Squid Ink

Privilege

 

To being with, it is my privilege to address you today. No, seriously. I’m typing this on a piece of equipment that would have made the Golden Age writers go weak at the knees, and posting it over an electronic network that would have made ME go weak at the knees 20 years ago. As in when I read in Friday of the net she used for research, I thought I’d trade everything I owned plus years of life for the right to use that.

Now I have it, and I can type my thoughts and post them for the world [Sometimes half-baked. Apologies again to Abyss and Apex. I’m in the middle of moving, and things are… confusing.]

And you can read them without even the effort of going to the corner and buying a paper off the paper-seller, as my dad had to do for his share of news of the world early morning.

I’m doing this in my PJs, in a comfy heated office (filled with cardboard boxes) sitting at the black glass desk of Evil command. I’m drinking a beverage grown on another continent and transported by tech and human power across the world, so I can enjoy it.

I’m privileged. We are privileged beyond the dreams of kings and queens of past centuries.

Unfortunately when they tell you to “check your privilege” that’s not what they mean.

This is a phrase increasingly deployed by people (usually women – rolls eyes) with an academic background and its meaning is … liberal squid ink. If you’re telling them that Welfare was a disaster for black families (it was) and that affirmative action not only has been a disaster for many organizations, but corrodes the soul (you never know why you were hired. I have friends in that position) and institutes birth-privilege based on who your ancestors were (aka nobility) they will say “check your privilege.” This really doesn’t mean a heck of a lot. It can’t, because they have no idea who you are, or indeed if you have ever received any privilege growing up.

What it is base don is the idea that our society is so inherently racist/sexist/homophobic that just by being straight, white and male someone receives better treatment than someone else who isn’t one or more of those things.

Like most lunatic ravings of the left, it has a point, except for the “male” thing.

Is there some sort of automatic boost you get for being a member of the majority (which women are, despite being accorded minority status.) Of course. You’re a known quantity. Just by virtue of people having interacted with someone like you, you’re going to get “helpful” treatment, even if you are supposedly a minority.

Take me, for instance (well, don’t, Dan would be upset.) Suppose I meet a stranger on the street. Portuguese. What the heck do you make of Portuguese? If you are in a region like Boston that has Portuguese gangs (I had a cousin in one) it might carry a negative connotation. Anywhere else in the country (sorry) most people will think “South America” and have a vague idea I should be herding llamas and wearing colorfully woven stuff.

For a long time, the answer to “Portuguese” was “April in Portugal” or “Portuguese Washerwoman” because of songs.

Now suppose I was from Mexico. Meeting me would be fraught with a lot of stereotypes, but those would be both negative and positive. I mean people would go “illegal?” but then there would come the “Plucky immigrant” and “family values.” On the whole people would treat me better than neutral, trying to make up for their momentary bad-thought flinch.

Same applies, for instance, to being a race other than white that is fairly well known. Even Indian. And if you are a woman, you get the negative stereotype of all the pretty-pretty vacuous women yeah (when I was young and pretty, people assumed I was an idiot.) But you also get the strong push we’ve been seeing from media and even commercials of “women save the day.” On the whole, people will treat you slightly better, because, well, they feel bad for that first flinch.

OTOH white male? Unless you’re upper class, well dressed, etc, people are going to assume you’re a doofus, just like in all the commercials. Because of all the propaganda about how you dominate the world, if you’re not successful, people will think you’re an idiot.

This sort of unconscious evaluation is human, can’t be helped, and will always exist.

Several years ago, Dan and I were shopping for a car. Our friends Alan and Becky went with us. To the eye we all present as white (unless I’ve been in the sun a bit, but even then, I could be Italian.) All of us were casually dressed. Alan, however, was tall, blond, blue eyed. Becky is tall and blue/grey eyed. She was also slim.

Dan and I are both short, and were both rather overweight at the time. We were the ones looking for a car, and we had the cash to buy it outright. They – for various reasons – didn’t. The salesmen swarmed them and fairly ignored us.

Micro aggression? Privilege? Oh, sure. No, not really. It amused us greatly, but at first scanning (and there were more details I don’t remember now) our friends presented as “having more money” so they got the attention. Fine. We still looked at cars.

This is the sort of privilege they’re talking about. In the long run, it really doesn’t mean much. What matters is what you make of it. The first glance might make salesmen run from us, but once we start talking about what we want, and how much we’re willing to pay (no, not now. That car is 17 years old, but you get the point) they’ll come back and (duh) sell us a car. The difference? We don’t go away in a huff when they make a mistake. And we don’t take unreasonable insult from a reasonable assumption.

The reason so many academic liberals deploy it as a war cry, though, is because they are mostly academics from – da – privileged backgrounds. This sort of “insult” is the worst they’ve ever suffered. They’ve never been low man on the totem pole with sh*t flowing downhill for things you couldn’t even vaguely control.

So they imagine these casual slights are the worst thing ever.

It’s sort of like kids who always got all the candy they wanted, feeling crushed because you said “no chocolate before breakfast.” It’s the worst thing ever, because it’s the worst they’ve ever experienced.

They also find it useful to shut up opponents because well… if they say it, any normal rational people thinks of my opening to this post. They think “Well, I am unusually blessed, maybe—”

Don’t. Just don’t. Most of the people who use “check your privilege” could buy you and sell you outright. The real “downtrodden” battling to get to the top will often have the same reaction YOU have.

The point is, we’re all equal under the law. Human discrimination is not something you can stop, but it’s also not something that is triggered to the Marxist categories of race, orientation or even class. It’s usually more subtle. I might discriminate against someone because something about him bothers me: accent, gestures, something. I might not even know why. It might be unjust.

It’s just a result of humans not being perfect. No human society can get rid of it. Giving people the power to point and cry privilege to shut others up will just privilege a bunch of academics and bureaucrats who will use it to their advantage.

When told to check your privilege, I suggest you answer “it’s fine, thank you. How about yours? A bit overlarge, no?”

 

259 responses to “Squid Ink

  1. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    “Check your privilege” is just another way of saying “you are a bigot”. [Frown]

  2. Martin L. Shoemaker

    As I said on Brad’s Facebook page… Privilege as an argument is formalized ad hominem: “Your argument is invalid because of the class to which I have assigned you.”

