CBC’s The Current on the topic of Privilege.
The concept of Privilege as a way to make people think about the unequal distribution of power in society was a good idea, and continues to be a good idea when used as a framing device to promote understanding. However, like most things, it‘s been co-opted by those who want to use it to their own advantage.
Now the phrase “check your privilege” is well on its way to being the newest way to call someone a Nazi and end conversations rather than start them. It’s really handy- anytime I want to shout someone down I just scream “Check your privilege!” at them and the conversation is pretty much over. Even I, as a middle-class straight white male (usually the ones being shouted into silence), can get in on the fun with richer people, who clearly have an unconscious social advantage over me and are thus no longer worth listening to because they “just don’t understand”.
“Check your privilege, One Percenter!”
And meanwhile, society divides itself more and more and people actually talk to each other and understand each other less and less. yay.
Hence why I’m an enigma to my friends. Sometimes I come across as conservative. Other times, Liberal. In this case, I’m with Martin Luther King Junior. People need to be judged not by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character.
Preach it, brother! The content of a person’s words and character should be how they’re judged, not other surface things.