Privilege

These posters are part of an official initiative at the University of Ontario, the RISE initiative. I checked all the boxes save two (I’m not a Canadian citizen or a Christian, and “able-bodied” mentally is questionable).

For some reason this bothered me. And then I realized that it’s because this kind of stuff is turning college into a place where you’re supposed to adopt a given set of social attitudes and ideology, not where you adjudicate ideas and decide how to behave. In other words, it’s propagandizing students, not exposing them to different ideas and received knowledge and allowing them to forge their own path.

Is that okay?  I am sympathetic to the goals of such a program, of course, but something rankles when it’s forced down your throat. And perhaps the RISE workshops aren’t mandatory for all students, but these are sanctioned by the University, as are these posters.

By the way, the claim that privilege is not a “burden or source of guilt” is totally disingenuous. It is both, and that’s how it’s used.

h/t: Marcus Ampe’s space

169 Comments

  1. Posted March 26, 2018 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

    At some point the word ‘unearned’ is going to come back and bit them in the arse. ‘Unearned’ is only meaningful in contrast to ‘earned’ and the people pushing this agenda are ideologically opposed to equality of opportunity so nothing can ever be earned. They want equality of outcome. That’s only possible if everyone is rewarded exactly the same.

    • Richard
      Posted March 27, 2018 at 3:04 am | Permalink

      What I have noticed over the years (at least here in the UK) is that those who believe the most strongly in egalitarianism only believe in it for other people, not for themselves. “All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others”.

  2. Posted March 26, 2018 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    It is indeed a privilege to thumb my nose at this kind of nonsense from UOIT.

  3. Posted March 26, 2018 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    And of course besides being equated with a “burden and source of guilt”, it is also used as an ad hominem attack in order to dispel arguments advanced by anyone with “privilege” without actually making any rational counterargument. I agree that “privilege” exists; but until the Authoritarian Left stops using it as a cudgel to suppress debate and make decent people feel awful, I will oppose this sort of propaganda.

    It is also interesting where they draw the lines. “Canadian Citizen (at birth)”, hmm – is anyone who is a Canadian citizen, whether from birth or otherwise, privileged compared to someone living in Canada who is not a citizen? Similarly for “Native English speaker” – surely the ability speak English makes a person more “privileged” whether they’re a native speaker or not? This sort of line-drawing has a bit of a fishy stink to it, does it not? It is really about defining the “ingroup” versus the “outgroup” – never an admirable activity.

    • Posted March 26, 2018 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

      “is anyone” -> “isn’t anyone”, of course…

    • Posted March 26, 2018 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

      I wonder how those who’s ancestors were citizens of Canada before there was an actual Canada feel about their privilege?

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted March 26, 2018 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

        Many don’t call themselves Canadian. That’s a political stance that isn’t uniform. Their citizenship is a bit different as well because they have special passports that allow them to travel pretty much freely throughout the US and Canada (I don’t think Mexico is included but it could be) and also work in either country without restriction.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted March 26, 2018 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

          Ah, so they’re privileged?

          cr

    • Posted March 27, 2018 at 11:38 am | Permalink

      One of the things that was outrageous about some proposals from the Conservative party in the last government was to introduce several levels of citizenship, effectively.

      Right now as far as I know there is absolutely no difference whatsoever on citizenship based on origin. (Unlike in the US where the President/VP have to be native born.)

      In a way calling attention to the matter the way the poster does seem to backfire. If they wanted to say that *citizens* have privilege over landed immigrants or refugees, etc. that would make sense, but …

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted March 27, 2018 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

        I hold dual citizenship & I argued, when that stupid citizenship thing came out, that I could be booted out if I committed the same crime as a Canadian, also born in Canada like me but with only one citizenship. One of my friends feared she’d end up stateless since she has dual citizenship with Australia and she is always thinking they will take it back.

    • eric
      Posted March 27, 2018 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

      Yeah that particular entry is IMO pretty ridiculous. While not a fan of the poster in general, i can at least see how some of the other entries could be worth thinking about. But I’m not sure how being a citizen at birth gets you much privilege, particularly since the difference between a naturalized citizen vs. born citizen is not something most people (including employers, co-workers, etc..) would even detect.