    And screw Godwin’s law: It’s different in degree but not in kind from making Jews wear a yellow star so we know who they are and where their place is.

    • ESR put it well:

      … I basically disengage from anyone who uses the phrase “white privilege” or the term “patriarchy”. There is a possible world in which these might be useful terms of discussion, but if that were ever our universe it has long since ceased to be. Now what they mean is “I am about to attempt to bully you into submission using kafkatraps and your own sense of decency as a club”.

    • I wish people would stop using the phrase “make a difference”. It seems content free to me. I’d rather that people use the phrase “do good”. It’s specific and clear what the intent is.

  3. If what I experience all day every day as a White male is “privilege”, they can keep it. Nothing but one lying, conniving bastard after another trying to stick their hand in my pocket and scoop out all my loose change. Plus run me through their little power trip because somebody gave them a tiny scintilla of authority and they are going to make the most of it.

    Liberals are insane propagandists who need some lessons in the School of Hard Knocks. Maybe if they busted their knuckles fixing the same crappy old car for a few years, so that they could get to the same crappy McJob every day, so that they could eat and buy more parts for the crappy car, MAYBE after ten years of that you could have an intelligent conversation with them about stuff like privilege. And taxes.

    Or maybe not, the Stupid is strong with a lot of them.

    • It would help. It might, however, leave them stuck with the notion that having a car, a TV, and interior plumbing is somehow the rock bottom fact of human existence.

  4. Salamandyr (Mark Pearson)

    There was a time where we would say, instead of “checking our privilege”, we would “count our blessings”. Gratitude is a better emotion than shame–or jealousy.

    The privilege counters spend so much time worrying about how someone else might have it better than then, they have little time or spleen left to improve their own circumstances. And isn’t that the most important thing-improvement? It matters little that I’m not rich. I’m better off than I was last year. It doesn’t matter that I wasn’t born naturally athletic. I’m stronger and faster than I used to be.

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

      Nod, I’m very far from “privileged” but I’m aware that I could be much worse off.

      So, “count your blessings” definitely works for me. [Smile]

      • Same here. We still count our blessings. A common response to “How y’all doin’?” is “Better than I deserve to be!” served with a smile, too. *grin*

  5. More and more I feel the temptation to answer “check your privilege” by saying “Yes, I’m a conservative male WASP. And when nitwits like you Liberal Intellectual Radical Progressive prats have managed to get us into serious trouble, it is me, and people who think like me, who will pull your chestnuts out of the fire. Maybe. If we’re feeling well inclined toward you. So mind your fockin manners.”

    • My answer? “My privilege has been earned by the sweat of my brow and the blood of my forefathers. When was the last time you got hurt worse than a papercut, you illegitimate little f*ck?”

      Fortunately for them, I have an imposing stature (Larry has an inch or two on me and a goatee. An evil goatee), so I am rarely bothered by these idiots in person.

    • I’m tempted to say “What do you mean, paleface?” Now, I don’t know if I have American Indian blood, but it would be fun to watch the reaction.

      • My wife is Delaware and Cherokee. The usual response of a prog to that is, “You can’t be.” Pretty sure she doesn’t need their permission.

      • I like that! Mind if I use it? I don’t have the DNA test to prove it, but family history says there is Cherokee blood on my Dad’s side.

        • That’s good enough for the junior Senator from Massachusetts.

          • Wait, there’s one other test for affirmative action in Law faculties, apprently: Bruce, how do your cheekbones look?

            • For Cherokee, if your ancestor is on some specific list, you get counted as a member of the Cherokee nation. However, if a Cherokee ancestor hid out in the hills – as occasionally happened – and didn’t make the list, you are not considered Cherokee, even if there are other indications that you are.

        • Be my guest. There’s a persistent rumor that my branch of the surname has at least one Cherokee ancestor, and I’ve been asked by American Indians if I’m Cherokee. It’s possible, but that’s about all.

          Now, my wife does have a confirmed American Indian ancestor.

          • Nasty thought: Resubmit some of my old stories but with an “American Indian name,” and see what happens . . .

            • My dad worked with a guy who legally changed his name to something Hispanic after he retired from the USAF so that he could get minority preference as a government supplier (coffee to the local base, as I recall).

              • I can prove I am descended from one Juan of Aragon, through my French Canadian ancestry. I should claim Hispanic.

          • There are a few women up the Acadian branches of my family that, as far as the records go, appear to have manifested spontaneously on their wedding days.

            Probably Mi’kmaq.

    • Mine is “Checked it. You’re still wrong.”

      • How about, “I did. It say’s you’re an idiot, too.”

        • Story told by an old friend of mine, so veracity might be dicey:

          There was a protest on campus, as does happen when the leaves are pretty and the boys and girls are feeling their autumn friskies. As it happened, the lawn in front of my buddies and my apartment is quite the natural place for one: lots of attention from pedestrians to-ing and fro-ing, captive audiences in their automobiles, residents trying to tune out the chanting with counter-chants: Gregorian, for preference.

          I think it was feminism, that day. Pro-pr0n, pro-death feminism, not one of the other flavors. One of them chose to accost one of my classmates.

          My friend Sammie is a sawed-off, bald headed engineer-type, black as the ace of spades. An Odd if there ever was one. He’s blessed with a lovely wife who’s got enough common sense to cover both of them. This might explain his perpetually sunny disposition, despite the seriousness of his chosen discipline.

          Sign-toting-SJW: “Men are teh evuls!”

          Sammie: “Wut?”

          Sign-toting-SJW: “Check your privilege, patriarchy-drone!”

          So, my friend whips out his phone and dials. Ring ring. Explains to his wife, whom he is blessed and privileged to sleep next to every night. Nods, says goodbye. Closes phone.

          Sammie: “Okay, I checked with my privilege. She thinks you’re an asshat, too!”

      • Mine is, “Yes, I checked it – and I’m about a quart and a half low – can you spot me some of yours until the first of the month?

  6. The relatively new slogan ‘check your privilege’ coined by the lunatic left has been getting on my very last nerve ever since I first heard of it. I am an overweight, over-40, intact white male, and while I live well it isn’t as if I did nothing to attain and keep what little wealth I have. What the government doesn’t confiscate for security and social programs, the myriad of moonbat non-profit organizations that somehow got hold of my name and phone number want to take from me. It’s for the underprivileged, you see. My donation will keep them off drugs, streets and crime.

