Privilege?

So I read this story about another sociology professor trying to indoctrinate students into the notion of “White Privilege.” Notice the checklist:

whiteprivilegechecklist
I don’t have time to dissect each claim, but if you read through them all, you’ll notice a common theme among many – living among the majority is considered as “privilege.” Take item # 1 and #20, for example. If we want to insist that examples like these (and #3, and #4, and #5, and #6, etc.) illustrate “White Privilege,” why be so parochial about it? Instead, think globally. Using the same logic of such items, we would say that just as there is white privilege in America, there is Asian privilege in China, Hispanic privilege in Ecuador, and Muslim privilege in Kuwait. In other words, this is really just “majority privilege” and it is kind of nonsensical to think that it is a “privilege” to be among the majority. Instead, it would just be a brute, demographic fact. And such types of facts are universal around the globe as long as any nation is made up of some ethnic majority. And since such privilege is a universal feature of our planet, why single out the USA as if there is some special problem?

As for “other types of privilege,” me thinks I need to repost one of my more popular blog entries of the year , the one about secular privilege.  Maybe some college student out there might find it handy. 🙂

 

 

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20 Responses to Privilege?

  1. Bilbo says:

    Understanding white privilege is really easy. All you have to do is imagine that the protest at Charlotesville wasn’t conducted by neo-Nazis, KKK members, and white supremacists, many of them armed with semi-automatic weapons. Instead, imagine that it was conducted by Black Lives Matters, many of them also armed with semi-automatic weapons. If you don’t see the ensuing blood bath and the amount of armed violence that would have confronted the black protestors, then your imagination is being very dishonest.

    And there wouldn’t have been an outcry from Trump against the people who had been shooting against the black protestors. He would just be demanding more law and order against those radical black elements in society.

  2. hikayamasan353 says:

    I think that diversity enforcement might be a solution, albeit a very radical one. While being in a university I enjoyed talking to foreigners (blacks and Arabs) more than to locals. And I am happy that I am living in a world with diverse races. I might be even happier to live on a space station with aliens of different species. That’s why I love Mass Effect and Star Trek.

  3. pennywit says:

    There is certainly a level of racial privilege in the United States, although this list covers a lot of piddling stuff.

  4. Kevin says:

    Bilbo: “If you don’t see the ensuing blood bath and the amount of armed violence that would have confronted the black protestors, then your imagination is being very dishonest.”

    Evidence? Because every time I see BLM protesters rioting and attacking police and destroying property, I don’t see them getting gunned down. While I don’t know everything, what I do know tells me my imagination conforms with the evidence.

  5. Kevin says:

    Pennywit,

    Yes that is the major problem with that list. One of my favorite shows growing up was Family Matters, where there were zero white characters of any importance, and it didn’t bother me one bit. I don’t understand why one has to have representation in a stupid TV show to not be a victim of racism.

    The problem with “white privilege” is that its definition is too nebulous to have clearly identifiable boundaries, so anything and everything can be declared to be “white privilege” (teaching correct grammar is now white privilege, for example), yet the definition is so nebulous that there are also zero offered solutions. Is it really being a non-racist culture to have to calculate how many characters of each race there must be in a TV show based on demographic percentages? Do we have to have history teach about autistic (sorry, neurodiverse) black colorblind obese transgender women in order to ensure demographic checkboxes are being marked to combat bigotry? Rational thought would seem to disagree.

  6. stcordova says:

    Being privileged isn’t a sin, it is a blessing. Treating people who are blessed with more than you with contempt is a violation of God’s law. It is a sin however for privileged people not to care for the underprivileged. But it is more a sin for left-wingers to demonize people merely because they are blessed and thus justify wrongful treatment of innocent people.

    Being male gives one privilege and underprivelged. I.e. he is generally taller, heavier and stronger physically. He will more likely be qualified to be a firefighter. There is no sin in that. It is a sin for left wingers to insinuate the inequality is due to the moral failings of society.

    Being white is not a sin. Treating whites with contempt merely because they are more affluent is a sin.

    It is wrong for Asians to be discriminated against in university entrance because they aren’t black. Same goes for treatment of whites.

    Left wingery is rooted in violations of God’s law: “thou shalt not covet”. It seeks to go against what Jesus prophesied: “the poor you have with you always.” That is because we live in a fallen world, but for those who believe in Jesus, Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor”. Thus in the scheme of things, Jesus will redeem the poor.

    It is the responsibility of those who have to take care of the poor. However, it is wrong to demonize those who are privileged merely because they are privileged.

  7. pennywit says:

    One of my favorite shows growing up was Family Matters

    Oh, come on. That was an awful show.

  8. TFBW says:

    @Bilbo: your appeal to counter-factual thought experiments and their imagined outcomes tells us more about you than it does about reality at large, I’m afraid.

    The White Privilege Checklist strikes me as similar, in fact: it tells us more about the person who wrote it than anything else. It’s an obsessive collection of possible minor advantages to being a member of a racial majority (not specifically white), viewed though a lens of race-obsession with a particularly anti-white tinge. I’m sure all of these things are super-important when viewed through such a distorted lens, but normal people shrug and say “so what” to most of them. Some are framed in a “have you stopped beating your wife” kind of way and have to be called out rather than shrugged off. Three cheers for rhetorical traps.

    This is “microaggressions” all over again: blow insignificant non-problems up out of all proportion, promote hyper-sensitivity about it, and then wail about all the offence and injustice. It’s an imaginary problem, best solved by denying it. My heartfelt thanks goes to those intended beneficiaries of this nonsense (i.e. non-whites) who risk the ire of their fellows by calling it out as BS.