  4. Robert
    Posted March 26, 2018 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    I am 8/9, not a christian.
    I am disappointed that the organizers have neglected an “under age 70” box. I could have been 8/10.
    In fact, I feel a growing sense of aggrievement at having been ignored.

    • Posted March 26, 2018 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

      I feel pretty safe in guessing that those who failed to acknowledge this dimension of privilege are young people. They need to check their privilege.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted March 26, 2018 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

      Yes, I’d actually go for under 40. You are past your best before date after 40 as a female anyway. It gets worse as you age for both genders as you get treated like a child.

      • Posted March 27, 2018 at 6:42 am | Permalink

        Yes but the people who came up with this thing are probably under 40 and don’t want to be ticking too many of the boxes.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted March 26, 2018 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

      Yeah, good point on the age one. Another one is body image. Being overweight, especially if you’re a woman, leads to being treated less well.

      Privilege shouldn’t be a burden or source of guilt, but it’s sure as hell treated that way. Hetero CIS white men in particular are treated really badly in many contexts, and those who do it seem to think they deserve it just because of the way they were born. That’s no different to what was dished out by many hetero CIS white men in the past. It’s also making assumption about the attitudes etc of people without getting to know them.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted March 26, 2018 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

        Yes. Yelling and shaming people for just being born a certain way isn’t nice but the sad thing about a lot of intersectionality is that it doesn’t believe that people who are oppressed or lack privilege or whatever, can possibly be bigoted or racist. My answer is then is it okay to yell at me and call me a “white bitch”? Some would say yes.

        When I was in my 20s, and I am sure I told this story before, a “Take Back the Night” walk happened in front of a bar I was at with friends. One of the guys that was with us was yelled at by them as he was walking into the bar. The one person yelled “You! You are the reason we are out here!” Basically implying he was a rapist. Now, this person was on the fringe. He could go either way with feminism. Guess which way he went after that comment? I never supported “Take Back the Night” after that.

  5. Diana MacPherson
    Posted March 26, 2018 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    I’m not sure why Canadian citizen at birth is more privileged since all citizens regardless of having been born here or having attained citizenship later, are treated the same. I do not have more rights than my mother, who immigrated here and received citizenship later.

    I also find that economics are often left out – having access to funds so that you don’t worry about where you are going to live or where your next meal is coming from is a privilege, having the ability to pay for healthcare, not funded by the government, in Ontario (psychiatric care, dental care, money to pay for high parking fees at Ontario hospitals to receive treatment). This differs from being healthy or able-bodied (isn’t that term verboten now) because much of this is preventative and boy can I tell you what not being able to afford those services did to me.

    Then there is intellectual privilege: speaking more than one language, especially if that language is French because it’s an official language and a requirement for many jobs and almost all federal jobs.

    And even genetics – no genetic disease potential (BRCA mutation for example). Attractiveness, intelligence.

    The list is long.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted March 26, 2018 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

      Maybe the poster just wasn’t long enough but I think I’d want to call out the privilege of all university students. I certainly felt very privileged to be there when I was there and I was dirt poor (maybe that’s why I saw the privilege). I think starting with economics is a first step in understanding how privileged they themselves are even before moving into the rest.

      • Martin Levin
        Posted March 26, 2018 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

        Diana, The one thing purveyors of identity politics almost invariably ignore is class. (Okay, East Asains a lot, as well.) SJWs are flummoxed by working-class and poor whites. In addition, as a grandchild of immigrants from Russia, I feel privileged just living in Canada, tout court.

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted March 26, 2018 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

          Yes, that’s my experience too re: class being forgotten. Too marxist for them. LOL. As someone who worked hard to rise from what Canada would see as property and what most of the world would probably see as a pretty good existence, I feel completely privileged. I can only imagine how privileged I would appear to my Irish ancestors who came here during the Potato Famine or my NZ relatives who left Germany after WWI (and were Jews).

