’s anatomy that will never come close to scabbing over, that will always drain the black community of its life blood until the end of time . . . and conveniently never mention the fact that slavery is still a thing now and that it’s worse than it’s ever been.

When anyone in America talks about slavery and how awful it is, and how horrendous it is, and oh how much it’s ruined the potential of everyone involved, it’s always about African slavery that ended hundreds of years ago. You’ll never hear them talk about the the thousands of children kidnapped in rural Africa to become slaves in lethally dangerous mines and quarries, lucky to live into adulthood. You’ll never hear them talk about the kidnapped children who are repeatedly raped, physically mutilated, and indoctrinated into becoming child brides or child soldiers. You’ll never hear them talk about the Eastern European and South American women who are abducted by the hundreds of thousands to be made into drugged-out sex slaves. You’ll never hear them talk about the South Asian immigrants who go to the Gulf and have their passports stolen by the Saudi government, where they are then forced to be the slave labor behind Saudi Arabia’s lavish upper class areas. You’ll never hear them talk about the slaves all over the Middle East who are used by insurgent groups to go out and see if there are landmines anywhere. You’ll never hear about Romani people being enslaved and given no legal means of acting against those who harm them because of their statelessness. You’ll never hear about the North Korean camps where the families of those who commit even the slightest amount of political dissent are imprisoned and worked to death without pay for three generations. You’ll never hear about the sex slaves in Thailand who are often genitally mutilated after being bought.

But you will hear about how bad it was that black people in America were slaves once. I’m sure the guys making this video, living a comfortable first-world life in one of the most developed and politically free countries in the fucking world, selling merch on the internet to their sizable fanbase that loves to hear them talk about how bad they have it, can really relate on a deep, personal level to all of those people I listed above. After all, their [insert however many greats] grandfather was probably a slave.

From that time on, to be white, even to be poor and white, meant getting some kinds of preferential treatment.

Like what? If we lived in Jim Crow era Alabama, you’d have a point. What’s going on now? Are those examples you gave in the beginning of the video all you have to work with? Because those are pretty weak.

This is not said to make white people feel guilty about their privilege. It’s not your fault that you were born white-skinned, and I get it: You’re not your ancestors. But, whether you realize it or not, you do benefit from it and it is your fault if you do not maintain awareness of that fact.

 I don’t even know what “maintain awareness” means. What can it mean besides, “feel guilty”? I’m honestly asking this. What would this “awareness” entail other than a white person seeing a black guy on the street and consciously reminding themself, “Remember, that black guy has it worse than you, so try not to make his life even worse with your existence. He’s had a hard time.” What do you want them to do? Really? What? Do you want them to decline a promotion they get at the office and pass their boss a note telling them to take a look at Tyrone for the position instead? Do you want them to pay reparations? I guess I already know you want them to institute quotas.

So there’s one thing that I know you want done, and it’s fucking stupid. You’re not making your case.

What Exactly is White Privilege?

Hey, guys! Hope you all had a wonderful, joy filled winter-time holiday of your preference. So, for my last post of the year 2016, I decided to go back to my roots and write a general think piece. Today, I’m going to focus on the concept of privilege and why I think it has, like many other words, been ruined as a term.

Leftists, particularly of the Marxist-inspired progressive variety, have a real issue when it comes to the application of terms, mainly because social Marxism is a very uncompromising world view. There are oppressed classes and there are oppressor classes, and things have to fit into that mold, otherwise the theory doesn’t really work. Even when this world view is applied strictly to economic class–where the poor are the oppressed and the rich are the oppressors–it runs into the occasional road block. The late 20th century gave way to an even more expansive application of this mentality, however, where the oppressor/oppressed paradigm did not apply only to money but to things like gender and race. The oppressed proletariat wasn’t just poor people anymore: It was women and racial minorities. And the oppressive group-in-power wasn’t just the rich: It was men and white people. This isn’t necessarily a rare thing. Malcolm X was very open about deriving his views of race from Communists theories about oppression, for example. It didn’t become a mainstream view of racial and gender relations, though, until much later.

This is where the concept of privilege cropped up. It’s not an inherently useless term. To say that privilege doesn’t exist is just downright wrong, and obviously so. Trust fund kids are privileged. Not knowing the horrors of living in a war torn desert wasteland is a privilege. Your biggest problem being forgetting your iPhone charger and having to go the day without checking Facebook is a privilege.

