“Check Your Privilege” is the modern rebranding of political correctness, which in turn was an aggressive rebranding of “consciousness raising,” and THAT was just plain old cultural Marxism. It’s the idea that society is inherently homogeneous, and therefore automatically represses those who are–to use the modern word–“others.”
Certain people, so the theory goes, accrue privilege simply by being. Their social status, gender, race, sexual habits, class, religion, and so on make them a de facto elite, who oppress the other by their mere existence.
We’re told to “check our privilege,” which is a shorthand way of saying, “Shut up, white boy, and let the transsexual black Muslim homeless dude tell you how things REALLY are.” Those who are perceived to be part of the mainstream are thus devalued, and the marginal uplifted.
Privilege allegedly affects all of our perceptions. Some of us don’t have to worry, say, about being pulled over for “driving while black,” or facing a higher likelihood of sexual assault because we’re women, or being told to move along because we’re wearing shabby clothing while sitting too long in park.
This freedom means some of us are rendered unable to comment on any issues because our privilege blinds us to their reality. It automatically eliminates our empathy, imagination, sense of fairness and the right, and moral codes. It colors everything we do, and is even more oppressive when we pretend not to have it.
Of course, if you mouth the right pieties and agree with the right social policies and political leaders, those blinders fly away on wings of angels, and you become one of The Enlightened.
It’s intellectually dishonest, logically inconsistent, and psychologically and sociologically incoherent.
That’s why I am, for the first time, linking to Gawker, a site I really detest. They have, however, done something ballsy and wonderful: A Privilege Tournament:
Privilege: so sweet to have. But even sweeter to not have. Privilege has its benefits, but the lack of privilege confers that sweet, sweet moral superiority. With that in mind, we have decided to determine who, exactly, has the least privilege of all.
These days, teary privilege confessionals pour forth from the lips of college students in equal proportion to the fiery critiques of our grossly unjust world that pour forth from the unprivileged masses. None of it, however, is very scientific. This is the privilege bracket. It is like an NCAA bracket, but without the privileged assumption that you know about sports, which are an inherently masculine-dominated, ability-privileged activity. Here, we will pit eight categories of non-privilege against one another, tournament-style. Each round, the least privileged will advance. At the end, only a single category of non-privilege will be left standing. Or, more likely, unable to stand.
It’s like a modern version of Queen for a Day, a game show in which women told stories of personal and financial ruin, with the most miserable winning … I dunno, a lifetime supply of Chinet.
Who will be the LEAST privileged? Muslims? Gays? Bulimics? Amputees? Prisoners? I can hardly wait to find out. And no one will be able to dispute the results because SCIENCE!
Ideologues can stand a lot of things, but mockery is not one of them. The “check your privilege” gibberish has dribbled out of the university over the past few years, along with other attempts at social manipulation like microaggressions and breaking human sexual experience into ever-multiplying identity groups.
With Gawker’s highly trafficked Privilege Brackets, the idea finally bottoms out and the absurdity is revealed.
Do I expect it “Check Your Privilege” to go away now? Of course not. Progressives don’t surrender their tools quite so easily, and the Priesthood of Academia will continue to preach their gospel of hate.
But I do know that the idea has finally passed its sell-by date, and like hyphenated-Americans, it’s now just another thing to mock.