Privilege: A Problematic Paradigm: Issues And Alternatives: Part Four

[Note:  See previous discusions here, here, and here.]

In our last discussion of the problem of viewing things through the prism of privilege, a great many objections to this worldview were briefly discussed.  I figured it would be worthwhile to go into greater detail about these one by one, as they are worth unpackaging and questioning in more detail.  First, it important to note that rather than there being too much privilege in this world for whites and men and Christians, for example, there is too little privilege for them/us.  This is such a striking conclusion that it requires more explanation.  How, given the impressive (if frequently misinterpreted) statistics that various activists cite about disparate outcomes, can there be too little privilege instead of too much?  Let us discuss this because it strikes at the core of why privilege is so mistaken.

If white people are so privileged, why is it that some particularly wicked and idolatrous white people have felt the need to bow down to black people in the hope that the violent BLM urban terrorism will not come in their direction?  This is not the attitude of people who are privileged, but rather the attitude of people who have been subjected to years of propaganda and are the victims of Stockholm syndrome.  It is worth paying some attention, though to the sort of people and companies who have been the quickest to bend the knee in idolatrous worship of the heathen false gods of intersectionality.  For one, we are dealing with political elites, especially on the left and those cowards who desire to be respected and honored by these evildoers, such as the junior senator from Utah.  For another, we are dealing with companies who are trying to discourage looters from destroying their businesses and trying to cancel them and lower their profits.  Neither of these people are worth respecting, and, more to the point, both of them are far more privileged than the people who are hostile to bowing the knee.  Far from bowing the knee being a rejection of privilege, it is the desire to be seen as the right kind of white people or companies or rich people, so as to keep exercising the privileges that accrue to businesses or leftist political elites without being hassled or attacked for it.

This is true in other aspects of privilege as well.  The privilege of men over women, for example, is largely illusory.  If you have ever seen a man have more than half of his wages garnished to support children that his ex hardly ever gets the chance to see, you will understand that divorce courts certainly do not favor men over women even in cases where men have behaved decently and honorably and their exes have not.  (This disadvantage is even more serious if the man has, heaven forbid, been abusive in any fashion, in which case he is definitely not a privileged party as his money is taken to increase the standard of living of a woman who actively raises his children to hate him.  This fate, of course, may happen even if the man has been a generally decent one, though.)  Men disproportionately suffer from risks and dangers and from the expectation that they will cheerfully undertake these risks and dangers on behalf of entitled people who do not respect the sacrifice or risks that people face to serve and defend others in a large variety of occupations.  And that is also not to consider the way that many schools are deliberately slanted to favor the way that girls learn and to stigmatize the desire of many boys for activity, which is drugged into a stupor as the dreaded label of hyperactivity or ADHD or something else of that nature.

We can continue to move on through the various dimensions of intersectionality and see that the supposedly privileged status of certain groups is nonexistent.  Indeed, frequently we find that the reverse is true.  It is not white people who are privileged with letting off steam whenever some act of racial injustice happens, but black people, in the United States.  It is not poor children in general who receive a whole host of need-based scholarships to schools, but minorities and women.  It is not Christians who have their worldview taught in public schools, but Muslims, and indeed far from being taught in schools the biblical worldview on personal morality is criminalized as hate speech instead of being enshrined in the law as it should be.  And on and on it goes.  Wherever we seek to find privilege when we look at the way that the law and systems of authority operate, we find instead that these corrupt authorities act to privilege those who are blind to their privilege and completely unwilling to accept that they are privileged while attacking the imaginary privileges they assume others to be enjoying.

Why is it that those who demand that others check their privilege so rarely check their own?  To be human is in large part to be hypocritical.  All of us as human beings have certain asymmetries built in so that we normalize and naturalize the advantages we have and are very vigilant and vocal about any disadvantages we have.  That is as true for me as it is for anyone else.  Envy and resentment know no borders or boundaries nor are they limited to any particular identity group.  The fact, though, that anyone can point to ways in which they are underprivileged and some other group is overly privileged indicates that the viewpoint is itself not sufficiently robust from an empirical point of view.  Even when you slice privilege by layers, one does not find those who benefit the most from the perspective of privilege actually doing anything to give up their own personal privilege, however often they recognize it and apologize for it.  Instead one sees them throw others under the bus and foment political violence over a largely imaginary and at best misleading concept.  Far from helping us understand the world better, privilege blinds us to fundamental aspects of reality, including our own natural inclination and bent towards injustice and the way that we all stack the deck in our own favor by selectively ignoring what is favorable to us and focusing our self-righteous indignation on that which is unfavorable to us.

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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1 Response to Privilege: A Problematic Paradigm: Issues And Alternatives: Part Four

  1. Pingback: Privilege: A Problematic Paradigm: Issues And Alternatives: Part Five | Edge Induced Cohesion

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