The initial idea behind privilege wasn’t even all that objectionable. At it’s core, it meant that Person A has different life experiences than Person B, with each of them facing their own unique set of problems that the other likely has the privilege of not having to deal with as often. You can raise gripes about this, but it is not overly objectionable. Nowhere in the explanation does it state that Person A or Person B has more problems or more privileges than the other, it just states that they have different ones. Where leftist groups started going off the rails is when they took that initial idea that “different people have different problems and different privileges” and turned it into “this group has all the problems and none of the privileges, and it’s that group’s fault.”

It is here that privilege goes off the rails and veers into meaninglessness, in my opinion. I stated before that the left has trouble with the application of terms, and “privilege” is a prime example of that. The trouble arises because the Marxist mentality favors blanket statements, applied to entire groups. It’s not something overly concerned with nuances. This leads to modern-day progressives having no real gradient in their application of terms. No real means of saying “A is worse than B which is worse than C.” They have a habit of grouping A, B, and C together under the exact same term and leaving it at that, as if they’re all commensurate to each other.

We’ve seen this happen with “misogyny:” killing women for not going on a date with you is misogynistic, but so is catcalling, and so is air conditioning at the office, and so is toilet paper, and so is a subway poster for a gym, and so is this package of string cheese, and so is this doll, and so are Disney movies, and so are Halloween costumes, and on and on. We’ve seen it happen with “racism:” killing a black person because you hate niggers is racist, and so is saying you have black friends, and so is accidentally mispronouncing a name, and so is wearing your hair a certain way, and so is asking someone where they’re from, and so is wearing a style of clothing, and so is liking a certain kind of music. “Privilege” has fallen into this same trap.

Unlike “racism” and “misogyny,” however, “privilege” is a term that, in its current usage, actually entails this blanket generalization. There is no way to not overuse the term with its current connotation and usage in academia. “Privilege,” by their definition, is something applied to everyone who has a certain physical characteristic, across the board, no matter what. It is this application that lets a wealthy black entertainer say, “A homeless white man has more privilege than I ever will because he is white and I’m not.”

It is here that I have to ask how privilege is relevant enough to be worth talking about in any capacity, let alone be a main talking point on anyone’s list. This insistence on applying the term “privilege” to anyone and everyone who shares one physical characteristic has really shot the entire concept in the foot and rendered it useless. “Privilege” was supposed to be a term indicating that someone had it good where others typically didn’t. But with this blanket, universal application of it, “privilege” is no longer indicative of anything. It means nothing.

Chadley, the trust fund kid who grew up in the Palisades, went to Europe for summer vacation every year of his life, got a Maserati for his sweet 16th, went to Harvard not because his grades were good but because both his parents were legacies and they pulled some strings, and who got a job at Wall Street right after graduation has “white privilege.”

Darl, who lives in an ancient cinderblocked trailer in the middle of Appalachia, who uses cans of Coke for currency, who is missing half his teeth even though he’s not even 25 yet, doesn’t have more than a fifth grade education, and whose dying a slow death from lung cancer because the walls of his trailer are lined with asbestos, and who doesn’t even have access to a doctor to let him know that, let alone the money to pay for anything resembling a treatment for it also has “white privilege.”

Having “white privilege” is, at this point, in no way indicative of what someone’s actual life is like. It does not indicate the advantages or disadvantages they have. It doesn’t indicate what problems they are or are not faced with. It is just a strictly theoretical term arbitrarily applied to them. If you can have two people like Chadley and Darl–two people on the complete opposite extreme ends of the Quality of Life scale–and say that both of them have the same privileges by virtue of being white, then congratulations! “White privilege” is worthless! To quote The Incredibles: “If everyone is special, then no one is.” If every white person is privileged, then none of them are.

Chadley is without a doubt a privileged guy. The issue with calling it “white privilege” is that it implies that it’s a privilege that other white people have access to as well. I don’t know why this is necessary for me to point out: But if someone does not have a certain privilege . . . they don’t have it. Chadley has the privilege, and Darl patently does not. You’re not really talking about Darl when you talk about white people being the ones “in power.” But if white privilege is something that only matters when it actually manifests itself, why is it spoken about like it’s something that all white people have at all times? Are you starting to see why applying “privilege” to entire groups of people based off of a physical characteristic doesn’t make much sense to me?

