Catching Up On “Instersectionality,” And Finally Paying Attention

There are more than 22,000 tags used here, even if you eliminate the duplicates due to my typo problem, and still  “intersectionality” is not among them. I have seen the term, mostly recently, but only in contexts that led me to dismiss it as leftist, scholarly jargon, the kind of word radicals throw around to confuse their opposition and make people think they are intellectual when they are really arguing nonsense. I wasn’t wrong: it is one of those words. Still, it is a useful one, because it helps explain several phenomena of great importance, which can be collectively described as the increasing totalitarian tilt of the political left, especially since the election of Donald Trump. I should have realized the importance of the word long  ago and investigated: I apologize. Bias makes me  stupid too.

Over at New York magazine, Andrew Sullivan had one of his lucid moments—when he can bypass his anger at anti-gay attitudes (the bias that makes HIM stupid), Sullivan can be brilliant—, and delivered a perceptive essay about “intersectionality,” beginning with the recent disgrace on the Middlebury College campus, where a student protest designed to prevent sociologist Charles Murray from speaking turned into a violent riot, injuring a professor. Do read all of Sullivan’s article, but here are some key passages:

[W]hat grabbed me was the deeply disturbing 40-minute video of the event, posted on YouTube. It brings the incident to life in a way words cannot. At around the 19-minute mark, the students explained why they shut down the talk, and it helped clarify for me what exactly the meaning of “intersectionality” is.

“Intersectionality” is the latest academic craze sweeping the American academy. On the surface, it’s a recent neo-Marxist theory that argues that social oppression does not simply apply to single categories of identity — such as race, gender, sexual orientation, class, etc. — but to all of them in an interlocking system of hierarchy and power. At least, that’s my best attempt to define it briefly. But watching that video helps show how an otherwise challenging social theory can often operate in practice.

It is operating, in Orwell’s words, as a “smelly little orthodoxy,” and it manifests itself, it seems to me, almost as a religion. It posits a classic orthodoxy through which all of human experience is explained — and through which all speech must be filtered. Its version of original sin is the power of some identity groups over others. To overcome this sin, you need first to confess, i.e., “check your privilege,” and subsequently live your life and order your thoughts in a way that keeps this sin at bay. The sin goes so deep into your psyche, especially if you are white or male or straight, that a profound conversion is required….

Like the Puritanism once familiar in New England, intersectionality controls language and the very terms of discourse. It enforces manners. It has an idea of virtue — and is obsessed with upholding it. The saints are the most oppressed who nonetheless resist. The sinners are categorized in various ascending categories of demographic damnation, like something out of Dante. The only thing this religion lacks, of course, is salvation. Life is simply an interlocking drama of oppression and power and resistance, ending only in death. It’s Marx without the final total liberation.

It operates as a religion in one other critical dimension: If you happen to see the world in a different way, if you’re a liberal or libertarian or even, gasp, a conservative, if you believe that a university is a place where any idea, however loathsome, can be debated and refuted, you are not just wrong, you are immoral. If you think that arguments and ideas can have a life independent of “white supremacy,” you are complicit in evil. And you are not just complicit, your heresy is a direct threat to others, and therefore needs to be extinguished. You can’t reason with heresy. You have to ban it. It will contaminate others’ souls, and wound them irreparably….Murray’s old work on IQ demonstrates no meaningful difference between men and women, and Murray has long supported marriage equality. He passionately opposes eugenics. He’s a libertarian. But none of that matters. Intersectionality, remember? If you’re deemed a sinner on one count, you are a sinner on them all. If you think that race may be both a social construction and related to genetics, your claim to science is just another form of oppression. It is indeed hate speech….This matters, it seems to me, because reason and empirical debate are essential to the functioning of a liberal democracy. We need a common discourse to deliberate. We need facts independent of anyone’s ideology or political side, if we are to survive as a free and democratic society. Trump has surely shown us this. And if a university cannot allow these facts and arguments to be freely engaged, then nowhere is safe. Universities are the sanctuary cities of reason. If reason must be subordinate to ideology even there, our experiment in self-government is over.

This outburst was apparently too much for Andrew, his old libertarian/conservative persona emerging full-force after a long hiatus, so his piece suddenly shifts into a standard issue anti-Trump rant. It’s fascinating to see, because Andrew apparently hates the President so much that he can’t perceive that the same antipathy created by “intersectionality” that he rebuts regarding Murray (after all, Sullivan is friends with Murray), applies to the President (whom he detests) as well. The proof is how Trump’s misogyny and opposition to illegal immigration has led the Left to presume that he is racist, classist and homophobic as well. He’s not. But, to quote Sullivan against himself, “But none of that matters. Intersectionality, remember? If you’re deemed a sinner on one count, you are a sinner on them all.”

Thus Sullivan pivots to blaming all of the social and political tilt he correctly deems as dangerous on Donald Trump, and in doing so, he becomes the partisan hack he so often appears to be:

Meanwhile, of course, President Trump continues his assault on the very same independent truth — in this case, significantly more frightening given his position as the most powerful individual on the planet. He too has a contempt for any facts that do not fit his own ideology or self-image.

No, Andrew, as I have explained and any non-Trump-hater should be able to see, he just says stuff, because he has no self control, a limited vocabulary and terrible judgment. Trump’s tweeted fantasies, exaggerations and blatherings are irresponsible and unpresidential, but they further no agenda. They derail it, over and over.

That’s why the lies he repeats are not just moments of self-interested dishonesty. They are designed to erode the very notion of an empirical reality, independent of his own ideology and power.

No, they aren’t, at least the vast majority of them, designed at all. And most of the people who support him (or tolerate him) understand that.Stopping the people you describe in the first part of your article is more important to them than nit-picking the President to death. And they are right.

A fact-driven media has to be discredited as “fake news” if it challenges Trump’s agenda.

Riiiiight. Fact-driven media. If Sullivan had written that at the beginning of his essay, I would have never read the rest. Only the bias-blinded could follow the news media’s political reporting over the past decade and state that it is “fact-driven” without breaking into giggles. Later, as we will see, Sullivan derides those who are skeptical about climate change research. Denying media bias is far less defensible.

Equally, a bureaucracy designed impartially to implement legislation has to be delegitimized, if its fact-based neutrality challenges Trump’s worldview….

Fact-based neutrality…another punch line!  The IRS has been “neutral”?  The Justice Department has been “neutral”?

 The overwhelming conclusion of climate scientists — that carbon is warming the Earth irreversibly — is simply denied by the new head of the EPA.

Classic. Also a classic example of a pundit bloviating about climate change when he has the science acumen of a witch doctor. No scientist has dared to argue that the Earth is being warmed “irreversibly,” as in “it will never get colder again.”  A competent editor would have done Andrew a favor by making him cut that. It makes him sound like chanting students he just finished slamming.

The judiciary can have no legitimate, independent stance if it too counters the president’s interests. A judge who opposes Trump is a “so-called” judge.

And again, Sullivan is venturing where he has no expertise, just bias. The opinion in question was incompetent, lazy, biased, political, and quite possibly the product of a conflict of interest. In Trump-speak, “so-called judge” just means he’s a bad judge, and based on that opinion, it was a fair assessment.

But I digress. It’s a shame that Sullivan couldn’t stay focused without shifting into Trump-hate mode, because “intersectionality,” which really does need a more sinister-sounding name  since sinister it is, is an important, new and ugly force in American society. It explains, among other things, why progressives think they are doing the right thing by rejecting the election, the Constitution and democracy for the methods of totalitarianism. Thank-you, Andrew.

And get well soon.

_________________________________

Pointer: Amy Alcon

Graphic: New York Magazine

175 Comments

Filed under "bias makes you stupid", Education, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Quotes, Race, Religion and Philosophy, Research and Scholarship, This Helps Explain Why Trump Is President, U.S. Society

175 responses to “Catching Up On “Instersectionality,” And Finally Paying Attention

  1. Other Bill

    Thanks for pointing this Sullivan article out, Jack. The part about intersectionality really is illuminating. I was particularly pleased to see you went on to explicate the bizarre anti-Trump rant that followed immediately upon the intersectionality discourse. Tremendous.

    The Authentic Frontier Gibberish being pawned off as education in liberal arts colleges is terrifying. And earnest alumni are funding it. Useful idiots.

  2. Chris

    “Intersectionality” is the latest academic craze sweeping the American academy. On the surface, it’s a recent neo-Marxist theory that argues that social oppression does not simply apply to single categories of identity — such as race, gender, sexual orientation, class, etc. — but to all of them in an interlocking system of hierarchy and power. At least, that’s my best attempt to define it briefly.

    Sullivan does a good job here of defining intersectionality. It seems to me to be undeniably true, and “intersectionality” is a useful term for describing this reality.

    Of course, it doesn’t follow from the existence of intersectionality that college students should be able to riot in order to stop a racist speaker from speaking in front of a group that has invited him. So I’m not sure why the term “intersectionality” needs to be condemned simply because some people decided to enact violence in its name. If we retired all ideologies that inspired violence, we would have no ideologies.

    Trump’s tweeted fantasies, exaggerations and blatherings are irresponsible and unpresidential, but they further no agenda.

    So far, they have helped enact several agendas. The travel ban is the result of Trump and his team’s exaggerations about immigration and Muslims. His tweeted fantasies about illegal voters are helping Republicans enact needless and counter-productive voter ID laws that stop more legal voters from voting than illegal voters. Next on the docket: a congressional investigation into Trump’s baseless claim that Obama tapped his phone.

    The naive notion here that the president’s words have no effect on the world (provided that president is Trump) continues to baffle me.

    • RomanBWitkowsky

      Chris,
      Please do keep up your phenomenal logical rebuttals and counterattacks; they are much appreciated, I suspect, by many.
      You do provide the very much needed balance.
      Thanks!
      RBW

      • Thanks—Chris needs the recognition, amid the enmity. An ethical comment.

        • Chris

          Thanks to you both.

        • philk57

          I agree, unless Chris meant Murray is a racist when he said “riot in order to stop a racist speaker from speaking in front of a group that has invited him”. If that is who he is referring to, then I withdraw my agreement.

          • Chris

            You can withdraw it, then, since I think Murray’s scientific racism is quite clear. That said, he had a right to speak and the students violated that right.

            • JutGory

              I don’t think his racism is quite clear. I know he has clearly been charged as one based upon a single chapter in a book he co-wrote in 1994.

              Have you read The Bell Curve, Chris?

              -Jut

              • Chris

                I have not, JutGory, only summaries of it. Is my characterization of his argument in my reply to Isaac below inaccurate?

                • JutGory

                  I have not, either, so you are probably as ignorant as I am, to your eternal shame.

                  My understanding is that this single chapter is what has given rise to any argument about racism on his part; the speech in question at Middlebury was going to be a statistical analysis about the 2016 election.

                  And, that single chapter only analyzed statistical data about IQ scores across racial categories. It is my understanding that the scores for black people averaged below other races. It is my understanding that his presentation of data that blacks scored lower on IQ tests meant he believed they were genetically inferior.

                  Furthermore, it is my understanding that his position was that removing certain barriers to educational achievement allowed a more even distribution of IQ scores amongst all races.

                  In fairness, it is my understanding that he acknowledged that Nature and Nurture both play a role in IQ distributions and that is what has given rise to charges of racism.

                  But, for all that liberals complain about the fallibility of IQ scores, it seems that, if they can use it to accuse someone of being a white supremacist, IQ analysis is indicative of bigotry.

                  Occam’s Razor: here we have a statistician (what was the line from the Simpson’s? “We have a mathematician, a different kind of mathematician, and a statistician”), analyzing data as part of a large thesis, who happens to analyze data related to the third rail of identity politics.

                  I suspect his position was not ideological. In fact, I suspect his position was nothing more than to present evidence consistent with his statistical theory.

                  (For my part, it would not surprise me one bit if blacks statistically score lower than other races on IQ tests. Such tests have their limits and the ability to test “innate” intelligence is likely affected by outside factors. And, nothing about innate intelligence has a damn thing to do about moral dignity in the Kantian sense of the term and, thus, bestows absolutely no moral superiority to any racial group. Of course, that position is completely self-serving, because Asians probably out score whites on IQ tests (but that does not bug me in the least bit either, for the forgoing reasons).

                  -Jut

                  • dragin_dragon

                    JG, I wouldn’t spend a whole lot of time worrying about IQ scores across racial boundaries, were I you. Among other things, IQ scores seem to be useful solely because there is a mild correlation between IQ score and success probability in college. Otherwise, not good for much (except to MENSA).

                    • Chris

                      Agreed with dragin.

                      Also, from what I understand, the problem people have with him is not that he concluded blacks score lower on IQ tests (we know this), but his explanation as to why.

                      But it’s been a long time since I’ve looked into this, so I may have to re-evaluate.

                      Regardless, the riot was still wrong. I’m not even really in favor of protesting speakers in more peaceful ways, as I find it counter-productive, and too often these days it leads to things like this.

                • Phlinn

                  Perhaps this has been linked below, but here is Murray in his own words. I’d say his ‘scientific racism’ is anything BUT clear.

        • Steve-O-in-NJ

          He needs to go out of here, but that’s just my $0.02.

    • Chris,
      I’m making a conscious choice to talk directly, don’t blow it.

      I’m after the usual, supporting evidence.

      You wrote “stop a racist speaker from speaking”; I can assume you are talking about Charles Murray; if so, can you provide me with something to read that shows he’s a racist? If you’re talking about another speaker who are you talking about and again where the “evidence” to support the claims of being an actual racist?

      You also wrote “voter ID laws that stop more legal voters from voting than illegal voters”; can you provide me with actual data that proves that claim? Please don’t provide as proof the usual partisan statistical projections that I’ve seen over and over again.

      • I know you’re around these blogs, you’re posting elsewhere; how should I interrupt your silence regarding my request for supporting evidence? I could just go with a typical statement like your silence is deafening but I’d really rather get a response.

        • Chris

          Interpret it as “I decided to respond to comments that didn’t require me to find sources first.”

          I’ve already discussed the Murray thing.

          The GAO found that voter ID laws reduce turnout, especially among black voters.

          https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/govbeat/wp/2014/10/09/report-voter-id-laws-reduce-turnout-more-among-african-american-and-younger-voters/?utm_term=.e0e572a3d0b9

          In Kansas and Tennessee, turnout dropped by 100,000 votes as a result.

          https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2014/10/09/gao-voter-id-laws-in-kansas-and-tennessee-dropped-2012-turnout-by-over-100000-votes/?utm_term=.a9069821b8a8

          I don’t believe one can plausibly make the argument that 100,000 people were planning to commit in-person voter fraud in that election.

          Republicans have offered no proof that in-person voter fraud is a problem, let alone that it is a problem worth disenfranchising thousands of voters to solve. Republicans used to believe that if the government wanted to put regulations on something, the government needed to have a damn good reason to do so. It seems that is no longer the case.

          • “The GAO found that voter ID laws reduce turnout, especially among black voters.”

            Which is the disparate impact fallacy again. Too bad. Voters should have ID. Simple as that.

            • Chris

              Which is the disparate impact fallacy again. Too bad. Voters should have ID. Simple as that.

              Why?

              It seems to me that you’re making an ethical case without considering the consequences. If the purpose of voter ID laws is to preserve the integrity of elections, but the result of them is to discourage thousands of legal voters rather than curtailing a few dozen illegal voters, then voter ID laws are a failure. It is a law that fails to achieve its purpose, and in fact counters it.

          • Chris said, “I’ve already discussed the Murray thing.”

            Chris I haven’t seen anything that you or anyone else has posted that has shown that Murray is a racist. Is your statement above “I may have to re-evaluate” an admission that you were repeating a claim made by others that was unsupportable or are you just deferring to a later date in hopes that we conveniently forget about you calling him a racist with no evidence to support it?

            You were wrong to call Murray a racist.

            Why can’t you just admit that you were wrong and learn from it?

            Chris said, “The GAO found that voter ID laws reduce turnout”

            Correlation does not equal causation, and the information you provided did not support your claim that “voter ID laws that stop more legal voters from voting than illegal voters”. The statistics do not show how many illegal voters didn’t bother to show up knowing that they would be turned away because they were ineligible to vote.

            Additionally; the statistics are flawed in that they don’t actually know why there were less voters, they just know less showed up and they assume they know why and then they present their assumptions as fact. They did not interview a wide swath of previous voters that chose not to vote to find out why they didn’t vote. It’s a dishonest use of statistical data.