          • Gordon
            Posted March 26, 2018 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

            I was going to post on pretty much that point. Class seems to have vanished from political discourse.

            • Gordon
              Posted March 26, 2018 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

              I can’t resist posting this comment from a New Zealand paper today (by Chris Trotter commenting on a bit of a stoush about getting rid of old white men from company boards)

              “..the awkward thing about socialists: they’re forever bringing class into discussions about diversity.

              ‘How is inequality reduced by bringing an extremely wealthy businesswoman with reactionary views about Māori and the poor onto a company board?’, the socialists demand to know. ‘Wouldn’t a much more substantive blow for both diversity and equality be struck by appointing a 60-year-old working-class trade union secretary to the company’s board of directors? After all, a man who’s spent the last 40 years of his life scrutinising the company accounts and whose knowledge of the needs and capabilities of the workforce is second-to-none, is likely to bring many more progressive ideas to the table than a ruthless female lawyer from the Big End of Town.’

          • Heather Hastie
            Posted March 26, 2018 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

            No matter what your background, if you’re wealthy you have it easier in life. It’s the #1 factor in what kind of like you will have.

        • TJR
          Posted March 27, 2018 at 3:48 am | Permalink

          Indeed. I just can’t see how the privileged middle-class people who wrote the poster forgot to include class among the privileges.

      • Posted March 27, 2018 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

        Yes, “…economics is a first step in understanding how privileged they themselves are even before moving into the rest.” That may even be the biggest unmentionable.

    • rom
      Posted March 26, 2018 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

      Well I consider myself lucky being born in Canada. I am lucky that the British taxpayer paid the bulk of the burden of my education.

      Generally I am lucky, with a few not so small exceptions.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted March 26, 2018 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

        Yes and that luck becomes privilege. I was privilege to be able to go to university. I was privileged to live in a rich country with health care that I could access when I needed treatment for a life threatening illness. So, I’m lucky but I’m privileged compared to people in the world that don’t have access to such things and may be just as smart and have all the same obstacles as me.

        I’m also privileged compared to my friend. We both have chronic migraines but because I was able to be educated and get a job with benefits, I can afford the medication which is covered under my benefit plan. My friend wasn’t educated and now doesn’t have access to treatment because she can’t work. It’s luck that often leads to privilege. I’m privileged as a white woman here in Canada but maybe not so much in Saudi Arabia. So, lucky to be born in Canada and privileged through that luck.

        • rom
          Posted March 26, 2018 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

          Who bestows this privilege?

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted March 26, 2018 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

            I think the idea of privilege is based on the society you are in. This is nothing new. There is always privilege in a society.

            I don’t really have any issue with the posters or the awareness being generated unless it’s misused but I do find economics is almost always left our as a form a privilege.

          • rom
            Posted March 26, 2018 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

            I think in the posters there is an element of shaming or at least an attempt to.

            Living in Canada, I am happy it is a pseudo socialist country. I would be happy if it moved even more to an egalitarian position, assuming it could be done in a fiscally responsible manner.

            I think being lucky (as opposed to privileged) leads me to consider some actions I need to take to maintain my luck. And here I don’t mean voting for some Harper clone.

            The sort of thing I am thinking is helping people whom we might considered less privileged get out and stay out of the hole they find themselves in. Ultimately this will be to my benefit and luck (privilege).

    • Posted March 26, 2018 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

      Able to fold a french omelette in the pan. That’s a big one.

  6. Toni Jordon
    Posted March 26, 2018 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    Contrarian…

  7. Posted March 26, 2018 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    Their definition of privilege is much narrower than mine, and that of most dictionaries.

  8. rom
    Posted March 26, 2018 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    This whole thing is confounding luck and privilege.

    Am I lucky or privileged that I am intelligent?

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted March 26, 2018 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

      Probably both.

      • rom
        Posted March 26, 2018 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

        Well I am not completely a blank slate. If I remember Pinker correctly (from The Blank Slate) … possibly a lot of my attributes are attributable to my genetics and my peer group and less so to my parents.

        It would be an interesting argument that being born black is not privileged in some way.