    So, thanks to taxation, I am headed for poverty. I guess that will make me an underprivileged victim of the moonbats. I wonder if they’ll take care of me in my old age? I suspect not, as their sense of justice will see an imbalance due to my former life.

    Like The Phantom above, I have had to decide between insurance and car parts, and it ain’t no fun.

    • I used to lve in Bethesda, Maryland, a very Liberal suburb of,DC. THERE we got door to door PC beggers. I took particular satisfaction in telling them what I thought of them.

      “No, I won’t sign your petition and donate to tye Sierra Club.Why? Because I think about half the environmental ‘Problems’ in the country could be solved by deep fat frying the Sierra Club’s board of directors.”

  7. “And if you are a woman, you get the negative stereotype of all the pretty-pretty vacuous women yeah (when I was young and pretty, people assumed I was an idiot.)”
    So…what do they assume now that you’re the refined Beautiful Evil Space Princess?

    I remember the second car I bought. I was 24 and wise enough that I actually respected and WANTED my parents opinion on the car that I purchased. I’d already done my research on the internet and just wanted to test drive the one that I’d picked out to make sure it was what I wanted. Went to the dealership that our family had purchased cars from for the last 10 or 15 years and got stuck with a new salesman that was younger than me. I told him exactly what I wanted and he proceeded to show me every car on the lot except for what I wanted. Humoring him, I even took a couple for a test drive. When we got done he asked if I wanted to come inside and fill out the paperwork on one of the two I’d taken for a drive. I looked at him, smiled, and said, “Just because I’m wearing old jeans and a t-shirt doesn’t mean that I can’t afford the vehicle I want. And my credit? It’s better than my parents, I brought them for their opinion, not to co-sign. You showed me every used car on this lot, and failed to show me the brand new one car that I told you I wanted when I walked in the door. Thanks, you shown me what I don’t want, so it hasn’t been a total waste of my time. Have a nice day.” And left. I went back a couple of days later – I kept getting more angry the more I thought about it – and sat down with the sales manager. He gave me a better deal than I would have gotten and he started watching that salesman closer. That salesdweeb was gone less than a month later.

    • It’s amazing how some people don’t understand that you mean what you say. We gave stellar reviews to one car dealership because after my husband walked onto the lot (our car having died an unexpected smoking death a few days prior) and said that he had a loan that required these terms, and he was looking for a car that fit a certain profile, the salesman found a couple of cars that exactly fit the needs and didn’t BS about it. (That car died at the hands of a hit-and-run driver, at a laughably slow speed… and the guy went on to get into another accident a few blocks later, and got caught. Jerk.)

      • “No, I don’t want to lease. I intend to own the car I mean to buy today for ten years or more. No, you can’t pursuade me to sign up for a worse deal. No. No. Look, what part of ‘NO!’ were you having trouble with?”

        • “No, I am paying for this car. Why should I pay you interest when I can pay you everything right now and own the car? No, taking out financing is not ‘putting money back into my pocket.’ I. Am. Paying. For. The. Car.”

          • I have found that a real show stopper is “Look, do you want to sell me this car, or don’t you?”.

            Glad to say, I haven’t had to trot that one out in a while. The local dealer is used to PA farm families, not yuppie whitecollars who have to have a new car every there years or die.

          • Some car lots refuse to take cash anymore. My neighbor went to buy a new 1 ton diesel about a year ago, he made the deal and then when he pulled the cash out to pay for it, they informed him that they DON’T ACCEPT CASH and he had to go to the bank and get a cashier’s check.

            In fact the last rig I bought was the same way, I had the cash on me, but they didn’t accept cash; they did accept credit cards, which is what I ended up paying with since it was a holiday and the banks were closed. That at least was an online auction place that deals mainly online at least; but still they receive the majority of their payments when people show up to pick up their cars. Now that I think about it, they don’t offer financing, so they aren’t making any additional money that way, so it makes even less sense for them not to accept cash.

            • Sounds like they’re trying to avoid filling out the large cash transaction paperwork. They would be legally obligated to rat you out to the Feds above a certain amount. Used to be ten thousand dollars, but I think it’s lower these days.

            • You know what the feds do if you regularly make large deposits of cash at your bank?

              • If you are an individual, yes. Silly me, I was thinking the feds would have enough common sense to realize that if you were a car lot selling $50,000 rigs that you would regularly receive rather large payments. Or even an auction house who sells mainly wrecked vehicles, but to the tune of a hundred or so a week.

                • Yeah, I’m pretty sure a LOT of businesses regularly make large cash deposits.

                  • And the Feds really don’t care if you are a business or individual; same rules apply. The record is replete with cases of asset forfeiture where business owners are busted for carrying “large” amounts of cash that there’s no way they would have legally; must be drug related. /sarc

                    .

                • No, if you are a small business.

            • Money laundering, counterfeiting, the time it takes to count out the cash, and the eternal issue of the cash growing legs at some point between when they count it and when the manager takes it in to deposit.

              Plus the issue of “this place may have large amounts of cash– it is good to rob.”

            • “we don’t accept cash” – what do they think the words “this note is legal tender for all debts public and private” on the face of US currency mean?

              • Holy cow, there’s actually an answer:

                http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/faqs/Currency/Pages/legal-tender.aspx

                Legal Tender Status

                I thought that United States currency was legal tender for all debts. Some businesses or governmental agencies say that they will only accept checks, money orders or credit cards as payment, and others will only accept currency notes in denominations of $20 or smaller. Isn’t this illegal?

                The pertinent portion of law that applies to your question is the Coinage Act of 1965, specifically Section 31 U.S.C. 5103, entitled “Legal tender,” which states: “United States coins and currency (including Federal reserve notes and circulating notes of Federal reserve banks and national banks) are legal tender for all debts, public charges, taxes, and dues.”

                This statute means that all United States money as identified above are a valid and legal offer of payment for debts when tendered to a creditor. There is, however, no Federal statute mandating that a private business, a person or an organization must accept currency or coins as for payment for goods and/or services. Private businesses are free to develop their own policies on whether or not to accept cash unless there is a State law which says otherwise. For example, a bus line may prohibit payment of fares in pennies or dollar bills. In addition, movie theaters, convenience stores and gas stations may refuse to accept large denomination currency (usually notes above $20) as a matter of policy.