            • Chris

              Why can’t you just admit that you were wrong and learn from it?

              Because I don’t know that I was wrong about this. But as I said, I will do further research and refresh my memory on Murray’s positions.

              Chris said, “The GAO found that voter ID laws reduce turnout”

              Correlation does not equal causation, and the information you provided did not support your claim that “voter ID laws that stop more legal voters from voting than illegal voters”. The statistics do not show how many illegal voters didn’t bother to show up knowing that they would be turned away because they were ineligible to vote.

              As I said, you can’t possibly believe that there were 100,000 people in Tennessee during that election who planned to vote illegally. Can you?

              Additionally; the statistics are flawed in that they don’t actually know why there were less voters, they just know less showed up and they assume they know why and then they present their assumptions as fact. They did not interview a wide swath of previous voters that chose not to vote to find out why they didn’t vote. It’s a dishonest use of statistical data.

              I’ll have to read the studies more carefully and get back to you.

              • Chris wrote, “Because I don’t know that I was wrong about this.”

                You don’t know you’re wrong? Typical Liberal cop-out.

                That’s what a Self-Inflicted Intellectual Slap Down looks like. The fact is Chris, that you made a direct accusation that Murray is a racist with absolutely no proof to back it up, that is a direct smear to Murray’s character with no proof, that is WRONG no matter how you look at it. In my opinion, your statement falls into the category of libel, you might be an ignorant fool parroting what you’ve heard, like ignorant Junior High School students do, but it’s still libel. You seem to make routine smearing accusations without no proof; maybe you should seek some counseling, you’re showing signs of Histrionic Malevolence Syndrome.

                Chris wrote, “As I said, you can’t possibly believe that there were 100,000 people in Tennessee during that election who planned to vote illegally. Can you?”

                If you’ve got one, put your thinking cap on; I didn’t say that, I don’t believe that, nor do I believe that 100,000 people didn’t vote because voter ID was in place. YOU are the one presenting an assumption (those 100,00 non-voters didn’t show up because of Voter ID) as fact, not me. Unbury your head.

                Chris wrote, “I’ll have to read the studies more carefully and get back to you.”

                Oh boy; I just can’t wait for you to share your unbiased* intellectual opinion about a study that you have already presented to us as fact that “voter ID laws…stop more legal voters from voting than illegal voters”. Please share with us which pair of your vast selection of industrial-strength weapons-grade thickened ideological blinders (#Cornelius_Gotchberg) will you be wearing when you thoroughly scan the study with Progressive Magical Thinking eyes.

                *Unbiased – The only unbiased thought you’ve had as an adult is one that was provided to you by the political left propaganda machine.

                You have a nice day trying to spin what I’ve written Chris.

                • Chris

                  Zoltar, your repeated attacks on my character are unnecessary, unprovoked, and make engaging with you a chore.

                • Michael Ejercito

                  This does beg the question.

                  If voter ID laws suppress lawful voting, then would not gun control laws suppress lawful gun ownership?

                  Another Chris, Chris Morton, pointed this out .

                  “Replace “pistol permit” with “voter registration card” and suddenly people understand what you’re really dealing with.”

                  And I DO, EVERY chance I get: “If voter ID laws are racist, aren’t gunowner ID laws just as racist if not more so?”

                  You know you’ve struck a nerve when you reduce an anti-gun cultist to trying to minimize Jim Crow and telling the lie that he’s never heard of “literacy tests” used to suppress the Black vote.

                  They’ve told one lie too many, and every day more and more people are catching on and turning away from them.

  3. deery

    “Intersectionality” is a useful concept. It can quickly convey, for example why, despite the fact that your father had a physical disability, he nonetheless still had white male privilege in post WWII America. Or that people can be strident anti-racists, yet also be virulently homophobic. Or both poor, and sexist at the same time. Etc.

    People seemingly have a hard time wrapping their head around the fact that they might be disadvantaged in on area, yet still enjoy embedded societal privileges in another area, e.g. “I don’t have any white privilege, I grew up poor!” and so forth.

    • Chris

      Good points, deery.

      The weird thing is that I grew up poor, in a very conservative household, but never even knew that people found “white privilege” to be a controversial concept until I got to college. Of course I knew that I had advantages in my society by virtue of being white and male; it never occurred to me that there were people who didn’t know that. Perhaps it’s because I was raised by a single mother, had all girl cousins, and most of my friends were Hispanic.

    • It can quickly convey, for example why, despite the fact that your father had a physical disability, he nonetheless still had white male privilege in post WWII America.

      My father not only had a disability, he was dirt poor, raised by a single mother, never allowed to live in one community for more than a year at a time, so he had few friends, was relentlessly bullied, and lacked any family support network at all. And his ultimate success in overcoming all of that was because he was white? How self-serving and ridiculous.

      A clever way to denigrate whites and engage in racism under cover, however. Whites never earn anything, and all of their achievements, if they have any, is due to privilege. Whereas all achievements by non-whites are due to virtue, industry, and courageous victory over societal handicaps..ergo, they are superior. And what a nice way to marginalize personal responsibility and the individual duty to deal with one’s own challenges and not make excuses and blame others.

      It’s a “privilege” to be American, free, healthy, rich, not poor, strong, healthy, smart, clever, funny. talented, athletic, educated, intellectually curious, loved, lucky, in a stable family, with good role models, beautiful, sexy, thin, articulate, brave, principled, sane, male, female, white, black and all sorts of other things, to varying degrees depending on the individual.

      • Chris

        And his ultimate success in overcoming all of that was because he was white? How self-serving and ridiculous.

        Where on earth do you get the idea that “his ultimate success in overcoming all of that was because he was white” follows from “being white is a social advantage?”

        Do you really believe that pointing out a social advantage is the same as saying that advantage is the *only* factor in an individual’s success?

        I have advantages your father did not because I do not have a disability. Does that mean my success is because I am not disabled?

        • Funny, I don’t see or hear the “not having a disability” privilege being widely used to justify minimizing personal achievements, and to denigrate those with that advantage—like the way “white privilege” is wielded as a weapon, to marginalize opinions, and more.

          The way I described it is exactly how “white privilege” is used routinely, and indeed what it signals without further elaboration.

          • Eternal optometrist

            Great point Jack. If I had been lucky enough to meet your father, and if he deemed me any sort of success, I doubt he would try to minimize it by talking about my “two parent household privilege.”

            • Chris

              Why would he think that minimizes his success? People take stock of their advantages and disadvantages all the time. I was raised by a single mother, but I tell my students all the time that I was privileged enough to be read to frequently, to be raised in an English-speaking household, to be encouraged academically, and so on. These are privileges not all of my students have. If some of my less privileged students go on to have the same or greater success as I do, should I think that “minimizes” my own success? Or should I recognize where they came from and be proud of them?

          • Chris

            Funny, I don’t see or hear the “not having a disability” privilege being widely used to justify minimizing personal achievements, and to denigrate those with that advantage—like the way “white privilege” is wielded as a weapon, to marginalize opinions, and more.

            You know what? I have seen it used that way.

            I have been told, by a disability rights activist, in a discussion I was having about changing the disabled superhero Oracle back into the able-bodied Batgirl a few years ago, that I had nothing to contribute to the conversation because of my able-bodied privilege.

            You know what I did? I disagreed. I’ve also disagreed with trans people who’ve said the same thing to me about trans issues, and black people who have disagreed with me about black issues.

            You know what I didn’t do? I didn’t conclude from those conversations that there was no such thing as able-bodied privilege, cis privilege, or white privilege.

            Because those would be ridiculous conclusions.

            The fact that some activists use social justice terms as “weapons” does not invalidate those terms. It may delegitimize them in the eyes of some, which is one of the reasons I oppose using them in this way. But a disabled person telling me to shut up because I have able-bodied privilege didn’t magically make my able-bodied privilege disappear. And people telling you to shut up because you have white privilege doesn’t make your white privilege disappear.

            So yes, it is wrong when activists use terms like “white privilege” to shut down opinions. But that is not what the term was originally used for, and it isn’t even what it’s most commonly used for today. And it certainly doesn’t mean white privilege doesn’t exist.

      • deery

        My father not only had a disability, he was dirt poor, raised by a single mother, never allowed to live in one community for more than a year at a time, so he had few friends, was relentlessly bullied, and lacked any family support network at all. And his ultimate success in overcoming all of that was because he was white? How self-serving and ridiculous.

        “White privilege” doesn’t mean that a person didn’t face adversities in life. It just means, out of the adversities one can face, being white was not one of them. For example, as a vet, your father could use the GI Bill to attend any college he waned. He could use his veteran’s benefits to buy a house, and settle into any community he could afford. He could apply to any job. He could send his children to schools that were fully supported by tax dollars. A black vet that had a disability, was dirt poor, raised by a single mother, never allowed to live in one community for more than a year at a time, with few friends, relentlessly bullied, and lacking any family support network at all would not have been allowed to enjoy any of those benefits.

        Yes, your father still had to do the work, but the fact that he was white definitely buoyed him along the path to success.

        • “White privilege” doesn’t mean that a person didn’t face adversities in life. It just means, out of the adversities one can face, being white was not one of them.

          And to highlight that one above all the others is racism. He wasn’t a dwarf, either.

          • deery

            White privilege” doesn’t mean that a person didn’t face adversities in life. It just means, out of the adversities one can face, being white was not one of them.

            And to highlight that one above all the others is racism. He wasn’t a dwarf, either.

            …I think you are missing the point of intersectionality, by a mile. In a way, you are basically agreeing with the concept of intersectionality. Your father was disadvantaged in some areas, and advantaged in others. People can point out the ways he was advantaged, just as you pointed out the ways he was disadvantaged.

            There shouldn’t be anything wrong with stating facts. It is not racism to talk about how being white has helped people considered white in American society. It is not classism to discuss how being rich has advantages over being poor in American society. It is not sexist to point out how being male has traditionally benefitted men in American society. And so forth.

            • Chris

              Exactly, deery. By Jack’s logic, pointing out his father’s poverty is a form of bigotry against the wealthy.

              • Matthew B

                Want a huge example of anti-wealth bigotry?

                The Duke lacrosse case. Those three were prejudged and denied their civil rights because they were rich white kids that fit a specific narrative.

                • deery

                  And yet their wealth privilege allowed them to hire fancy lawyers and get out of those charges, and even get the prosecutor fired. Think about how a poor person would fare in that situation. There are plenty of examples out there. Look at the archives of The Innocence Project to start.

                • Chris

                  I’m not sure what your point is, Matthew. Anti-wealthy bigotry exists? Of course it does; no one denied that.

          • Chris

            And to highlight that one above all the others is racism.

            It…really isn’t. You’re falling into the trap of thinking that noticing systemic racism is itself a form of racism. That’s absolutely ludicrous.

            He wasn’t a dwarf, either.

            Different activists focus on different things. I am sure there are little people activists who talk about the privilege of those born without dwarfism, but they are obviously a smaller (no pun intended, I swear) part of our population than non-white people, so we don’t hear about it as much.

            But little people activists who discuss this aren’t engaging in bigotry toward average-sized people.

            • Matthew B

              You’re falling into the trap of thinking that noticing systemic racism is itself a form of racism. That’s absolutely ludicrous..

              It’s an easy trap though. If people just stayed with batting down the racism, great. But too many people jump into trying to “equalize” in some way. When that happens we just have a replacement form of racism.

              The resistance to any willingness to concede any racism is in a large part backlash against affirmative action.

        • Chris Bentley

          “Yes, your father still had to do the work, but the fact that he was white definitely buoyed him along the path to success.”

          Are you making the argument, honestly, that being black, in today’s environment, does not come with advantages that buoys one, if taken advantage of, one to success, that are not available to non-blacks?

          Are you also making the point, that being white, in today’s environment, does not carry distinct disadvantages, specific only to whites, along with advantages?

          And, forgive me if my reasoning is simplistic here, but “white privilege” implies an advantage, available to any/all whites, regardless of other factors, that are not available to any other non-white. The obvious inverse of this is that all non-whites face a disadvantage, solely because of their skin color. For this to be true, there cannot be exceptions; sure, non-whites can sill find success, based on hard work, luck of the draw, or the benefit of other, unrelated advantages….but the core disadvantage of being a non-white must still, at some level, apply to all non-whites.

          Please tell me what this disadvantage is. Im not saying that it’s not there, or that you can’t, but I’d like to hear, from you, what this disadvantage is. And lest you think that I’m walking you into a trap, yes, if your definition of disadvantages that befall non-whites is not something that I have consciously experienced, then, yes, my next question will be, how it’s possible for a disadvantage that is based solely on skin color, and nothing else, to somehow not apply (at least enough to be noticed by someone moderately alert and self-aware) to someone possessing that same non-white skin color.

          • deery

            Please read downthread CB for a list of some white privileges in American society.

            Please tell me what this disadvantage is. I’m not saying that it’s not there, or that you can’t, but I’d like to hear, from you, what this disadvantage is. And lest you think that I’m walking you into a trap, yes, if your definition of disadvantages that befall non-whites is not something that I have consciously experienced, then, yes, my next question will be, how it’s possible for a disadvantage that is based solely on skin color, and nothing else, to somehow not apply (at least enough to be noticed by someone moderately alert and self-aware) to someone possessing that same non-white skin color.

            We are talking about societal level advantages, not anecdotal experiences. If a black person in 1850 was not a slave, is that enough to invalidate the notion that white privilege in 1850 did not exist? If there is a person in a wheelchair out there that doesn’t feel as if being in a wheelchair is a disadvantage because they get around just fine, thank you very much, does this mean that there is no able bodied privilege? That is a very tiny way of looking at societal level concepts and problems. “Hey, Homeless Larry thinks he is just as advantaged as those with houses. I guess we’ve solved the homeless problem! Pack it up!”

            • Chris Bentley

              Being made to be a slave was just one manifestation of black disadvantage in 1850; not being a slave certainly does not mean that being black was not a significant disadvantage for all blacks…in 1850.

              “If there is a person in a wheelchair out there that doesn’t feel as if being in a wheelchair is a disadvantage because they get around just fine, thank you very much, does this mean that there is no able bodied privilege?”

              Im not talking about feelings; it doesn’t matter what I “feel” like. Im talking manifestation. You can disregard my experience as anecdotal, or an outlier, but you also fail to prove has a larger effect than other advantages. Because I haven’t experienced it, doesn’t disprove its prevalence, but because there are those that claim to have experienced it, without consideration for the unlimited number of other factors (like family structure, social status, parental expectations) proves its prevalence?

              Thank you for pointing me to the classic list of white privileges provided below; however, that list is BS, and I explain why in a reply to it.

              “Hey, Homeless Larry thinks he is just as advantaged as those with houses. I guess we’ve solved the homeless problem! Pack it up!”

              Im not claiming that my lack of experience to racism proves racism is solved; I’m questioning the degree that it is an actual handicap over other disadvantages. Family Structure has a far greater effect…why is this one ignored as much as it is?

              • deery

                I don’t think family structure is ignored, witness all the railing against single-parent households. I think people are genuinely uncomfortable however with the government interfering in who can have children, or who should get married. That seems to cross political lines, even if the reasoning for the discomfort is varied.

              • deery

                Plus, I also think that there is little disagreement that all things being equal, two-parent households have an advantage over a single-parent household (the “all other things being equal” being important here). People immediately seize on white privilege because of a steadfast denial that it exists at all. You don’t see a lot of controversy over “able-bodied privilege” for much the same reasons. But male privilege works in similar ways to white privilege.

              • Chris

                Are you making the argument, honestly, that being black, in today’s environment, does not come with advantages that buoys one, if taken advantage of, one to success, that are not available to non-blacks?

                No.

                Are you also making the point, that being white, in today’s environment, does not carry distinct disadvantages, specific only to whites, along with advantages?

                No.

                I am making the point that as a general rule, it is an advantage in our society to be white and a disadvantage to be black.

                There are exceptions to this rule, of course. But they are exceptions.

                And, forgive me if my reasoning is simplistic here, but “white privilege” implies an advantage, available to any/all whites, regardless of other factors, that are not available to any other non-white.

                I don’t think so; this is where intersectionality comes in.