        Partly tongue in cheek.

    • John Black
      Posted March 27, 2018 at 10:56 am | Permalink

      You didn’t earn your IQ. (Charles Murray likes to remind people of that.)

      • Davide Spinello
        Posted March 27, 2018 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

        By citing Charles Murray without saying that he is a Nazi you just proved to be a Nazi white supremacist genocidal maniac. And Privileged. Shame on you sir.

  9. PB
    Posted March 26, 2018 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    If we have to be ashamed of the bad stuff our ancestors did, why can’t we also be proud of the achievements of the West? Other societies have also had pretty horrific behaviours!

    Also: class and a family’s wealth are a better predictor of social deprivation and exclusion. All this just looks to me like elbow jostling amount the middle classes while the poor just look on.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted March 26, 2018 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

      Yes, I think the working poor especially would find this funny. Economics is consistently absent in identity politics and yet it is such an influencer in what becomes of you.

      • Posted March 26, 2018 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

        The Ctrl-Left do not care about influences what will become of a young person. They care who will destroy the Western civilization hated by them. Poor whites bitterly disappointed them in this respect, and I think there is no group SJWs hate more than poor whites.

  10. Randall Schenck
    Posted March 26, 2018 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    Doesn’t a school have more important things to be doing. Who is it that first said your problem is really just an opportunity.

    • Richard
      Posted March 27, 2018 at 3:16 am | Permalink

      I think it was General Curtis LeMay, SAC: “We don’t have problems in this command, we only have opportunities.”

  11. nicky
    Posted March 26, 2018 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    I notice -or would bet a good bottle of wine over it- that most of the posters:
    – are physically and mentally (well, some doubts about the latter) able.
    – have access to education, and higher education at that.
    – are probably cis-gender (98% of the population is)
    – are heterosexual with comparable probability
    – are mostly native English speakers
    – Duh, we are in Canada, is this a foreign initiative?
    – and white, yes.

    They are highly privileged indeed.
    I propose to de-platform these privileged Schnoozles. 🙂

    • nicky
      Posted March 26, 2018 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

      Note, my French is -or at last used to be- better than my English.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted March 27, 2018 at 1:43 am | Permalink

      “I propose to de-platform these privileged Schnoozles.”

      How ya gonna do that? Stop reading WEIT?

      [g]

      cr

  12. Jon Gallant
    Posted March 26, 2018 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    The agenda of equality of outcome, in which “everyone is rewarded exactly the same”, has two sources. One is the famous phrase “to each according to his need” in Marx’s Critique of the Gotha Program. The second is pre-school, where every toddler is given a prize. The contemporary pop-Left obviously owes its ideas to the latter rather than the former.

    As for the privilege cited in the first box of the poster, my old friend L. makes the perfect comment on this. L. is a polio survivor, has been wheelchair-bound for many years. He likes to refer to the rest of us as TAs, which stands for Temporarily Abled.

    • Posted March 26, 2018 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

      Marx was promising to each according to their need so that’s not an equal outcome if the needs aren’t the same. And he proposed from each according to their abilities. That’s a recognition some people are more able than others. Marx didn’t say what SJWs think he said.

      • Posted March 27, 2018 at 11:43 am | Permalink

        And moreover, it also allows *wants*, technically, to make things unequal. Some later socialists propose that you can fulfill wants with a market (if there still is one – this is where things diverge) or with exchanges of other kinds, so long as your fulfilling your wants don’t interfere with others needs.

        I don’t know how to do this practice, but I think the principle is correct (‘for life’ vs. ‘for fun’ – but we need fun to live, so …)

      • Posted March 27, 2018 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

        It’s been revised to read: ‘to each according to hyr/eir/zir intersectionalities, from each according to hyr/eir/zir spoons.’

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted March 26, 2018 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

      I like that – Temporarily Abled because it’s so true!!

      • Gordon
        Posted March 26, 2018 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

        A French movie I saw the other day had the coloured cleaner saying to the white cleaner “you white people don’t know what discrimination is until you hit 50”

  13. Posted March 26, 2018 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    What does it mean to be able-bodied mentally?