            • Last car we bought, we used a personal check. No grief about cash, check, card or financing. It also helps that we’ve been going there for 20 years and have the older salespeople well trained.

    • Expert female shooters, I hear, have a long list of typical complaints of how they get treated the first time they go in a gunstore. Being told they want a 13oz. snubnose .38 is the most common.

      • That’s pretty much what my parents suggested I get for my CC. (Reliable, concealable, light, and can survive living at the bottom of a purse.) They might find it annoying, but I’m tremendously reassured that there are enough women who don’t look like they shoot who are going in for an “oh, @#$#” weapon.

        • Ack — I —

          Hrm. No desire to step on toes, no desire to hi-jack a thread.

          If you’re interested in a random opinion and caution on such a firearm PM me on FB or bug Sarah for my email.

          If you’re already fully versed, disregard.

          • Write it up and send it in to Sarah as a guest post!

            (I already have my gun, did not go with something with the selling point of being incredibly light.)

            • Talk about troll-call. That’s the sort of topic to invite the invasion.

              (Yay! {on the already being armed, part})

            • If I can make myself keep writing, one of my characters has the holster built into the structure of her purse – she doesn’t reach in from the top to get it, it’s got fake black panels on each end, one of which conceals an opening to reach in through the end panel and pull out. I’ll probably use a palmprint recognition to release it, so it doesn’t fall out, and is harder to steal.

      • William O. B'Livion

        They shouldn’t feel bad, most gun store employees are low grade morons with a serious case of dunning-krueger, and tend to treat men they don’t know with scarcely more respect.

        The only difference is they’ll generally recommend some sort of .45 caliber death ray or a 12 gauge pump because racking the slide causes peoples bowels to water.

      • Which is funny, because that is what I normally carry. And not necessarily what I suggest for most of the people that take my CCW class.

      • That sort of thing used to annoy Daughter #1 to no end.

        Regulars at the rifle range we used to patronize took to calling her over if someone brought in something new and unusual to try. Her favorite item for a while was an Model 1885 Highwall falling-block rifle in .45-70.

        But the gunstore salesmen, at least the newly-minted ones, kept trying to point her towards something more like a .25 or .32 pocket pistol.

        • A .25? What did they have against her?

          • As a friend of mine used to say about .25’s, “if you ever shot somebody with that, and they found out about it, they would be p*ssed.”

            • *cackle!*

            • Reminds me of the episode of MASH where the surgeons go to pick up some wounded POWs the Chinese are turning over to them, and Frank Burns takes a gun to the exchange. Things get tense when everyone realize he has a weapon, until he shows them the gun… and everyone starts laughing at him.

      • .38 S&W Airweight snubbie is the best gun for some women. Women pick that one themselves, because it is small, it is light, and it has no safety to f- up when the defecation hits the rotating air pusher. Grab handle, pull trigger, if it doesn’t go BANG keep pulling the trigger. Simple is good, not everyone understands (or more important, wants to understand) the semi-auto with all the levers and buttons on it. Smartest woman I know carries a .38 Airweight Snubbie.

        Just don’t load it with +P+ antiaircraft rockets, it’ll be fine. Most women I know practice with standard pressure hardball and light bullets anyway, so they don’t develop a flinch. Save the heavy stuff for street carry. If it kicks hard in a fight they won’t even notice, because all that range practice trains them that the recoil isn’t bad.

        I like .45s , but then I’m 6ft tall and mass nearly double what some skinny girl does. She -can- shoot the full-sized .45, but she won’t -like- shooting it so she won’t practice and she’ll leave it in the glove compartment instead of on her belt where it belongs.

        Change pronoun to describe identical male behavior. Nobody -carries- a .50 Desert Eagle, because recoil, weight and size. That’s how big a 1911 is on a woman who’s 5’2″ and 110lbs.

      • The “culture” of different gun stores are very different. I’m sure men have similar problems with customer service, actually, but they might deal with them differently. I donno. I know there’s a shop in town here that I refuse to go to again. Ever. Most of the others have been just fine. Unless they’re super busy the people working there are happy to admire and talk about guns with you even if your level of knowledge is somewhere around, “That’s sure pretty. What is it?”

        • That gun-and-ammo store I keep recommending– Surplus Ammo and Arms, way down next to McChord– got my loyalty in part because when I moused by way in based on a total stranger suggesting it, the guy at the counter gave me a look and a basic heya, if you need anything tell me… and went back to sorting whatever he was messing with.

          When I couldn’t find the ammo that my mom had asked me to price check and fumbled the name, he figured it out and told me it’d sold out, but there should be more in one to four days, did I know what grains she wanted. When I admitted I didn’t, he asked if I was interested in different versions of the ammo that I had. (I had a variety of ones for my pistol.) We then talked plinking-vs-home-security ammo for a while, totally a comfortable conversation.

          Oh, and they have a hand-written sign on the door, says something about how weapons that you’re bringing in to show the clerks must be empty and in a case.

      • *grins*

        Being a man, I didn’t want a gurlz gun, so I opted for the plastic snubnose 357. 🙂 Actually kicks much less than I expected (I have read that this is due to the polymer frame actually flexing, not sure if this is true, but I do know it isn’t uncomfortable to shoot, even with full power 357 magnum loads) and since unlike a girl I don’t carry a purse, a gun that fits comfortably in the front pocket of my jeans is a huge advantage for summertime carry, over my other pistols that are all full size.

        • Oh and reliability of a revolver is a huge advantage, especially when it is being carried around in a pocket and collecting lint and stuff, rather than being protected in a holster. I imagine one carried in the bottom of a purse would have similar issues with miscellaneous debris.

          • If it’s at the bottom of the purse you’re already doing it wrong and it really doesn’t matter what gun you’re carrying that you can’t reach quickly.

            • You might want to try familiarizing yourself with purse-carry before making statements like that, especially purse carry relative to the various other options that are available for women.

              Not all or even most situations where a gun is needed are quick draw situations, and the gun at the bottom of your purse is a hell of a lot quicker to reach than the one in your glove compartment, or in the inside pocket of the jacket across the room.

              • I’m married; I’m sadly familiar with women’s purses. Now a purse with a dedicated pouch or holster for a gun is one thing, but “at the bottom of the purse” suggests a lack of availability.