                The obvious inverse of this is that all non-whites face a disadvantage, solely because of their skin color. For this to be true, there cannot be exceptions; sure, non-whites can sill find success, based on hard work, luck of the draw, or the benefit of other, unrelated advantages….but the core disadvantage of being a non-white must still, at some level, apply to all non-whites.

                I remember Oprah talking about being followed in a store. Yes, there are certain disadvantages that apply to all non-whites at some level.

                Family Structure has a far greater effect…why is this one ignored as much as it is?

                There is a degree of choice that comes with family structure. Children can’t control their own, but their parents can, and when those children grow up, they can as well.

                People can’t control their race.

                And as deery pointed out, most people agree that having two parents gives someone an advantage, while white privilege and male privilege (to my utter bafflement) are still controversial. Controversial issues usually get covered more than uncontroversial ones. In addition, we of course have many programs designed to help single mothers, while programs specifically targeted to help those who do not have white privilege have been largely rejected.

          • dragin_dragon

            I can’t tell you how grateful I am for your presence and your comments.

            • Chris Bentley

              Thank you, sincerely. That’s one of the kindest compliments I’ve received (on the internet), and it is greatly appreciated.

      • Chris

        Whites never earn anything, and all of their achievements, if they have any, is due to privilege.

        This is such a gross misrepresentation of the idea of privilege that I can only call it dishonest.

        Again, recognizing one privilege does not mean that said privilege is the *sole* factor in anyone’s success. No lefty activist–and I’m willing to bet I know more than you do–has ever told me that my success is solely due to being white. They have pointed out certain advantages I have in the workplace compared to some of my minority co-workers–and I’ve noticed these too. But that is not the same as saying all my achievements are due solely to my privilege.

        Whereas all achievements by non-whites are due to virtue, industry, and courageous victory over societal handicaps..ergo, they are superior.

        Most activists–especially those who talk about intersectionality–recognize the existence of able-bodied privilege. Under your formulation, able-bodied blacks don’t achieve anything on their own either–all their success is due to being able-bodied. And don’t forget straight privilege, and cisgender privilege, and class privilege.

        If your view of privilege were the predominant one, no lefty activist would be able to praise anyone as truly responsible for their own success unless they had absolutely no form of privilege. Since there isn’t anyone like that–hello, intersectionality!–lefty activists wouldn’t praise the success of anyone.

        That’s just not an accurate depiction of how they see the world, or the issue of privilege.

        It’s a “privilege” to be American, free, healthy, rich, not poor, strong, healthy, smart, clever, funny. talented, athletic, educated, intellectually curious, loved, lucky, in a stable family, with good role models, beautiful, sexy, thin, articulate, brave, principled, sane, male, female, white, black and all sorts of other things, to varying degrees depending on the individual.

        Congratulations–you’ve just described intersectionality!

        • deery

          It’s a “privilege” to be American, free, healthy, rich, not poor, strong, healthy, smart, clever, funny. talented, athletic, educated, intellectually curious, loved, lucky, in a stable family, with good role models, beautiful, sexy, thin, articulate, brave, principled, sane, male, female, white, black and all sorts of other things, to varying degrees depending on the individual.

          Congratulations–you’ve just described intersectionality!

          This makes me smile Chris. I think just hates the word, and not the concept? Because he certainly seems to agree with the concept. At this point, it’s just a bunch of people agreeing with each other, yet somehow still managing to argue nonetheless.

      • Matthew B

        Thank you Jack for articulating a rebuttal better than I can because I vehemently object to Chris’s post

        I’ll also add an additional point: Democrats may have past a tipping point this last election in their demonization of whites and Asians. Lower class whites are pissed off about hearing about white privilege. Asians are offended by being considered by many as even more privileged. (East cost people may not be aware of this, but there is a lot of pissed off Asians in California, with their kids being held to an even higher standard than whites.)

        If whites and Asians start being as racist in their votes as Black and Hispanic voters, Democrats are in big trouble.

        • Chris

          While I think the additional SAT requirements for Asian students in California are unjust, I would not agree that Asians have been “demonized” by Democrats. For example, from what I’ve seen recently, it is liberals calling for more Asian representation in the media and conservatives arguing that liberals are stupid for thinking this matters.

          • Matthew B

            You make accusations of a straw man in another post, so you are familiar with the concept.

            Then you should be able to re-read my post, what your response was, and recognize that you just made one yourself.

            I never said that the Democrats demonize Asians. What I did say is that Asians resent having higher entrance requirements than whites. As you note, it is “unjust.” I’ll add the words racist, amoral and unethical. You recognize it for what it is, but hey seem to not in the state of California’s government. Since California is a one party supermajority state, this is 100% in the Democrats wheelhouse.

            I posit that you can’t go and treat a group of people unfairly as a racial group and not expect a backlash.

            • Chris

              Matthew, this is a direct quote from your earlier comment:

              I’ll also add an additional point: Democrats may have past a tipping point this last election in their demonization of whites and Asians.

              Now you say this:

              I never said that the Democrats demonize Asians.

              As you can see, you did say that. Perhaps you meant to say that Democrats demonize whites, and meant to say something else about Asians? But what you said is that Democrats demonize whites and Asians.

              So no, my argument was not a strawman. It was a response to what you said.

    • Isaac

      There would have to be some shred of evidence for any of this, though, for it to be “useful.” And there isn’t.
      And it isn’t.
      Except to the delusional.

      “I don’t have any white privilege, I grew up poor!” and yet I still “enjoy embedded societal privileges?” Okay. Let’s pretend that makes sense.

      What does this White privilege look like? If a White person is homeless, was born to a mother on crack, is unattractive, overweight, grew up poor, and all of his or her friends and relatives are criminals…what about being all of those things, but Black, would make it worse? What about being White makes it better? How is this magical, elusive White privilege in any way useful or practical, or even observable?

      If I smell like a dumpster, have one leg, tattered clothes, and can’t read…and I walk into Denny’s and ask for a job application, who is going to look at my dirty application covered with pencil marks and say, “well, you know…at least he’s white”? What world does this embedded privilege exist in? It doesn’t sound like much fun compared to the real one.

      • deery

        What does this White privilege look like? If a White person is homeless, was born to a mother on crack, is unattractive, overweight, grew up poor, and all of his or her friends and relatives are criminals…what about being all of those things, but Black, would make it worse? What about being White makes it better? How is this magical, elusive White privilege in any way useful or practical, or even observable?

        Your white homeless guy is less likely to be harassed and/or shot and killed by the police than a similarly situated black guy. If arrested, he is less likely to go to jail, and if he does, he is less likely to spend time in there as compared to his black counterpart. If he decides to turn his life around, white felons are more likely to be hired than his black counterpart with no criminal record at all. These are some of the ways off the top of my head that white privilege is quite useful and tangible for those that possess it, even for those at the bottom of the social ladder of whiteness.

        • Isaac

          “Your white homeless guy is less likely to be harassed and/or shot and killed by the police than a similarly situated black guy.”

          There is no evidence of this.

          “If arrested, he is less likely to go to jail, and if he does, he is less likely to spend time in there as compared to his black counterpart.”

          There is no evidence of this.

          “If he decides to turn his life around, white felons are more likely to be hired than his black counterpart with no criminal record at all.”

          There is also no evidence of this.

          Trolling the internet for scraps of data that back up your point of view about complex social issues is not a substitute for learning. There are literally thousands of factors that confer “privilege.” Being one inch taller correlates to a great deal of additional annual income. So does losing 20 pounds. So does having a more symmetrical face. All of these very real “privileges” pale in comparison to the much greater privilege conferred by things like having two parents at home, being raised in church, or being born to parents of higher social status. Of the countless things conspiring for or against us to confer either privilege or disadvantage, many are beyond our control, and many aren’t. Correlations abound. Correlation is not causation.

          The very same study you no doubt refer to in regards to white felons being more likely to be hired than blacks with no record (a small study which provides not nearly enough data to form a conclusion, although some data is better than none) also reports that women with a criminal record are significantly MORE likely to be hired than ex-con men. Do you believe in FEMALE PRIVILEGE? If not, why not, other than bias making you inconsistent and likely to cherry-pick data and correlations that matter to you? If I were an ex-con, should I be irritating all of my friends on Twitter harping about how female privilege keeps men like me from rejoining the work force?

          We know that humans, to some noticeable but not insurmountable degree, favor humans who are from the same stock as them. This may confer some degree of disadvantage upon a Black man trying to get into a firm whose employees are all white kids from the same Ivy League schools, whose parents are all friends. If the Black man went to the same schools and his parents were friends with theirs, his disadvantage is likely nearly eliminated. If there is any deep, psychological disadvantage remaining in the form of racial prejudice against him despite that, it could be negated the same way every single person on the planet negates any number of disadvantages every single day. By making the most of what advantages they do have. Like being one inch taller.

          • deery

            There are literally thousands of factors that confer “privilege.”

            Sigh. So to sum it all up then, you actually do believe in intersectionality? Ok. Thanks.

            • Chris Bentley

              Sigh, this is a damn good post by Isaac, and your response only suggests that you care about “being right” rather than “getting it right”.

              I am personally much more interested in”getting it right”, which means hearing the best argument that can be made from intelligent people on either side of an issue. Isaac made his; why not rebut the substance of his post?

              • deery

                The “substance” of his post is him railing against intersectionality, while basically endorsing it. I really don’t know what to do with that. There really isn’t much to discuss.

                • Chris Bentley

                  Then you’re not trying very hard.

                  Start with: “There are literally thousands of factors that confer “privilege.” Being one inch taller correlates to a great deal of additional annual income. So does losing 20 pounds. So does having a more symmetrical face. All of these very real “privileges” pale in comparison to the much greater privilege conferred by things like having two parents at home, being raised in church, or being born to parents of higher social status.’

                  How about addressing why only race privilege is THE ONE that matters, and as someone else pointed out, the only privileges addressed are the ones that appeal to the Democratic voting bloc?

                  Then move on to: “Do you believe in FEMALE PRIVILEGE? If not, why not, other than bias making you inconsistent and likely to cherry-pick data and correlations that matter to you? ”

                  You cannot possibly believe that being female doesn’t confer significant privileges (along with handicaps)….why don’t these matter?

                  And perhaps: “If there is any deep, psychological disadvantage remaining in the form of racial prejudice against him despite that, it could be negated the same way every single person on the planet negates any number of disadvantages every single day. By making the most of what advantages they do have. Like being one inch taller.”

                  Thoughts? Rebuttal?

                  You obviously don’t have to rebut anything, as this is all a voluntary exercise, and you certainly don’t have to provide your thoughts on command. But, simply saying, “Haha, gotcha…I’m gonna boil your post down to a nugget to prove that you really agree with me, and ignore the obvious main points” is pretty lazy.

                  • deery

                    It is similar to someone writing a long screed against Obamacare, and then saying how much they love the ACA. Yes, I could go into the granular details, but at that juncture, what’s the point? It would just be wasted breath. Especially when he tries to knock me for lack of evidence, yet providing none of his own for any of his assertions.

                  • Chris

                    How about addressing why only race privilege is THE ONE that matters, and as someone else pointed out, the only privileges addressed are the ones that appeal to the Democratic voting bloc?

                    No one has said that race privilege is “THE ONE that matters.” If that’s what you think, then you didn’t even comprehend Jack’s article, which talks about numerous types of privileges that all fall under the umbrella of intersectionality.

                    As I’ve pointed out, thin privilege and pretty privilege are things that social justice warriors acknowledge and discuss.

                    Now, race privilege does get talked about more in our society. The reasons for that, to me, seem rather obvious.

                    You cannot possibly believe that being female doesn’t confer significant privileges (along with handicaps)….why don’t these matter?

                    Who says they don’t matter?

          • Chris

            “I don’t have any white privilege, I grew up poor!” and yet I still “enjoy embedded societal privileges?” Okay. Let’s pretend that makes sense.

            It doesn’t. It’s also not what either deery or I said. In fact, we explicitly said the sentence “I don’t have any white privilege, I grew up poor!” is bullshit.

            There is no evidence of this.

            There are of course numerous studies out there backing up every privilege deery brought up. You even alluded to one of them.

            The very same study you no doubt refer to in regards to white felons being more likely to be hired than blacks with no record (a small study which provides not nearly enough data to form a conclusion, although some data is better than none) also reports that women with a criminal record are significantly MORE likely to be hired than ex-con men. Do you believe in FEMALE PRIVILEGE? If not, why not, other than bias making you inconsistent and likely to cherry-pick data and correlations that matter to you? If I were an ex-con, should I be irritating all of my friends on Twitter harping about how female privilege keeps men like me from rejoining the work force?

            Can you link to that study, please? After Googling, the only information I could find about female ex-cons indicated that they are actually less likely to be hired than male ex-cons.

            http://crossroads.newsworks.org/index.php/local/keystone-crossroads/72641-why-female-ex-convicts-may-have-a-harder-time-finding-work-than-their-male-counterparts

            All of these very real “privileges” pale in comparison to the much greater privilege conferred by things like having two parents at home, being raised in church, or being born to parents of higher social status. Of the countless things conspiring for or against us to confer either privilege or disadvantage, many are beyond our control, and many aren’t. Correlations abound. Correlation is not causation.

            What deery said: this is intersectionality. Also, many of the advantages you list here are often connected to class privilege; do you believe in that?

  4. Wayne

    Frankly I don’t care what bankrupt New thought concept motivated these millennial jerks. They committed assault on a professor and should have been arrested for rioting and thrown in some odious jail. Where were the cops when they were needed.

    • Chris

      The term “intersectionality” was coined nearly thirty years ago. Why do you and Jack keep asserting that it’s “new?”

      Maybe people unfamiliar with a thirty-year-old academic term aren’t the best judges of what that term implies or whether it’s useful?

      • deery

        I agree with Chris. Intersectionality isn’t really very new at all. Frankly, I’m not even sure how intersectionality applies here, except as some random word someone in college learned a new concept, and wants to insert it into as many conversations as possible in an attempt to sound intellectual. That kid will be off ranting about “neo-Marxism” or whatever next week.

      • Bite me, to be blunt. I was referring to the use of the word in routine news media reports, common parlance, popular culture and general discourse. The fact that jargon is decades old does not make it common or routine, or mean that the majority of educated people use it or know what it means. I spend my life having discussions with highly educated people, live and over the web. the word has never been used in my presence. Never. It’s jargon. As a stage director, a lawyer and an ethicist, I am aware of many terms, also decades old, that virtually no one outside of those fields would typically recognize, and so the hell what? Old terms are pulled from obscurity and repurposed for political advocacy and bullying all the time. It’s an old, old and transparent tactic. I’m on to it, and I’m not impressed.

        This one, as Sullivan suggests but does not say, is a mechanism that facilitates bigotry and and arrogance.

        • Chris

          Sorry, I didn’t mean to imply that the term was commonly used outside of academia, or activist circles. I mostly know it from feminist blogs. But that doesn’t make it “new.”

          I am sure there are a lot of academic terms I don’t fully understand. But I don’t start with the premise that the term is useless and stupid because a couple idiot college students mouthed off about it. Again, if we did that, we would have to abandon nearly all academic terms. How many first-year law students mouth off about legal terms they’ve just discovered but don’t fully understand? Certainly you’ve heard theater people misuse theater terms? Did that invalidate those terms?

      • Isaac

        You keep using that word, “academic.” I do not think it means what you think it does.

        • Chris

          To me, it means terminology used by professors and writers in academic fields.

          What do you think it means, Isaac? Why do you believe the term does not apply to “intersectionality?”

  5. Other Bill

    There’s nothing that gets me more ballistic that “White privilege.” Privilege is what parents try to bestow upon their children. It’s what my grandparents tried to provide for my parents, what my parents tried to provide for me and my brother and it’s what my wife continue to attempt to provide for our children and now our grand children. It’s what responsible parents do. It’s what Sparty spends every waking hour trying to provide for her daughters.

    I’ll stop now before I go all ad hominem. “Step away from the laptop, OB.”

    • Other Bill

      my wife and I

      Should be observing National Proofreading Day.

    • Chris

      Is it just the term “privilege” that bothers you? If we phrase it as “white people have social advantages that non-whites don’t,” do you still take issue with that concept?