    Why are physical and mental disabilities always lumped in together?

    • Posted March 26, 2018 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

      Check your privilege:

      [ ] able to form a sensical bullet point

    • Posted March 27, 2018 at 11:43 am | Permalink

      Mental disabilities are ones of the brain, which is an organ like any other …

  14. Michael Fisher
    Posted March 26, 2018 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

    I ticked the boxes for Gus the semi-earless, snowy white cat & he got only 3 points [I assume he’s neutered]. This means he’s not highly privileged & yet we know he is. Rubbish test given that I assume these snowflakians aren’t speciesist.

  15. ladyatheist
    Posted March 26, 2018 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    I have always been aware of the ways in which being white gave me advantage over black people, and I never felt any personal guilt for it. I have also known a lot of people who are white who sincerely believe that they got where they are solely through their own hard work and perseverance. In the United States, that’s definitely not true and it doesn’t hurt a person to keep in mind that not having a social handicap is part of their success formula.

    Pointing out privilege goes against ideals of free will. The truth is that if you are a white man with a good job, it’s possible that the resume of an equally qualified candidate (or better candidate) wound up in the circular file because the name on it was “Caroline” or “Roberto” or “Muhammed” or “Lakisha.” The person who accepted the job offer will never be told that he had a leg up over other candidates by virtue of having bigot hiring managers. That’s a harsh reality, but it’s a definite possibility despite advances in EEO compliance.

    • BJ
      Posted March 26, 2018 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

      With diversity initiatives and affirmative action, it’s now also possible that if you’re a woman with a good job you got it over and equally qualified man (or, if you’re black, you got it over someone else equally qualified, or Muslim, or whatever). Everyone has privileges, and it’s unfair to any individual to ever assume they got where they are because of their race, sex, or other characteristic (aside from economic help), regardless of whether you assume they got it because of diversity initiatives/affirmative action, or because of being white/male/heterosexual/etc.

      • Gordon
        Posted March 26, 2018 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

        or these days because the way an algorithm in an HR system is configured (often badly)

      • ladyatheist
        Posted March 26, 2018 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

        Some companies have started stripping names from resumes & applications. The current state of affirmative action is not to elevate anyone in particular after the hiring process has begun, but to cast a wide net in advertising and recruiting.

        • BJ
          Posted March 27, 2018 at 9:57 am | Permalink

          But the current state of diversity initiatives does elevate some over others.

      • ladyatheist
        Posted March 26, 2018 at 10:38 pm | Permalink

        BTW, it’s not actually true that minorities and women have been “privileged” over white men because of EEO & Affirmative action.

        https://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/minorities-who-whiten-job-resumes-get-more-interviews

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted March 26, 2018 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

      It’s long been a disadvantage in American society not to be able to check all the boxes in the privilege list above. And for centuries, the inability to check some of those boxes served as a absolute bar, or at least a severe impediment, to upward mobility in American society. Many of those who can check all the boxes fail to understand this because inherent advantage is as much a part of the medium of their daily lives, and is thus as imperceptible to them, as water is to fish — which tends not to be missed until one winds up on dry land.

      Advantaged Americans got their first taste of the high-and-dry experience with the advent of affirmative action programs a few decades ago. But, as to the public sector at least, the Supreme Court has held that such programs are subject to “strict scrutiny” — which is to say, they must be narrowly tailored to meet a constitutionally permissible goal, such as overcoming a documented history of exclusionary practices. And now the Court is but one Republican appointee away from abandoning those programs completely.

      None of which, of course, speaks to the wisdom (or lack thereof) of this particular initiative at the University of Ontario.

  16. GBJames
    Posted March 26, 2018 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    I’m wracking my brain to remember who said it, but I’m coming more and more to agree with the view that Universities can either organize themselves to prioritize the search for truth or they can prioritize social action. It unfortunately seems to be more and more the case that the latter is becoming dominant.

    • Posted March 26, 2018 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

      Jonathan Haidt. And he uses Chicago and Brown as exemplars of the two directions.

