I Don’t Apologize For My Privilege Either

Like that Princeton freshman who is getting far too much attention for bravely declaring that he won’t apologize for his white privilege, I won’t apologize for mine either. Or my male privilege either. Or my straight privilege. Or my middle class privilege. But guess what? No one has ever asked me to in the world I live in, which, unlike that kid, is not made up of easily vanquished straw men.

What they have asked me, quite reasonably, is to recognize that I am privileged, that many others are not and that this has some rather important implications for how we interact in society, how we view ourselves and others, the kinds of opportunities we will have and much more. This is something I try to do as much as possible and I think it’s clearly the right thing to do. As a humanist, I want everyone to have the opportunity to live a happy, fulfilling life and to develop to their full capacity as a person, which requires a society that is more just and equal. I don’t see how society can possibly become more just and equal without recognizing the role that privilege plays in boosting some people up and holding others down — economically, culturally, legally.

Here are just a brief list of the things that are part of my reality solely because I have white skin:

I don’t have to fear being pulled over or stopped and frisked by the police. Yes, it does happen to white people sometimes, but it happens to black people constantly. It’s also much more likely that the basis for it happening to them is that they’re flagrantly driving (or walking) while black. And it ends tragically far more often for them.

No one has ever remarked with surprise that I’m just so gosh darn articulate.

I can wear a hoodie without people finding me threatening, as can millions of white college students who wear hoodies all the time.

When I speak about a subject, no one thinks that I am speaking as a representative of all white people.

No one will ever assume that I only got a job because of the color of my skin.

The concept of privilege is not some means of punishing straight white men, for crying out loud, or of making them feel bad by calling them terrible people. It’s a means of understanding inequality and injustice so that we can take steps to make things better — not by tearing down those who, like me, are fortunate enough to have been born with those advantages, but by working to diminish the cultural and legal structures that take those advantages away from so many others.

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  • Pierce R. Butler

    No one has ever remarked with surprise that I’m just so gosh darn articulate.

    Maybe that would start, if you could just proof-read your posts once in a while.

    (E.g., Cliven Bundy…)

  • http://strangesally.wordpress.com/ SallyStrange

    I wonder if Al Stefanelli is mad about that kid apparently having plagiarized his straw men.

  • Johnny Vector

    Not only does he create a flaming straw man about demands that he apologize, he demonstrates an extreme level of academic achievement in the area of misunderstanding what privilege actually is. “I’m not privileged, because my grandfather had a really tough time”. Herp-derp, whaaa…?

    I wonder if he thinks he got into Princeton solely on hard work and determination. As someone who has interviewed a couple dozen applicants, I can assure him that there is a huge pile of plain old luck involved in that decision. Only one of my interviewees fell in the “no, you don’t belong here” category. The rest ranged from near-the-top-of-the-class to “holy smokes how did I ever get in?” And most of those amazingly talented people did not get in. Cause there isn’t room.

    So, by luck of circumstance, he now will have “A. B., Princeton” to put after his name (assuming he graduates, which seems likely). That’s as big a pile of privilege as you could ask for. How hard your grandfather’s life was has exactly zero bearing on how easily you’ll get through the rest of your life.

    So, enjoy hobnobbing with the rest of the snobs at Ivy Club (you know that’s the one you’re gonna join, and they’ll surely have you), and eventually you can move on from “I’m not apologizing” to “If they weren’t such lazy slobs they woulda got in just like me.”

  • StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    Oh Ed you’re just so gosh darn articulate!

  • StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    @1. Pierce R. Butler : Actually I think “articulate” only applies to spoken language not written and therefore doesn’t cover typos but I could be wrong.

  • hoku

    I will say that the kid does have one point (but only one). I hate the phrase “check your privilege”. It has become a way to shut down discussion instead of reminding people how their perspective might be influenced. I almost always see it used mostly as a way to say, “you can’t have an opinion that disagrees with me because you’re white/male/cis/etc.” Privilege is an important thing to be aware of. It’s not a way to tell someone they can’t be involved in the discussion.

  • Trebuchet

    @5: It’s not a typo. Ed really doesn’t know the guy’s name. It makes me sad.

  • StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    Come to think of it, saying “gosh darn” is itself an ironic example of inarticularacy!