Let’s say that white people have the privilege of not being abused by cops. I’m not saying that’s actually the case, but it’s a very frequent talking point used, so let’s just run with it. What about the white people who are abused by cops? Did their privilege just not check in for work that day? It’s really starting to sound like “privilege” just refers to how certain situations would conceivably play out hypothetically, with no regard for how they actually do play out for individuals. So the white guy has the privilege of not being abused by a cop in a hypothetical run-in with one, and if reality doesn’t mesh with that hypothetical situation . . . whatever. Privilege was still on his side, theoretically.

So is “privilege” just having . . . the potential capacity for things to possibly go better for you in certain situations, hypothetically? Because that is very vague and doesn’t do much to address the what-ifs. What if that white guy is a heroine addict too poor to even dream of affording an apartment? Does he still have the white privilege of not being a potential victim of housing discrimination? Is that a privilege he has because in another universe where he wasn’t a drug addled burn-out, he could look for an apartment without that issue? Why does that hypothetical, make-believe situation matter when that’s not how things actually are? Hypothetically, a black kid has more chances to get drafted into the NFL than his white cohorts. Does that mean that black kid has that privilege even if his knee is blown out and he’ll never walk again, but, hey, he could have possibly had it better than other people in this idealized, fake situation I just made up! Privilege!

Of course, that above example wouldn’t work very well: Using the same paradigm, even if that black kid was drafted in the NFL making millions of dollars a year to play a sport for a few months, he would still be considered the objectively more disadvantaged one compared to both Chadley and Darl. Once again, by virtue of skin color.

At this point, “privilege” seems like a blank check. And somewhere along the lines everyone forgot that checks are utterly worthless unless you have the means to actually cash them. But hey, Darl’s walking around with a blank check! Forget the fact that he knows no one who can sign it to give him money, doesn’t have a bank account, and isn’t literate enough to open one up. He has the check! In another world, he’d be able to cash it. And that’s all that matters, apparently.

Plus, ignoring all of that: constantly talking about white privilege is just a bad idea, and we’re starting to see the end result of it now. White nationalism is what happens when you start telling all white people, their life situation be damned to a.) see themselves as a united interest group and b.) shoulder the burden of what white people did in the past since they are now one collective group. White nationalism is what happens when white people start seeing race as an important factor in their lives and one that should dictate how people should be treated, or how their opinions should be regarded. All of this talk about how “white people have it good and need to acknowledge it,” in short, is making more problems than it is fixing.

This is anecdotal, but I don’t care: I am a dark-skinned woman from a poor background. That aforementioned poor background is one generously passed down from my white family. I am currently more financially and socially successful than most people in my family have ever been because I worked hard and went to a good college and did some networking and all that jazz. But apparently my white single mother suffering from depression and raising six boys on a paycheck barely above minimum wage has objectively more privilege than I do because her skin is paler than mine. So just on a personal level–without trying to delve into the actual logical inconsistencies–fuck off with that bullshit.

Privilege: Sometimes It’s Not the Devil You’re Advocating For

I’m not a fan of the word “privilege.” In some ideal world where arguments don’t happen, and confrontation doesn’t exist, and people only ever have the best, most benevolent intentions in mind, “privilege” would be a perfectly acceptable word. The term “check your privilege” would actually be helpful and informative. But in the real world, bringing up privilege is the intellectual’s way of shutting something down by telling someone else to STFU. “Privilege,” like “patriarchy” and “microagression” is just a buzzword. It’s a vacuous argument-ender less concerned with human empathy and constructive discussion and more concerned with making sure someone else feels bad for some unintentional, inherent transgression against some group of people you’re expected to pity on principle. You can say that that’s not what “privilege” is supposed to do, but you know that’s what it does–just like how a parent telling their socially awkward kid that they’re “special and unique” isn’t supposed to make them feel bad. But it does.

One of my main problems with liberal rhetoric is that it’s paradoxically separatist despite its insistence that humanity is one people and we should love each other and listen and blah blah blah, you’ve heard the spiel before. We’re all one people! Except when we’re talking about any social problem whatsoever, in which case, it’s totally an Us vs. Them scenario, with us not having to do anything because they need to learn. Because they are the ones who don’t get it. Even when they are on our side, they still need to be learned up good about how much they suck. And they should be proud if they do learn that, if they’re a good enough person to be willing to check their privilege and listen to the other voices for once. That’s why Cornel West (who I actually really like in certain other situations) can go in front of a lecture hall full of mainly white people and talk about how white people are still terrible and get a standing ovation.