  9. Michael says:

    Understanding white privilege is really easy. All you have to do is imagine that the protest at Charlotesville wasn’t conducted by neo-Nazis, KKK members, and white supremacists, many of them armed with semi-automatic weapons. Instead, imagine that it was conducted by Black Lives Matters, many of them also armed with semi-automatic weapons.

    You could be right. But I’m focused on the science professor’s assignment in a science class. The problem I identified raises serious questions about such an extra credit assignment.

  10. Kevin says:

    Pennywit: “Oh, come on. That was an awful show.”

    Well yes, but I was also ten years old or so.

  11. Dhay says:

    Michael > The problem I identified raises serious questions about such an extra credit assignment.

    And the assignment functions as an ideological purity test: if you don’t complete the assignment you not only fail the test but are penalised through the lower marks available; if you do complete the assignment you either complete it the way the Professor wants, with lots of ticks and your own additions to the list along the same lines to the list, or you risk singling yourself out in her eyes as ideologically impure; that could potentially mean being singled out and exposed in class as ideologically impure; personally I wouldn’t risk it, I’d feel pressured to conform.

  12. Dhay says:

    pennywit > For reference, here is Peggy McIntosh’s original essay: …

    Thanks. I note that it didn’t start out as a checklist, but (in 1988) as the Professor’s personal comparison-contrast of her black colleagues’ experiences with her own at that time and place. By 2010 she was recommending it be used as a class discussion exercise (P.5) to draw out the students’ own experiences (not their opinions) and quite explicitly that:

    10. My lists of the unearned privileges I have relative to my colleagues are not “check lists” or “questionnaires.” They are not “confessional readings.”

    She’s changed how she uses it since 2010: what she gave to her students recently was headed “White Privilege Checklist“; she’s now changed to explicitly using it as the check list it formerly explicitly wasn’t.

  13. pennywit says:

    I don’t have much patience for a lot of things on the list — they strike me as piddling little details. But my circle of acquaintances includes middle-class and upper-middle class blacks, including business owners, who report that even in 2017, they face a world different from the one I face as a white male — often in the form of more aggressive police, discrimination in the workplace, and store proprietors (and security folk) who are more inclined to harass or follow them than harass somebody like me.

    Keep in mind these are folks who match me in every single social variable — middle class to upper middle class, professional, etc. — except for their race.

    I view this as a problem.

  14. pennywit says:

    One more thought — these college students are all 18+, or nominally adults. They are old enough that they should be able to stand having their preconceptions challenged … and then to either absorb the challenge and change their views, or evaluate the challenge and find it wanting. I don’t have much sympathy for people who are crying about how this checklist shouldn’t be in the classroom in the first place. You’re an adult. If it hurts your feels, then tough. Deal with it.

    I have roughly the same attitude about left-wingers and other folks who complain about microagressions and trigger warnings. You’re an adult. Toughen up. Deal with it. (My only real exception, incidentally, is for people who have some legitimate reason for a “trigger.” If you’re carrying around PTSD from war, or as a victim if violent crime, then you don’t need people piling on).

  15. Dhay says:

    pennywit > But my … I view this as a problem.

    That’s the kind of personal testimony the Professor was originally aiming to get heard in class, even down to it’s being limited in scope to being your personal testimony rather than your reporting on or opining about people outside of your personal knowledge, or on or about ‘what everybody knows.’

  16. pennywit says:

    That’s the kind of personal testimony the Professor was originally aiming to get heard in class, even down to it’s being limited in scope to being your personal testimony rather than your reporting on or opining about people outside of your personal knowledge, or on or about ‘what everybody knows.’

    That could be a valuable lesson.

  17. Michael says:

    I don’t have much patience for a lot of things on the list — they strike me as piddling little details.

    But they are not just “piddling little details.” They are false representations of “white privilege.” A science professor is teaching false information to her students.

    One more thought — these college students are all 18+, or nominally adults. They are old enough that they should be able to stand having their preconceptions challenged … and then to either absorb the challenge and change their views, or evaluate the challenge and find it wanting.

    I agree with that. After all, that is what my blog post does – it challenges preconceptions. But oddly enough, when it comes to “challenging preconceptions,” many universities really mean “challenging certain preconceptions.” That’s what happens when you have indoctrination instead of education.

  18. Crude says:

    If you don’t see the ensuing blood bath and the amount of armed violence that would have confronted the black protestors, then your imagination is being very dishonest.

    Bilbo, you’re being dishonest either willfully, or out of ignorance.

    BLM has provoked multiple riots. They have mass demonstrations complete with violence, and no one holds it against them – it gets written off as ‘a few troublemakers’. A BLM-inspired man goes on a literal cop killing spree, and the media at large excuses it as being the actions of some isolated nut. A Bernie supporter shoots a politician and intended to kill multiple Republican congressmen, and it gets excused as the actions of a lone nut.

    One death at a confederate statue rally gets blamed on the entirety of the right and also white people at large.

    Insofar as racial privilege is a thing, codified into law and reflected in media coverage, it’s anti-white.

    And there wouldn’t have been an outcry from Trump against the people who had been shooting against the black protestors.

    Trump blamed both left and right wing violence. The left was furious that left-wing violence even be called out.

    There’s yet more privilege.

  19. TFBW says:

    … dishonest either willfully, or out of ignorance.

    There is a third possibility: Trump Derangement Syndrome. Seriously, I have never borne witness to a country in the grip of mass hysteria before. The communist witch-hunts were before my time, and the evangelical hysteria of the 80s surrounding satanic influences in music and role-playing games was mild by comparison.

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