  • eric

    I wonder if he thinks he got into Princeton solely on hard work and determination. As someone who has interviewed a couple dozen applicants, I can assure him that there is a huge pile of plain old luck involved in that decision…eventually you can move on from “I’m not apologizing” to “If they weren’t such lazy slobs they woulda got in just like me.”

    Ignoring the role luck plays in life seems to be a key factor in modern conservatvism. Opposition to health care, social security, welfare, progressive taxation, etc… is all based on the underlying assumption that everyone has gotten what they deserve – and therefore its unfair to take resources from someone who has ‘made it’ and give those to someone who hasn’t. But as you say, for the one guy who deserves to get in to Pninceton and actually gets in, there are probably nine others who deserved it but didn’t get in.

    Given that part of my good job, good education, etc… is not due to me deserving it, but just simply luck or some other arbitrary factor, I ought to be willing to give up some of the reward for that good job to others who did everything right and deserve the same prosperity, but don’t have it. And privilege is like that job, education, etc… its almost a social or culturally inherited job or education. If I’ve lucked into a good one, I should be willing to share some of the rewards of it with others who lucked into a bad one ,and are less prosperous despite doing all the right things.

  • colnago80

    I don’t notice the Princeton freshman complaining about legacy admissions, which, especially in Ivy League institutions like Princeton, are a true mark of privilege.

    Case in point, one George W. Bush, who got into Yale because his father was a Yalie and a member of Skull and Bones to boot. If his name had been Sam Schleperman, he wouldn’t have gotten so much as an interview, based on the high school grades and SAT scores.

  • iknklast

    I don’t have to fear being pulled over or stopped and frisked by the police. Yes, it does happen to white people sometimes, but it happens to black people constantly.

    Actually, I did have that problem at one time. I was pulled over weekly on the flimsiest of excuses, even outright lies, and then let go on some lame “well, don’t do it again”. Why? I drove a car that looked like a car that has been stereotyped as a “black man”car. As soon as they saw that I was a middle-aged white woman, they let me go, because after all, middle-aged white women never commit crimes. (Now, if a husband or child is killed, they might look to the MAWW).

    One thing this impressed on me was what it was like to live black in this country. I knew that intellectually before, but being pulled over regularly for trumped up reasons made me feel it. While it’s hard to understand white privilege when you’re living a marginal existence, trying to scrape by on food stamps and finding out that, gosh, $350 a month means you make to much for welfare, adding this indignity on top of the rest did help me understand that there is an added burden imposed on those who are not white.

    By the way, as soon as I got a better job and traded up for a different car, I was never pulled over again.

  • cptdoom

    I don’t notice the Princeton freshman complaining about legacy admissions, which, especially in Ivy League institutions like Princeton, are a true mark of privilege.

    Case in point, one George W. Bush, who got into Yale because his father was a Yalie and a member of Skull and Bones to boot. If his name had been Sam Schleperman, he wouldn’t have gotten so much as an interview, based on the high school grades and SAT scores.

    When I was at Williams – which is like an Ivy League school, but with better academics :-) – we learned that 50% of legacies get into the school, versus 20% of regular applicants. It was the greatest example of affirmative action – that is, using characteristics other than grades to make admission decisions – that I had ever seen, but many of the legacies were appalled if you called it that. Of course, I freely admit that my own admission was a form of affirmative action. I certainly had the grades and SAT scores to get in – along with at least 75% of applicants – but know (based on conversations with admissions staff after I was in) that my application was greatly helped because 1) I was from an area that had relatively few students going to the school, and they were trying to change that and 2) I was the second applicant from my high school in the history of the college and the first wasn’t qualified.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    There’s no such thing as privilege. Us White People (particularly us Rich, Job Creating White People) don’t have it so good, either. I mean, spent a decade buying crap mortgages that failed both the original mortgage company and my own company’s Risk Assessment, bundled them up, chopped them up, payed another company to rate them AAA, then sold them off to Junk Bond traders and suckers like Union pension funds, sometimes even betting that packages I’d both made and sold (even to investors in my own bank!) would fail, and made bonus after bonus for pumping up a Mortgage Bubble, eventually crashing an already shaky economy with my greed and hubris and do you know what happened to me?

     

    Nothing!

     

    PS. My CEO had it even worse. He had to fly down to DC on the company’s leased jet, where Congressional Democrats asked him two tough questions which he dodged or claimed ignorance on, then the remainder grilled him for almost an hour about how great and awesome and moral he and his company was. The ordeal broke him up so bad that to console him the Board had to give him a raise out of the profits from foreclosing on houses our bank doesn’t even own.