      • Other Bill

        All kinds of people ave all kinds of advantages other people don’t. All the people who are smarter than I am have an advantage over me. All the guys whose fathers had been lawyers had an advantage over me in a big firm and practicing law generally. Asshole lawyers had an advantage over me. Country club kids had an advantage over me. Big deal. So what? We’re all relatively advantaged and disadvantaged vis-a-vis others. So what? The best advantage is intelligence and education and a good upbringing. As soon as you can find a government program that will provide all three of those, I’m all in.

        • Other Bill

          And by the way, my wife was a heck of a lot “less privileged” than Ken Chenault when they both worked at American Express. Ken went to Bates or Bowdoin, I forget which, my wife had to scrounge for her undergraduate degree. Ken worked for McKinsey and Co. My wife started out as a programmer trainee at Eastern Airlines and took courses in programming at a junior college. Ken became CEO and makes millions of dollars a year to this day and has a ten million (in 1980 dollars) apartment in Monaco, last I new years ago. My wife made it to VP. Ken’s black, my wife’s white. So what.

        • Chris

          All kinds of people ave all kinds of advantages other people don’t.

          Congratulations; you are the third person here to accidentally summarize intersectionality while condemning it.

          So what? The best advantage is intelligence and education and a good upbringing. As soon as you can find a government program that will provide all three of those, I’m all in.

          The government does of course subsidize education, but acknowledging intersectionality is not just about government programs.

          Intelligence is something that can’t necessarily be changed. Education can, and it can be argued that even today African-Americans are not receiving the same quality of education as their white peers. You’re right that we can’t change all advantages. Can we change this one? Sure, but it involves recognizing that in this area, whites have a privilege that blacks lack.

          The notion of privilege doesn’t suggest that we can or should eliminate all advantages. It does suggest that we can and should get rid of the advantages that shouldn’t exist.

          • Chris Bentley

            “Education can, and it can be argued that even today African-Americans are not receiving the same quality of education as their white peers. You’re right that we can’t change all advantages. Can we change this one?”

            What, you mean like allowing and facilitating the ability for black children to go to schools better equipped to provide them a higher quality education? Nah, that can’t be it…

            “it involves recognizing that in this area, whites have a privilege that blacks lack”

            How in the world can we even the scale, immediately, for a large number of these disadvantaged children? It boggles the mind…

            • Chris

              What, you mean like allowing and facilitating the ability for black children to go to schools better equipped to provide them a higher quality education? Nah, that can’t be it…

              The research on vouchers is conflicting. Some studies show kids benefit, some show they do not.

              I’m not proposing or rejecting any solutions. I am saying an imbalance exists. That’s the point of contention here.

              How in the world can we even the scale, immediately, for a large number of these disadvantaged children? It boggles the mind…

              Sorry, I don’t understand this question. I think there’s a word missing, but I’m not sure what it is.

          • Michael Ejercito

            The notion of privilege doesn’t suggest that we can or should eliminate all advantages. It does suggest that we can and should get rid of the advantages that shouldn’t exist.

            Does not the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause outlaw white privilege?

            • Chris

              Yes, which is why no one was ever racist again after 1868.

              Seriously, do you get off on being this willfully obtuse?

              • Michael Ejercito asked, “Does not the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause outlaw white privilege?”

                Chris replied, “Yes, which is why no one was ever racist again after 1868.”

                Since I have no way of identifying whether Chris was just trying to be sarcastic or serious; I’m just going to ask Chris to prove his assertion either way.

                Chris also replied, “Seriously, do you get off on being this willfully obtuse?”

                After some of your relatively recent comments, hat coming from you is rich.

                • deery

                  Well, we had Jim Crow after 1868, just to use a large, glaring example out of many. It was in existence for about a hundred years after 1868. I hope this was helpful.

                  • deery wrote, “Well, we had Jim Crow after 1868, just to use a large, glaring example out of many. It was in existence for about a hundred years after 1868. I hope this was helpful.”

                    Actually deery, no it wasn’t helpful. Maybe you could just let Chris explain himself instead of trying to read his mind.

                    • Chris

                      Oh, my God.

                      Zoltar: Since I have no way of identifying whether Chris was just trying to be sarcastic or serious;

                      Of course you do. Common sense tells you that I was being sarcastic.

                      You, like Michael, are being willfully obtuse.

                      I don’t know what you get out of pretending to lack skills that you clearly have.

                      I’m just going to ask Chris to prove his assertion either way.

                      There’s nothing to prove. Michael’s suggestion was that the 14th Amendment made white privilege obsolete. That was absolutely bullshit. My sarcastic comment was meant to point out that it was bullshit.

                      Seriously, why do you take us off on such tangents?

                    • Chris, you’re a hack that just can’t keep his foot out of his own mouth, it’s just that simple.

                      You were the idiot that seriously stated that “the notion of privilege doesn’t suggest that we can or should eliminate all advantages. It does suggest that we can and should get rid of the advantages that shouldn’t exist. Who get’s to fucking choose which privileges get stripped from individuals, you, me, Jack, Obama, the drunk guy throwing up in the fucking gutter? Seriously Chris, what the fuck are you talking about? You are the one stating that people should be stripping of selective privileges, well for your information the 14th Amendment states “no State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States”; so Mr. Chris, I don’t give a flying fuck if someone has a privilege that you don’t think they should have, it’s unconstitutional to strip that person(s) of their privileges, the Constitution of the United States of America says so, PERIOD!

                      You were asked a completely fair question by Michael about the 14th Amendment and that question was directly related to your own words which in fact contradicted the 14th Amendment. You knew you were trapped and you attacked like a hack with standard left fare sarcasm meant to insult (I bet you were a big fan of Alan Colmes) and then directed an insult. You sir are completely full of shit. Are you a political hack paid by the political left as an ignorant attack dog or are you really just a totally consumed ignorant sheep regurgitating any lefty propaganda you can drum up? That was a serious question, inquiring minds want to know.

                      You have the gall to call Michael and I obtuse; if I were you, I’d humbly mumble an apology while chewing on your foot.

                      Now let the Zoltar bashing begin.

                    • No bashing. Invective aside (and we should put invective aside as much as possible, as it creates heat without light (though it is often fun), I’d like a focus on Chris’s statement, “the notion of privilege doesn’t suggest that we can or should eliminate all advantages. It does suggest that we can and should get rid of the advantages that shouldn’t exist.”

                      What is an advantage that shouldn’t exist that can be eliminated in a free society, absent indoctrination or other totalitarian methods? I have trouble thinking of one. We have a right to like and dislike who and what we want. That is as core a right as there is. If I like lovely women, people who speak well, quick thinkers and witty conversationalists, there is nothing anyone can do about it. If I prefer Greek people to hang around with (like my mother), or find old people tedious (as mom did) or any other preference at all, that’s human nature, as is bias and prejudice. People can learn to compensate for them, but they can’t be “eliminated” except by fascist utopian measures…which are worse than the disease.

                    • joed68

                      COTD! 🙂

                    • Chris

                      If I like lovely women, people who speak well, quick thinkers and witty conversationalists, there is nothing anyone can do about it. If I prefer Greek people to hang around with (like my mother), or find old people tedious (as mom did) or any other preference at all, that’s human nature, as is bias and prejudice. People can learn to compensate for them, but they can’t be “eliminated” except by fascist utopian measures…which are worse than the disease.

                      Purely individual biases and prejudices can’t be eliminated, but structural disadvantages can and have. “White privilege” used to mean that we didn’t have to worry about being sold into slavery, but blacks did; that privilege was eliminated, and not through fascist utopian measures.

                      We’ve seen an increase in diversity in the media recently, though we still have more to do. The elimination of white privilege in this area has so far been accomplished without fascist utopian measures, and I think we can continue to do so.

                    • Chris wrote, “Purely individual biases and prejudices can’t be eliminated, but structural disadvantages can and have. “White privilege” used to mean that we didn’t have to worry about being sold into slavery, but blacks did; that privilege was eliminated, and not through fascist utopian measures.

                      We’ve seen an increase in diversity in the media recently, though we still have more to do. The elimination of white privilege in this area has so far been accomplished without fascist utopian measures, and I think we can continue to do so.”

                      Chris,
                      I think I’m beginning to see the problem with your line of thinking and the arguments you’re trying to communicate.

                      You want so very much to talk about white privilege when what you are actually trying to describe is race based bigotry from whites against non-whites. You and a bunch of others consumed by Liberal ideology are intentionally trying to reframe the message in a less offensive package and what’s coming out of your mouths is anti-constitutional. I swear what I’m hearing is a packaged message from the DNC; drop it, you’re wrong.

                      Being a bigot is a bad thing, being prejudice is a bad thing, and when those are used towards other races regardless of skin tone it’s a bad thing. These are the things that need to be addressed when they appear; privilege, leave it alone as the constitution dictates.

                      Am I right, or am I wrong?

                    • Jack,
                      I think you could devote an entire blog to how the propaganda messages from the political left are beginning to shift from anti-black racism to white privilege.

                      The ethics of using race baiting propaganda vs the new and “improved” white privilege propaganda.

                      I think something along those lines could stir some really interesting discussions.

      • joed68

        Yes, because too many people forget that non-whites also enjoy more than a few social advantages that whites don’t.

    • deery

      Privilege is what parents try to bestow upon their children. It’s what my grandparents tried to provide for my parents, what my parents tried to provide for me and my brother and it’s what my wife continue to attempt to provide for our children and now our grand children. It’s what responsible parents do. It’s what Sparty spends every waking hour trying to provide for her daughters.

      Yes, that is one form of privilege. It isn’t white privilege, but it is a type of privilege.

      “White privilege” is a type of privilege that is enjoyed by those considered white in American society. Historically, it is not a very new concept. Whiteness has been used as a proxy for the ruling, high-caste class of people since the beginning of the United States. Du Bois called it a “psychological wage”, the type of feeling that comes from knowing that one is high status and expected to be treated with a certain amount of deference, even if one is measurably disadvantaged in every other area.
      It must be remembered that the white group of laborers, while they received a low wage, were compensated in part by a sort of public and psychological wage. They were given public deference and titles of courtesy because they were white. They were admitted freely with all classes of white people to public functions, public parks, and the best schools. The police were drawn from their ranks, and the courts, dependent on their votes, treated them with such leniency as to encourage lawlessness. Their vote selected public officials, and while this had small effect upon the economic situation, it had great effect upon their personal treatment and the deference shown them. White schoolhouses were the best in the community, and conspicuously placed, and they cost anywhere from twice to ten times as much per capita as the colored schools. The newspapers specialized on news that flattered the poor whites and almost utterly ignored the Negro except in crime and ridicule.

      Even today the benefits of white privilege are still present. This is considered the “classic list” of some white privileges, called “Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” by McIntosh.

      1. I can if I wish arrange to be in the company of people of my race most of the time.
      2. If I should need to move, I can be pretty sure of renting or purchasing housing in an area, which I can afford and in which I would want to live.
      3. I can be pretty sure that my neighbors in such a location will be neutral or pleasant to me.
      4. I can go shopping alone most of the time, pretty well assured that I will not be followed or harassed.
      5. I can turn on the television or open to the front page of the paper and see people of my race widely represented.
      6. When I am told about our national heritage or about “civilization,” I am shown that people of my color made it what it is.
      7. I can be sure that my children will be given curricular materials that testify to the existence of their race.
      8. If I want to, I can be pretty sure of finding a publisher for this piece on white privilege.
      9. I can go into a music shop and count on finding the music of my race represented, into a supermarket and find the staple foods which fit with my cultural traditions, into a hairdresser’s shop and find someone who can cut my hair.
      10. Whether I use checks, credit cards or cash, I can count on my skin color not to work against the appearance of my financial reliability.
      11. I can arrange to protect my children most of the time from people who might not like them.
      12. I can swear, or dress in second hand clothes, or not answer letters, without having people attribute these choices to the bad morals, the poverty, or the illiteracy of my race.
      13. I can speak in public to a powerful male group without putting my race on trial.
      14. I can do well in a challenging situation without being called a credit to my race.
      15. I am never asked to speak for all the people of my racial group.
      16. I can remain oblivious of the language and customs of persons of color who constitute the world’s majority without feeling in my culture any penalty for such oblivion.
      17. I can criticize our government and talk about how much I fear its policies and behavior without being seen as a cultural outsider.
      18. I can be pretty sure that if I ask to talk to “the person in charge,” I will be facing a person of my race.
      19. If a traffic cop pulls me over or if the IRS audits my tax return, I can be sure I haven’t been singled out because of my race.
      20. I can easily buy posters, post-cards, picture books, greeting cards, dolls, toys, and children’s magazines featuring people of my race.
      21. I can go home from most meetings of organizations I belong to feeling somewhat tied in, rather than isolated, out-of-place, outnumbered, unheard, held at a distance, or feared.
      22. I can take a job with an affirmative action employer without having coworkers on the job suspect that I got it because of race.
      23. I can choose public accommodation without fearing that people of my race cannot get in or will be mistreated in the place I have chosen.
      24. I can be sure that if I need legal or medical help my race will not work against me.
      25. If my day, week or year is going badly, I need not ask of each negative episode or situation whether it has racial overtones.
      26. I can choose blemish cover or bandages in “flesh” color and have them more or less match my skin.

      • E2 (nee Elizabeth I)

        Any group can come up with its own knapsack. This is just nonsense. And these days, we white people can as well, since we are automatically guilty of everything any white person did — ever.; White guilt is now a requirement regardless of your beliefs, ideology, or actions.

        • Chris

          And these days, we white people can as well, since we are automatically guilty of everything any white person did — ever.; White guilt is now a requirement regardless of your beliefs, ideology, or actions.

          Ridiculous strawman.

        • deery

          Any group can come up with its own knapsack.

          Well, yes, that is called “intersectionality.” But we were specifically discussing “white privilege”, so I’m not sure what the problem is then?

          …White guilt is now a requirement regardless of your beliefs, ideology, or actions.

          It I amazing how inexorably the notion of privilege always pivots back to “white guilt.” No one is requiring you to feel guilty, as an emotion, it is pretty useless in this context. But you should, at the very least, be aware of the ways you may be personally privileged. It is also helpful to think about how different privileges affect society as whole, both presently and historically.

          • Isaac

            If anyone reasonable were to take that advice, they would quickly arrive at the conclusion that their many privileges (and disadvantages) have nothing significant to do with race.

            Which is why you need a thorough indoctrination in order to believe in invisible intersectional oppression in the first place. It isn’t the sort of thing that presents itself to the independent mind as having any virtue or value.

            If you believe in the invisible hand of white privilege, and also believe that a scientist who actually investigates the reality of racial inequality using data should be run out of town on a rail…you are not a thinker. You require others to do the thinking for you. And if their insane proposals tickle your fancy, you are not equipped to deny them.

            • deery

              Which is why you need a thorough indoctrination in order to believe in invisible intersectional oppression in the first place. It isn’t the sort of thing that presents itself to the independent mind as having any virtue or value.

              You seem to be against something, but I’m not quite sure what it is. Do you quibble with the concept that one can be advantaged societally in some ways, and disadvantaged in other ways? For example, a rich, gay, deaf, white, man? That in some contexts, he may have some privileges that others do not have, while in others, he has disadvantages that many others do not have to shoulder? While some might try to dismiss his troubles as “You’re rich, you have no problems,” or “You are white, and therefore trouble-free,” that may not necessarily be the case. In turn, this person may try to dismiss other people’s problems by using his disadvantages, e.g. “I’m gay, so I don’t see why everyone else is complaining about discrimination,” without examining some of his own privileges may have influenced the outcome.

              If you believe in the invisible hand of white privilege, and also believe that a scientist who actually investigates the reality of racial inequality using data should be run out of town on a rail…you are not a thinker. You require others to do the thinking for you. And if their insane proposals tickle your fancy, you are not equipped to deny them.

              I don’t think riots over a speaker are in order. But I’m still uncertain what any of that has to do with intersectionality as a concept.

              • Isaac

                The idea of advantages and disadvantages is a real thing in sociology and useful and interesting to learn about. As are biases, prejudices, and the reasons why people make the decisions they do.

                “Intersectionality” is the weaponization of (very half-baked, shallow interpretations of) these realities, for unethical political purposes.

                A “rich gay deaf white man” does indeed have some advantages and disadvantages, but let’s explore why progressive nuspeak like “intersectionality” is utterly useless at actually determining what those are, or what to do about it.