                • Suggests it if you’re only familiar with purses– purse carry is a similar but different animal. I’ve tried different setups, and those awesome looking ones that have special spots for just the gun are much slower than packing the entire thing around the gun.

                  That type of packing also makes it so you don’t flash the weapon, and Random Kid doesn’t pull it out.

  8. They think “Well, I am unusually blessed, maybe—”

    That’s the real barb of it, sharp and wicked. It works in America, by the nature of our culture and values we are inclined to “count our blessings” and be thankful. It’s so intricately woven, even non-theists of various flavors are likely of the mindset.

    The usage by scoundrels, by miscreants to corrupt this inclination, to turn an introspective value into a tool to browbeat opposition and silence critique is yet another high crime of the thought-censors.

    It’s an alluring tool, one whose success secures a place of prominence in so many causes. Ultimately, it corrupts from within. It undermines thought in the very people using it, weakens argument and logic. This tool, and many like it, are responsible for significant set-backs in our society. And likely leading to greater ones.

    In works in America, where people actually give a damn, and want to be better. I invite them to try it in some lovely locales where oppression is something more than inconvenience and mild affront. I invite them to do anything other than turn their cowardly heads from the reality on the ground in someplace like Mosul, under ISIS. Or Russia. China. Nigeria, maybe.

    Fools. Frauds and fools, taken in by another tool placed at hand by power-grubbing slugs.

    • Thought: “count your blessings” is a term that implies religion, specifically religion that mandates that as you are blessed, so you should bless others. Note that said blessings are a personal obligation—that is, you don’t outsource them to another group such as government.

      Take religion out of the equation and the need for such requirement to be personally administered becomes mooted.

      • Take religion out of the equation and the need for such requirement to be personally administered becomes mooted.

        Ehhh — Maybe the need is lost, but the inclination isn’t, necessarily. I think it can be seen in people volunteering for various secular causes. They’ve lost access to the charitable works of the churches for one reason and another so they seek other organizations doing “good work.”

        Often enough, those organizations are, or are drifting, toward radicalization and people frequently find themselves burned by their involvement. Subsequently, they’re shy of getting too involved in the future. Whole host of problems stem from there.

        But, I think a lot of people still feel the impetus and lack the focus of a community based organization to direct their work. Witness the response after disasters, as we’ve discussed here before. Also, the outpouring of money, time and resources for various calls for aid on the internet or in the news. Typically following a source people have fair confidence in highlighting the story.

        People in this country want to help. Finding various avenues blocked by myriad obstacles, oftentimes they feel little choice but to outsource.

        Problem, right there.

      • ” Note that said blessings are a personal obligation—that is, you don’t outsource them to another group such as government.”

        That very Protestant POV is one of several reasons that a society founded on Protestant principles is preferable to one founded onCatholic ones.

        And I’m an agnostic.

        • Nonsense. Every (good) Catholic knows that it is his personal duty to give to charity voluntarily, out of his own pocket. This is why we do not include “pay your taxes” or “vote for the welfare state,” in the corporal acts of mercy.

          After all, it was Protestant England that first made receiving “relief” a legal right.

        • I think you’re confusing the current status– the folks in the US that left the Protestant countries are more that way (in part because of things like them trying communism in isolation, and almost dying out because of it) and the more recent folks from Catholic countries are more likely to be infused with the heresy of Communism– with the cause.

        • I’m Catholic, FWIW. Outsourcing charity does no good for the individual obligation.

        • I have to agree with this one. They used to teach that the Protestant work ethic – “salvation through hard work” – was one of the major differences marking the American people. I think the American attitude of “you’re not the boss of me” comes from the difference between constantly splitting Protestant sects (“everyone talk to G-d in their own way”), versus a monolithic religious organization with a fixed hierarchy. Protestants lacking a confession/penance mechanism also leads to other differences, some good, some bad.
          My $0.02.

          • Ultimately, I simply observe that parts of the world where Protestantism hold,sway are better on average than those where Catholicism is tops, which in turn is preferable to Buddhism, then Hinduism, then Animism, then Islam and Socialism/Communism battling it out for last place.

            I have ideas about why, but no proof. I just know that my liberal friends who blather about how Buddhists are all non-violent are historical ignoramuses, and that after the 20th century Socialists have alot of explaining to do.

  9. My “privilege” was to work hard in school, learn useful stuff, get into a good college, and learn even more useful stuff, work summers so my parents didn’t have to cover all my college expenses. Show up at job interviews appropriately dressed, well mannered and knowledgeable. Work hard, save money, marry, buy a house, have kids, raise them, send them off into the world well manner, well educated, honest . . .

    Yes. I’m privileged. I damn well worked and planned for it.

    • i.e. the “privilege” is being rewarded for having done those things likely to lead to that reward. The opposite of “privilege” must be “bad luck”.

  10. Privilege is the reason I pay an unreasonable amount of money to my ex-wife in child support even though she makes five times what I do. Being a man, after all, means that I have “privilege” and makes me the “primary breadwinner.”

    Privilege is the reason I’m not able to make many sales at work. I don’t work for a “woman or minority owned” business and therefore I get passed over, regardless of the quality of my product or my pricing, so that those people can make sales.

    Privilege is the reason I’m not allowed to express an opinion on anything in the breakroom at work. Calling a person who killed twelve people in a newspaper office and is (at the time) holding hostages shortly thereafter cannot be permitted. After all, someone else might hear something I say and be offended.

    Privilege is the reason that a white man who kills a black man who assaults him has to go on trial and have his wife and child threatened with death, along with having his whole town burnt down.

    Privilege is the reason that a white man may not criticize anyone who does not look like him because it’s “micro-aggression” even if the criticism has nothing to do with race. I mean, how can someone be guilty of something if someone else that looks like them has been accused of it?

    Privilege is, quite frankly, a fraud and an excuse. Marxist “privilege” rhetoric is uncomfortably close to Nazi rhetoric toward Jews and seeks many of the same ends. Possibly not the Final Solution, but definitely the ghettoization and repression of white men.

    Privilege is, put bluntly, a word that these lefties can feel free to write on a baseball bat, wrap the bat in barbed wire and then insert into their anal cavity and twist clockwise.