  • scienceavenger

    @3 “How hard your grandfather’s life was has exactly zero bearing on how easily you’ll get through the rest of your life.”

    While I get your point, let’s be careful we don’t inadvertently give succor to those who like to claim (conveniently) that history is irrelevant and all that matters is now. The shit lives lived by black generations have a huge influence on their progeny. The point this twerp needs to understand is how much harder it would have been on his grandfather to climb out of that shit life had he been imprisoned the first time he made a mistake, or passed over for every job he wasn’t clearly the very best qualified for.

    @12 “[The legacy admission policy] was the greatest example of affirmative action – that is, using characteristics other than grades to make admission decisions”

    That’s not what defines affirmative action, attempting to redress past and current biases is. What you are rightly criticizing is institutionalized racism, and yeah, it’s a load of BS, especially since so many who benefit from it decry such policies when they are not the beneficiaries.

  • colnago80

    When I was at Williams – which is like an Ivy League school, but with better academics

    I wouldn’t argue with that, at least on the undergraduate level. It think that one can get a better undergraduate education at a liberal arts school like Williams then at a big time university like Harvard or Yale, even in the sciences.

  • http://www.pandasthumb.org Area Man

    Ed,I think you should publish this in Time Magazine. If they let a Princeton freshman who totally does not have any special privileges do it, they must let everyone do it.

  • John Horstman

    @hoku #6: Well, in cases where the phrase is being deployed that way, asking questions is an easy counter. If the person in question can’t explain how your privilege might be biasing you, then it becomes clear to everyone involved in the conversation that ze doesn’t actually have a point. “Check your privilege” only shuts down discussion if one is unwilling to do so and then continue to engage in discussion if one’s privilege is unproblematic in the case in question (or adjust one’s thinking/approach if one DOES identify problems). If the other person refuses to engage any further, it’s obvious ze is the one shutting down discussion.

  • lofgren

    No one has ever asked me to [apologize for my privilege] in the world I live in, which, unlike that kid, is not made up of easily vanquished straw men.

    I can’t say the same.

    One of the problems that modern feminism and other movements that seek to overturn entrenched privilege face is that they face fewer and fewer literal barriers and more and more complex cultural constructs – and those who benefit from those constructs have gotten more and more successful at obscuring their existence. The reason this is a problem isn’t solely because kids like this student can obfuscate and equivocate by making “privilege” mean whatever he wants it to mean for the sake of satisfying his own righteous indignation. It’s also a problem because a lot of well-intentioned people don’t understand the term either. I’ve spoken to plenty of feminists who don’t understand what smarter, more educated people mean when they talk about the “patriarchy,” liberals who are just as confused as anybody else about what “privilege” is and how it works, and way too many atheists who obviously don’t have a clue what theocracy, separation of church and state, and frankly mythology in general mean and operate.

    These people are generally ignorant and well-intentioned, but dangerously zealous, to the point that attempting to educate them is pointless. Like this student, they have fixated on their chosen cause in order to make themselves feel superior, not to right actual wrongs. But hey, that’s life. These people do not discredit their causes, only themselves.

    The unfortunate hypocrisy I do observe is that whenever I point out that somebody like this kid or some MRA is accurately describing the beliefs of a subset of ignorant liberals, and that we ought to respond with education rather than ridicule, the most common response is “OK, but point out one progressive leader who believes that.” A fair enough response except that in some cases those people will gladly point to a conservative pundit or Christian preacher on the pinions of his own wing and pretend that they are representative of the group in general. If we are going to dismiss criticisms of our beliefs based on the ignorance of our allies, we have to allow the other side to do the same. When you put the best of progressive thinking against the best of conservative thinking, the vacuity of the latter is even more obvious, so it’s to our advantage to always let them make their strongest possible argument anyway.

    (And, to be completely fair to those progressive allies who have this difficulty, “privilege” is a much more complex and sophisticated concept than “BROWN PPL R SCARY,” so it’s understandable that they have more trouble with the term than conservatives have when they try to defend their core principles.)

  • http://polrant@blogspot.com democommie

    ” If they let a Princeton freshman who totally does not have any special privileges do it, they must let everyone do it.”