                To begin with, at least two of those four descriptors could be either an advantage or a disadvantage, depending on the man’s environment. Does he want to play in the NBA? His whiteness correlates with lower likelihood of success. A disadvantage. Does he want to break into the world of fashion design or burlesque theater? Being gay can only help. Is he destined to tell an inspiring story of overcoming adversity that will become a best-selling book? Being born rich probably makes that future less impossible. But being deaf makes it MORE possible. Google Nick Vujicic. Was being born without limbs a disadvantage if it made it possible for him to become a globe-traveling celebrity? Why doesn’t systematic oppression work uniformly if it’s…systematic?

                After that, you have to keep going. “Rich gay deaf male” is just 4 of probably thousands of descriptors that have some effect on that man’s fate. Why only include four? And why are the only descriptors progressives care about also coincidentally related to groups that the political Left appeals to as a voting bloc?

                What about work ethic? That varies greatly from person to person, regardless of the other factors…and probably has a bigger bearing on one’s overall future state than either race, disability, sex, or sexuality.

                What about religion? People who mention anything related to religion on a resume are less likely to be hired. A disadvantage. But religion also correlates with numerous positive outcomes. So…an advantage, then?

                What about height, weight, baldness, build, or facial features? People are proven to be prejudiced based on these things.

                Did you have both parents growing up? That gives you a proven advantage. Did your parents marry to early or too late? That’s a proven disadvantage.

                Do you live in rural area? Disadvantage.

                Did your parents eat a proper diet when pregnant with you? Huge advantage.

                Did they give you a weird name? People with weird names are less successful in life than people with common names.

                I could literally go on for days.

                For those actually interested in thinking about all the ways that they are privileged, and then taking stock of all of the adversity they face, and overcoming it in various ways…there is a lot of personal value. We all have numerous privileges and adversities.

                Feminist/progressive/Leftist theory boils down to telling people that they are systematically oppressed by Republicans, couching this in pseudo-academic language, and then pointing said oppressed people towards the “Democrat” lever at the voting booth. It is an intellectually useless and cynical exercise.

                • deery

                  I actually agree that there may be isolated incidents where characteristics that are normally considered disadvantageous may, in that isolated context, be an advantage. But intersectionality mostly concerns itself with society at large, though there is nothing to forbid someone from acknowledging their privilege in any context.

                  Feminist/progressive/Leftist theory boils down to telling people that they are systematically oppressed by Republicans, couching this in pseudo-academic language, and then pointing said oppressed people towards the “Democrat” lever at the voting booth. It is an intellectually useless and cynical exercise.

                  I think both parties are pretty adept at nursing resentment and victimization, witness all those “we suffered for eight year, now it’s your turn!”, “reverse racism!”, and “war on Christianity!” from the right-wingers. Yes, it is a cynical exercise.

                • Other Bill

                  Nice comment, Isaac.

                • Chris

                  Isaac, first let me say your final comment indicates that you are on your way to understanding this issue. Much of what you are saying I agree with precisely because I believe in the importance of recognizing intersectionality.

                  Which is why you need a thorough indoctrination in order to believe in invisible intersectional oppression in the first place. It isn’t the sort of thing that presents itself to the independent mind as having any virtue or value.

                  Or…ya know…you could just be born without one of the privileges we’re talking about here, in which case, the existence of said privilege is pretty obvious.

                  Of course, I generalize. Not all minorities agree that white privilege is a thing. But I’d wager most do know that whites have certain social advantages that they do not. The notion of white privilege is mostly only controversial among white people.

                  This, of course, does not invalidate the arguments of individual whites against white privilege. But it does indicate that belief in white privilege is due to more than just “indoctrination.”

                  If you believe in the invisible hand of white privilege, and also believe that a scientist who actually investigates the reality of racial inequality using data should be run out of town on a rail…you are not a thinker. You require others to do the thinking for you. And if their insane proposals tickle your fancy, you are not equipped to deny them.

                  Well, you’re soft-pedaling Murray’s views here. He wasn’t protested for “investigating the reality of racial inequality using data,” which of course, many other people have done. He was protested for concluding that there are genetic differences between whites and blacks that make blacks, as a race, have naturally poorer IQs.

                  Now, this protest went too far, and it doesn’t really matter what he believes when it comes to judging the ethics of a riot. But it’s important to know what we’re talking about here.

                  “Intersectionality” is the weaponization of (very half-baked, shallow interpretations of) these realities, for unethical political purposes.

                  It isn’t. These particular students used it as a weapon, but there is nothing about the concept that requires it be used this way.

                  To begin with, at least two of those four descriptors could be either an advantage or a disadvantage, depending on the man’s environment. Does he want to play in the NBA? His whiteness correlates with lower likelihood of success. A disadvantage. Does he want to break into the world of fashion design or burlesque theater? Being gay can only help. Is he destined to tell an inspiring story of overcoming adversity that will become a best-selling book? Being born rich probably makes that future less impossible. But being deaf makes it MORE possible. Google Nick Vujicic. Was being born without limbs a disadvantage if it made it possible for him to become a globe-traveling celebrity? Why doesn’t systematic oppression work uniformly if it’s…systematic?

                  The existence of subcultures and specified fields where minorities achieve at higher rates does not invalidate the concept of privilege. When activists speak of privilege, they are speaking of mainstream society at large, not just specific subcultures or industries. That you have to narrow things down to such specific industries (the NBA, fashion) to find examples of places where minorities succeed at higher rates than the majority just shows that those are exceptions.

                  After that, you have to keep going. “Rich gay deaf male” is just 4 of probably thousands of descriptors that have some effect on that man’s fate. Why only include four? And why are the only descriptors progressives care about also coincidentally related to groups that the political Left appeals to as a voting bloc?

                  Because these axes are already politicized. These identities influence and shape policy.

                  What about work ethic? That varies greatly from person to person, regardless of the other factors…and probably has a bigger bearing on one’s overall future state than either race, disability, sex, or sexuality.

                  Having a higher work ethic isn’t a privilege, it’s a skill. It’s something that an individual can improve upon. Activists focus on privileges conferred based on immutable traits because those are things we can change on a societal level. It is perfectly fair that having a better work ethic gives people an advantage; it is unfair that being white does.

                  What about height, weight, baldness, build, or facial features? People are proven to be prejudiced based on these things.

                  Thin privilege and “pretty privilege” are definitely recognized in activist circles.

                  I could literally go on for days.

                  Yes, because you are describing intersectionality, while at the same time condemning it.

                  • deery

                    Nailed it once again Chris. People are railing against intersectionality while wholeheartedly endorsing the concept in their condemnation. It is interesting to observe.

                • Chris Bentley

                  You’re on a roll today. Thank you for putting to “paper” similar thoughts that I have, but have not fleshed out, and could not phrase as eloquently as you.

          • Chris

            No one is requiring you to feel guilty, as an emotion, it is pretty useless in this context.

            It’s funny, deery–this is literally the first thing we were taught in my sociology of race class. This was Day 1.

            The discussion about white privilege here is just so…uninformed. It’s people who’ve never studied the issue ranting about what conservative blogs have told them about it.

            • dragin_dragon

              Mister Bentley, I hope I am not stepping on your toes, here, but I believe this needs to be said. All of you are aware, I hope, that Chris Bentley is, in fact, black. Thus, he is considerably better schooled, in real life, than you are in “white privilege” and “black oppression”. You took courses in it; he lived it. I would take his view on it any day before I would listen to ANY of the six of you.

              • deery

                Huh. I wonder if you recognize the exercise in privilege that assuming anyone, unless they specifically identify otherwise, is white?

                • Chris Bentley

                  While I see your point, anyone who has posted here for any great length of time, especially on race issues, would have likely outted themselves by now, if only to provide context to their perspective. So, anyone paying attention, would know that there aren’t many blacks on this blog.

                  Wish that weren’t the case.

                  • As far as commenters go, I am aware of four.

                  • I could care less about the race of anyone posting here, it’s what they choose to write that is relevant to me.

                    • Yeah, but a perspective from African Americans regarding many issues is invaluable. In a colloquy,you should want as much diversity as possible.

                    • Jack Marshall wrote, “Yeah, but a perspective from African Americans regarding many issues is invaluable.”

                      I didn’t say or imply that perspectives from African Americans wouldn’t be valuable. I’m saying that race should not be taken into consideration, to do otherwise might border on unintentional prejustice and I choose not to go there.

                      My family grew up poorer than most people in my neighborhood down south, including a vast majority of the black families; hot lunch at school was the only meal I got most days and summer school was not necessarily because we needed extra classroom time, it was because we needed to be fed. I can still remember days where my Mom would set a peanut butter sandwich down in front of us and apologize, with tears in her eyes, that that was all there was for the day. Yes it was a real tear jerker. The perspective of where we came from and the experiences that make us who we are are relevant to me, the fact that we are black, white, Latino, Asian, or an American mutt is completely irrelevant to me.

                      Jack Marshall wrote, “In a colloquy,you should want as much diversity as possible.”

                      I completely agree and nothing I wrote in that comment should be taken as being contrary to that.

                  • Chris

                    I agree on both counts, Chris Bentley.

                    I thank you for being open about your experience, especially knowing that it differs from what many assume about the “black experience” in America. There is no one “black experience,” as you often so aptly demonstrate.

                    At the same time, I think comments like dragin_dragon’s come close to tokenization. Chris Bentley may be one of the only black commenters here, but that doesn’t mean our understanding of these issues has to be limited to just his perspective. I will never know as much about being black in America as Chris Bentley, and I don’t pretend to. But I do listen to many other black voices and my understanding is based on those too.

              • Chris Bentley

                No toe stepping at all, Mr. Dragon (if that IS your real name) 😉
                And while, I hear what you’re saying, and sincerely appreciate the sentiment, I’d caution you to not just trust my opinion on race, just because Im black…after all,Tariq Nasheed has lived it too, and I would trust David Duke’s opinions before I would trust Nasheed’s. Ok, that’s an exaggeration, but not by much. And my current opinions on race are influenced as much by intellectuals that I read, as it is by personal experience, and as such, my opinion on any particular day might be something that I’ve regurgitated from Ben Shapiro or Matt Christensen.

                But, thank you, nonetheless

              • joed68

                Nonetheless, the resident liberals WILL school him on The Black Experience.

              • Chris

                dragin_dragon:

                I of course am not asking anyone to believe my book-learnin’ over Chris Bentley’s lived experience.

                At the same time…who do you think wrote all those books? Who do you think are the leading thinkers when it comes to “white privilege?” Hint: They’re not just a bunch of white people.

                My perspective is informed from testimony from many, many African-Americans who have spoken of their own experiences with racism. Chris Bentley’s perspective is valid and important, but from what I have seen, he seems to be an outlier in many ways.

                I’m not asking you to take my word on anything. There are many, many, many, many, many black voices out there who speak on these topics much more powerfully and much more factually than I can. Are their experiences more valid than Chris Bentley’s? If so, why?

      • Steve-O-in-NJ

        It’s considered garbage. If you want to stick with your own people and have it all your own way in those 26 categories, stay in the ghetto or move back to Africa.

        • Other Bill

          I’ll say it once again. The continued, multi-generational abject poverty of black ghettos in the US is driving people nuts. Intersectionality is a futile attempt to explain it. One of many.

      • Chris Bentley

        “1. I can if I wish arrange to be in the company of people of my race most of the time.”

        How it the world, is this a privilege only enjoyed by whites??

        “2. If I should need to move, I can be pretty sure of renting or purchasing housing in an area, which I can afford and in which I would want to live.”

        Ive moved 6 times in the last 5 years. I’ve NEVER once doubted this to be true for me.

        “4. I can go shopping alone most of the time, pretty well assured that I will not be followed or harassed.”

        I have NEVER, knowingly, been followed or harassed while shopping in 38 years of shopping.

        “5. I can turn on the television or open to the front page of the paper and see people of my race widely represented.”

        Can whites do this while reading the sports section? Has this even been an issue? And, when I turn on the TV, yes, I do see people who look like me widely represented. This is not 1950.

        “9. I can go into a music shop and count on finding the music of my race represented, into a supermarket and find the staple foods which fit with my cultural traditions, into a hairdresser’s shop and find someone who can cut my hair.”

        What is music of my race? Music by artists of the same race? Music that speaks to my “culture”. My black hair is cut by a hispanic woman…because she proved that she can cut black hair. Anyone who can cut black hair properly, can cut my hair. Why is this even a thing?

        I dont understand most of these. My GOSH, this is so freaking maddening. Do you really subscribe to this line of thinking, that this is what White Privilege is? The ability to find music of my race, and find someone to cut my hair??

        • deery

          I dont understand most of these. My GOSH, this is so freaking maddening. Do you really subscribe to this line of thinking, that this is what White Privilege is? The ability to find music of my race, and find someone to cut my hair??

          This not the *essence* of white privilege, but some easy examples of experiences that many people take for granted. I think for many people “white privilege” is RACISM!!!!, but it is more much more widespread and insidious than that. Nor is it a thing that one can casually give up, or grant to others on an individual basis.

          Notice that you were number 15ed on this very thread? 🙂
          15. I am never asked to speak for all the people of my racial group.

          • Chris Bentley

            I actually didnt see #15, but think it only occurs here, because Im in the extreme minority, and am the only one here that could possibly provide any perspective at all from a black POV. I think a white writer for Ebony would be put in the same position.

            • dragin_dragon

              Precisely what I was trying to say. dragin_dragon is most assuredly NOT my real name, by the way.

            • Chris

              I agree that this particular privilege list is flawed, especially in regards to the wording.

              African-Americans are well represented in the music industry and in some sports, so the lack of those particular privileges doesn’t necessarily apply to African-Americans as far as I’m aware. However, they may apply to other minority groups. Asian-Americans are not well represented in either industry, for example.

              Has this even been an issue? And, when I turn on the TV, yes, I do see people who look like me widely represented. This is not 1950.

              I’m genuinely curious as to what shows you’re watching, and how you define “widely represented.” I’m aware of only two network shows with a black lead, “Scandal” and “How to Get Away with Murder.” Mostly I see African-Americans in supporting roles. Studies have shown that television and movies are generally much less diverse than our actual nation.

              I have NEVER, knowingly, been followed or harassed while shopping in 38 years of shopping.

              Do you feel that this is unusual for someone of your race? Or do most of your black friends and relatives report similar experiences?

              • Michael Ejercito

                The main flaw is that random acts by random individuals are cited as examples of privilege. Indeed, some of these random acts can not be prohibited by law under the First Amendment.

                Having difficulty in finding a poster representing your race is a far different cry from not being able to obtain a concealed carry permit in a may-issue jurisdiction because of your race. The latter is an example of ethnic privilege, the former is not.

                • Chris

                  Michael, you bring up this example a lot; this is one of the few times I’ve seen you do it where it’s actually relevant to the conversation at hand.

                  Do you have any evidence that blacks are discriminated against when it comes to obtaining concealed carry permits?

                  I would not be surprised if this were the case, as blacks are discriminated against in many walks of life. But you often put this forth, not only as a fact, but as some kind of trump card–as if this type of discrimination is not only common, but the most important and obvious form of discrimination there is. And yet I’ve literally never seen anyone bring it up but you.

                  So, since you insist on bringing this up at every possible opportunity, I’d like to see some evidence that it happens.

          • Michael Ejercito

            McIntosh cited private behavior as examples of white privilege.

            It should not be controversial that ethnic privilege is somethingsolely granted by lawful authorities either formally by law, or in practice by their agents, such as Jim Crow laws or racial bias in the approval of may-issue concealed carry permits.

            Of course, if we were to expand the definition of ethnic privilege to encompass random acts by random individuals, what do we make of this? Who is the privileged race?

            http://humanevents.com/2013/07/19/black-americas-real-problem-isnt-white-racism/

            Interracial rape is almost exclusively black on white — with 14,000 assaults on white women by African Americans in 2007

          • John Staszak

            Oh come on, are you seriously saying that if you were in a group of people of color talking about something relevant to whites in particular (say exploiting indigenous peoples or raping the natural world) that it would be out of line for them to ask for your perspective? And if they did, it would be hurtful? This is the exact situation Chris Bentley faced when he was “number 15ed”.

      • Michael Ejercito

        I will address these, one b y one.

        I can if I wish arrange to be in the company of people of my race most of the time.

        And there are laws that prohibit black people from arranging to be in the company of their race most of the times?