    • While I agree with you in general, it is important to keep in mind that those same Lefty pillocks are USING the inner city poor. Using them pretty hard. And while that particular case the cops was pretty clearly in the right, there have been plenty of others where the cops were WAY out of line. SWAT raid bullshit. I notice that the Left doesn’t kick up anywhere NEAR the fuss over those. They LIKE the peasants to be scared of the cops.

      • I just realized I’m not being clear;

        I THINK IT’s likely that the Left made a fuss over THAT CASE because they were pretty sure the cop was in the right, and so the cries for “justice” would be thwarted, and that would bind the protesters even more tightly to the Left.

        • Something folks might want to keep in mind when the media suddenly decides to pick up a story that is superficially similar to stuff that has been common knowledge on the right for ages. It’s not very likely that they’ve suddenly seen the light and are highly enthusiastic about the problems you’ve been talking about for years.

        • BobtheRegisterredFool

          Here I was thinking it was because they are a bunch of stoners too impaired to realize that dope makes you stupid and more likely to end up dead, and get offended and scared whenever a cop kills someone being high. Or maybe it is more accurate to say that I was feeling that.

          • I’m unconvinced the cop killed him for being stoned. I think he was killed for being an agressive young thug.

            We ARE talking about Ferguson, yes?

            • As best I can tell, the activists don’t care about little things like “assaulted the police” or “violently resisted arrest,” or even “knocked on door at 3AM and tried to force his way inside while stoned and drunk,” they only care about “was out of control in a way I empathize with” and “is dead.”

            • BobtheRegisterredFool

              Exactly.

              A cop sees behavior, they don’t exactly go round pulling people over, giving them a blood test, and summarily executing based on the result.

              Some people read about someone being killed with THC in their system and apparently think ‘pot does not make people (me) violent’.

              I’ve read enough Robert E. Hampson that I think ‘likely used pot, and pot impairs risk assessment and some forms of learning. How long and how heavy were they using? What were their habits? What kind of judgements might they have been making at the time?’

              Given the specifics of the prior robbery, pot is likely the reason he was in the area in a violent state. Someone that stoned picking up the fixings for more speaks to very heavy use.

              Time spent stoned is time one can’t spend learning to be more sensible. Furthermore, if he was a bully that had never faced serious consequence, the impaired risk assessment could have easily contributed to doubling down on the losing hand of ‘I am shot and leaking blood.’

              I am morally certain that his chemically altered state could have readily caused his ending up dead.

              That pot is central to events in Ferguson, that ‘killed for being stoned’ is not necessarily distinct from ‘killed for being an aggressive young thug’ is not something that pot advocates are eager to have discussed. It is their sacred cow, and they do not enjoy it being gored.

              • Some people read about someone being killed with THC in their system and apparently think ‘pot does not make people (me) violent’.

                I know that in some cases that’s because they are already violent, and just don’t consider what they do “violence” because it feels righteous.
                In others, it’s undeniable, and the response is always “shut up.”

  11. IIRC Joan Baez tells a story of rewarding good salesmanship combined with good treatment. Just after the Club 47 days when she started dealing with guitar cases full of $20 bills – and of course from a privileged academic family but maybe not presenting as such. Walking through the Harvard Square neighborhood she saw one of the first E-type Jags in a display window. She went in and looked at the car. A salesman came up and stood beside her, looked at the car and said it is a beautiful car isn’t it. She reports that one of the pleasures of having money was being able to turn to the salesman and reward him by saying she would take it.

    My mother once couldn’t persuade anybody to sell her a car until she took my starving student brother along. It seems to have been a self fulfilling prophecy in which the salesmen figured that any woman who was serious would have a man along.

    Assuming strong explanatory value for privilege makes it hard to account for the differences between Bill and Roger Clinton or Jimmy and Billy Carter. There is I think a pretty good explanatory value for nepotism just the same.

    • BobtheRegisterredFool

      I know somewhat the social position my grandparents had, how much work they put in bettering themselves. Some of the grandkids are ne’er do wells, some are struggling, and some are doing well.

      I am deeply convinced of the significance of individual variation.

  12. Can I please keep my blonde privilege, please? I hated it when I was a kid, but now I have kids it is the best scam going. I can get people to laugh with me when I screw up instead of being irritated with me.

  13. Martin L. Shoemaker

    One problem I see with many of your very-logical responses to privilege is they’re so long. They count on someone listening to an argument, not a slogan. “Check your privilege” is powerfully brief. If you say it with indignation, it’s practically three syllables. If you reply with a paragraph, they’ll just interrupt you and mock you.

    I think a more effective reply should be shorter. “Privilege Nazi” has some accuracy, but few will get it. “Shove your privilege” is short, but they’ll just laugh and say they’ve provoked you to demonstrate your aggression. Same with “F off.” Laughing at them is what they deserve, but it won’t persuade them. “Ad hominem” is over their heads.

    I don’t disagree with any of your arguments, I just wish I could find a powerful, persuasive three-word summary.

  14. Think we’re all equal under the law. Refuse to bake a gay couple a wedding cake. See what happens. THAT’s privilege. Then try to get a gay bakery to do a cake for YOUR wedding. See what happens when they refuse. THAT’s privilege.

    • I have to say I’m on the fence on the Bakery. I just womder how outraged the Left would be if a Jewish baker was declining to cater a KKK meeting.

      • I’m waiting for a gay couple to demand that the local Muslim Community Center host the reception. The flying fur (and counterclaims of discrimination and offense) should be well worth the popcorn.

        Not that it would ever happen.

        • They learned better when they tried to hassle the Black Baptist churches in LA after Prop 8. (There’s a reason they started picketing the Mormons instead) Pretty sure they lack the stones to mess with people who have been known to cut throats.

          There’s a lesson there, but it’s not a pretty one…

            • I don’t remember anything hitting the news, but I’d take a wild guess that they kind of forgot that the churches tend to be in rather dangerous areas, and that there’s always at least one song in a rap album about momma and God. Behave like those “protesters” usually do, and your victim won’t stop their sister’s boy from beating the crud out of you, because you were either screaming in their face or actually already pushing them, and the entire format of their protests is a threat of violence. (watch the body language some time, it’s impressive)

          • Almost makes a guy pine for the days of Porter Rockwell.