    Well, maybe if you’re as big a fanboi of Scalia as he is…

    This piece:

    http://www.mediaite.com/online/princeton-freshman-wants-you-to-know-he-shouldnt-have-to-check-his-privilege/

    is LOTS better than the one I read the other day–and it has some mud to sling.

    Master Fortang’s daddy is proud of his son but wants him to be cautious–I suppose that it’s never safe enough to be an asshole and a bigot.

    It’s interesting that the twerp hits the pity potty pretty hard about how his privilege might be that a bunch of his relatives died in Hitler’s extermination camps–but blacks, women, gays got nothin’ to cry about. What a fucking asshole.

  • http://polrant@blogspot.com democommie

    “These people are generally ignorant and well-intentioned, but dangerously zealous, to the point that attempting to educate them is pointless.”

    It is abundantly unclear to me which people you are talking about in that sentence.

    This, as well:

    “…the most common response is “OK, but point out one progressive leader who believes that.” A fair enough response except that in some cases those people will gladly point to a conservative pundit or Christian preacher on the pinions of his own wing and pretend that they are representative of the group in general.”

    Both sides do it? Sure they do. Some housewives in hippieville go nuts about fracking v a Rethuglican controlled state legislature trying to reverse social progressivism that they don’t like. Yeah, those two are the same.

    White, Christian, Male privilege is what controls about 95% of the money and government polity in the U.S., Lofgren,

  • pocketnerd

    Thus Spake Zarahoku, #6:

    I will say that the kid does have one point (but only one). I hate the phrase “check your privilege”. It has become a way to shut down discussion instead of reminding people how their perspective might be influenced. I almost always see it used mostly as a way to say, “you can’t have an opinion that disagrees with me because you’re white/male/cis/etc.”

    I wouldn’t go so far as to claim nobody ever uses it the way you describe, but I’ve almost never seen the term “privileged” used in that way. However, I have often seen privileged people try to spin it that way as a way to avoid having to engage and understand.

    “Obamacare is designed to pander solely to welfare queens and slackers! I’ve never had a problem getting good health coverage!”

    “Well, Bob… maybe you’ve never had a problem getting good health coverage, but you’re a white male from an affluent upper-middle-class background. You have a university degree and a comfortable white-collar job. You have a certain amount of privilege here, and I think it’s preventing you from understanding just how hard it can be to get really affordable health care for a lot of Americans–”

    “Now you’re telling me I should feel guilty for being hard-working and successful!”

  • http://strangesally.wordpress.com/ SallyStrange

    I almost always see it used mostly as a way to say, “you can’t have an opinion that disagrees with me because you’re white/male/cis/etc.”

    Honestly? I don’t believe you. If you think that happened, consider the possibility that you were misinterpreting it. The person you were talking to probably meant, “You are wrong in a specific way that is particular to the style of being wrong most commonly found in white cishet men, and that wrongness is partially caused by the blind spots bequeathed to you by society as a member of that demographic.”

    It’s just that people claim that this happens far more often than it actually happens.

  • http://cheapsignals.blogspot.com Gretchen

    It’s also a problem because a lot of well-intentioned people don’t understand the term either. I’ve spoken to plenty of feminists who don’t understand what smarter, more educated people mean when they talk about the “patriarchy,” liberals who are just as confused as anybody else about what “privilege” is and how it works, and way too many atheists who obviously don’t have a clue what theocracy, separation of church and state, and frankly mythology in general mean and operate.

    These people are generally ignorant and well-intentioned, but dangerously zealous, to the point that attempting to educate them is pointless.

    Which is more likely the case– that your attempts to “educate” them are pointless because they’re dangerous zealots, or because you’ve called them stupid, ignorant, clueless, and, well….dangerous zealots?

  • hoku

    @ John Horstman 17: I don’t have any problem with it in that context. But it mostly seems to be used as a snappy one liner to dismiss people. It’s the classic symptom of a catchy slogan losing the context and meaning behind it. It’s serves to shutdown conversation because it’s inherently accusatory. Everything you mention could be accomplished with a more situation specific response, that doesn’t come off like an attack. It’s the difference between “you only think that because you’re white” and “don’t you think that your opinion might in part be based on your personal experiences?”

  • lofgren

    Which is more likely the case– that your attempts to “educate” them are pointless because they’re dangerous zealots, or because you’ve called them stupid, ignorant, clueless, and, well….dangerous zealots?

    Usually I am smart enough to resist the urge to involve myself in such conversations, so I would say the answer is definitely the former.