        I can be pretty sure that my neighbors in such a location will be neutral or pleasant to me.

        and there are laws that require neighbors to be hostile to blacks?

        I can go shopping alone most of the time, pretty well assured that I will not be followed or harassed.

        Laws actually prohibit harassment, just like they prohibit rape. These would be private actions against the law. Nop definition of privilege can encompass illegal actions.

        I can turn on the television or open to the front page of the paper and see people of my race widely represented.

        And laws require white people to be represented on television.

        When I am told about our national heritage or about “civilization,” I am shown that people of my color made it what it is.

        and the law requires this?

        I can be sure that my children will be given curricular materials that testify to the existence of their race.

        Children of Punjab or Serb descent can not accurately say this.

        If I want to, I can be pretty sure of finding a publisher for this piece on white privilege.

        There is no evidence that this is because of a law.

        I can go into a music shop and count on finding the music of my race represented, into a supermarket and find the staple foods which fit with my cultural traditions, into a hairdresser’s shop and find someone who can cut my hair.

        There are no laws that mandate this result, nor forbid this result for people of other races.

        Whether I use checks, credit cards or cash, I can count on my skin color not to work against the appearance of my financial reliability.

        Is there a law that requires skin color to be taken into account when judging financial reliability?

        I can arrange to protect my children most of the time from people who might not like them.

        There are no laws that forbid parents of other races from doing this.

        I can swear, or dress in second hand clothes, or not answer letters, without having people attribute these choices to the bad morals, the poverty, or the illiteracy of my race.

        There are no laws that require this.

        Nor can there be laws that forbid this.

        I can speak in public to a powerful male group without putting my race on trial

        there are no laws that put races on trial.

        I can do well in a challenging situation without being called a credit to my race

        There are no laws, nor could there be any laws, that forbid this.

        I am never asked to speak for all the people of my racial group

        There are no laws, nor can there be any laws, that prohibit people to ask others to speak for all people of their racial group.

        I can remain oblivious of the language and customs of persons of color who constitute the world’s majority without feeling in my culture any penalty for such oblivion

        The state can not impose any penalty for remaining oblivious to the language and customs opf persons of color.

        It is called the 1st Amendment, incorporated via 14th Amendment.

        I can criticize our government and talk about how much I fear its policies and behavior without being seen as a cultural outsider

        No laws prohibit us from seeing critics of government as cultural outsider, nor could any laws, due to the First Amendment.

        I can be pretty sure that if I ask to talk to “the person in charge,” I will be facing a person of my race.

        Tjhere are no laws that prohibits persons of any particular race from being put in charge.

        If a traffic cop pulls me over or if the IRS audits my tax return, I can be sure I haven’t been singled out because of my race

        But Kamala Harris, when Attorney General of California, assured us that ““Local law enforcement must be able to use their discretion to determine who can carry a concealed weapon,”

        No possibility of anyone being denied a concealed carry permit because of race, right?

        I can easily buy posters, post-cards, picture books, greeting cards, dolls, toys, and children’s magazines featuring people of my race

        there are no laws that prohibit people of other races from being featured on ” posters, post-cards, picture books, greeting cards, dolls, toys, and children’s magazines”. At least two amendments get in the qway of such laws.

        It is as if McIntosh never heard of the First Amendment.

        I can go home from most meetings of organizations I belong to feeling somewhat tied in, rather than isolated, out-of-place, outnumbered, unheard, held at a distance, or feared

        There are no laws that either prohibit nor mandate such a result.

        I can take a job with an affirmative action employer without having coworkers on the job suspect that I got it because of race

        There are no laws that can control corworkers’ opinions.

        Must be that pesky First Amendment.

        I can choose public accommodation without fearing that people of my race cannot get in or will be mistreated in the place I have chosen
        There are no laws that prohibit people of particular races from using particular public accommodations.

        I can be sure that if I need legal or medical help my race will not work against me

        there are no laws that require lawyers or doctors to take the race of the client or patient into account.

        If my day, week or year is going badly, I need not ask of each negative episode or situation whether it has racial overtones

        there are no laws that require people of other races to do this.

        I can choose blemish cover or bandages in “flesh” color and have them more or less match my skin

        there are no laws that require that result.

        In sum, McIntosh alleges that random acts by random individuals constitute white privilege. Only one example of state action is alleged.

        • Chris

          Your repeated insistence that the only type of discrimination that matters is legal discrimination is patently absurd.

          • Michael Ejercito

            Legal discrimination has the power of the state behind it.

            It works under other contexts. Compare the example of a random individual building a shrine to St. Mary to the state bulkding a shrine to St. Mary.

  6. deery

    After reading this thread again, and mulling over it a bit more, I come to this conclusion: conservatives, at least the ones on this thread, don’t have a problem with intersectionality. They recognize that there are a lot of interlocking pieces that might cause one to be advantaged or disadvantaged in this society.

    They seem to have a problem with the name intersectionality, for whatever reason. Which, ok.

    But the biggest source of resistance, even after acknowledging that there are many factors that can contribute to being a societal advantage, is the denial that whiteness, by and large, has been, and continues to be, one of those factors that is an advantage in this society. People seemingly keep bringing up class disadvantages as if they erase white privileges, but they don’t. It’s like saying a person in a wheelchair can’t experience some built-in societal disadvantages because they are rich. Of course they can.

    There is also some typical American historical amnesia going on, insofar as many of the counterpoints fail to recognize how historical discrimination, and the advantages accrued because of it, because entrenched and replicated in the next generation.

    • Matthew B

      I reject white privilege mattering.

      Why? I grew up as a mixed race kid in a place with white parity with an Southeast Asian population. Many of the SE Asians arrived with NOTHING, unable to speak a lick of English. Saigon fell when I was in 1st grade. The Vietnamese came first, then the Laotians and Cambodians as I went through elementry school. Where are so many of them today? Highly successful for the most part.

      I recognize privilege, but I reject that effort can’t overcome it. Too often is is used as an excuse to never try. Too often it is used to wallow in vctimhood. Dwelling on privilege harms those it is meant to help.

      • Other Bill

        My experience with the Vietnamese (my parents took in Vietnamese high school aged kids for a few years after Vietnam fell and they considered my parents their parents, and my family’s dentist is a tremendous, gay Vietnamese with a great sense of humor, and my favorite law school professor was brought to Notre Dame from Vietnam by Hesburgh after they had been sent to DaNang to open a law school there) is they have a great work ethic, a strong sense of family and they treasure education above almost everything else. Fairly significant, I think.

      • deery

        reject white privilege mattering.
        I recognize privilege, but I reject that effort can’t overcome it.

        This thread is becoming more and more incoherent. I don’t think anyone has said that effort can’t overcome some disadvantages. But the fact that some people through no fault of their own have to put much more effort to achieve the same results as others, who put no effort in at all does require some notice. Especially for those types who so often are like, “Why don’t those people just…”

        I think dismissing privilege is too often used to excuse inertia on social issues which might require some uncomfortable examinations on the so-called meritocracy that some like to claim exist in America.

        • Junkmailfolder

          “I think dismissing privilege is too often used to excuse inertia on social issues which might require some uncomfortable examinations on the so-called meritocracy that some like to claim exist in America.”

          And there’s the rub. Citing “intersectionality” almost always seeks to legitimize some type of overt social engineering, from requesting someone stop speaking to seeking government redress in the form of significant compensation. It does so, because, as Deery claims, meritocracy does not exist in America (does it exist other places?). It seems the issues always come back to the fundamental difference between conservatives and progressives–conservatives focus on equality of opportunity while progressives focus on equality of results.

          Of course, you can never have either. For the myriad reasons listed already, no one will have the exact same opportunities as someone else. But deery’s assertion above–“But the fact that some people through no fault of their own have to put much more effort to achieve the same results as others, who put no effort in at all does require some notice…” does not follow at all with what “intersectionality” focuses on 99.9% of the time.

          The factors that result in one person having “to put much more effort to achieve the same results” revolve almost entirely around internal factors (and the external factors that nurture these internal factors). A white male born to a drug-addicted single mother will have to put in much more effort to achieve the same results as a black female born to affluent parents. Drive, intelligence, work ethic, and resources will have more effect, by orders of magnitude, on someone’s life than the color of their skin, their sexuality, or their gender.

          Why do these racial classes where Chris was baptized focus so much on the external, easily identifiable factors that matter so little? Because they seek power and money, and the easiest way to get that is to tribalize and demonize the group with the most money and power.

          • deery

            A white male born to a drug-addicted single mother will have to put in much more effort to achieve the same results as a black female born to affluent parents.

            Well obviously, citation needed. But setting that aside, do you think a black female born to a drug-addicted single mother would have to work as hard as a white male born to a drug-addicted single mother? Just to isolate the factors out? Why or why not?

            I’m not very interested in the so-called “oppression Olympics.” But I do think it is important to note broad inequalities in society, and eliminate them when and where we can, especially when those inequalities are based on inherited, innate, and/or immutable characteristics. Recognizing various privileges is the first step in that direction. I also do realize that many are perfectly fine with the status quo, especially when they are the beneficiaries of that status quo. In that case recognizing one’s privileges still is useful to avoid too much hubris.

            But once again, I will note, for those who might have missed it, that it doesn’t seem as if anyone has a real problem with the concept of intersectionality. They have a problem with “whiteness” being recognized as an advantage in America. And to a lesser extent, on this thread, with “maleness” being recognized as being advantageous. But people are dismissing intersectionality, even while being quite adept at using it to dismiss the concept of white privilege or male privilege.

            • joed68

              “I’m not very interested in the so-called “oppression Olympics.” ”

              Could have fooled me.

            • Junkmailfolder

              You’re not interested in the “oppression Olympics”? Then stop playing the game. “Intersectionality” is just a buzzword for “I’m more oppressed than you are,” or, in the case of you and Chris (assuming you’re also white and male), “I’m less oppressed than you are, but I’m one of the good guys.”

              Yes, you can go on claiming that “intersectionality” is no such buzzword, but I could also claim that white nationalism is merely the appreciation of white culture.

              You didn’t even address my point, which was that of all the “broad inequalities” in society, the purveyors of this nonsense only focus on easily identifiable characteristics that, in comparison to the “privileges” I already addressed, hardly bear mention. Which is why, as you say, no one has a problem with “intersectionality.” if by it you mean that people are all different and have differing challenges. It’s when you ignore the elephants in the room and focus on gender, race, and sexuality, and make broad generalities about them.

              To answer your worthless question, I have no idea. A black female would be more likely to be accepted to college with the same grades as a white male. That’s about the only absolute determination I could make.

              “But I do think it is important to note broad inequalities in society, and eliminate them when and where we can, especially when those inequalities are based on inherited, innate, and/or immutable characteristics.”

              You’re scaring me. Intelligence is a inherited characteristic. What kind of society would eliminate the inequalities that result from people having different characteristics? I can only think of one road that leads down.

              • Chris

                Junkmailfolder:

                A white male born to a drug-addicted single mother will have to put in much more effort to achieve the same results as a black female born to affluent parents.

                Possibly. What you’re talking about here is class privilege and it’s connection to race and gender privilege. In other words, you are taking about intersectionality.

                Why do these racial classes where Chris was baptized focus so much on the external, easily identifiable factors that matter so little?

                Well, we do talk about class privilege, which seems to be a factor that matters to you. We also talk about other types of privilege.

                The only people here who seem to be arguing that some types of privilege matter and others don’t are the conservatives.

                Then stop playing the game. “Intersectionality” is just a buzzword for “I’m more oppressed than you are,” or, in the case of you and Chris (assuming you’re also white and male), “I’m less oppressed than you are, but I’m one of the good guys.”

                It is literally the opposite of that. Intersectionality recognizes that there are different types of oppression. There is no hierarchy of oppression in intersectionality. That’s the entire point.

                You didn’t even address my point, which was that of all the “broad inequalities” in society, the purveyors of this nonsense only focus on easily identifiable characteristics that, in comparison to the “privileges” I already addressed, hardly bear mention. Which is why, as you say, no one has a problem with “intersectionality.” if by it you mean that people are all different and have differing challenges. It’s when you ignore the elephants in the room and focus on gender, race, and sexuality, and make broad generalities about them.

                I think it’s pretty clear that gender, race, and sexuality are elephants in the room, at least as far as the conservatives here are concerned. You don’t want to talk about these issues, because you think they are unimportant. But study after study shows they do have an effect on the outcomes of people’s lives.

                You’re scaring me. Intelligence is a inherited characteristic. What kind of society would eliminate the inequalities that result from people having different characteristics? I can only think of one road that leads down.

                I think you’re willfully misconsruing deery’s point here. You know he meant immutable characteristics such as race, gender, orientation, etc. Different outcomes will always happen based on individuals’ intelligence, and there are good reasons for that. There is no good reason that race, gender or orientation should have an effect on anyone’s outcomes.

                Which is why liberals focus on those areas.

                • Junkmailfolder

                  “In other words, you are taking about intersectionality.”

                  So? Was that supposed to be meant for someone else?

                  “Possibly. What you’re talking about here is class privilege and it’s connection to race and gender privilege.”

                  This reveals the uselessness of the study of “intersectionality.” Of the literally millions of factors that will come into play into these people’s lives, only one or two factors will even be addressed–race or gender. Since you took into account my comment, you ignored those two factors but were still fully willing to digest it down to one issue–class. Frankly, that wasn’t even my intended “privilege” of discussion. I was thinking more along the lines of having two parents more likely to encourage good behavior, education, etc. Certainly related to class, but only correlated.

                  “I think it’s pretty clear that gender, race, and sexuality are elephants in the room, at least as far as the conservatives here are concerned.”

                  Why? Everyone will acknowledge that race and gender affect people’s lives. We certainly disagree to the extent (or even direction, as has been pointed out) these factors affect people. Do you disagree that a person’s core characteristics (intelligence, diligence, ambition, etc) and early childhood experiences play a significantly more crucial role in someone’s life experiences than what race they are?

                  “I think you’re willfully misconsruing deery’s point here. You know he meant immutable characteristics such as race, gender, orientation, etc.”

                  Ehhh, maybe. Even if that wasn’t deery’s point, it seems a slippery slope to me. You really can’t completely dissect a person’s life choices and attribute results to specific causes. How in the world could you hope to socially engineer equality of outcome to ignore your examples (race, gender, etc) without unintentionally including the factors that should result in different outcomes? It’s theoretically and practically impossible.

                  • Chris

                    Of the literally millions of factors that will come into play into these people’s lives, only one or two factors will even be addressed–race or gender.

                    Why do you keep saying this? As has been pointed out numerous times–including in both Jack’s original post and my comment–this is not true. Intersectionality covers many types of privileges–race and gender are perhaps the most commonly studied, but class privilege, cis privilege, straight privilege, Christian privilege and able-bodied privilege are also all well-documented and frequently discussed among SJWs, and I know I’m leaving some out.

                    Since you took into account my comment, you ignored those two factors but were still fully willing to digest it down to one issue–class.

                    No. I’m fairly certain I mentioned class privilege above in a separate comment. And I didn’t digest it to one issue–I specifically said “What you’re talking about here is class privilege and it’s connection to race and gender privilege.” How is acknowledging how different privileges overlap and intersect “digesting it down to one issue?”

                    Frankly, that wasn’t even my intended “privilege” of discussion. I was thinking more along the lines of having two parents more likely to encourage good behavior, education, etc. Certainly related to class, but only correlated.

                    Certainly. And I’m not denying that those sorts of privileges exist.

                    Why? Everyone will acknowledge that race and gender affect people’s lives.

                    This makes me laugh. No, everyone will most certainly not.

                    We certainly disagree to the extent (or even direction, as has been pointed out) these factors affect people. Do you disagree that a person’s core characteristics (intelligence, diligence, ambition, etc) and early childhood experiences play a significantly more crucial role in someone’s life experiences than what race they are?

                    No, I don’t disagree with that at all.

                    But intelligence, diligence and ambition are neither 1) immutable characteristics or 2) unnaturally related to success. Race and gender are.

                    It makes sense that intelligence, diligence and ambition impact a person’s success. This is right. This is just.

                    It makes no sense that race, gender, orientation, gender identity, or religion are related to success. And yet they are. This is wrong. This is unjust.

                    And you wonder why social justice warriors focus on the latter characteristics rather than the former?

                    Really?

