Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Privilege in black and white
I ran across a site that was talking about "white privilege" the other day. Ah, sweet memories. Did you know that there is an annual conference on White Privilege at Colorado Springs campus of UC?
Privilege, for those of you not blessed with the Knowing, is the set of "invisible and assumed" social benefits you get for belonging to a privileged class, even though you as an individual have not earned them. Being white, being male, you get privileges that people of color and women do not. And among the more advanced, dismantling privilege, especially one's own, is a great way to pass the time.
There are other kinds of privilege, too. Being a citizen as opposed to an immigrant. Being able as opposed to disabled. Being tall, being beautiful, speaking English. And recently I found the most delightful...and one that revealed the game in the whole paradigm...cisgender privilege. If you are not transgendered, aka at war with your physical gender, then you are cisgendered, at home with your gender of birth. (Cis is Latin for "this side"; it is the antonym of the Latin trans, beyond.) Well, that gives you privilege, one that you did not earn but simply enjoy....at the expense of the transgendered, of course, who constitute, what, .00001% of the population?
Hmmm, I wonder if there is FTM vs MTF privilege. Boy, this is fun.
My response to all these systems of privilege is: what the hell else do you expect human societies to do? Expecting to dismantle them is just like expecting the classless society of Marxist utopia. A deluded pipedream of moral inflation that usually just leads to more misery than the original situation.
And the role of this privilege scam, like all the Progressive Orthodoxy we call political correctness, is to engage members of successful groups in self-sabotage and self-erasure through manufactured guilt. Dismantling one group's privilege will NOT lead to a society without systems of group privilege any more than Communism led to the withering away of the state. It will mean that another group will have the privilege, not you. So my suggestion is that if you are part of a group with privilege, hang on to it.
A funny thing is that white men, for instance, are castigated for enjoying group privileges they did not earn as individuals. But they can be held accountable for historical group wrongs that they had not part in as individuals. Cool, huh?
I was conversing the other night with my ex, T, who is black, and our friend Bill, who is another old white guy like me. Neither Bill nor I are at all rich or powerful. Bill made some joke about us enjoying white privilege and we all laughed.
Now T has his own privilege --aside from getting free rides on the bus sometimes when the driver is black. As a black, he has moral privilege: in any situation where race is involved, the assumption will be that he is the victim. And the whites will always be assumed guilty. That's how the game is played these days. Any person of color can weave a narrative of discrimination, etc and they have the privilege of being believed prima facie, without necessarily having earned the role as individuals.
Works both ways, this stuff.
Welcome to the human race. BS abounds.
PS. Wow, what a self-hating homo I must be. I forgot to mention heterosexual privilege and its evil handmaiden "heterosexism" which holds the ridiculous notion that a sexual paradigm both utterly necessary to civilization and shared by about 97%+ of the human race should have a certain assumed prominence. My bad.
at 1:48 PM