Why am I talking about privilege? Why, because I’m going to respond to this article from feministing.com, of course, an article by the name of “An open letter to privileged people who play devil’s advocate.” Consider this an open letter to the open letter, then.

And remember, I’m a black woman, and the writer of this article looks white. So what I have to say is automatically fucking important.


 

Let’s begin!

You know who you are. You are that white guy in an Ethnic Studies class who’s exploring the idea that poor people might have babies to stay on welfare. Or some person arguing over drinks that maybe a lot of women do fake rape for attention. Or, recently, someone insisting that I consider the idea that Elliot Rodger could have been a madman and an anomaly, not at all a product of a white supremacist and misogynistic society.

 

Right out of the gate. Okay. I commend her for being upfront about it, at least. “Fuck white people with male genitalia. Fuck ’em!” I find it irritating that I have to say this and continue saying this in almost every social justice conversation I have: White men are human beings too, guys. I’m not going to sit here and whine about how people just won’t leave white guys alone. It’s like a Christian from Mississippi complaining about how he’s a victim of religious discrimination because a secular group got a billboard on the interstate. You’re not. You’re fine. Your got off easy as far as life is concerned. But at least the Mississippi Christian is complaining about a specific thing. The typical white man has it pretty okay, but that’s no reason to treat the group as whipping boys for everything just by default. That’s just not fair. Should I be the go-to whipping gal for race issues because I’m high yellow instead of dark-skinned and high yellow people back in the day were dicks? It’s funny how people who play the devil’s advocate are apparently never anything other than white men–because I never talk about unpopular opinions, amiright?

Not to mention the fact that those are indeed things that happen. Some poor people do have babies to stay on welfare (or have babies because they’re already on welfare), so women do cry wolf about sexual assault, and I’m not even going to talk about Elliot Roger (But seriously, he’s not even an anomaly according to you? Do people go on killing sprees all the time where you live?). So is just mentioning that humanity isn’t perfect–that not all poor people are trodden-upon angels and that not all women are victims–bad? Are we just supposed to act like X Group has never done anything wrong ever because Y Group was mean to them at one point in time and may or may not still be mean to them now? That’s dumb. What kind of constructive conversation are you having where bringing up actual issues is looked down upon? I have less than $3000 in my bank account and have the most money out of everyone in my entire immediate family; I’m in school on scholarship. I can acknowledge that some poor people are dicks. Why can’t she?

How is anything you say going to be in any way helpful if you aren’t even willing to address the full picture? How are we supposed to help the poor when people like you aren’t willing to acknowledge that some poor people take advantage of our faulty welfare system? The existence of opportunistic bastards is something that would need to be taken into account while trying to come up with an actual constructive way to deal with the problem. But I guess I’ve already talked about how you don’t actual want to deal with problems, you just want to complain about them.

Most of the time, it’s clear that you actually believe the arguments you claim to have just for the heck of it. However, you know that these beliefs are unpopular, largely because they make you sound selfish and privileged, so you blame them on the “devil.” Here’s the thing: the devil doesn’t need any more advocates. He’s got plenty of power without you helping him.

So all the people who try to provide a contrary voice aren’t just doing it to facilitate conversation but because they actually are just jackasses on the inside? Okay, no bias there. It’s not like contrarian jerk-offs don’t exist. There are argumentative pricks in the world who just want to make other people mad by talking about an obviously terrible idea like it has some level of credence. But I highly doubt that that’s a description that can be applied to all devil’s advocates. I’m sure some of them actually do want to facilitate conversation and don’t actually believe or support the points they’re arguing. But if the points like the ones you brought up are what you label as “bad,” I don’t even see anything wrong with believing them. Those are legitimate things that should be brought up when talking about those topics. Believing that reality is the way it is apparently makes you a devil’s advocate by default and also an asshole. Pointing out that the world isn’t a black-and-white 1940’s propaganda cartoon with obvious good guys who can do no wrong and obvious bad guys who do nothing but wrong makes you the devil’s advocate now.