                    Ehhh, maybe. Even if that wasn’t deery’s point, it seems a slippery slope to me. You really can’t completely dissect a person’s life choices and attribute results to specific causes. How in the world could you hope to socially engineer equality of outcome to ignore your examples (race, gender, etc) without unintentionally including the factors that should result in different outcomes? It’s theoretically and practically impossible.

                    I am not sure what this means.

        • Other Bill

          So what’s the solution, deery? What does intersectionality want? Other than white people all saying they’re terrible and admitting their privilege, what’s the next step? You’ve been made czar of the US with absolute, unfettered girlfriend. What’s the legislative cure?

          • deery

            So what’s the solution, deery? What does intersectionality want?

            Intersectionality is not a problem. Intersectionality doesn’t *want* anything. It’s just a concept.

            Other than white people all saying they’re terrible and admitting their privilege, what’s the next step? You’ve been made czar of the US with absolute, unfettered [power?]. What’s the legislative cure?

            There is no cure to intersectionality. As I’ve said, intersectionality itself is not a problem, just a concept. It’s like asking what the cure for money, or blue is.

            If you are asking what the solution is for all the -isms out there, that would take a long time, and for some, like many of the disadvantages suffered by the physically and mentally disabled, I don’t think it is possible to alleviate all of them. You can only try to reduce them, at best.

          • Chris

            Other than white people all saying they’re terrible and admitting their privilege, what’s the next step?

            So after deery and I have told you time and time again that this has nothing to do with white people thinking they are “terrible,” you’re still going to go with that?

            Fine. Give me a citation, from an academic source regarding white privilege or intersectionality, that posits white people are terrible. I’ll wait.

  7. A racial privilege can be looked at in multiple ways in America. One is “which race that’s here has the most?,” but different groups bring different background and money might not be the only measure of happiness. Another would be “does this race have something here that it didn’t have in the old country?,” but I don’t think that Swedes in America have been conferred any well-being that exceeds what there relatives have had in fairly homogeneous Sweden.
    The trickiness in evaluating these things can be illustrated by the examples of Quebec and Scotland – two of the whiter groups of people you’d ever want to come across, but who, by ideology, convinced themselves they were remarkably different from the remarkably similar people they share countries with.
    There are psychological or genetic bases for people to present themselves as privileged. There could be a basic “pardon me for living” guilt about them; they could be choosing to ally with dissimilar people, knowing that their traditional friends will stick them; or they could be presenting a front of concern for others, with the intention of convincing the world around them that they themselves are big, strong, confident, and caring. That latter sort has been around since tribal peoples argued around campfires, and we’re still waiting for the first group of that type that is truly concerned about someone other than themselves. Colleges are perfect training grounds for these “carers,” because where everyone is a stranger there is no one who knows that the big mouth up there is a congenital liar who has never had an unselfish thought. Social media has accelerated all this, as “caring” has been reduced from actually helping someone in front of you to typing 140 characters condemning…everyything.
    In this muddle of motivations, it seems best that there should be a free market in privilege. It someone sincerely believes that life unfairly gave him or her a leg up, he or she should divest of that boost. This, again, leads to a muddle, because virtually everyone would claim that they are already giving back. What’s needed is for people who believe in unjust privilege to get together and create an objective standard of what forbearance is required. It might be decided that privileged families will literally adopt families who are not privileged, and extend to the children of the adopted family the educational and professional connections that they were going to pass to their own children. It might be that privileged families will simply stop working when they accumulate enough wealth to modestly retire. It might be that professionals will resign and take regular jobs, or that our young college students will terminate their plans for elite educations leading to professional school leading to lifetime security. Whatever actual principles are adopted, these are the sorts of things that a person should do if they genuinely believe that they received an unfair advantage in life.

    • Isaac

      Not related to your main point, but I actually remember reading somewhere that Swedes in America do in fact have a slightly higher standard of living than Swedes in Sweden. Not like the size of the benefit you get from coming here from, say, Cuba, but still.

  8. Mrs. Q

    I’m amused that the main discussion in the 45+ comments so far is about identity politics. I’m also guessing, including the kind host of this blog, that the majority if folks having the discussion are somewhat similar in identities. Fun to watch.

    What I find most interesting in Sullivan’s remarks is the similarities to various religious and religion-like movements that have been mostly totalitarian in nature. There is always a good guy & bad guy/sinner & saint/better or worse. Intersectionality is a fancy way of saying “stuff overlaps sometimes and from it develop new challenges.” Indeed racism is in that bad/sinner/worse category – until those attempting to correct racism become a new form of racist, as we are seeing much of. Look up sports commenter Sage Steele to see how some liberals wanted to trade her in the racial draft (it was a funny but not funny joke) for a prime example.

    I have 4 categories in which I qualify for minority. I can tell you without fail, white liberals have been as oppressive if not more so in how I’ve been treated than white conservatives. Why this is I don’t know. Time after time I’ve put my so called oppression to the test & found in spite of it all that:

    A: I have way more advantages than some people both because of race, class, sex, sexuality, ect…and also…not because of those things.

    B. I have way less advantages for the same reasons as above.

    C. This is the human condition. The end.

    What I think we need to be much more concerned about is the general malaise in respectfulness and respectability. Without fail when we begin to dehumanize no matter much “they deserve it” or how much “they started it” we as a nation or nations bring about terrible changes. This we must talk about.

    • COTD, Mrs Q.

      I was going to dive into this mess, but this comment, though not exactly how I’d have handled it, I think is succinct and elegant and gets pretty close to a summary of what I’d have pushed forward.

      At the end of the day we are ALL, every *individual* one of us born with some positional/situational/contextual advantages and some disadvantages. Along the way through our own conduct and experiences either increase/decrease, build/destroy, or mitigate/exacerbate on those.

      There is not a single chance in 100 trillion that any observer can accurately quantify the myriad of myriad ways in which any individual’s advantages/disadvantages interact in that individual’s thousands of opportunities in life. There is not a single chance in 100 trillion that any analyst can accurately quantify and apply “weights” to each individual advantage in relation to others.

      The problem isn’t the word “intersectionality”, the problem isn’t even the concept. The problem is, “what to do about it”. And, as one commentator noted above, this will ultimately boil down to the classic argument of “equality under the law” or “equality of outcomes”.

      To this point, I don’t think we can effectively tackle “problems” arising from intersectionality without incurring a cost we choose not to analyze in the name of “good intentions”. I would rather we reserve our cultural energies for simply doing our best on an individual level to work as hard as we can and to individually treat each other as well as can.

      Reserving our energies for wandering the streets constantly contemplating how unfair our individual advantages are combined with contemplating how our disadvantages are a ready made excuse for our own outcomes, and reserving those energies for massive social experiments in equal outcomes only registers with me as assigning a huge psychological debt burden that can never be paid and will only slow us down as a people.

      I am all for introspection as individuals – consider how you can increase the comfort of those around you all the time without adversely affecting any obligations you must attend to while simultaneously assuming others are doing so as well, until outright conduct proves otherwise. Though introspection on “intersectionality” seems to increase tribalism, I don’t really have a problem with pondering it – on a individual level, so long as one doesn’t allow it cloud their interpretation of their own results in life. It isn’t an excuse. I don’t think obsession on “intersectionality” is good for a culture that NEEDS unity.

      • I agree: COTD. Yours isn’t chopped liver either.

      • Junkmailfolder

        “Though introspection on “intersectionality” seems to increase tribalism, I don’t really have a problem with pondering it – on a individual level…”

        This is exactly the problem with how “intersectionality” is being used today. It does everyone good to reflect on how their blessings and/or good fortune affect their lives. It gives a healthy sense of self-awareness and gratitude, two of the most important and non-existent emotions these days.

        Once you weaponize it–direct it outwards, it becomes a problem. I won’t even go into the actor-observer bias at work here, but suffice it to say, when you start trying to attribute others’ behaviors, actions, and successes/failures to anything, good or bad, you’re only blinding yourself by bias.

  9. Isaac

    I wish to thank Deery for sharing about the “Invisible Knapsack” of 26 White Privileges invented by someone named McIntosh. I had never heard of it and am eager to unpack all of unseen ways that the White-spiracy has gifted me with an implicit advantage over my colored people friends. By knowing what my white privilege affords me, I can now exploit it and achieve my highest potential! Let’s dive in.

    —-“1. I can if I wish arrange to be in the company of people of my race most of the time.”—-

    That can’t be right, and I don’t just mean the sentence structure. My neighborhood in Riverside County, California is about 65% Latino and 15% Black. And I can’t afford to move. I like it here. But if I did want to move to Orange County or Malibu or whatever and hang around fellow Whites all day, I can’t afford it. Maybe McIntosh can connect me to the secret White Privilege Office that will hook me up with a McMansion in Irvine.

    —-“2. If I should need to move, I can be pretty sure of renting or purchasing housing in an area, which I can afford and in which I would want to live.”—–

    Seriously, McIntosh? I just went over this. If it costs more than a one-bedroom apartment in Perris, I CAN’T afford it. Who is McIntosh and why does she believe that being White gets you real-estate discounts?

    —-“3. I can be pretty sure that my neighbors in such a location will be neutral or pleasant to me.”—-

    My neighbors have been pretty cool except for the three or four people who have robbed me or smashed some of my property. Is this the realization of my White privilege or do I still have untapped benefits?

    —-“4. I can go shopping alone most of the time, pretty well assured that I will not be followed or harassed.”—-

    I got kicked out of a gift store once as a teenager, but to be fair, I WAS shoplifting at the time.

    I’ve only been unfairly followed or harassed while shopping a few times. But I checked with some of my Brown and Black friends, and they ALSO had only been followed or harassed while shopping a few times. That number should be WAY higher for them than for me. What kind of white privilege is this? Why are my benefits not notable?

    —-5. “I can turn on the television or open to the front page of the paper and see people of my race widely represented.”—-

    To check my privilege in this area I turned on the television and looked at a newspaper, and was surprised to find that yes, there were quite a few white people there. Sweet, privilege! But it gets better! I checked Wikipedia and found out that White people make up almost two thirds of the population of America! Wow! How can a group of people that make up 63% of a country’s population also be seen on the television and newspapers constantly? It’s gotta be a conspiracy, baby! A sweet, sweet, white conspiracy.

    —-“6. When I am told about our national heritage or about “civilization,” I am shown that people of my color made it what it is.”—-

    I had never thought about this before. It’s so unfair. I mean, I’m Armenian, my Dad was an immigrant, and I was told in school that Armenians did precisely nothing to build America…but I had never felt OUTRAGED about that lack of representation until now. NOW I see that it’s because Armenians are WHITE that it never bothered me. I mean, sure, the Founding Fathers weren’t Armenian, but they were WHITE, and all White people are the same kind of people. So it’s kinda like I am represented.

    If Armenians were Black or Brown, I would surely feel other-ed by the realities of history and it would probably give me anxiety attacks to know that people who look like me didn’t build America. I resolve to fix this someday by using a time machine to replace Washington and Franklin with Zulu kings. This will fix what is wrong with America.

    (I will also find out how having been “shown that people of my color made America what it is” somehow gives me a privilege. Because McIntosh says it does. And she can see invisible knapsacks so I trust her.)

    —–“7. I can be sure that my children will be given curricular materials that testify to the existence of their race.”—–

    This is so dead-on accurate that I am now coming around to the idea of White Privilege. I vividly remember taking that White History Class during White History Month and reading about how White Abraham Lincoln freed all of the White slaves with the help of the great White orator Frederick Douglass. And how the Whites claimed America by killing and conning all of the White Indians who were here first. And remember when we fought the White Spaniards in the great White-on-White war? Heck, I just found out that non-White races exist yesterday! All of my teachers lied to me! They never told me that there were people who existed and also were not White!

    —-“8. If I want to, I can be pretty sure of finding a publisher for this piece on white privilege.”—-

    McIntosh was right about this, because she’s a feminist writer, and it’s well established that if you get a degree in feminist studies, your career options are limited to either writing about feminism on the web, or living with Mom while writing about feminism on the web. So yeah, McIntosh has a lot of outlets for her pieces on White Privilege. Unfortunately, my treatise on why ice-fairies are responsible for freezer burn, while equally fact-based, was rejected by publishers. I told them I was White and everything. Where is my privilege?

    —-“9. I can go into a music shop and count on finding the music of my race represented, into a supermarket and find the staple foods which fit with my cultural traditions, into a hairdresser’s shop and find someone who can cut my hair.”—–

    I know, right? Just yesterday my Black friend was complaining that the music shops won’t carry rap music. And I was like, “What is this ‘rap’ you speak of? Is it some kind of Afro-centric take on the mainstream bluegrass and polka music which all Americans love?” I couldn’t hear his reply because his entire face and head were covered with hair (people who can cut Black people’s hair are hard to find.)

    From now on I will also try to encourage White people to finally try Asian, Cajun, and Mexican food, so that these things might someday become accepted in our culture and maybe even popular.

    —–“10. Whether I use checks, credit cards or cash, I can count on my skin color not to work against the appearance of my financial reliability.”—–

    I bought a condo once. They checked my income, and ran an automated check on my credit to see if I was financially reliable. Oddly, they did not seem to care about my skin color, but rather were unusually fixated on how much money I had and whether I could repay the loan. Was I not properly taking advantage of my White privilege? Or perhaps not having to worry about race WAS my White privilege? Like if I were Asian or Nicaraguan, would the nice Latina lady at the bank reject my filthy non-White money?

    Then I lost my condo and couldn’t sell it because of the housing crisis, which cut the value of my condo by two thirds. Does your list of White Privileges perhaps explain how I can keep recessions from impacting me in the future? I applied for one of those HARP loans but I didn’t qualify. Did they mistakenly think I was Vietnamese or something?

    —–“11. I can arrange to protect my children most of the time from people who might not like them.”—–

    I can attest to this privilege. I was beat up by a lot of White bullies as a kid, but then learned to flash the secret White Fellowship Hand Sign! Then they were like, “Sorry, my white brother. I would never harm another of my noble race.” And that’s how bullying between White people ended forever.

    (As an aside, these days the best way to make sure your White kid is never, ever bullied is to give him a Trump hat to wear at school. It’s like an invisible force field against bad vibes.)

    —–“12. I can swear, or dress in second hand clothes, or not answer letters, without having people attribute these choices to the bad morals, the poverty, or the illiteracy of my race.”—-

    Yup, and it’s a good thing too. Imagine if there were some sort of cultural stereotype that existed of a poor, uneducated white American. It would be terrible. Only White Privilege prevents such a thing from ever happening. Thank you White Privilege.

    —-“13. I can speak in public to a powerful male group without putting my race on trial.”—-

    Hey, we all remember all of those times when a non-White person spoke to a group of powerful males and their race suddenly went on trial. They’re always found guilty, too. That’s why those races aren’t allowed in America anymore. Who hasn’t heard of those times when those things happened? People who’ve never read a history book, that’s who.

    —–14. “I can do well in a challenging situation without being called a credit to my race.”—–

    (Yeah…I’m not sure anyone has ever said, “you’re a credit to your race” without irony since TVs started coming in color. I think McIntosh is just trying to pad out the list at this point.)

    —-15. “I am never asked to speak for all the people of my racial group.”—-

    Empathy is all about putting yourself in the other person’s shoes. So imagine being with a group of your minority friends, and suddenly one of them asks you, “hey, you’re the only White guy here, what do White people think about that?” Imagine the agony you would feel. The crushing, life-altering shame. The inability to cope.

    That’s why it’s important to check your privilege. Because thanks to White Privilege, that scenario has never happened to me (except for the one or two times it has happened to me, which I had to think hard to remember because I don’t care.)

    —–16. “I can remain oblivious of the language and customs of persons of color who constitute the world’s majority without feeling in my culture any penalty for such oblivion.”—-

    Not even with sarcasm can I pretend that this makes any sense.
    “Persons of color” don’t have a language or a set of customs, they have millions of them, all different, and most individuals within those languages and cultures are only familiar with their own. Regardless of where you are on the globe or what color you are…as long as you are familiar with the languages you need to be in order to conduct your daily business (which for most working class the world over people means one single language) you’re fine.

    —-“17. I can criticize our government and talk about how much I fear its policies and behavior without being seen as a cultural outsider.”—-

    Does this apply to all non-white people, or just the ones who are actual cultural outsiders? Do we Whites not believe that Jamie Foxx or Jennifer Lopez are American? Email me the White Handbook so I can stay on top of what we believe about people who aren’t White.