  • lofgren

    Honestly? I don’t believe you. If you think that happened, consider the possibility that you were misinterpreting it. The person you were talking to probably meant, “You are wrong in a specific way that is particular to the style of being wrong most commonly found in white cishet men, and that wrongness is partially caused by the blind spots bequeathed to you by society as a member of that demographic.”

    I have seen “check your privilege” used inappropriately far more often than I have seen it used appropriately.

  • hoku

    @ 21 and 22: I’m not saying the concept of privileged is used that way, just the specific phrase “check your privilege”. How many well meaning activists have you encountered who find a catchy slogan, and use it at every opportunity?

    I agree fully with lofgren that the problem is often that people don’t understand the point of discussions of privilege.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    democommie “White, Christian, Male privilege is what controls about 95% of the money and government polity in the U.S…”

    Now you’re just being ridiculous. It’s higher than that.

     

    SallyStrange “…cishet…”

    Gesundheit.

  • http://tonythompsonjr%40facebook.com Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    lofgren:

    (And, to be completely fair to those progressive allies who have this difficulty, “privilege” is a much more complex and sophisticated concept than “BROWN PPL R SCARY,” so it’s understandable that they have more trouble with the term than conservatives have when they try to defend their core principles.)

    That difficulty in understanding the concept of privilege is why I really like this post by Ophelia over at B&W: Privilege is the absence of barriers that exist for other people

  • http://cheapsignals.blogspot.com Gretchen

    I’m not weighing in on that one. I’ve had loads of conversations about privilege, both with people who get it and those who don’t, and rarely do I ever even hear/see someone say “Check your privilege.”

    It does sound obnoxious, which is why I don’t use it. But more importantly it sounds counterproductive, because a person who doesn’t understand what privilege is in the first place can hardly “check” it.

  • pocketnerd

    Thus Spake ZaraTony!, #29:

    That difficulty in understanding the concept of privilege is why I really like this post by Ophelia over at B&W:

    Oooh. Good link, Tony. I’m also partial to this post by John Scalzi: Straight White Male: The Lowest Difficulty Setting There Is

  • hoku

    The important thing is that there’s a big difference between hating the phrase and refusing to acknowledge that privilege exists. The kid seems to consider the former as an excuse for the latter.

  • lofgren

    It is abundantly unclear to me which people you are talking about in that sentence.

    I am talking about people who know that they want to support women’s rights and the underprivileged, but don’t fully understand the concepts that are bandied about by academics and others who have spent the time, energy, and braincells to fully digest those concepts. Those people are not stupid, it’s just that privilege is not an easy thing to understand. Those peoples’ hearts are in the right place but because they have committed so thoroughly to a misunderstanding, they are essentially tilting at windmills.

    Both sides do it? Sure they do. Some housewives in hippieville go nuts about fracking v a Rethuglican controlled state legislature trying to reverse social progressivism that they don’t like. Yeah, those two are the same.

    ??? I am explicitly and obviously NOT comparing those two things.

    I also don’t like talking about “sides” and what they do. I’m talking about specific individuals who want to argue that e.g. that preacher who burned Qurans in Florida represents “most” Christians while the occasional stupid thing that Richard Dawkins utters is irrelevant because Dawkins doesn’t speak for all atheists. It’s perfectly reasonable to take one of these positions but together the two are obviously hypocrisy. Dawkins has a hell of a lot more support among atheists than Terry Jones has among Christians.

    And that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t talk about Terry Jones and the type of thinking that he represents, and how religion empowers his bigotry, and the history of that bigotry in religious movements. You just can’t pretend that he speaks for all Christians and then claim that Dawkins is an irrelevant voice in the atheist movement because only a (significant) subset of atheists support him.

    To suggest that I am arguing that a plurality of right-wing legislators is the equivalent of, well, anything shows a stunning lack of reading comprehension. How do you get “Rethuglican controlled state legislature” from “conservative pundit or Christian preacher on the pinions of his own wing?” Those two things are obviously not equivalent. As I said these are complex topics and it is often difficult to speak of them clearly, so I am willing to take some responsibility for your confusion. But you gotta meet me halfway and actually read the fucking words.

    White, Christian, Male privilege is what controls about 95% of the money and government polity in the U.S., Lofgren,

    Uh, OK… and therefore… I don’t disagree. We can haggle about a couple of percentage points but it’s definitely right up there. Not sure why you think this refutes my statements in any way.