            ~sigh~

      • Explain to me the argument for forcing someone to conduct a business transaction at gunpoint.

        • Especially involving food preparation. Really, think that through.

        • 0bamacare

        • Makes the person with the gun feel powerful.

        • William O. B'Livion

          Interstate trade?

        • As I see it, you either are open for business for tye general public, or you aren’t. Muslims should not have the right to refuse cab service to a man with a guide dog. I don’t give a flying flip what their religion says about dogs.

          Or, you should have the right to restrict service as you will. I don’t see that coming back any time soon.

          But, as I said, I would be more impressed with the Lefty denouncers of the baker if I thought for one fat instant that they would also demand that a Black man or a Jew serve the KKK.

          I think that there is a longstanding legal principle involved. I just don’t think that tyemlefty twits crowing about that baker being in so much trouble understand or support it.

          • So basically the justification would be that everyone engaged in a business transaction is essentially acting as a small public utility.

            The legal principle it is based on is, I believe, Might makes Right: we couldn’t run a lemonade stand, but we work for the gov’t so we’ll tell you how to run your private affairs or else we’ll put you in jail and give your stuff to people we like better.

            Of course this nonsense started to be used as a club against those evil bigots who wanted to hire people like themselves in the businesses and depts. they ran. Oh… I don’t mean Indians or Vietnamese or Jews or Blacks or… every other ethnic group where the majority of people are more comfortable around and doing business with people like themselves and tend to preferentially hire their own kind. I mean the white devils, of course. But just because they started with the KKK doesn’t mean they haven’t expanded it to everyone they can get away with bullying.

            Could Chic-fil-A sue homosexuals for driving past their store to get a chicken sandwich from the little local queer-friendly resturant down the street? Don’t be ridiculous. Chic-fil-A doesn’t have the political clout for that right now (not that the Cathys would do that if they could). Sure, once upon a time only the larger of the people in the private business transactions got bossed around… But now that the gov’t has a taste for it, they’re moving on to dictating to the customer what he must buy and from whom. Don’t think other industries aren’t eyeing Obamacare greedily and figuring out how to get a tax penalty on you for not buying their stuff too.

            I prefer the old legal principles of Free Association and the Free Market. If you want to hire only left-handed store clerks without tonsils and sell to only Hispanic Mormons… then go right ahead. Obviously fields that actually are public utilities and state-licensed professions shouldn’t have the same freedom to refuse customers since the law has already exempted them from the Free Market, generally to their benefit … but even there we must be careful of the tendency to make EVERYTHING a licensed profession (interior decorators? hair braiders? really?). In any city I know of, the taxicabs still fall under that exception, btw.

            Unlike myself, I trust that almost all businessmen in the United States will take a “as long as their money is green” attitude and do business with everyone even if the gov’t isn’t forcing them to at gunpoint.

        • Because, shut up, h8er! and, reasons. *g*

      • There have been several instances of liberal businesses refusing to do work for conservative or bad-think groups. Heck, the nearly annual “That Conservative Didn’t Get Permission To Use My Song!” misrepresentation is even worse– the artists don’t have the rights to give “permission” to use the song, they sold that, and the politicians buy it from the person they sold it to.

        I just realized… this stuff didn’t come up until after Planned Parenthood had to shelf plans to build a big abortuary in a fairly small town because when the land sellers found out who they were– they weren’t buying it as “planned parenthood”– they backed out of the land deal, and nobody would sell them supplies, nor sign to build the building.

        I wonder if the tactic being used by the other side, and without even needing to do a nation-wide bullying campaign, had something to do with it suddenly being a problem?

      • What I found especially interesting about the Colorado baker case was that they did all that to someone who refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple… in a state where it was illegal for gays to marry. Forget all about his religious beliefs for a second, this man was punished by the legal establishment, for refusing to endorse an extralegal act.

  15. I like “CHECK YOUR ENTITLEMENT!!!!!!!”

  16. I may have to go back into production of Privilege Check Kits.

    I had a bunch made for LibertyCon last year.

  17. When confronted with this “privilege” concept I own up to it and I just explain to them that it is a shame that their ancestors were not as apt, smart, aggressive, and enlightened as my ancestors and that their privilege is less than mine.

    It makes them furious and when they try to explain that what I said simply isn’t true then I challenge them to give an alternate explanation why my privilege is so much better than theirs. The only way they can do so is to eventually admit that their ancestors were not as apt, smart, aggressive, and enlightened as my ancestors

  18. Dan and I are both short, and were both rather overweight at the time. We were the ones looking for a car, and we had the cash to buy it outright. They – for various reasons – didn’t. The salesmen swarmed them and fairly ignored us.

    TEACH ME YOUR SECRET!!!!

    Short, squat, bespectacled— and can’t shake the salesmen off every time I walk into a car lot.

    Maybe I look like “fluffy little wife with no sense and her husband’s check book.”

    • It’s the ears, dearie. They can’t help but be attracted to those gorgeous pointy ears. 🙂

      My best advice is talk with a SJW and work up a good head of steam right before you go in. That way you look totally pissed and ready to rip someone’s head off. Nothing is more…intimidating that a pissed off lady ready to hand you your head on a platter.

    • Has anyone at the service station offered to change your turn signal fluid? Couldn’t believe that one the first time I heard it, but after having heard some people talking about some of the things they have put over on other people, I believe it now.

      • I have had people offer to patch the “chipped windshield.” (It was fixed. A week earlier. But I’d fluttered a bit and mentioned that I was borrowing the car from my parents… which was true, they’d insisted that I borrow it about eight months prior.)

  19. Take me, for instance (well, don’t, Dan would be upset.)

    As in some matters you are not quite my type (I am one of those peculiar individuals for whom only one person will do) if I were to take you it would likely be to a diner after visiting some museum in Denver … but nevermind.

  20. C4C

  21. I can’t check my privilege, because I don’t have the appropriate maintenance checklist.

  22. I wonder just how many of these SJW Privilege Checkers are from actual privilege deprived backgrounds?
    How many of the PC Stormfront actually grew up with either dirt or bare cement floors, outhouses, and hunger pains? How many knew what it was like to walk miles in all weather to gather crumbs of an education, or any little scrap of available work?

    I suspect most folks that say “check your privilege” are quite comfortably privileged themselves. Sure, they may have the same colour of skin as those truly suffering… but really?