How is blaming anything on “the devil” any different than blaming something on “culture?” Both of them are vague and unhelpful and only serve to be ominous and pessimistic. Does she even understand what “playing the devil’s advocate” means? It’s about trying to empathize with a point you don’t agree with, which means the assholes she talks about who secretly hate poor people wouldn’t even technically be devils’s advocates. “The Devil” isn’t even always something inherently bad. It can be, but not always. I once wrote an entire op-ed article (that I won’t link to simply because my college shall remain anonymous) defending a couple who didn’t want to take pictures at a gay wedding and trying to explicate their reasoning not because I agreed with them but just because I’m against the idea of utterly demonizing people who you disagree with, even if the disagreement is something huge.

I’m still just really hung up on what she thinks being the devil’s advocate entails. If she would have just not listed examples of “unacceptably privileged behavior,” I would have liked this article way more. But she listed them, so I’m harping on them. “He’s got plenty of power without you helping him.” What does that mean? There are assholes who really do not get it and shouldn’t be talking–Glenn Beck talking about how poor people are just lazy bums who don’t want to pull themselves up by their bootstraps or Fox News watchers claiming that Elliot Roger wasn’t misogynistic just gay. But that doesn’t mean that the general sentiment that they’re failing to get across with anything resembling intelligence is wrong and has no merit. Idiotic people like that existing actually calls for the existence of a devil’s advocate, because idiots who just hate poor people contribute about as much to the conversation as people like this girl who want to treat poor people like faultless angels. Devil’s advocates bring nuance to a goddamn conversation. Is nuance the enemy now? Is trying to be realistic just playing into the Bad Man’s hands?

Once again, I know there are people who claim to be a devil’s advocate just to justify being a dick, but how does that apply to all instances of it? Does this girl write off all people who try to look at it from another perspective that she doesn’t like, or just privileged white guys?

 

These discussions may feel like “playing” to you, but to many people in the room, it’s their lives you are “playing” with. The reason it feels like a game to you is because these are issues that probably do not directly affect you. It doesn’t matter whether most mass shootings are targeted at women who rejected the gunman if you are a man – though it should, since misogyny kills men too. If you are white, it doesn’t matter whether people of color are being racially profiled or not. You can attach puppet strings to dialogues about real issues because at the end of the day, you can walk away from the tangled mess you’ve exacerbated.

 

This girl gives no fucks about “real issues.” She cares all about the pathos and not at all about the logos. She’s trying to be empathetic. She’s trying to be nice and understanding. I get it. I can even appreciate how her heart bleeds for those less fortunate than her. She’s probably a very nice girl, and she clearly cares. But she’s not being helpful. This kind of extreme empathy does as much good as the extreme apathy that she’s trying to fight against. I’m all for feelings–I’m a writer for heaven’s sake, feelings are my bread and butter. But you can’t just run into social issues gun ho’ with nothing but feelings. Overcompensating for past hurts done to a group of people by holding their hands and insisting that no one should be allowed to hurt their feelings anymore doesn’t help them. It just makes them feel good. And holding their hands makes her feel good. But that’s all it does. You have to have reason and logic and constructive ideas, not just vague calls to action for ending whatever -ism you don’t like. If the devil’s advocates are just “playing with” an idea, so is she. How many of these issues directly affect her, I wonder. And just because some people don’t look at it from such an emotional place, that doesn’t mean they’re helping out the Devil.

What would she have them do? If they’re just attaching puppet strings to a conversation about something that doesn’t affect them, what can they do to fix that? What can they do to prove that they aren’t bad people who don’t care because they’re not capable of human empathy apparently? Maybe she’ll get to that later.

To be fair, there are many privileged devil’s advocates out there who are truly trying to figure things out. I know people who think best out loud, throwing ideas at me to see which sticks to their “friendly neighborhood feminist.” Your kind like to come at a concept from every angle before deciding what you think. You ask those of us who are knowledgeable on the subject to explain it to you again and again because in this world it is harder for you to believe that maybe the deck is stacked in your favor than to think of us as lazy, whining, or liars.

