A couple of years ago my employment required that I and several of my colleagues attend a training seminar; upon arrival we were surprised to learn it would be about “privilege.” Privilege is a term much bandied about today, and when confronted its proponents generally have one of two responses. If they are in a “blue” area, especially a blue area of a blue state, they are apt to tell the truth about the meaning of the word as they see it; if in a “red” area they immediately obfuscate, and insist it is only a tool to “facilitate understanding between groups.”
Normally I would not quote from Wikipedia; however I wanted to explain what the transgressive left means by the term “privilege” when they talk about such things as “white, male, Christian, CIS, etc.” privilege. As Wikipedia is prima facia a left wing knowledge repository, it is a good place to find out what they really think. Wikipedia defines “social privilege” as: Social privilege is a theory of special advantage or entitlement, used to one’s own benefit and/or to the detriment of others. The first thing to notice is that privilege is a zero-sum game in the leftist mind; any advantage you receive must necessarily harm someone else. This zero-sum mentality is, of course, part and parcel of leftist politics in general, but I expect nowhere is it more pronounced than in the idea of privilege.
Hence, if as a man I have no particular fear of being sexually assaulted, I have privilege; yet that privilege must needs be a detriment to someone, in this case women as a group. Now, as to why my lack of fear that I personally will be raped should be a detriment to women is a bit convoluted, but to the leftist mind this makes perfect sense.
Another important factor in the left’s theory of privilege is that it is “unearned,” and thus illegitimate; once again from Wikipedia: Heterosexual privilege can be defined as “the rights and unearned advantages bestowed on heterosexuals in society.” Now we see that any advantage you possess over others is “unearned” and thus illegitimate, for the mere possession of your privilege dispossesses the un(der)privileged. My, this gets exhausting.
Privilege theory is, therefore, ultra-moralistic. Those who possess privilege are simply by dint of their existence oppressing those who lack it; your mere existence as a heterosexual is a “detriment” to sodomites and other assorted perverts. Hence the “privileged” are an immoral and unclean group, who, through a sort of inverse original sin, disenfranchise the morally superior BIPOC transsexual. Even to deny one’s supposed privilege is violence; once again from Wikipedia: Some academics, such as Peggy McIntosh, highlight a pattern where those who benefit from a type of privilege are unwilling to acknowledge it.] The argument may follow that such a denial constitutes a further injustice against those who do not benefit from the same form of privilege. So if you deny that you have unearned privilege over one of the alphabet people, you have already de facto (and perhaps, in some jurisdictions, de jure) committed and act of aggression.
Areas where one may be ascribed privilege include: Privilege, as understood and described by researchers, is a function of multiple variables of varying importance, such as race, age, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, neurology, citizenship, religion, physical ability, health, level of education, and others. Race and gender tend to have the highest impacts given that one is born with these characteristics and they are immediately visible. However, religion, sexuality and physical ability are also highly relevant. This is where “intersectionality” comes into play. Rather like bingo, each time you hear something on the list you get to stamp your card. The more stamps you have, the more virtuous you are; conversely the more you conform to traditional Biblical norms, the more of an evil oppressor you become. To be a Transsexual BIPOC undocumented immigrant practitioner of Santeria and confined to a wheelchair would elevate you to sainthood, such as it is, within this paradigm.
Now, as a Christian male of the caucasian persuasion, being quite comfortable with the plumbing I was born with and a healthy attraction to the opposite sex, of sound mind and body, gainfully employed and a natural born U.S. citizen, I am by this standard highly privileged. Now, as it would constitute a perception of aggression to do so, I will not deny my privilege, I will embrace it, I will advertise it, I will flaunt it in their faces.
Now, wait a minute… Who was it that popularized this whole idea of “privilege” to begin with…. Early concepts that would lead to the term White Privilege were developed by the Weather Underground in the 1960s. Well of course, what did you really expect?
In following articles on this subject I am going to examine the areas of privilege laid out by the “trainer” tasked by my employer with enlightening my blinded eyes. There are, in toto, 35 areas of privilege I was advised to beware of AND be aware of; I am thinking of breaking those down to three articles to parse each one out, but we’ll just have to see how that goes.
In the meantime, please enjoy the privilege of enjoying the splendid reading at the following links: