On Privilege

ETA: Please read Nadia West’s response to the privilege discussion, because it’s fantastic, and far more articulate than I could ever be.

If you are unfamiliar with the concept of privilege, you can read about white privilege, male privilege, and heterosexual privilege.

Champagne and Benzedrine wrote a lovely little post about privilege, and how it’s “fucking bullshit.” He did a fantastic job of alienating me right off the bat, by beginning his post like this:

Anybody who discusses the notion of ‘privilege’ is a fucking idiot.

Fantastic. I guess that makes me a fucking idiot, then. I could just as easily say, “Anyone who doesn’t believe in the concept of privilege is a fucking idiot.” Because I truly believe that. But that’s not going to get me anywhere, now is it? So, he moves on to this:

It’s one of those delightful theories that works in almost 99.9% of cases…

I’m immediately lost, now. Because, if privilege, and the concept of privilege, holds up in 99.9% of cases, how can it be bullshit? It can’t be. But, he’s prepared to tell me why, in fact, privilege is bullshit, so I guess I should listen (if I can even read it through all my eye rolling and *headdesk*ing).

He starts here:

Certain groups in society, specifically the white, male, heterosexual demographic, enjoy a certain ‘privilege’ merely for being part of that group. Statistically or anecdotally, it’s true enough. If you’re born white, you’re automatically more likely to go to college or earn above a certain level. If you’re born male, you’re more likely to achieve a higher position in the workplace, and less likely to be the victim of sexual violence. If you’re born heterosexual, you’re more likely to wear white socks with dress shoes and think that’s in any way socially acceptable.

Um… exactly. You’ve just described privilege perfectly.

However, certain groups, like dumbass so-called ‘feminists’, apparently feel you need to pay certain dues for enjoying the ‘privilege’ of whatever demographic you belong to.

Thank you for calling me a dumbass, you fucking misogynist asshole.

White, male, heterosexual people don’t have any more choice over which demographic they’re born into than black, female homosexuals. Life is a lottery. Yes, it’s arguable that there are certain advantages to being born part of one particular demographic group; but since none of us have any choice over the matter I think it’s nothing short of idiotic to hold people accountable for what amounts to the results of a genetic crapshoot.

Look, no one is saying that you should pay dues for having privilege. The point of privilege is to acknowledge it and acknowledge that it exists so that you can go about helping to change it. If you don’t acknowledge privilege, and acknowledge that yes, you get certain advantages by being born into certain groups, then you can’t work to change that and eliminate privilege. No one is asking you to apologize for the demographic you were born into. But, another privilege that the white, heterosexual male has is DENYING that privilege, because he benefits from the continuation of it.

Secondly, people aren’t limited to their demographic.

This is the most fundamentally flawed and virulently offensive notion of so-called ‘privilege’; that somebody is defined by whatever social group they happened to be born into.

No one is saying that anyone is defined by their social group. At all.

It’s true that if you’re born into African American society, you’re more likely to go to prison than university. You’ll be faced with a whole slew of cultural and economic hurdles that somebody born into white society might not be. But you know what? That doesn’t define you.

EXACTLY. You are using all of the ways that privilege functions to somehow convince me that privilege doesn’t exist? REALLY??

You’re right. It doesn’t define anyone. There are plenty of people that don’t follow these “rules.” But they are exceptions, and the truth of the matter is, there’s always going to be exceptions. But to sit there and say that it’s not harder for a black man from a low SES neighborhood to get out and make something of themselves than a white man who lives in a middle-class neighborhood is just fucking stupid and ignorant. There are more resources available to that white man. That’s just the truth. Does that mean that the black man can’t accomplish that? No, it doesn’t. But it does mean that the chances of him doing so are lower, and the path to him doing so is going to be harder.

But you know what? There’s a thing called ‘female privilege’ as well. While being a guy has certain advantages, so does being a woman and it’s disingenuous to pretend it doesn’t.

Ladies? When was the last time you got a free drink in a bar, simply for being a girl? Or got out of a speeding ticket with a flutter of your eyelashes and a flash of your boobs?

Just the other day, I was in a store and a woman came up and hugged -physically wrapped her arms around – my infant son. It didn’t bother me at all, but if a guy had done it I’d have freaked the hell out.

Women can flirt with bisexuality with ne’er a bat of the eyelid. If they get caught without panties, it’s embarrassing; while men would end up on the Sex Offender’s register.

And finally, of course, women can have babies.

This is so fucking laughable that I don’t even know where to go with it. Are you really willing to give up your cock and balls for free drinks, a few less speeding tickets, and the ability to hug random people’s kids (which I would freak out about whether a male OR female did)? REALLY? Fuck you.

Men don’t have the option of three or six months maternity leave, and their job waiting for them when they get back.

That is a flaw in our system. There should be parental leave that applies equally to both parents. And to cite maternity leave as a reason that women are privileged is fucking insulting and ludicrous.

No one has claimed that people should be blaming or punished for the demographic which they were born into. That is not how privilege works. The notion of privilege is that it should be acknowledged. So that it can be eliminated. Shit like this serves to further reinforce oppression and subordination by refusing to acknowledge the privilege that you have. However, the ability to deny privilege is just another privilege of having privilege. Because when you’re part of a subordinate class, it becomes impossible to deny that privilege exists, because you live it every day.

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  1. SkyddsDrakeNo Gravatar
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

    I… um… My mind is currently boggled. Really? I can’t get past the maternity leave thing. I mean… I haven’t had a kid, or anything… but… I’d think that a new mother would deserve to have a little recovery time after having a baby pulled out of their body through their vagina (or a hole cut open in their belly, depending). I’ll agree that new dads deserve paternity leave, too… but… Yeah. I’ll get no where with this. Well written rebuttal. I couldn’t have composed it to save my life.

  2. alanaNo Gravatar
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

    What bothered me the most (well besides being called and idiot and dumbass), was the way some of the comments were commended the post like it was some fucking breakthrough radical thing to say that will lead us to the path of true equality.

    Denying privilege is not some noble or brave thing to do. (Rush Limbaugh does it every day.)

  3. Champagne and BenzedNo Gravatar
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

    Hey Brit; even though I’m about to cut it to ribbons, I’d just like to say that this is a great response and I hadn’t anticipated you actually paying so much attention to what I wrote. I appreciate that.

    Anywho, you actually quote me recognizing that privilege exists; I just fail to see what the fucking point of discussing it is and I really, really, really fucking resent people feeling qualified to dictate whether or not somebody else is ‘privileged.’

    For example, you’re telling me that I enjoy white, male heterosexual privilege. That’s true, but I also work my guts out to feed my family and pay my rent, living in a shitty Spanish neighborhood and barely making ends meet. If I’ve got all these so-called advantages because of my skin color and gender, I must be a real dickhead not to be rolling in money as a result of them!

    And no offense, but I find it kind of ironic that somebody who lives at home and drives a shiny Mercedes their mummy and daddy bought them is deciding to dictate to me that *I’m* apparently the privileged one.

    I’ve got a Spanish friend with five kids and no job. If she feels like she needs to tell me that I’m privileged, I’ll listen and totally agree with her. Everybody else can shut up.

    People’s privileges and disadvantages are as individual as they are – and to make generalizations based on skin color and gender is, as I said earlier, fucking retarded. It’s also pretty offensive. People aren’t defined by the skin color or gender and despite claiming otherwise, that’s exactly what you’re limiting them to.

    The fact that I’ve received a TON of emails and comments supporting what I wrote makes me think that I’ve made a very valid point that resonates with a lot of people – and you’ve failed to convince me otherwise with this response.

    Some comments left in response to my post:

    “Thank you for this. I hate the whole privilege nonsense with a flaming purple passion.”

    “Amen! Very well said, thanks!”

    “Thanks for a really great post.”

    “I’m with you on this, all the way. ”

    I know you passionately believe in notions like privilege; but that doesn’t make them valid, useful or remotely applicable. In my mind, it’s just more left wing dogma that alienates a vast audience instead of engaging them in actually finding a solution to the inequities of society.

    Privilege belongs on the scrapheap and we ought to start treating people like individuals instead.

  4. FireboltNo Gravatar
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

    THANK YOU for doing this, Britni! He must love getting his ass kicked or something. That post was in itself a huge example of privilege. So offensive. Having babies is a privilege, seriously?

  5. Nell GwynneNo Gravatar
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

    Well, on the bright side of all of this, I will never misspell “privilege” ever again.

  6. ParadoxNo Gravatar
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

    It sounds to me like the part that Champagne and Benzedrine is objecting to is the part where he has to do anything in response to his privilege, to maybe give up some of the things that he gets unfairly, to contribute to dismantling the unfairness at all, even by acknowledging it.

    He clearly recognizes that the unfairness is there but in this weird double talk exercise of a post, just goes on to complain about privileges that other people have. As evidence that they’re being whiny bitches when they point out his own privileges. As if that means that nobody should have to do anything in response to their privilege. Or that it’s not worth noting in the first place.

    Sure, women do enjoy some privileges. Unless we’re looking at the very most disadvantaged of people, there’s some privilege there. The unfair part is that these privileges, the things we start out with on our trek through the world, are so drastically different from person to person. It’s not whining to point out that a heterosexual, cisgendered white man who’s born fully abled into a rich family of a majority religion in a first world country might need to acknowledge and do something about the fact that a queer, transgendered, disabled person born at the exact same moment into a non-white, poor, third world family that follows a persecuted religion is going to have a much harder life. That’s a problem we need to ACT on. And dissing the people who recognize that gets you nowhere.

    (And yes, maternity leave is a privilege, because it’s something plenty of people the world over don’t get. They SHOULD get it, but if we look at third world countries and low income families…well, that’s one of those things that cries for action.)

  7. Champagne and BenzedNo Gravatar
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

    Firebolt – if you think carrying a life inside of you is not a privilege than you are seriously disturbed. It’s the most special privilege nature can bestow.

    Paradox – you’re post is exactly what I’m talking about. You don’t know me, you know nothing about me, you’ve never met me and you have no idea about my background, origin, circumstances or experiences – yet YOU feel qualified to tell me that I’m privileged. You arrogant, presumptuous, ill-informed, hypocritical ASS.

    Nobody, but NOBODY has the right to call anybody else privileged unless they know a lot more about them than their skin color or gender. You’re making blanket assumptions and generalizations that are racist, sexist and, worst of all, not necessarily right. Thank your for validating EVERYTHING I’ve said regarding this issue.

  8. ParadoxNo Gravatar
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

    Champagne, your post went up after I hit send.

    Nobody’s saying that one set of privileges matters more or less than others. It’s more about recognizing a system that in general values certain kinds of people more than others. So the fact that you don’t make a lot of money for whatever reason means that you don’t have as much privilege as a rich person. But it’s not so easy to pin point exactly “how much” privilege each person has. It’s a complex issue, and each person’s individual privilege is based on a literal infinitude of factors.

    It matters more that we have a system that creates privilege than that any one individual has more or less privilege than another individual. Yes, the blogosphere does sometimes get caught up in this “Well, you have more privilege than I do because…so are in less of a position to talk about privilege than I am” “No, YOU have more, so you can’t talk,” “No YOU do,” No YOU do!” nonsense. But let’s not miss the forest for the trees.

  9. ParadoxNo Gravatar
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

    Also, I wasn’t calling you a privileged asshole or anything, but of course you have some privilege. Like I said, we all do. I’m privileged as shit: I went to college, I’m able bodied, I’m white, I’m cisgendered, etc. Lots of things are easy for me, at least more than for some others. I’m also currently poor, queer, and female. It’s complicated. I just care that this system makes any of even my very own qualities more valuable than any of the others.

  10. Champagne and BenzedNo Gravatar
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

    Paradox, the only way to create an equal society is to stop billeting people into demographics based on race or gender. This privilege bullshit perpetuates the inequality because it defines people by their skin color or gender. You are THIS, the system says, so therefore you are advantaged/disadvantaged.

    Until we judge people as individuals rather than racial or sexual statistics than we’re going to divide society and maintain divisions instead of making them invisible.

    The notion of privilege is bullshit because it perpetuates inequality and calls extra attention to what should inconsequential differences of race or gender.

  11. Nell GwynneNo Gravatar
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 9:40 pm | Permalink


  12. ParadoxNo Gravatar
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

    (Oh, and I didn’t mean that YOU were a “heterosexual, cisgendered white man who’s born fully abled into a rich family of a majority religion in a first world country.” I have very little info about your background. I was using that as a prototypical example of a person who has a lot of privilege. I recognize that there are more factors in privilege than what I listed, but I’m only human, and I don’t have time to chronicle the universe.)

  13. Champagne and BenzedNo Gravatar
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

    At the end of the day my major problem with the notion of privilege is WHAT THE FUCK IS SOMEBODY SUPPOSED TO DO WITH THE CONCEPT?

    Oh, shit, I’m white, male and heterosexual. Because I am, of course, entirely defined by my race, sexuality and gender this means I have certain inherent advantages over other people who aren’t white, male or heterosexual (even if some of them have actually achieved more financial or sociological success due to overcoming these disadvantages, seizing opportunities and working hard.)

    I recognize my privilege. Now here’s the $40,000 question:


    If you can give me an adequate answer to that question I’ll quite happily backtrack on everything I’ve written. I genuinely want an answer and so far nobody has come up with one. I’ve got an open mind and a curious nature and I genuinely want to hear what the fucking point of this ‘privilege’ bullshit is, because it seems like a bunch of disingenuous racist and sexist claptrap at the moment.

  14. CollegeBookwormNo Gravatar
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

    I’m going to regret getting involved in this. Really, I am.

    But I can’t help it when I see this: “WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU EXPECT ME TO DO?”

    I expect you to be willing to recognize that because you were born with a penis and I was born with a vagina, you will always be seen as more serious in the workplace, and no one will ever assume that you will just quit to have babies one day. And I expect you to do everything you can to push for women to be treated equally to you in the workplace.

    I expect you to be willing to recognize that because you are male and I am female, you are not told that if you walk home in your “shitty Spanish neighborhood” late at night, you are risking sexual assault, whereas if I cannot afford to live in a less ’shitty’ neighborhood and walk home in said neighborhood late at night, I am apparently just opening my legs for any man who walks by. And I expect you to push for society to recognize that sexual assault has nothing to do with where a person is or what a person is wearing, and everything to do with the fact that someone chose to commit sexual assault.

    And so on, and so forth. Recognize the areas of the world where you do have an advantage due to your privilege. And fight the same damn fight that I’ll be fighting my entire life, to balance things out, to make sure that everyone in this world will be treated equally and fairly.

  15. EpiphoraNo Gravatar
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

    Man, I just can’t take a dude seriously who continually uses the adjective “retarded” to refer to things. Or calls people “arrogant, presumptuous, ill-informed, hypocritical ASS”es. A dude who rants and rants and rants about how offensive this concept is, yet is totally cool with calling people “fucking idiot”s.

    And just so you know, C&B, the reason you don’t have more comments of disagreement is because your post is ridiculous. I don’t even want to bother trying to make sense of it, it’s so circular. My favorite part of your “argument”:

    When was the last time you got a free drink in a bar, simply for being a girl? Or got out of a speeding ticket with a flutter of your eyelashes and a flash of your boobs?

    Yes, I should be SO THANKFUL that I am seen as a sexual object all the fucking time. I should be SO GLAD to have the PRIVILEGE of flashing my boobs to get out of a speeding ticket. It’s totally not demeaning to know that your sexuality is the only noticeable thing about you. It rocks!

  16. Wilhelmina WangNo Gravatar
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

    i find it very interesting that he didn’t bother to mention that sometimes companies decide against hiring women *because* of maternity leave; they think that women can get pregnant, if she does, and goes on maternity leave, they lose money/labor.

    the only thing i agree with here is that, yes, women can get away with some things men can’t. in many ways, being a man comes with its own unfair baggage, but they are still the group which has more social power, higher pay, doesn’t have to be paranoid about being hurt every time they set foot in a new or slightly suspicious place, etc.

    it’s rants like this that make me so frustrated that i want to pull my hair out. like when my friends make comments like “affirmative action is unfair to white people” and “what feminists are REALLY asking for is SPECIAL TREATMENT.” aaargh.

    “If you’re born white, you’re automatically more likely to go to college or earn above a certain level. If you’re born male, you’re more likely to achieve a higher position in the workplace, and less likely to be the victim of sexual violence.”

    uh, yes. that is the way the world works. if you’re white, male, and heterosexual, you find it easier to dominate a social space, get a job, etc, just because of the fact that you’re born into that group. if you don’t like it and think it’s unfair? then work to fucking change it. don’t sit there bitching about how it supposedly doesn’t exist.

  17. EpiphoraNo Gravatar
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 10:15 pm | Permalink

    C&B: We expect you to use that knowledge to be respectful to people who don’t have the same privileges.

  18. ParadoxNo Gravatar
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

    If I knew how to solve it, I’d so have done it like Super Woman arriving on the scene in a flash of glory.

    What I try to do is use the privileges I have to try and disseminate privilege to more people. God knows if I’m going about it the right way. I raise money for charities (this is actually my job), I spend my free time teaching people about sexuality and gender (because gender and sexuality privileges interest me in particular) and trying to help them feel okay however they are in that regard. Take a little of the bite out of the arrow of being less privileged in that arena, and help “minority” sexualities be better accepted. I spend a huge amount of time trying to understand the points of view of people who have different privilege situations than I do. And I write about all of this, because lots of people don’t really get privilege or see that there’s an unfair system to chip away at in the first place.

    Not saying your methods would look anything like mine, and you’re probably doing some things already. You don’t have to be super man, though. Just an acknowledgment and even a small attempt to chip away at that privilege system is all it takes. (Maybe teaching your kids that they’re lucky to have a dad who works hard for them, lucky to have the privileges they’ve got?) Even that much puts you way ahead of most people. And if everyone did that, it’d work.

  19. Wilhelmina WangNo Gravatar
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

    gah, i didn’t take the time to read the comments before posting. what a shitstorm.

    “People’s privileges and disadvantages are as individual as they are – and to make generalizations based on skin color and gender is, as I said earlier, fucking retarded. It’s also pretty offensive. People aren’t defined by the skin color or gender and despite claiming otherwise, that’s exactly what you’re limiting them to”

    the problem is, though, that people actually make assumptions about people based on their race and gender *all the time*, and it *is* unfair, but it does happen.

    this whole discussion seems kind of confusing to me now because C&B and britni seem to be agreeing on the basics, but are debating the details. of course people are individuals and have both privileges and disadvantages. that seems obvious enough to me. and being a white man might not make you an instant millionaire – but it might help you get that job over Ms White Woman or Mr Latino American.

    i also don’t understand why C&B is taking this so personally. the concept of privilege isn’t to go around pointing fingers at specific people being all “YOU, as an individual, have privilege and you suck”, it’s all about groups. group X (men) have power over group Y (women) in this society because of how it’s constructed. also, as a white man, i.e. someone with privilege, it doesn’t mean that i, as a woman, think you’re a huge dick just because you’re a man. i *might* assume that you probably get paid more than me, though.

    i don’t see why anyone has to take it as a personal attack. it’s purely a sociological phenomenon that is happening, and people should just work to try and change it so circumstances are more fair for everyone involved.

  20. SarahbearNo Gravatar
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

    When people talk about privilege they aren’t trying to suggest that anyone chose to be born into their race/gender/sexual orientation on purpose. It’s no one’s fault and it is purely a lottery, as C&B mentioned.

    It’s not about taking responsibility for the privilege you’ve been born into, it’s about acknowledging that it exists. Once it’s acknowledged that it does exist we can begin to point out the flaws in our society and start working towards the society where everyone -is- judged on their own merit, rather than making assumptions about them based on factors that are irrelevant (i.e. skin color, gender, sexual orientation).

    I have to say I was not the least bit surprised to see that the two biggest misogynists I’ve seen in this community (Eliot and Rayne) were agreeing whole-heartedly with C&B’s post. Unfortunately, nothing is ever going to change with those sorts of attitudes. When we choose to get offended by things and become defensive, rather than see the truth in them and try to apply that truth towards change, we’ll just remain in a fucked up place.

    Just because you bust your ass to get what you’ve got doesn’t mean that you don’t benefit from privilege. There are so many other things that you take for granted. Things that you’re able to do and not have your intentions second guessed based on that privilege. Get your fucking head out of the sand.

    • RayneNo Gravatar
      Posted February 21, 2010 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

      I have to say I was not the least bit surprised to see that the two biggest misogynists I’ve seen in this community (Eliot and Rayne) were agreeing whole-heartedly with C&B’s post. Unfortunately, nothing is ever going to change with those sorts of attitudes. When we choose to get offended by things and become defensive, rather than see the truth in them and try to apply that truth towards change, we’ll just remain in a fucked up place.

      Wait… what? You don’t even know me.

      So because I’m friends with Eliot, owned property, don’t stand by feminist propaganda, and agree with, what I understood as, a declaration that if people as a whole would stop buying into privilege, it would cease to exist, I hate women? You guys sure are funny.

      I don’t hate women. I’m firmly bisexual. I love women.

      I hate stupid women. I hate women who blindly follow the herd, rather than forming their own opinions. And would you look at that? I hate stupid men who blindly follow the herd without forming their own opinions, too. So I guess that makes me an equal opportunity hater. ~smiles sweetly~

      • SarahbearNo Gravatar
        Posted February 21, 2010 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

        You’re right. I don’t know you, personally, but based on the things I’ve seen you post (such as your rape blog), and the responses I’ve seen you post to feminist related topics, you have a very misogynist attitude. I’m of the opinion that if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck then it might be a duck, ya know? My opinion has nothing to do with your friendship with Eliot (who has flat out admitted more than once she hates women), owned property (which is not information I was privilege to). When you post things all over your blog and leave those sorts of comments all over other peoples blogs then people are going to begin to form opinions about you. The attitude and tone of those posts and comments are textbook misogyny. That is why I believe you’re a misogynist, because of the behavior I’ve seen you exhibit, not because of the company you keep or some irrelevant crap from your personal life.

        Just because you like being in relationships with women does not mean that you are not a misogynist. There are plenty of racists who are friends with people who have a different skin tone than them and there are plenty of misogynists in relationships with women.

        You have absolutely no idea when a woman is being ’stupid’ or ‘blindly following the herd’ without forming her own opinions. Just because someone shares a viewpoint with a group of people doesn’t mean that they haven’t made an educated decision about that opinion.

  21. Champagne and BenzedNo Gravatar
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 10:32 pm | Permalink

    Paradox – I’d just like to say that your answer was really smart, thoughtful and clever and I appreciate it. I think my major frustration is that I’m a fairly liberal minded guy who does everything he can to be respectful and appreciate of all people – actually living by the philosophy of ‘do unto others as you’ve have others do unto you’ even though I’m not a Christian – and I really resent a bunch of people who don’t even know me making incorrect assumptions about my beliefs and behavior based on my gender and race.

    Also, a bunch of these arguments ignore facts and statistics. It’s very true what college bookworm wrote about the fact that a woman in my ’shitty neighborhood’ is more likely to be the victim of sexual violence, but ignores the statistics that prove in this neighborhood a man is actually four times more likely to be the victim of violence.

    It’s all disingenuous claptrap, trying to establish rules and order where none necessarily exists. Like with hate crimes and positive discrimination, it elevates the rights of some minorities over the rights of others and that’s frankly inexcusable. As long as we treat one group differently to another, even believing we’re giving them a so-called ‘advantage’, we’re perpetuating division and discrimination instead of eliminating it.

  22. ParadoxNo Gravatar
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 10:46 pm | Permalink

    I want to gently point out that gently pointing out that you have privileges is not the same as making assumptions about your beliefs or behavior. It’s not even a personal attack. It’s just a statement of fact. If you came to those same people with a list of things you do to try and combat privilege, the ways that you act on being a liberal minded guy, then they’d applaud that and you could all be friends. They appreciate it if you recognize privilege and try to fight it. We’re a loving bunch, we privilege-fighters. We want all the help we can get.

    Also, I can tell you’re drifting into affirmative action territory here, and I just want to preempt that by saying that, absolutely affirmative action is a very far from perfect system. But the difference in how people are treated has already been there for a very long time and it’s based on race, gender, etc. It’s endemic. It was there long before folks started trying to give the underprivileged a leg up.

    People who try to find ways to get everyone treated fairly are not malicious. Even when those ways aren’t perfect. So yes, critique the system and critique the attempts to fix the system, but don’t attack the people who are trying to do the fixing. They’re not disingenuous, just human and flawed.

  23. StacyCatNo Gravatar
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

    I struggle every day to figure out what to do about my privilege. I am white, I live in a Latino neighborhood, I work in a black neighborhood. I am the only white person on the bus to work in the morning. But, I recognize that I have an easier life than most of the people in my neighborhoods, just because of my skin color.

    In the comments on the original post, you posted about homeless men at the shelter, and how you could not tell the white ones that they have privilege. But they do. They have privilege in the form of implicit biases.

    First, many people will look at a white homeless man and think that he is there because of bad circumstances, or has a mental illness. The same homeless person, if they are a person of color, is “lazy” or “doesn’t want to work.” There is also a reason why there are more people of color in the homeless shelter, and that is another example of privilege.

    I used to work in an intake center for homeless families. The white families that came through were hired a lot faster in jobs, with more opportunities and a wider pay range, which meant that they spent less time in the shelter.T he families of color had a much harder time getting hired and getting housing on their own. So, yes, even with poverty, even with NOTHING, white people had an advantage that the people of color did not.

    I think the issue that you are coming from, C&B, is that many people internalize the notion of “I have privilege, and everyone tells me that I am horrible for having it.” We are not horrible people for being white, or cisgender or heterosexual. We ARE horrible people for pretending these differences do not exist, or do not make a difference. I am aware that I have things that others do not. I also am aware that there are steps that one can take to change that fact.

  24. minaNo Gravatar
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

    I’d like to state that I am not “privileged” (?) to be hot enough to get out of speeding tickets or get a free random drink from a stranger…. both have NEVER happened to me in my 31 yrs of life.

  25. KaylaNo Gravatar
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 11:27 pm | Permalink

    You analyze things so well. I enjoyed reading it. :) The guy’s an ass. Not the worst I’ve ever read (my college newspaper comments are).

  26. FireboltNo Gravatar
    Posted February 20, 2010 at 12:12 am | Permalink

    @ C&B
    The first paragraph of Wilhelmina’s comment is what I was talking about. That and more, but I won’t waste it on a guy who thinks that getting free drinks in a bar is some sort of ‘female privilege’. I did not take the time and energy to write down fleshed out responses like everyone else. Thank you for calling me “seriously disturbed”. I have no doubt that my very third world country family will vehemently agree with you (and may also disown me or forcibly marry me to a man, gawd forbid) if I come out as a queer genderqueer and express a desire to get my boobs hacked off. But that’s neither here nor there for a guy who denies the existence of privilege.

  27. BlowJoyNo Gravatar
    Posted February 20, 2010 at 2:36 am | Permalink

    He won the lottery when he was born
    Took his mother’s white breast to his tongue
    Trained like dogs, color and smell
    Walks by me to get to him
    Police man

    He won the lottery by being born
    Big hand slapped a white male ‘merican
    Do no wrong, so clean cut…
    Dirty his hands, it comes right off
    Police man
    Police stopped my brother again
    Police man

    Jesus greets me…looks just like me…

    Do no wrong, so clean cut
    Dirty his hands, it comes right off
    Police man
    Police stopped my brother again
    Police man

    Police stopped my brother again
    Police man

    All my pieces set me free…human devices set me free…
    All my pieces set me free…
    Human devices set me free…

  28. EisnachtNo Gravatar
    Posted February 20, 2010 at 3:15 am | Permalink

    It is a bit rash and problematic to throw all kinds of privilege into one basket. The privilege of heterosexuals begins with being in the majority, thus living in a society where most sexual institutions are tailored to your orientation. Something true of neither racial nor gender differences, where privilege is mostly based on biases. I don’t know much about race, thus I will only talk about gender and sex.
    It is clear that men and women ( not to mention “unplacebles” in the broad category of queer) are treated differently. But difference does not privilege make. Privilege requires that some group, in total, is better off than another. This is one key mistake made here and I will return to it in a paragraph or two.
    So let’s look at privilege: The statistics show quite clearly, that men are overrepresented in almost every status that our culture considers good and high. Furthermore, the main positions with military, political & economical power and influence are held almost exclusively by males. I’m not going to go on, you get the picture and you know the numbers.
    But the privilege is not 100% one sided. Not to deny the many vagaries that women are subjected to because of their gender (prominently mentioned here already), but there is something like, for lack of a better term, “victim privilege”. That is the privilege of tending to be seen as the victim as opposed to the victimizer. It can be seen in how male rape victims tend to get left out of the rape culture discussion, how a man hitting on a woman in the office tends to be seen as harassment, while the opposite situation isn’t. In short, there are some advantages to belonging to the group which is stereotyped as the victim. I am not saying that those “make up” for sexual violence, abusive beauty standards, lower pay, …. the don’t. But they are there. Which makes a central point: Privilege is not an all or nothing affair. Differences of role and identity constitute patterns of context sensitive advantages and disadvantages, options and barriers and it is probably true that according to any standards that we as “western culture” have, men as a group come out better off then women as a group.
    This leads me to a simple conclusion: Being part of a generally privileged group does not imply that any given individual in any given context will have more options and advantages that any other individual who is part of a different, generally disprivileged group.
    Being a black homosexual transgender women is not always, in any context you might come upon, a disadvantage. It is so in many and in those generally considered to be important and which are related to high status. Or from a different angle: In some contexts, even a negative bias against you can be an advantage, opening options that would be closed to others.
    And maybe this point of view can reconcile the fronts here a bit. It is not much to give up to say that being a woman has some advantages nor to say that being a man has more advantages and that those advantages are in areas generally considered to be more valuable.

  29. hubmanNo Gravatar
    Posted February 20, 2010 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    I’m 40 yrs old, I’ve got a Ph.D., a wonderful family, a fulfilling career, and a very comfortable income level.

    Is that because I’m a white heterosexual male?

    Or because I’ve worked my ass off, elevating myself above the socio-economic status of my stay-at-home mom and working class dad, who lived paycheck to paycheck?

    Okay, fine I’m privileged. Like C&B says, now what? And if I am, so what about it? Am I supposed to apologize for my sex, my skin color, my sexual orientation? That’s as logical as expecting the black gay woman to apologize for who she is.

    What about economic privilege? Or is that too inconvenient to talk about?

    You’re 25 yrs old and apparently live rent-free with your parents. By your own admission they paid for your masters degree, they bought you a new car, and they didn’t hesitate to buy you a new laptop the day after yours was stolen.

    Economic privilege can come and go and can be used to help others and would seem like a great topic of discussion. But I guess it’s easier to rant about male, heterosexual or white privilege.

  30. Britni TheVadgeWigNo Gravatar
    Posted February 20, 2010 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    C&B, And no offense, but I find it kind of ironic that somebody who lives at home and drives a shiny Mercedes their mummy and daddy bought them is deciding to dictate to me that *I’m* apparently the privileged one.

    Honestly, I lost any respect I may have had for you with this comment. Seriously? Fuck you. You know nothing about my family or my life, and for you to even bring this into an argument that wasn’t personal in any way? Totally unnecessary and uncalled for. Yes, I’m lucky enough that my parents were able to buy me a car for graduation with my Masters/25th birthday (and it’s NOT a Mercedes. It’s a VW, even though that’s irrelevant) because my other car was LITERALLY FALLING APART AND UNSAFE. But honestly? That has absolutely nothing to do with this argument. And it shows how little of a point you actually have, that you have to resort to bringing personal shit into this.

    Like Nell Gwynne said, it’s an Ad hominem argument, because you have no other point. Fuck you. You manage to turn everything, and every discussion, into a personal attack, whether it’s against you, or someone else, when it doesn’t need to be.

    Hubman: You’re 25 yrs old and apparently live rent-free with your parents. By your own admission they paid for your masters degree, they bought you a new car, and they didn’t hesitate to buy you a new laptop the day after yours was stolen.

    Again, fuck you. That has nothing to do with any of this. Yes, I live rent-free with my parents because I WAS IN SCHOOL GETTING MY FUCKING MASTER’S DEGREE, and they were nice enough to let me live at home. I never denied that I was lucky to be able to do that. Like I said to C&B, NONE OF THIS IS A PERSONAL ATTACK ON YOU. Stop making it one.

    And what now? Read the comments above me. They said it better than I could have.

    Oh, and to both you and C&B, by making this a personal thing, it also shows that you completely fail to understand the concept that we’re discussing.

  31. JessNo Gravatar
    Posted February 20, 2010 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    Maybe I’m wrong here, but I don’t think Britni was disputing that she was privileged too….just not to the extent that heterosexual white males are. She’s white, she’s in a heterosexual relationship, that immediately gives her more advantage than a black or gay person. However, if it comes down to dick measuring (which is exactly where it seems to have gone since the ‘boys club’ has gotten personal), Britni’s ‘privilege’ stops there. No matter how much money a family has, or education a woman has, that doesn’t change the fact that she will be treated differently because she has a vagina.

  32. ProfligacyNo Gravatar
    Posted February 20, 2010 at 1:03 pm | Permalink


    I really tried to get your point. All I could come up with is that you were saying “suck it up”. The BS ranting suggested you don’t believe it exists. It is really hard to see it if you don’t live it. Even though I see minority friends as equals and treat them as such I am often surprised by comments they make that make it painfully obvious THEY feel inferior. It is a closed mind that is insulted by this and does not try to take some sensitivity to it.

    As I sit here feeling completely socially acceptable in my white socks and dress shoes, I am scratching my head in an attempt to sort out your statements. You and I were nurtured by our families, social economic status and society in ways other demographics will never be and this makes such a huge difference.

    You say privilege is BS then admit that it exists. Furthermore your frustration with dogma and the dumbass so-called ‘place minority name here’ seems to be that you refuse to “pay some due”. No one has asked you to pay a due except to admit a divide exists. Separating the feelings and impressions of others from a personal attack is the repeatedly point lost in your comments about rape culture, privilege and the like. Throwing you hands up and saying pointing out privilege is not the path to equality is illogical. It would be a perfect world if we could all simply hit the reset button and say, ‘ok, now we are equal’. It won’t work that way. We have to acknowledge the differences and deal with them. Turning a blind eye reinforces its existence and shows a lack of appreciation, or willingness to face the whole issue. The impression given is ‘I am on top, fuck you’.

    I really do think you see it exists, and no one is asking you to bleed for the cause, but a little compassion and sensitivity to others is the only way to be truly equal when in fact we will never be the ‘same’.


    The efforts of the last 20 years have given you much joy obviously. That is wonderful. The ability to do those things and the fact you carried them through is a great thing to be proud of and I know all parents want their kids to do better than they did, as I am sure yours did.

    How many minorities do you know in your same position? The difference is all around us. Is it because they just did not try as hard as you? Or did they not have the same support and opportunities?

    Making personal attacks severely diminishes your arguments, suggesting you have no point. My impression is that this is true, and that you think this discussion is designed to make you feel guilty for what you have. There is no shame in success but there are reasons why others have not had the same advantages to achieve it. Discussion of economic divides is certainly one aspect of privilege, but to suggest Britni has no right to speak her mind because she enjoys a privilege is pathetic.

  33. GhouldilocksNo Gravatar
    Posted February 20, 2010 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    You’ve just got to love the irony of his post, really. White, hetero cismale telling everyone else what privilege REALLY is. I can’t even take it seriously, it’s so goddamn hilarious.

    One more thing I should point out to you (C&B and Hubman) is that making personal attacks against someone only makes *you* look bad, not the person you are attempting (terribly, I might add) to discredit. And making the subject all about you? Yeah, that’s proving your “privilege is bullshit” argument, alright. Way to shoot yourself in the foot, guys! Way to prove you haven’t the damnedest clue about what you’re actually talking about!

    Anyway… I shall leave now to go enjoy tit-flashing for free drinks, because being seen as a sex object is a “privilege” I enjoy so very much.

    The fact that I’m a baby-machine is great too.

  34. hubmanNo Gravatar
    Posted February 20, 2010 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    Britni- you see how it feels? You attack the “privilege” that I enjoy, defined however you see fit, and I’m supposed to do something, what I’m not exactly sure. I point out a privilege that you enjoy that others may not, namely economic privilege, and you resort to “fuck you”. Frankly, I expected better of you.

    Look at the broader picture. What can I do about my sex, my skin color, my sexual orientation? Nothing. Can I do something with the economic privilege that I’ve attained? Absolutely, and THAT is a discussion worth having, in my opinion.

    Profligacy- Ask Britni, she knows what I do for a living, if you don’t already know. I could cite several examples of friends and colleagues who have “overcome” a lack of privilege, due to skin color, sexual orientation, or any other perceived barrier to success.

    I did not intend to attack her. I was using her personal circumstances, which she has shared right here on this blog, to point out the hypocrisy of her hammering away at privilege when she enjoys some degree of privilege herself. I think her resorting to “fuck you” is the ultimate failure to express a coherent point.

  35. Britni TheVadgeWigNo Gravatar
    Posted February 20, 2010 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    I resorted to “fuck you” because you resorted to personal attacks.

    you see how it feels? You attack the “privilege” that I enjoy, defined however you see fit, and I’m supposed to do something, what I’m not exactly sure.

    No, I never PERSONALLY ATTACKED YOU. It’s a sociological phenomenon, not a personal attack. Did I say it’s your fault for being born a white, heterosexual, cismale? No, I didn’t. Why are you taking that so personally?

    And where did I claim not to have privilege? I’m white, able-bodied, cisgendered, and from a middle-class family. Fuck yes, I have privilege. But I’m also female and queer– two things that *do* negatively effect me. Everyone has some degree of privilege. Acknowledging it doesn’t put blame on anyone. I don’t understand why you, and C&B, take this shit so personally. It’s not about YOU. It’s about the larger picture, and the sociological implications of these things.

    And by failing to see that, you’re just perpetuating this bullshit.

    And what you’re “supposed to do” is just ACKNOWLEDGE that the privilege exists, and work in whatever way you can to start to change that. There are plenty of suggestions from other commenters, when C&B asked what he’s supposed to do with that, that sum it up quite well.

    I just don’t see why admitting that you have privilege is such a bad thing. It doesn’t make it anyone’s fault. It’s just the reality of how society works. No, we can’t choose the demographics we’re born into. But just admitting that maybe we got some advantages in the crap-shoot of life isn’t a bad thing. It’s just reality. It doesn’t make it anyone’s FAULT, and you and C&B seem to think that we’re blaming you two, personally, for the state of the world. Please, stop giving yourself so much credit.

  36. Dangerous LillyNo Gravatar
    Posted February 20, 2010 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    Let me tell a story for a moment.

    I used to work at Staples, in the “business machines” department, i.e. anything that was electronic. I was going to school for PC tech support and always up on the latest information about PC’s. I could go toe-to-toe with nearly any of the guys who also worked in that department and match if not exceed their knowledge. At the time, I was pretty (but fat, strike one) and the only female in the male-run department.

    I was the only one not with a customer when this older couple came over to look at computers (late 60’s maybe). They asked questions, I answered them confidently and correctly (so far as they knew, since they were the ones who needed help). I never once faltered or had to say “I don’t know”. A few minutes into helping, a male co-worker who didn’t even work in my department walked through to put back an item. The man of the couple stopped him and said “thank you honey but we’ll ask this nice man here instead”. To which the nice (white) man replied “I don’t work in this department but L here can certainly help you with anything you need”. Mollified, the old man paused a moment before flagging down another guy who did work in my department but was busy helping another customer. The old man was so desperate to get help from a MAN that he would rudely interrupt.

    I looked professional, well kept, no cleavage. These men? Scruffy looking young boys who looked like they slept in their work clothes.

    But who the fuck cared, they were MEN and for no other reason than their gender, they automatically were more knowledgeable and capable than me.

    This happened a few other times and my lack of sales in the department ultimately got me moved to the customer service desk (a girl’s job, since there were never any men there), but this particular incident stood out in my mind. It’s been more than 10 years since that and it still angers me, I still remember it.

  37. Rockin' Witha CockinNo Gravatar
    Posted February 20, 2010 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    This amused me. Right after Profligacy said:
    “Discussion of economic divides is certainly one aspect of privilege, but to suggest Britni has no right to speak her mind because she enjoys a privilege is pathetic.”

    Ghouldilocks said:
    “You’ve just got to love the irony of his post, really. White, hetero cismale telling everyone else what privilege REALLY is. I can’t even take it seriously, it’s so goddamn hilarious. “

  38. Another Suburban MomNo Gravatar
    Posted February 20, 2010 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    First off, both men and women can take maternity/paternity leave. From the Department of Labor website on the Family Medical Leave Act

    Covered employers must grant an eligible employee up to a total of 12 workweeks of unpaid leave during any 12-month period for one or more of the following reasons:

    * for the birth and care of the newborn child of the employee;
    * for placement with the employee of a son or daughter for adoption or foster care;
    * to care for an immediate family member (spouse, child, or parent) with a serious health condition; or
    * to take medical leave when the employee is unable to work because of a serious health condition.

    Doesn’t say mom, just employee. Then in some companies if the mother has taken short term disability they can have some pay for the time, but that is for either six or eight weeks depending on how the baby was delivered.

    I believe that privilege exists. I know that as a white, heterosexual woman I have privileges that women of other races, religions and sexual orientations do not.

    However that privilege is not the whole reason I am successful. A big part of it is my drive and work ethic.

    I think that Hubman and C&B were also trying to address the fact that there are lots of different privilege which was not addressed in your posts.

    There is the privilege of coming from a well off home, or having parents that appreciate intellectual stimulation or live in a nice neighborhood with good schools.

    Another type of privilege that I really would like to hear a take on is the privilege of being exceptionally attractive, especially in the work force.

  39. Britni TheVadgeWigNo Gravatar
    Posted February 20, 2010 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    ASM, sure, there are many different kinds of privilege. But my point with this post wasn’t necessarily to sit here and list them all off. The ones that I linked to were just because they’re the most well-known and obvious, and those links explain the concept of it very succinctly, and in a way that is easy to grasp.

    My point, moreso, was that privilege DOES exist, and it is not “bullshit,” as C&B so eloquently put it, and that I am not, in fact, a “fucking idiot” for believing in the concept.

    But of course, there are many different ways that someone can be privileged. To sit and compare them just makes this a “my dick is bigger than yours” contest, of who is more privileged than whom, who worked harder than whom, etc, when that’s totally irrelevant.

  40. EpiphoraNo Gravatar
    Posted February 20, 2010 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

    @Profligacy: EXACTLY. THIS: No one has asked you to pay a due except to admit a divide exists . . . It would be a perfect world if we could all simply hit the reset button and say, ‘ok, now we are equal’. It won’t work that way. We have to acknowledge the differences and deal with them. Turning a blind eye reinforces its existence and shows a lack of appreciation, or willingness to face the whole issue.