    • We already have a clue about that. Joni Ernst has been mocked for telling about how she used to wrap bread bags around her shoes to keep them dry when walking to school. The people mocking her have never known what it’s like to only have one pair of shoes that had to last for a year or more, and seemingly can’t believe that it has ever happened to anyone.

      • Scalzi writes about being poor meaning you get angry at your kids for wanting stuff they see on TV. And buying off-brand toys.

        Apparently selling TV never occurred to him.

        • When we were seriously broke, we DID NOT have a TV. Or much of anything.

        • Wow, we must be really poor, then… we avoid buying the kids toys at all, and almost everything is off-brand. We even use medium eggs instead of large/extra large because every few weeks I can get them for ten cents an egg, instead of 20-25.
          (It only becomes an issue when I’m doing an egg heavy recipe, thankfully– 7 large is just under 8 medium, 7 extra large is just under 9 medium; usually I just don’t make anything I can’t gauge by look-and-feel.)

          And our kids don’t have the concept of “buying the thing we saw on TV.” It’s just not something they recognize as possible.

          Or maybe he’s wrong. 😀

          • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

            When is Scalzi correct? [Wink]

          • Yes. That. I mean, I can count on the fingers of one hand the times our kids had new (not just new to them) clothes in twenty some years. And yet, when older son has to explain the challenges of his background, to medschools, he rebels and goes “but I never felt deprived!” 😛
            Poor Jean Dechausse. He don’t know much of life, does he?

      • When my dad was growing up, his shoes only had to last half a year.

        The other half, he didn’t wear any shoes.

    • None, as far as I know.

    • Just occurred to me: a response to “check your privilege” might be “want to compare lists?”

  23. I like to use it for second amendment arguments. For example, “I don’t carry a handgun. Then again, I get to exercise my ‘living in a fairly wealthy neighborhood with nearby police’ privilege. Other people don’t.” It works nicely, IMAO, if the privilege is one that is shared with the recipient.

  24. Ahahaha, you remind me of the time I went to buy a fancy sewing machine. I’d been to the shop and picked out what I wanted, and the owner was this incredibly garrulous guy. When I came back, I brought my dad and his truck with me to help move the large box and really large cabinet I’d bought too. Despite the fact that I was the one waving the $2000 check around, the owner kept talking with my dad. I think he thought we were married! I thought it was hilarious that a guy who owns a *sewing machine* business was ignoring me in favor of the man with me; this is probably counter-productive customer service (but then he’s also the only Bernina dealer in the area…). I don’t really like going there for service because he talks forever, but in the grand scheme of things, it was no big deal.

    • I wonder if that guy was maybe a little desperate to talk to another guy. Maybe he doesn’t get a lot of men in there, like you said, it’s a sewing machine business.

    • Oh, yeah. I’m the household fixer-upper. My grandad was a carpenter, and I was his “boy”. My husband’s family had “people” to do that kind of thing. Home depot. I ask how to use something. Salesman explains to Dan. After about three times, Dan sighs and says “TELL HER. I don’t know anything of this stuff.” Salesman looks confused.
      Micro aggression? Oh, h*ll no. MOST guys are the honey-do kind. We just defy the pattern.

      • Next time my SCA group gets together for a sewing day, I’ll take a picture of me and my PINK Brother sewing machine. Granted, it was the Mother-In-Law’s, but still.

        I plan to caption it, “A man who uses a pink sewing machine in public is secure in his masculinity” (we did the last one at the local library).

        Well, or gay, but my wife can tell you I’m not.

  25. Christopher M. Chupik

    As I mentioned on Larry’s a while back, my ancestors include Ukrainian peasants. Not exactly a privileged bunch.

  26. I had a look at my privilegeometer; took me a while to find it, being rusty and at the bottom of a pile in my hovel’s (dirt floor) basement: reads 0 (zero, zip, zilch, nada). Oh poor, poor, pitiful me!

    Last time i had that conversation, I was leaning on a lamppost, cleaning my fingernails with my knife, and that fool came runnin’ ’round the corner into me. Seventeen times!

    Counting my blessings, as Salamandyr recommended, #1 is “not being them”.

    For more cooking fat, render those progs.

    My wife’s a redhead. She says a redhead is just a blonde with ATTITUDE.
    Reminds me: Never give a cook a bad time. They know what to do to your food, and they usually have sharp knives close to hand and know how to use them. (Read on a long-gone blog where the short-order cook responded to the ethnic guy holding a gun in his face by slicing his wrist.)

    • Best “hold up of a restaurant” story I ever heard was of a guy whose reaction to having a gun stuck in his face was to take it from the would-be thief and drop it in the fryer.

  27. Thanks for the inspiration:

    You Social Justice Warriors
    Are just so sad,
    You think that having privilege
    Is something bad –
    Well when God made me
    He really stacked the deck,
    ‘Cause I got more privilege
    Than I can check –
    I got more privilege
    Than I can check.

    I’m as cis- as you can get
    (But don’t call me sissy).
    I’m the hettest of the het
    (Just ask my missy).
    Got no LBGTQ
    In my DNA,
    In fact no DN either –
    It is all straight A –
    Yes indeed, no DN either,
    It is all straight A.

    And when I take a stroll
    Down the boulevard,
    The Klan burns a cross
    In their own front yard.
    Just take a look at me,
    It will tell the tale:
    I’m a person of no color,
    I’m the whitest shade of pale,
    Yes, a person of no color,
    Just the whitest shade of pale.

    Before I go there’s one more
    Toot to my horn:
    Got my Ivy League diploma
    On the day I was born.
    So you Social Justice Warriors
    Can go to heck –
    I got more privilege
    Than I can check,
    I got more privilege
    Than I can check.

  28. Pingback: DYSPEPSIA GENERATION » Blog Archive » Squid Ink

  29. affirmative action not only has been a disaster for many organizations, but corrodes the soul (you never know why you were hired.

    Years ago, I saw a new (or at least shiny) Mercedes being driven by a well-dressed black woman – looked like she had some sort of important job. The license plate was “QUALFYD”.

  30. I think I’m going to still Ayn Rands admonishment, and Yell back at anyone that tells me to “Check My Privilege” to…

    No!! You Check Your Premise!!!

  31. Pingback: The harms done by affirmative action