  • lofgren

    Oooh. Good link, Tony. I’m also partial to this post by John Scalzi: Straight White Male: The Lowest Difficulty Setting There Is

    This one is particularly good because it is written in a way that a certain subset of deliberately obtuse white males can’t help but understand. Although I like the tweak suggested in the comments that wealth should be selected first, because it is at least as important as race in our current society.

  • jedibear

    Honestly, Scalzi’s Lowest Difficulty Setting isn’t written for its purported audience at all. It’s well-structured for just one thing: scoring points with people who already agree with Scalzi but don’t actually fit into what he identifies in the piece as his target demographic. To young white hetero men, the piece uses their unique culture in a way elegantly designed to insult and infuriate them. Which Scalzi should know, given that he claims to be a gamer himself.

    Scalzi ends up in the awkward position of richsplaining the idea of privilege to increasingly disenfranchised young men by accusing them almost in so many words of “playing on easy mode” (which, to be clear, is an insult to serious gamers. It’s the equivalent of saying “your accomplishments don’t matter because you didn’t really work for them.”) all the while failing to acknowledge his own remarkable privilege over his audience. It’s pretty incredible, both in its apparent tone-deafness and in the weakness of its analogy.

    But it is a pretty good jumping-off point for discussions about why people are uncomfortable with the concept of privilege (or, more precisely, using the word “privilege” to describe what’s going on here) and indeed why that concept may not be the best approach.

  • lofgren

    (which, to be clear, is an insult to serious gamers. It’s the equivalent of saying “your accomplishments don’t matter because you didn’t really work for them.”)

    Those “serious” gamers are assholes. There is nothing insulting about playing on easy mode.

    They are imaging an insult where there is none so they can take umbrage at a comparison that is perfectly apt.

  • leni

    Gretchen:

    It does sound obnoxious…

    It really does. But these days I see it more from people complaining about it than earnestly saying it.

    ****

    I don’t apologize for my privilege either. I know that, for example, I generally get treated very well by the police, but I’m not going invite bad treatment from them just to balance the universal bullshit scales.

    But I can apologize for those times I didn’t recognize it or attributed my successes purely to my own awesomeness, or when I wasn’t fair to others because of their lack of privilege. I can recognize my own privilege without thinking it negates all my efforts. I know I worked hard in college. I also know I wouldn’t have got there without a lot of help and breaks that other people don’t get. Generally I think it makes me a better person to know these things, because then I can at least make an effort to avoid hurting other people. I’ll certainly fail, but I can’t do anything to make anything better if I don’t acknowledge the problem or my part in it at all.

    I can also empathize and support people who do point their own lack of privilege and in my own small way try to make the world less difficult for them. I really don’t understand why this is so hard for some people to get.

    I can understand not wanting to hear “check your privilege”, but at the same time it’s really not the worst advice.

  • http://polrant@blogspot.com democommie

    ” I’m talking about specific individuals who want to argue that e.g. that preacher who burned Qurans in Florida represents “most” Christians while the occasional stupid thing that Richard Dawkins utters is irrelevant because Dawkins doesn’t speak for all atheists.”

    You might have noticed that Dawkins takes hits from atheists for uttering stupid things. He takes those hits from atheists who agree with him on other stuff. Atheists, afaia, have no real hierarchical structures–there aren’t certain folks who are better at unbelief. The KKKhristian ReiKKKwing is pretty much the opposite and useful idiots like Terry Jones are welcomed with open arms or at least respectful silence by the vast majority of the KKKristianists who are giving sound bites. Those same people seem to be stage managing the hard right turn of the GOP and their program to negate about 100 years of social progress. I’m not the least bit confuse about that and I’m not the least bit confused about white male privilege–I see a fair amount of it every day.

  • lofgren

    You might have noticed that Dawkins takes hits from atheists for uttering stupid things.

    As well he should. I’ve also noticed that the majority of Christians think Terry Jones is an asshole.

    The KKKhristian ReiKKKwing is pretty much the opposite and useful idiots like Terry Jones are welcomed with open arms or at least respectful silence by the vast majority of the KKKristianists who are giving sound bites.

    First of all, you are conflating many different things and once again failing at basic reading comprehension. This is a theme with you. I pity your third grade English teacher. Give her an apple for me when you get to class tomorrow.

