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Privileged Conversation

Me: So, checking my privilege means that I have to acknowledge that I have an unfair advantage in society as a white straight male and I should do something about it. Right? What should I do? I don’t understand how I’m supposed to undo something that was never under my control.

Patty: When someone asks you to “check your privilege,” what they’re really asking you to do is to reflect on the ways that your social status might have given you an advantage, even if you didn’t ask for it or earn it, while their social status might have given them a disadvantage. That’s all.

Me: Most times I’ve heard the statement on youtube, like with the protest coverage, it’s been immediately followed by “do something about it”.

Mel: About 99% of the time my “privilege” comes up, someone is already losing a debate and they need me to shut up quickly. If they had a really good point and were winning, then they won’t bring “privilege” up. Once the “privilege” trump card is played, white men are ordered to shut up and take instructions on how they could be less sucky. That’s the way it plays out in the Bay Area here. (Usually the person trying to get me to shut up makes about four times what I do, which makes it even weirder.)

Me: Orwellian.

Mr S: When you’re told to check your privilege, they are just trying to shame you, plain and simple. They’re not trying to change anything, or make things better, all they are doing is following their programming, and driving the wedge deeper between anyone they can. Division is killing us and the people causing it are wrapped in their own self absorbed mantle of heroism, as though they could affect change. Only the gullible and foolish believe they can make a difference without proof.

 

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