Alrighty, at least she acknowledged that not all devil’s advocates are secret hell spawns just looking for opportunities to flout their privilege in people’s faces. But this isn’t much better. How condescending can you be? She’s treating these people like small curious children whose lust for life and asking questions is cute but still bad because it’s not sensitive enough, like a three-year-old asking a fat woman if she’s having a baby. And I’ll get to the “knowledgeable” thing and the idea of life as a game of cards once I summarize my thoughts on this. The idea of people having a difficult time making attributions about life is tied into the just world hypothesis (thinking that the world is fair and that people have the life that they deserve) and fundamental mis-attribution (blaming someone’s actions totally on their personal disposition instead of the circumstances that they’re in). And it’s something that everyone naturally indulges in, not just “privileged” people.

It is physically and emotionally draining to be called upon to prove that these systems of power exist. For many of us, just struggling against them is enough — now you want us to break them down for you? Imagine having weights tied to your feet and a gag around your mouth, and then being asked to explain why you think you are at an unfair disadvantage. Imagine watching a video where a young man promises to kill women who chose not to sleep with him and then being forced to engage with the idea that maybe you are just a hysterical feminist seeing misogyny where there is none. It is incredibly painful to feel that in order for you to care about my safety, I have to win this verbal contest you have constructed “for fun.”

 

Okay, either you want people to listen to you, or you don’t. If no one asked about the the disadvantaged person’s perspective in Ethnic Studies class, I’m quite sure she’d be complaining about how “the underprivileged voice is marginalized in spaces where it should be safe to give voice to their grievances” or something like that. This is something that really irritates me. Social justice warriors are constantly talking about how straight white people need to let the minorities speak up: they set up progressive stacks that make it impossible for “privileged” people to talk until all the minorities have had their turn, they constantly talk about how people need to STFU and listen to them if we ever want this terrible -ism to go away. But then they go around and bite the heads off of people who do what they asked because they’re “forcing people to represent and be the voice of the group of people they belong to.” Either their individual opinion provides insight into the minority voice and should be heard and regarded that way, or it doesn’t and it should just be treated like another opinion. If it’s just another personal, individual opinion that represents no one but the person who holds it, what makes that any different than the privileged kids’ opinions? What, the minority kids don’t represent their entire group with their opinions, but the privileged kids’ opinions are indicative of their entire culture? How does that work?

I personally think it’s unrealistic to describe the “underprivileged” experience as having “weights tied to your feet and a gag in your mouth.” You just have a different hand of cards. Once again, this is coming at the conversation from nothing but an emotional standpoint. How are the people who “just don’t get it” ever supposed to live up to your standards if not asking is marginalizing and asking is insensitive? You can’t have your cake and eat it too. People aren’t just going to magically understand your plight if you don’t put forth effort into helping them. It’s a two way street. It takes two to tango. All the other metaphors. It’s not just their job to understand while you sit at the sidelines adding nothing. if you chose the life of a social justice educator, you have to be a social justice educator.

 

So dearest devil’s advocates: speak for yourself, not for the “devil.” Teach yourself. Consider that people have been advocating for your cause for centuries, so take a seat. It’s our time to be heard.Some might challenge that I am shutting myself off to new ideas and censoring important opportunities for growth. But these ideas you are forcing me to consider are not new. They stem from centuries of inequality and your desperate desire to keep them relevant is based in the fact that you benefit from their existence. Let it go. You did NOT come up with these racist, misogynistic theories. We’ve heard them before and we are f*cking tired of being asked to consider them, just one. more. time.

I’m sure plenty of them are speaking for themselves. Once again, bringing up legitimate problems doesn’t make you an insensitive bastard. Then there’s more of this Us vs. Them. “It’s our time to be heard.” I’m all for letting people speak their minds and have their opinion be heard, especially if they have had an experience that let’s them bring something else to the table. But giving voice to other people shouldn’t come at the expense of taking it away from someone else. Opinions aren’t a limited resource. And yes, you are shutting yourself off because you are arbitrarily deciding who has something of worth to say. You’re arbitrarily telling some people to STFU, just because people who looked a bit like them have hogged the mic in the past.

Who are you to say that nothing they have to say is worth hearing? Daniel Dennet and Bill Gates and Chris Hitchens and Neil Gaiman? They’re all white guys, they don’t have anything useful to bring to the conversation. Nothing they’ve said is new or interesting or insightful. But that random black chick off the street who lives with her parents and refuses to get a job has all the relevant stuff to say, because she’s black and a woman. The merit of opinion is individual. It depends on background, but also on introspection and disposition that you have no way of assessing from the outside. You can’t just make assumptions about a person based upon fill-in-the-blank demographic information. And that’s what all this talk of “privilege” does. It makes assumptions, ironically reflecting the mentality that it’s trying to fight against.

