Sunday, May 4, 2014

White Privilege and Affirmative Action

The topic of "White Privilege" got a big boost this week when a Princeton freshman wrote an essay in Time in which he disputed the phrase "check your privilege" which is apparently in vogue on campuses across this great nation.  Here's how he describes it:

"That’s the problem with calling someone out for the “privilege” which you assume has defined their narrative. You don’t know what their struggles have been, what they may have gone through to be where they are. Assuming they’ve benefitted from “power systems” or other conspiratorial imaginary institutions denies them credit for all they’ve done, things of which you may not even conceive. You don’t know whose father died defending your freedom. You don’t know whose mother escaped oppression. You don’t know who conquered their demons, or may still conquering them now."

Go ahead and read it--it's an interesting essay with which I wholeheartedly agree.  This person doesn't, but I include it so that you get a chance to read the dripping disdain the victimhood lobby has for the young man who wrote the piece.

Putting all this aside for a moment--if it is OK for the victimhood lobby at Princeton to look at Tal Fortgang and tell him to "check his privilege" solely because he is white and male, is it OK for Fortgang or any white male at Princeton to look at African Americans on campus and assume that they are there as a result of quotas and affirmative action?  I would hope not.  That would be unfairly judging an individual without any knowledge of that individual's personal story.  It would be racist.


"The Hammer" said...

My dad fell dead in 1986 while putting on a tire at his garage, he was 56. Since he started the business in 1963 he took two days off a year (a day and a half actually), Thanksgiving and Christmas. He worked every Saturday, the first 15-18 years nearly every Sunday. He worked through sickness and fatigue from 6:30 AM to 7:00 PM. He never owned a credit card and his debts at the time of his death was the electric bill that had arrived that week. He had 20k in bad debt on the books to people he had tried to "help", and when he died the tax man cometh.
He started with nothing and by age twenty five had three children and a brand new 3 bedroom brick house (about 1000 sq ft). He raised the kids and put them through school and taught them the value of hard work. With his taxes helped build the greatest, most just, and by far the most prosperous country in history. I guess you could say he was "privileged". I'm just glad he's not around to see what it has become.

The Conservative Wahoo said...

Nicely said.

LL said...

The vast and undying hypocrisy of the 'progressive movement' calls for cynically using the poor as their own voting block. The demon is the need to keep them poor and dependent rather than empowered and independent.

Cries of 'racist', 'sexist', 'homophobe', 'islamophobe' and their ilk is the modern equivalent of bomb throwing. If you asked the average college student to define racist behavior, I'd be surprised if 1:5 could do so accurately.

The Obama regime has denied capital to a nation where that is what small businesses require to form and prosper. It has picked winners and losers and the small businessman has been the loser. It's not about race or gender. It's a philosophy of rampant utopian socialism that is choking the nation.

TigerHawk said...

I wrote about this on Facebook the other day. One should not be opposed to checking one's privilege. I'll go out on a limb and say that most readers of this blog are very privileged compared to the average American, even the average white American, in most respects that matter. We all ought to reflect on ways in which we have been lucky, and not mistake that for merit or virtue. But I'll also suggest that the people on elite campuses telling white males to "check their privilege" are also profoundly privileged people, perhaps compared to everybody other than white males on elite campuses. It is also the case that the phrase delivered in the imperative can be a device for shutting down discussion of a topic on the merits. After all, the merit of an argument does not depend on, or from, the privilege or lack thereof of the speaker. It stands on its own. If the direction to "check your privilege" is used to substitute for arguing the merits, it actually undermines civility, and with it our civil society, rather than opening minds.

The Conservative Wahoo said...

The act of "checking one's privilege" if it is done at all, should be self-motivated. When it is required as table stakes for discourse, it is as you say, "a device for shutting down discussion". That appears to be its design.

Anonymous said...

I thought "check your privilege" was a racist/sexist taunt to those to whom our government had given privileged entry to institutions and jobs for which they were under-qualified merely because of their skin color or method of urinating. So glad to read that it was a much more socially acceptable admonition.

LL said...

Privilege means different things to different people. I wasn't born a negro, but I dare say that I was poorer than most city negroes when I grew up in the country. Parents didn't want me, grandparents took me, grandfather died when I was 14 when I went to work nearly full time while going to Jr. High.

No, I wasn't a moron (depending on who you talk to) and for me the Navy allowed me to send money home to my grandma while earning something. Mustang officer early in my career, Naval Postgraduate School, intelligence service, etc. It all came in the era when it wasn't appropriate to give the job to the white guy.

Privilege slices in a number of directions and race and gender are only part of it. When you have a mixed race person get elected to POTUS twice, you have to take a hard look at the supposed glass ceiling.

Tom de Plume said...

So for years the left has been indirectly telling us that blacks aren't as smart as whites and women aren't as smart as men. So why do they get their panties in a wad when I agree that Barack Hussein is a dumbass who could not have gotten in to the universities he attended if it weren't for the color of his skin?

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