    —-“18. I can be pretty sure that if I ask to talk to “the person in charge,” I will be facing a person of my race.”—-

    Probably like 64% of the time in fact! It’s the darnedest, confusingest thing. (And magnets, how do they work?)

    —-19. “If a traffic cop pulls me over or if the IRS audits my tax return, I can be sure I haven’t been singled out because of my race.”—–

    Wait a minute, why should Asians also have White Privilege? That makes me feel less special.

    “—–20. I can easily buy posters, post-cards, picture books, greeting cards, dolls, toys, and children’s magazines featuring people of my race.—-”

    (If you are confused as to why McIntosh thinks minorities cannot do this…it’s because they are not allowed to use the internet. In fact, E-Bay is secretly an acronym for “Ethincities Besides Aryans? Yuck!”)

    Who doesn’t hate the systematic oppression of not being able to easily find something you like? Just last year I was in India and most of the people were Hindu! It was easier to find a Hindu temple than a Christian church! Surely McIntosh will agree with me that this is flagrant oppression against the Christians of India! They should build just as many churches as there are temples! After all it’s a little harder for the minority to find the stuff they like when they live in a place where most people don’t like that stuff! Shocking!

    “—–21. I can go home from most meetings of organizations I belong to feeling somewhat tied in, rather than isolated, out-of-place, outnumbered, unheard, held at a distance, or feared.”—–

    I don’t see people of other races as my opposites, enemies, or adversaries, but rather, you know, fellow humans whom I can get along with. So it’s kinda hard to relate to how McIntosh here seems to think that minorities all think about people who aren’t genetically the same as them. I’m starting to suspect that McIntosh just has her own issues…

    —-“22. I can take a job with an affirmative action employer without having coworkers on the job suspect that I got it because of race.—–”

    That’s because there is no program that forces people to employ a White person solely because of race. You have discovered one of the major flaws of affirmative action. Not sure what that has to do with White Privilege.

    “—-23. I can choose public accommodation without fearing that people of my race cannot get in or will be mistreated in the place I have chosen.—–”

    A “public accommodation” means just about any business establishment, shop, restaurant, or store that isn’t a private club. So yes, this confused person is saying that minorities cannot safely enter or use a store or restaurant. This was written in 1988. It didn’t even make sense then.

    —-“24. I can be sure that if I need legal or medical help my race will not work against me.”—–

    And so can anyone else. Under penalty of law and everything. I demand some real white privilege, that only benefits white people, RIGHT NOW!

    “—–25. If my day, week or year is going badly, I need not ask of each negative episode or situation whether it has racial overtones.—–”

    If you think getting cancer or having a miscarriage has racial overtones, then you’re problem isn’t that you need White Privilege. The problem is that you are a progressive.

    Come on, there had better be SOMETHING at the end of this list that truly counts as a real, tangible privilege that comes solely from being White. Last chance!

    ——“26. I can choose blemish cover or bandages in “flesh” color and have them more or less match my skin.”—–

    ….. … … THAT’S IT! I can get a Band-Aid that matches my skin if I want! And you can’t, inferior races! Yes, this is a real thing that a literate, educated person thought belonged on a list of injustices! Flesh-colored bandages! White people RULE THE WORLD!

    • Isaac

      Sorry. I just found out that black-skin-colored Band-Aids actually do exist. I didn’t know about it because the Revolution was not televised. So long white privilege. You were fun while you lasted.

    • Chris Bentley

      To be charitable, I think #2 means, assuming that you can afford it, and want to live in an area, you will be “allowed” to, without restriction.

      However, housing discrimination *is* illegal, and as I pointed out upstream, I’ve moved 6 times in the last 5 years, without any issue. From white Germantown, MD, to the black part of Frederick, MD, to the white part of Frederick, to a mixed part of Frederick, to ultra white Hagerstown, MD. to mixed Towson, MD, to white Ellicott City, MD. Never faced an issue. Not 1.

    • Mama mia. Comment of the day.

      • Chris

        Are you going to publish it as a post, Jack? It seems sometimes you do that with COTDs, and sometimes you don’t.

        If so, I’ll wait to respond to it there.

        • I did. If I don’t publish a COTD, it is only because I forgot. I wasn’t aware that I missed any. If so, I hope someone reminds me. And yes, I have another one waiting now.

    • joed68

      Hahahaha! Awesome!

    • joed68

      “This was written in 1988. It didn’t even make sense then.”
      So, this isn’t just garbage, but recycled garbage?

    • joed68

      I have black conservative Facebook friends that I’m going to share this with. I hope you don’t mind. I think they’ll like it.

  10. Alex

    I’m late to the party but I’m going to say that deery and Chris do an awesome job of defending the motte and even convince us that “intersectionality” is something we all agree to and understand and believe in with our whole hearts.

    Then we go read the op-eds, or listen the activists talk and this intersectionality thing is justification for affirmative action, asking people to refrain from expressing their thoughts and then riot if the demands are not met. Helluva rich bailey to exploit when we’re not paying attention.

    Yes, I’m saying intersectionality is the canonical example for the motte-and-bailey fallacy and that just like we all accepted that the textbook concept is valid, Chris and deery will grant us that it is rarely used that way unless it’s being attacked.

    • Joe Fowler

      Bravo Alex!
      Exactly right.

    • Well, for what it’s worth, I think intersectionality is a valid *concept*. But like most of these discussions, progressives ultimately want a socially engineered solution to these “evils”. But when pressed to really describe the “evils” or the details of a socially engineered solution, recognizing the ridiculousness of either, progressives usually end up backtracking to essentially the watered-down message: “well, we don’t mean anything by it, it’s just a concept”. To which the rest of the rational world says: “Then so what?”

      • Which is completely off the discussion that Jack even brought up: that “intersectionality” is really just the latest term to be promoted to “buzzword” level in terms of using jargon as a bully cudgel against an ideological opposition.

        “Intersectionality” as a term benefits from preferred-ideology-privilege.

      • Chris

        To be fair, the original argument was that the concept wasn’t valid. We will probably not agree on the solutions. But that’s a separate point.

    • joed68

      Yup, exactly. They present it as this benign concept, but when the wheels hit the pavement…

  11. I’ll take a shot at this, as some topics were not addressed from my area of the country:

    1. I can if I wish arrange to be in the company of people of my race most of the time.

    As a country, about 62% of the population is considered ‘white.’ Statistically, this makes the question moot, as in many areas of the country this would be true. In Central/South Texas, this is emphatically different. San Antonio is majority minority, mostly Hispanic with a strong Black component. I find that I cannot reliably arrange to make this question true where I live. So the statement is either invalid much of the time, or untrue. No WP.

    2. If I should need to move, I can be pretty sure of renting or purchasing housing in an area, which I can afford and in which I would want to live.

    This is law, and he that violates it will rue the day in Texas… No WP.

    3. I can be pretty sure that my neighbors in such a location will be neutral or pleasant to me.

    Not true, and not related to race at all. Assholes exist in all skin tones, and any one skin tone does not make it more or less likely that I can get along with anyone.

    4. I can go shopping alone most of the time, pretty well assured that I will not be followed or harassed.

    Interestingly, if I go into a store in a Hispanic area, or in east San Antonio’s majority Black area, this is not true. I might be followed depending on how I dress, and have a strong possibility of being harassed based on my skin color. However, the reverse does not seem to be true if a minority shops in a ‘white’ part of town, with exceptions based on dress, deportment, and attitude (dress and act like a gang banger- of any skin tone- and your mileage may vary) No WP

    5. I can turn on the television or open to the front page of the paper and see people of my race widely represented.

    National News/media: yes. Local News/talk show/media: certainly not. This follows on what you would assume, based on population statistics. So what? No WP, unless you want to count the whiteness of national media.

    6. When I am told about our national heritage or about “civilization,” I am shown that people of my color made it what it is.

    When I went to school, we learned Texas history. Texas has had 6 ‘flags’ or nationalities since the Native Americans, and we were taught about ALL the contributions each race and nationality made to our society. There was no discounting of Lorenzo De Zavala’s contribution because he was Hispanic (first VP of our Republic of Texas, and founding father), for instance. I do not see such a bias in the national media these days, either. If anything, it goes the other way, with white contributions discounted against minority ones! No WP

    7. I can be sure that my children will be given curricular materials that testify to the existence of their race.

    This is a self fulfilling prophecy, given the US population demographics, and therefore invalid. We live in the USA, and whites are the majority demographic group. This statement akin like saying you have WP if the sky is blue where you live. No WP due to invalid and unfair assumptions of the statement.

    8. If I want to, I can be pretty sure of finding a publisher for this piece on white privilege.

    What?!? What has this got to do about anything?

    9. I can go into a music shop and count on finding the music of my race represented, into a supermarket and find the staple foods which fit with my cultural traditions, into a hairdresser’s shop and find someone who can cut my hair.

    Music: is there ‘white’ music? Country and Western count? Where is a music shop still open? This is now a moot question in today’s society, with media readily available from all races.
    Supermarket: ‘food I grew up with’ I will take to mean American food. I grew up eating enchiladas (Mexican and Tex Mex both, in other words), Chinese, Italian, wild game (venison, squirrel, dove, quail, and the odd Rattlesnake on occasion), vegetables (mostly home grown), Polish, Czech, and Southern (black eyed peas, watermelon, fried chicken, etc.) So what?
    Someone to deal with my hair: Sure, like 87% of the population, whose hair is like my own from a hair cut perspective. This question seems to imply that you have WP if you are not Black. A Native American, Asian, Hispanic or Eskimo have WP by this metric!
    No WP (and Screw You for your loaded question)

    10. Whether I use checks, credit cards or cash, I can count on my skin color not to work against the appearance of my financial reliability.

    I am honestly baffled by this question, as it has been against the law to discriminate in this way my entire life. It certainly is not true for any race per se in San Antonio. Dress, deportment, and attitude matter here, but not so much skin tone. I cannot speak to other areas of the nation, but here no so much. No WP

    11. I can arrange to protect my children most of the time from people who might not like them.

    Why would I protect my kids from people who might not like them? Life is full of those who will not like others, and the quicker my kids learn to cope the better for them. Now, if this is a direct physical threat, what does race have to do with it? Assholes come in all skin tones, and the remedies are the same under the law for all of them

    12. I can swear, or dress in second hand clothes, or not answer letters, without having people attribute these choices to the bad morals, the poverty, or the illiteracy of my race.

    Actually, given my local ‘minority’ status, this is not true. Gringo bias exists. 🙂 No WP

    13. I can speak in public to a powerful male group without putting my race on trial.

    This has not been a thing here since Santa Anna took a siesta with a lovely double agent senorita when he should have had pickets out

    14. I can do well in a challenging situation without being called a credit to my race.

    Who talks like this? Maybe in areas not as traditionally integrated as mine, but this sort of thing would lead to a busted lip in Texas, with all races lauding the just punishment. Not here. No WP

    15. I am never asked to speak for all the people of my racial group.

    Of all the statements, this is the one where I almost see the possibility. I cannot conceive of a situation where I would be asked this, and if that does happen to other races, then perhaps there is a point. Of all countries in the world, I cannot see this happening anywhere BUT the USA, given our unique heritage, demographics, and founding. Therefore, possible WP

    16. I can remain oblivious of the language and customs of persons of color who constitute the world’s majority without feeling in my culture any penalty for such oblivion.

    Huh? Name another country where this question is relevant, then explain why you feel it is relevant here.

    17. I can criticize our government and talk about how much I fear its policies and behavior without being seen as a cultural outsider.

    I am white, therefore my opinion does not count, I have been told many times. In San Antonio, I AM a cultural outsider. No WP

    18. I can be pretty sure that if I ask to talk to “the person in charge,” I will be facing a person of my race.

    Not true at all! Businesses in Texas have been integrated so much in my lifetime, that when I became an adult the race of the ‘person in charge’ could be ANY skin tone. And that did not matter in the least until the Obama Administration! Certainly there is no ‘white overlord class’ in businesses here (and certainly in government) that makes this a valid question. May be true in other areas of the country, but not here. In addition, the question insinuates that the race of that person changes how they will treat a visitor. Projection, at the very least. Race baiting at the worst. Business are legally bound not to behave like this, or suffer civil and criminal lawsuits. Government is even more so. Therefore, ‘person’ could be any race, so No WP

    19. If a traffic cop pulls me over or if the IRS audits my tax return, I can be sure I haven’t been singled out because of my race.

    Traffic cop: I see this historically, but deportment and attitude are far greater predictors than race where I live. Whites are busted with far greater frequency than Blacks, for instance, as demographics would indicate. But guess what? Hispanics are busted more than both put together. Demographics! (and most of the cops are Hispanic anyway in San Antonio, again as predicted by demographics) No WP
    IRS: HA! When Liberals run the IRS, whites are the class to persecute. Witness the weaponization of the IRS under Obama, and the lack of accountability when they were caught. Think those still at the IRS suddenly will see the light? Why? They got away with it scott free, and were given tacit authorization to target whites and conservatives. This is the opposite of WP. No WP

    20. I can easily buy posters, post-cards, picture books, greeting cards, dolls, toys, and children’s magazines featuring people of my race.

    So what? This is true of all skin tones these days. No WP

    21. I can go home from most meetings of organizations I belong to feeling somewhat tied in, rather than isolated, out-of-place, outnumbered, unheard, held at a distance, or feared.

    Not in South Texas! Gringo bias exists

    22. I can take a job with an affirmative action employer without having coworkers on the job suspect that I got it because of race.

    Race is seen, now, no matter what. Whether from affirmative action or presumed privilege, the results are the same: others perceive that race played a part. That makes this a ‘so what’ moment. In other words, where I live, minorities will think I got there based on race, just as the other way around. This is a result of our hyper-aware society today. Everyone loses. No WP

    23. I can choose public accommodation without fearing that people of my race cannot get in or will be mistreated in the place I have chosen.

    Another race baiting statement, as this has been illegal my entire life. If it were to happen, the offended party will win the inevitable lawsuit, as has been shown in real life cases. The only exception is that this sort of behavior CAN be tolerated if the victim is white. That victim is expected to sit down and shut up, and actually has a harder time in court. This is the opposite of WP. No WP

    24. I can be sure that if I need legal or medical help my race will not work against me.

    Nope. Try an emergency room in South Texas and see if being white helps or hinders. No always, but it happens… No WP

    25. If my day, week or year is going badly, I need not ask of each negative episode or situation whether it has racial overtones.

    This is utter BS. If you choose to fixate on race, then live with the consequences. I get discriminated against for being white here. So what?

    26. I can choose blemish cover or bandages in “flesh” color and have them more or less match my skin.

    Actually, no. I am too lily white! My brand of pink has never been ‘flesh tone.’ So what? Most bandages assume I have a much better tan than I could ever get, and have since my youth. That said, this question is dated: these products now are commonly available in all tones today, and that makes the question invalid. No WP

    Remember, these are answered locally, with my personal experiences. That is all I can speak to, after all.

    My ‘whiteness’ has been a handicap in almost all situations. That does not bother me, except in an injustice sense. Southern white male conservatives have no rights, according to the left, and are fair game for any discrimination at all. I was born ‘middle class,’ but we were poor if you apply the Governmental living standard. I worked for everything I got, took any and all jobs to get through college, as my family (single parent) could not afford to pay my way, and I paid my student loans by delaying other purchases (cars, vacations, computers, etc.) So what?

    My ancestors did not own slaves, being dirt farmers for generations.

    My conclusion from this survey is that ‘white privilege’ is code for base discrimination, bias justification, and shaming in order to extend privilege to a favored group, who happen to be ‘people of color’ today. That could change tomorrow. If they will do it to me, they can do it to you, in other words.

    People are people, and the sooner we act that way, the sooner this whole racial bias thing becomes a historical anomaly.

    • Chris

      This is a self fulfilling prophecy, given the US population demographics, and therefore invalid. We live in the USA, and whites are the majority demographic group. This statement akin like saying you have WP if the sky is blue where you live. No WP due to invalid and unfair assumptions of the statement.

      Again, it isn’t proportionate. I would expect whites to make up the majority of what we see in the media, but not to the extent that they actually are today. For example, 13% of the U.S. is black. But what percentage of major movies and television shows feature black leads? I know it’s much less than 13%.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s