If that was an accurate way of viewing the world, Bill Gates would suck as a person and Wiz Kalifah would be the utmost voice of wisdom. Obviously, that’s not the case.


 

I’m going to repeat something from that last paragraph:

They stem from centuries of inequality and your desperate desire to keep them relevant is based in the fact that you benefit from their existence. Let it go. You did NOT come up with these racist, misogynistic theories.

Is this girl a behaviorist? She’s acting like cognition isn’t a thing, like a person’s actions and thoughts are dependent entirely upon the environment they were raised in and absolutely nothing else. How the hell does she know where and how people got the opinions that they have? Once again, pointing out that minority groups can *gasp* do wrong sometimes doesn’t mean that their opinion is based in white male privilege. And I doubt any of them are making the claim that they came up with a new theory on social relations, but nothing this girl is saying is new or original either, so that’s obviously not an indication of the quality or validity of an idea.

I’d like to ask a question: What makes an underprivileged person more knowledgeable? This entire idea runs on that one questionable premise. They have experiences that another person might not have, but what about that indicates that they’d have anything intelligent to say? Old people have more experience, but I’ve met plenty of sixty-year-olds who were utter morons. Having an experience is not commensurate with having something to say. For all their talk about how the Magic Negro trope is racist, a lot of liberals seem to ascribe to the idea that all black people just inherently have insightful ideas about life.

Some black people are idiots. Some gay people are idiots. Some disabled people are idiots. Some women are idiots. Some transgender pansexual bi-racial depressed people in wheelchairs are idiots. And yes, some white men are idiots too. Let’s say there’s a Latino woman who has spent her entire life living in her parents’ basement, failing online community college, mooching off of her parents’ goodwill, and getting knocked up by her deadbeat boyfriend just to convince her mom not to kick her out because working in fast food is lame and she doesn’t want to do it. Let’s say there’s white guy who specializes in America’s relationship with Mexico and has written multiple books on the subject. When it comes to asking about race relations between Mexican immigrants and Texan business owners, I’m going to trust the opinion of the white guy. If you switch the character profiles around, I’d trust the opinion of the Latina. It’s not reasonable to say that one of them should hold precedence over the other solely because white guys were dicks in the past yada yada yada. If you truly value equality, you’d stop focusing so much on what background information makes a person’s opinion less valid and start focusing on their actual opinion.

Sometimes a privileged person has a lot of useful things to say. Telling someone to shut the fuck up because they’re wrong, and you’re right, and they should listen to you, because their opinion is dumb by default, because you know so much better than them, because you went to college and/or you’re {insert minority group here} does nothing to help. It doesn’t build understanding. It doesn’t fix any problems. It just makes you feel good because you got to tell someone who you arbitrarily decided was the Them in the Us vs. Them situation to STFU. Making someone a representative of the group of people who you don’t like and then making that person feel bad is cathartic, but don’t act like it’s useful.


It’s not like privilege doesn’t exist, but why is that a bad thing? It kind of just seems to me like something neutral. The way the world works. Some people are born into good situations and some people are born into not so good ones. Lamenting that fact does nothing. Making the people who just so happened to have an okay life feel bad about it does nothing. Trying to “fix” the people with privilege isn’t going to help. You’ve got to focus on the ones who could use a leg-up.

How about the life as a game of cards metaphor? Everyone has a different hand, and it’s random. No one chose what hand they got. There are good hands and bad hands and ones in between. There’s really no point in complaining about it–the game has started and there’s no going back. The person with the bad hand doesn’t have everyone lay down their cards so they can see who has the best then insist that the people with good cards go easy on everyone else or else get kicked out of the game. Keeping that rule up just slows the game down for everyone. In the end of the day, you have to play with the cards you’ve been dealt. A bad hand doesn’t automatically mean you’re going to lose, and a good hand doesn’t automatically mean you’re going to win. It all just depends on how well you’re able to play the game. Some make the best out of the cards they’ve been dealt, and some don’t. Some can’t because they were never taught how to. The best we can do is teach everyone how to play poker and make sure no one cheats.