I made a comment on the second blog that I will post below because, as you may know, I don't see the benefit of pointing out privilege to people unless it's supposed to change their behaviour in some way. If the point is to make them vote for, support, and accept social programs and affirmative action, or donate to organizations then it makes sense. But sometimes when I read about privilege it's as though the only intended benefit is to have knowledge of it and be grateful for your life akin to the "clean your plate because starving kids in Africa would be glad to have it" kind of thing (that many Africans find insulting). I think that the readers sense that there is a hidden agenda that will involve them giving to people they don't know and they resent that and think it is unfair (just stating what they have stated so don't shoot the messenger). They feel that they were born into the privilege so they don't owe anyone anything, they have their own struggles, there are Black people who live better than them, and it would be unfair to make them feel guilty just because they are White (and they call that reverse racism...not a fan of that term). This is why they freak out when anyone talks about privilege. As Scalzi mentioned, he knows White people freak out when they hear the word privilege so he used a video game metaphor instead. I would suggest that Black people find another term too because as soon as you call someone privileged or racist they shut don't and are so offended they won't hear the rest of what you want to say.
It may turn into an interesting discussion, but interesting is all it will be since the knowledge isn't linked to action and no matter what anyone says, I'm not going to believe that I'm disadvantaged and a charity case just because I'm Black. I am not a victim who needs to be saved or pitied! I'm hoping that no White men come to this blog and use it to prove, "see a Black person agrees with us" because this is a post meant for Black women. If that happens then I'll just hide the post. I do think SOME White people have things better than SOME Black people, but I think that it's not always the case and agree that a model referring to class (socioeconomic status) would be more acceptable to most people. I can readily admit that I have things better than those who are poor but I refuse to admit that ALL White people have it better than me because I'm Black. How would one explain that I've done so well while many of my elementary, high school, and undergrad White classmates did not? Did I work that much harder, was I smarter, more likable, more organized, more motivated, better connected? Was it because my parents went to university, stressed the importance of education and success, and expected me to achieve? Doesn't it mean that all those things trump race in terms of success so why not focus on the importance of those things instead of race? Seriously, reading about all the disadvantages Black people face is like thinking you are smart and then taking an IQ test and being told, "wow, you have a really low IQ, I'm surprised you can even function among the rest of us". People like me think that we are fine and equal until someone comes along and insists we are not.
Maybe I should not have said anything because many Black people do see themselves as being disadvantaged and think that White people owe them. I'm not going to bother trying to convince anyone of anything though. They can feel that way if they want. It's strange that a lot of conservative Black people have the same opinion about privilege but you know how unpopular they are. I vote liberal though and Canada is a pretty liberal country even with a current conservative government. The government pays for most of health care and half of tuition so we like our social programs. I do actually support social programs because some people, no matter what race, need help. I also support affirmative action so that workplaces are more diverse and to counteract the effect of racist hiring. I have no problem with quota systems or mandated inclusion of minorities in the media either. I strongly approve of the goal of increasing diversity but not by convincing everyone that being Black is a learning disability, mental illness, or pathology (some people are actually trying to do this with something called Willie Lynch Syndrome and Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome).
Anyways, here is my comment from the other blog,
Nice post. This is my opinion, it's not everyone's, I don't want to argue, it is not a condemnation of the post writer (at all). I don't blame him for writing it because so many people are pushing White people to think this way. I wrote about this on my blog a while ago from the point of view where I don't understand the importance of pointing out privilege to people. Maybe it's a U.S. thing or something done when people feel they have been wronged or given fewer opportunities. I don't feel that way but I also live in Canada and have Caribbean parents.1) As usual, in the original Scalzi article, he doesn't specify what to do with that knowledge and others like myself have a problem with that. I no longer value knowing many things for the sake of knowing unless I can do something with that information since there are more important things I need to learn. I'm more practical and just want to know what is useful.It's like if you told me I had a gene that makes everything easier for me than for everyone else would that even change my behaviour? No, I would go on my merry way so I really didn't need to know. Unless straight, White males are expected to act differently after recognizing their privilege then it's useless information. I think people usually say "examine your privilege" when they want something whether it is a handup, handout, or to be excused for their bad behaviour. Usually these posts end with the call to "do something" to even the playing field (i.e., handout or handup). That's what gets people leery, that they are being pressured to give to others just because they were born White males. They think that is unfair.2) I don't like it when Black people constantly point out that being Black is difficult so I definitely don't want White people doing the same thing. Why? Since this is based on race, it makes ALL Black people sound like disadvantaged, burdened, suffering, victims who need to be saved by those with privilege i.e., White men. So many Black people complain that they don't need to be saved (e.g., remember how annoyed people were with Dangerous Minds and Finding Forrester?) and can do it themselves with hard work. I don't want anyone to think that I am burdened or suffering when there are others, of whatever race, living on the street, dying or diseases or in other ways suffering way more than me. I am not a charity case or disabled just because I'm Black. I don't want people to automatically pity me and think I'm incapable of doing what non-Black people can. In the past people thought Black people could not do things due to genetics but talented and hardworking people proved them wrong! Don't tell me people are trying to do the same thing by saying we can't do things because of racism or simply growing up Black!3) Hearing everyone say that life is harder for me because I'm Black makes me feel hopeless and I shouldn't even bother trying to have a good life. It makes me fear that all my work is for nothing because I will only get so far. I will of course keep going but I think this thinking keeps many Black people from trying at all. If you tell me that the White, drug addicted, prostitute has life easier than me and people will regard her more highly than me because I'm Black why even bother? It goes against the reality of how I've seen people treated. So as other commenters on the Sclazi article mentioned, I think class and wealth has a major role in who is privileged. I am not a disadvantaged victim because I'm Black.I want to be treated like everyone else not like I'm beneath them in terms of capabilities. That would be condescending and racist right?
I forgot, if the purpose is so that White men vote for, support, and accept social programs and Affirmative Action then it makes sense and it is useful to point out their privilege. Otherwise I don't see the point. This agenda should not be hidden though.