    I think what these dudes are failing to realize — and you’ve pointed this out, Brit — is that this isn’t about them. It’s about being respectful to other people who may not have the same forms of privilege. I mean, how hard is that to understand? I don’t get it.

  41. Wilhelmina WangNo Gravatar
    Posted February 20, 2010 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

    C&B + Hubman –

    are you even paying attention to the responses to your comments? multiple people have been saying that we AREN’T blaming you two, personally, for having privilege. it’s not a personal attack. multiple people have also said that what is “expected” from you is mere recognition of the fact that privilege exists and to treat others with sensitivity and consideration.

    and yet you keep harping on the same arguments as if nobody said anything.

  42. Britni TheVadgeWigNo Gravatar
    Posted February 20, 2010 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

    My friend Megan wanted to add this:

    “I find it interesting that no one touched on how he labeled his neighborhood as ‘Spanish’ to show he’s in the same boat…but also to show how ’shitty’ it was. Uh…hello! Privilege!!”

  43. SulpiciaNo Gravatar
    Posted February 20, 2010 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

    The overuse of the word” privilege” killed me. Quite frankly, after reading all this, I can’t even see it clearly. It’s just one other “ism.”

    I live in a place where white people are a minority. Which doesn’t change the fact that all those great government jobs go to the minority. Etc etc.

    But my life? My life is a little different. I smile at everyone I come across on the street. (Unless I’m in a really bad mood. Which happens.) I smile at everyone because every single person I come across is an awesome human being. I have conversations with every kind of person without labeling beyond “human.”

    I truly thing, B, that you have quite a bit of rage. And that’s OK. Rage can get shit done. But what rage will NOT do is bring disparate groups together. It simply creates more disparate groups.

    I’m not seeing how this discussion, though it is interesting to read, provides anything positive to the issue you feel you are addressing.

    I never call my shit privilege. I call it luck. And with that, I can say I have been truly lucky in many ways… Truly unlucky in many other ways. I roll with it. Move on. Learn. Grow. Would I be the same person if I lived in a third-world ghetto? I hope I would be a similar person. A person who still sees others as worthy human beings.

    So much of this discussion is vitriolic and insulting.

    Regardless… You pose interesting questions that are definitely worth some thought. But as someone who sometimes says “fuck you” I would advise that you diminish your argument by resorting to that kind of mindless vehemence. Study up on rhetoric and debate strategy. You will become much more powerful. As it is, you destroyed your own position.

  44. Champers and BenzNo Gravatar
    Posted February 20, 2010 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

    The only point I’m going to respond to is what Megan said:

    “I find it interesting that no one touched on how he labeled his neighborhood as ‘Spanish’ to show he’s in the same boat…but also to show how ’shitty’ it was. Uh…hello! Privilege!!”

    Uh, no. Hello, indeed, the same assumptions that Hubman, myself and a whole bunch of people are frustrated with.

    My neighborhood is largely Spanish, which means I don’t enjoy the ‘privilege’ of living in a community of the same demographic I am (one of the major ‘privileges’ the author of that stupid ‘white knapsack’ essay started off with.)

    It’s also a shitty neighborhood, which has nothing to do with the Spanish aspect but the fact that my neighbors are largely very poor and underprivileged – one of the reasons I live there, because it’s the only sort of neighborhood I can currently afford.

    Megan made the same sort of typical, offensive, judgmental assumption that is rife throughout discussions of privilege. It’s why the notion is bullshit; because it always boils down to one stranger passing judgment on another.

  45. EisnachtNo Gravatar
    Posted February 21, 2010 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    Everybody here seems to equate
    “You have privilege.”
    “You have not earned what you have.”

    For one thing, there is a sick notion of achievement and of having to justify everything you have by “having worked hard for it”. Call it the capitalist worker’s ideology if you will. It gets everyone riled up, because having something you have not worked hard for is somehow bad and immoral.
    But more importantly, this kind of chided child reaction does nothing whatsoever to further your understanding. You (and me) being privileged in the sense I have tried to describe above, that is in the sociological, not in the moral sense, does not mean that you:
    - don’t deserve what you have.
    - should make yourself unprivileged somehow (you can’t anyway).
    - should pay dues for your privilege.
    - are a bad person because of it.

    I think you (and me, too) should react to our understanding and observation of privilege by not supporting it. Not by turning down opportunities our privilege grants us (they would most likely only go to others who are privileged) but by consciously trying to look beyond the taken-for-granted believes and biases that ground privilege.
    Don’t be the guy from Dangerous Lily’s story.
    It’s as simple as that.

  46. PandaDementiaNo Gravatar
    Posted February 21, 2010 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    I so wish we were all able to debate our differing opinions without the drama, the personal attacks and the name-calling. This happens in EVERY comment thread under a post that’s even slightly controversial, which makes me think that some people enjoy and THRIVE on the drama. But I digress…

    I’ve seen “privilege” thrown around quite a bit and, quite often, it’s used as an insult or a judgment. I cannot quote exactly because my memory is pretty shitty, but I’ve seen comments going through my tweet stream or on blog posts that say things similar to “This is so full of privilege” and “You’re so cis-privileged” and, I think, even calling someone a “cis-privileged fuck” or “asshole” or something like that.

    So, I can understand why C&B would get up in arms about the word “privilege” when it HAS been given the undertones of being a bad thing. His blog post definitely went overboard with it, but I understand the thought behind it. If calling someone “privileged” is not an insult, than people should stop using it that way. Maybe, instead, point out that people who refuse to acknowledge the fact that privilege exists are “privilege-ignorant” or “feel entitled”?

2 Trackbacks

  1. By Why I Think the Concept of Privilege is Not “Bullshit” « Diary of a Kinky Librarian on February 20, 2010 at 9:47 am

    [...] Champagne and Benezdrine’s post on privilege being “bullshit” and Britni’s response to it. My opinion falls on the side of Britni’s argument, and it’s not only from my exposure [...]

  2. By Fifteenth Carnival of Feminists « Shut Up, Sit Down on March 17, 2010 at 9:55 am

    [...] TheVadgeWig presents On Privilege, a response to a blog post written about privilege, denying that it exists and is an important [...]

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