    Second, you sound just as ignorant and bigoted as those atheists who are always complaining that Muslims never speak out against the extremists. Christians speak out against the likes of Terry Jones on an almost daily basis. The majority of Christians are not fundies, do not live in the deep South, don’t hate Muslims, and aren’t Creationists. Millions of them voted for Obama in the last presidential election and millions of them will vote for Hillary Clinton in the next. Christians are a hugely diverse group, in many ways far more diverse than atheists. Being a majority of the population, they are frequently found in the majority of most positions.

    I’m not the least bit confuse about that and I’m not the least bit confused about white male privilege–I see a fair amount of it every day.

    Vanity is not an attractive quality, and even less so when it is married to bigotry and stupidity.

  • jonathangray

    Mencius Moldbug:

    Let’s say you were a person who didn’t care at all about the Constitution, and you wanted to take America back to the past and establish a new order of hereditary nobility. What could be more deliciously reactionary than that? Real, live nobles, walking around on the street. So let’s see what it would take to make it happen.

    First, we need to define noble status. Our rule is simple: if either of your parents was a noble, you’re a noble. While this is unusually inclusive for a hereditary order, it is the 21st century, after all. We can step out a little. And nobility remains a biological quality – a noble baby adopted by common parents is noble, a common baby adopted by noble parents is common.

    Fine. What are the official duties and privileges of our new nobility? Obviously, we can’t really call it a noble order unless it has duties and privileges.

    Well, privileges, anyway. Who needs duties? What’s the point of being a noble, if you’re going to have all these duties? Screw it, it’s the 21st century. We’ve transcended duties. On to the privileges.

    The basic quality of a noble is that he or she is presumed to be better than commoners. Of course, both nobles and commoners are people. And people do vary. Individual circumstances must always be considered. However, the official presumption is that, in any conflict between a noble and a commoner, the noble is right and the commoner is wrong. Therefore, by default, the noble should win. This infallible logic is the root of our system of noble privilege.

    For example, if a noble attacks a commoner, we can presume that the latter has in some way provoked or offended the former. The noble may of course be guilty of an offense, but the law must be extremely careful about establishing this. If there is a pattern of noble attacks on commoners, there is almost certainly a problem with the commoners, whose behavior should be examined and who may need supplemental education.

    If a commoner attacks a noble, however, it is an extremely serious matter. And a pattern of commoner attacks on nobles is unthinkable – it is tantamount to the total breakdown of civilization. In fact, one way to measure the progress that modern society has made is that, in the lifetime of those now living, it was not at all unusual for mobs of commoners to attack and kill nobles! Needless to say, this doesn’t happen anymore.

    This intentional disparity in the treatment of unofficial violence creates the familiar effect of asymmetric territorial dominance. A noble can stroll anywhere he wants, at any time of day or night, anywhere in the country. Commoners are advised not to let the sun set on them in noble neighborhoods, and if they go there during the day they should have a good reason for doing so.

    One of the main safeguards for our system of noble authority is a systematic effort to prevent the emergence of commoner organizations which might exercise military or political power. Commoners may of course have friends who are other commoners, but they may not network on this basis. Nobles may and of course do form exclusive social networks on the basis of nobility.

    Most interactions between commoners and nobles, of course, do not involve violence or politics. Still, by living in the same society, commoners and nobles will inevitably come into conflict. Our goal is to settle these conflicts, by default, in favor of the noble.

    For example, if a business must choose whether to hire one of two equally qualified applicants, and one is a noble while the other is a commoner, it should of course choose the noble. The same is true for educational admissions and any other contest of merit. Our presumption is that while nobles are intrinsically, inherently and immeasurably superior to commoners, any mundane process for evaluating individuals will fail to detect these ethereal qualities – for which the outcome must therefore be adjusted.

    Speaking of the workplace, it is especially important not to let professional circles of commoner resistance develop. Therefore, we impose heavy fines on corporations whose internal or external policies or practices do not reflect a solid pro-noble position. For example, a corporation which permits its commoner employees to express insolence or disrespect toward its noble employees, regardless of their relationship in the corporate hierarchy, is clearly liable. Any such commoner must be fired at once if the matter is brought to the management’s attention.

