Okay, continuing from Part 1, some things we have established about the secular, sociological doctrine of “privilege.” First of all, this is a HIGHLY moralistic dogma; the possession of privilege is itself oppression, and thus evil, and the denial that one possesses privilege is a microaggression, and hence violence, and of course evil. This pseudo-Calvinistic creed holds that every individual is born on a scale of good or evil, with greater points of “intersectionality” on items such as race, sexual orientation, sex, religion and even height and looks making one a member of the chosen (short and ugly are also preferable for moral excellence). This all exists in a zero-sum environment, where anyone who is on the side of the privileged is automatically an oppressor simply by being themselves.
What, then, were the areas of privilege we were to be instructed in at our seminar? We were given sheets of paper with 35 different statements about our privilege; we were to line up and step forward or backward according to each item on the list, an exercise I’m sure you’ve heard of before. Let’s just begin at the beginning:
Item 1: If your parents worked nights and weekends to support your family, take one step back.
Okay, I suppose this seems innocuous enough. If you’re a preacher’s kid I suppose you take a step back, along with the police officer’s kid, the firefighter’s kid, the soldier’s kid, etc. So great, we’ve got an area where we get to step backward, so we won’t feel so bad about ourselves during the rest of this list. Spoiler alert, #1 was there to put us off our guard.
Item 2: If you are able to move through the world without fear of sexual assault, take one step forward.
Well, I it’s true I don’t worry about being personally sexually assaulted, as a general rule. I suppose were I to go to prison that might be different, but then I wouldn’t really be moving through the world. Okay, I take my step forward…. but remember, the fact that I can do this is AUTOMATICALLY a detriment to those who cannot. I’m uncertain how having to fear sexual assault myself could make things better for other people in such danger, but that’s the rule. Bizarro world Calvinism doesn’t have to make sense, it simply has to impute sin. And I just got imputed.
Item 3: If you can show affection for your romantic partner in public without fear of ridicule or violence, take one step forward.
Okay, so this one is out there for the alphabet people. Don’t tell me it’s about “mixed marriage” because nobody cares about that. So all the alphabet people get to hang back now and be smug about their intersectional point while us heterosexuals have to shamefully shuffle forward. Just don’t tell the alphabet people there’s a pedophile back there in line with them, cause she knows if people find out about her and that 6th grader she’s in big trouble. But at least she doesn’t have privilege, so she’s on the side of the saints now.
Item 4: If you have ever been diagnosed as having a physical or mental illness/disability, take one step back.
Hoooooo boy, what a doozie. First of all, do you know anyone who has NEVER been diagnosed with a physical illness? I know that’s not actually what the question is getting at, but that’s how it’s worded, so I guess we ALL get to take a step back now. Second thought; you are asking a group of professional people to publicly line up and, in front of everyone, indicate whether they have EVER had a diagnosis of mental illness. I mean sure, it’s great to know if your co-workers are crazy (I generally assume they are anyway), but is it really professional, or ethical, or even legal to call them out on that Thorazine twitch in front of everyone?
5. If the primary language spoken in your household growing up was not English, take one step back.
What if it was Chinese? Or German? Or French? Or Japanese? Because you just know this is about Spanish. Come on, man… Okay, so speaking English is automatically privilege, which means in our zero-sum paradigm here English is spoken to the detriment of every other language in the entire world. Okay, granted, that garbled nonsense that East Enders are always babbling probably is a detriment to the world, but is it really fair to saddle every English speaker in the entire world with guilt for that nonsense? So if your first language was Mandarin and you are fluent in four other languages you are still UNprivileged. Great.
6. If you came from a supportive family environment take one step forward.
Because we can never get the government to completely replace the family as long as we celebrate families that support their children. Remember, this is a morality test, and every step forward takes you that much closer to plunging headlong into the depths of Hell. Or at least the unemployment line and the food bank when the HR womynz get wind of your ill-gotten privilege. And remember, if your family was supportive of you, that AUTOMATICALLY comes at the expense of little Johnny whose family was not supportive. That’s right, it’s not Johnny’s parents’ fault for not supporting him, it’s your parents’ fault for supporting you. Bizarro world Calvinism doesn’t have to make sense.
7. If you have ever tried to change your speech or mannerisms to gain credibility, take one step back.
Quick question, does this go for white guys trying to emulate Chris Rock or Dave Chapelle? I mean, it does fit the question as worded. Okay, so we all know this is really about “code switching” which means when Black kids talk like gangsters around their friends but then talk like rural Christian white kids in front of prospective employers and college recruiters. Listen, everyone has their own way of speaking. No one cares if you have an African-American accent (whatever that means). Most of the things Black folk say that annoys Whites, Hispanics, Asians, etc. is the same stuff that annoys us when other Whites, Hispanics, Asians, etc. say it. If you don’t know what I mean, watch a few rap videos. I don’t care what color you are or what your accent happens to be, you’re going to stir up trouble for yourself if you go around talking to people that way.
8. If you can go anywhere in the country, and easily find the kind of hair products you need and/or cosmetics that match your skin color, take one step forward.
Okay, really, can you say “first world problems.” Also, “have you ever heard of Amazon?” Look, we’re only a quarter of the way through the list, and it’s already straight up clown world. With clown makeup.
9. If you were embarrassed about your clothes or house while growing up, take one step back.
Seriously, more first world problems? Do you remember what it was like to be a tween? We were embarrassed about EVERYTHING, ALL THE TIME. You had a house and clothes. What are you complaining about? Do you know what having an American house and American clothes means in relation to the rest of the world? I see the problem now, which I should have seen all along: A complete lack of gratitude for all the good stuff in your life and needing something, anything, to make you feel important. And the only way you can thing to feel important is to tear other people down, because in your infantile excuse for a brain you think life is nothing but a zero sum game.
10. If you can make mistakes and not have people attribute your behavior to flaws in your racial/gender group, take one step forward.
Dude, white males are totally off the hook on this one. Seriously, did the woman think about it before she wrote this one? Okay, who is it that gets a free pass on this one? Oh, you know who it is. Don’t say you don’t. I know you know, and you know that I know that you know. No matter how badly you act out or screw up, we know who it is that NO ONE will blame you for it because of your race or gender.
Okay, that’s enough of this for now. There are still 24 more to go, and feel free to let me know what you think about these in the comments. And yes, this is a REAL list from a REAL seminar my employer required me (along with a number of colleagues) to attend.