    This is an especially valuable tool for promoting the nobility: it literally achieves that result. In practice it makes the noble in any meeting at the very least primus inter pares. Because it is imprudent for commoners to quarrel with him, he tends to get what he wants. Because he tends to get what he wants, he tends to advance in the corporate hierarchy. The result, which should be visible in any large business without dangerous commonerist tendencies, will be a predominance of nobles in top executive positions.

    And, of course, this should be especially the case in government… but enough.

  • fwtbc

    I am talking about people who know that they want to support women’s rights and the underprivileged, but don’t fully understand the concepts that are bandied about by academics and others who have spent the time, energy, and braincells to fully digest those concepts. Those people are not stupid, it’s just that privilege is not an easy thing to understand. Those peoples’ hearts are in the right place but because they have committed so thoroughly to a misunderstanding, they are essentially tilting at windmills.

    Oh bullshit.

    Privilege is fucking easy to understand. If you’re having trouble understanding it, it’s because you’re obviously not listening.

    Your last sentence almost gets it. They’re committed to misunderstanding. It may be rooted in defensiveness, but ultimately it’s wilful obtuseness.

  • dingojack

    ““OK, but point out one progressive leader who believes that.” A fair enough response except that in some cases those people will gladly point to a conservative pundit or Christian preacher on the pinions of his own wing and pretend that they are representative of the group in general. ”

    Except usually it’s a case of:

    A: All of group N believe (or do) X.

    B: Person J who is within group N, doesn’t. Your argument fails, as your premise is false.

    A: No True Scotsman!!

    B: Ok, what about the well-respected person K? They don’t. Oh, and your argument fails, as your premise is false.

    A: No True Scotsman!!

    [From here on in it’s ‘No True Scotsman’, all the way down, whilst ignoring the logical failure.].

    Dingo

  • dingojack

    jonathangray – Go away and do a little research, think about the conclusions that can be gleaned from that research. Then when you have a coherent argument, come and tell us all about it.

    @@

    Dingo

  • jonathangray

    democommie:

    It’s interesting that the twerp hits the pity potty pretty hard about how his privilege might be that a bunch of his relatives died in Hitler’s extermination camps–but blacks, women, gays got nothin’ to cry about. What a fucking asshole.

    He’s not asking for pity, you stupid cunt. He’s putting his finger on something you’d rather not notice. Jews have laboured under institutional disprivilege and popular hostility as least as great as that endured by blacks and for a hell of a lot longer. At times that hostility has flared into acts of violence as grievous as anything suffered by blacks. And for more than a century it has been typically expressed in the form of racist ideology. Yet despite it all, the Jews have prospered within and exerted a profound influence on Gentile culture out of all proportion to their numbers, regardless of whether one regards that influence with admiration or harbours reservations about it. How’d they manage that?

  • http://strangesally.wordpress.com/ SallyStrange

    I have seen “check your privilege” used inappropriately far more often than I have seen it used appropriately.

    In that case, perhaps you should expand your social circle beyond college freshmen.

    In other words, I still don’t believe you. What precisely constitutes an “inappropriate” deployment of the phrase “check your privilege”? Be extremely specific.

  • http://polrant@blogspot.com democommie

    “As well he should. I’ve also noticed that the majority of Christians think Terry Jones is an asshole.”

    Really? Name, oh, I don’t maybe FIVE of the KKKristians who have said anything negative about him–not run of the mill churchgoers, but the guys who run the show. Then name ONE atheist who has ANY fucking power in the political sphere. Just one. I can wait.

    “First of all, you are conflating many different things and once again failing at basic reading comprehension. This is a theme with you. I pity your third grade English teacher. Give her an apple for me when you get to class tomorrow.”

    Which things am I conflating? You issue an insult and admonition with NO specifics. Do go fuck yourself, THEN come back and explain what those things are that I’m conflating and how.

    Oh, btw, reading for comprehension is something I do a LOT of, every fucking day of the week. There are fields in which I’m not trained and they give me some problems but the stuff that’s posted on this blog and the others I go to is generally difficult to comprehend only when the person writing it is not making sense.

    Johnny G:

    Go fuck yourself. When you’ve finished, fuck yourself some more. Finally, fuck yourself a whole bunch. I assure that exercise will be better use of your valuable time and limited intelligence than coming here and shitting in the punchbowl.

  • jonathangray

    democommie:

    In other words, you have nothing.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Raznok anthonysmith

    Oh, I don’t know about the hoodie, Ed.

    I think more people than you realize find you intimidating and frightening in a hoodie.

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