      • GBJames
        Posted March 26, 2018 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

        Bingo. Thanks for the memory-jog.

  17. BJ
    Posted March 26, 2018 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    As others have noted, economic status/wealth is, as always, left out, despite it being the greatest factor in predicting success and, by extension, how the world will treat you/the luxuries you will have.

    I remember the Missou protests, which were led by a black student who claimed to be terribly oppressed. It came out that his father had made $8 million that year alone as the head of a railroad company. Still, he was considered to be oppressed.

    • BJ
      Posted March 26, 2018 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

      Regarding whether or not this is acceptable for a university: no, of course not, except in the sense that it’s allowed. But morally? As Jerry said, a university is supposed to be where ideology and ideas are discussed, not forced. Since this program is being run by the university, it’s clear that students are expected to agree and comply, and I find that to be terrifying, just as I would if a university had a program asking its students to recognize Christ and his works (unless that university is explicitly formed for Christian teaching and students).

      • Posted March 26, 2018 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

        To me, this is institutionalized bullying. And I find it far worse than your hypothetical program demanding recognition of Christ, because you can pay lip service to Christ and get them off you back, but you cannot change your skin color, sex or the other inherent traits you get shamed for.

        • BJ
          Posted March 27, 2018 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

          I most definitely agree with that assessment.

    • ladyatheist
      Posted March 26, 2018 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

      I was a poor, white child who went to college on 100% scholarship and now “pass” for lifelong middle class. If I were black, people would assume I was a poor child, but since I’m white a lot of people have said things that showed they assumed I had a privileged background.

      If you’re white, have all your teeth, and don’t talk like a Southerner, you have the privilege of looking middle class to others even if you’re not.

      • BJ
        Posted March 27, 2018 at 9:59 am | Permalink

        That’s nice, but socioeconomic status/wealth is still, by far, the number one factor in whether or not you will have a good life and be treated well by society. No other “privilege” compares, and yet this is the one that’s always left out. It makes people like me think the social justice crowd may just be deeply disingenuous.

  18. Posted March 26, 2018 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    9/10, or 10/10 if my baptism as a baby trumps my current atheism.

    However I still don’t see how being aware of my privileges is making me any more learned or responsible…than I already am. It’s not like I have a lot of power to change things.

    I also reject the premise that all of those are “unearned access to social power”. How is ‘access to education’ or being a ‘native English speaker’ an unearned privilege in Canada? We are taught both official languages at school. If you are comparing us to other countries, then why not add clean drinking water, medical care, social safety nets, etc.

    In addition, my parents immigrated to Canada with just 2 suitcases, and worked hard to provide us with the opportunities we had, and made education a priority.

    • Posted March 27, 2018 at 11:49 am | Permalink

      UOIT is in Oshawa, so I think being a francophone might be a disadvantage – and they do have many foreign students it seems. (25% of their graduate students, for example, according to Wikipedia.)

      Being a native speaker of English in parts of Quebec or amongst certain Quebecers, more correctly, is the opposite of a privilege too, of course. Especially when I was growing up – I certainly encountered bigotry.

      • Posted March 27, 2018 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

        Being a Francophone might be a disadvantage if UOIT is your only option, but I suspect there are other colleges or universities that would cover similar material in or close to Quebec.

        However a reason many students study at universities that are primarily a different language is to learn that language by immersion. eg. Some English-language students choose to study in France or Germany to learn French or German respectively. So if you can afford or have the opportunity to do that, couldn’t that be called privilege too??

        In that context aren’t minorities privileged to be living, working, or studying with the majority?? lol.

  19. kelskye
    Posted March 26, 2018 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

    The “membership in a dominant social group” is a red flag to me. This is where the insidiousness of the language really stands out – that to exist is enough to reap the benefits of it. Which I don’t think is true, or in many cases it’s true in a trivial way. And especially not something that gives social power by default. It might mean those things are easier statistically-speaking for one to obtain based on those traits, but I’d doubt there’s much more than a statistical correlation present. There are plenty of people who would check 9/9 on the list yet be on the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder that by those standards would be extremely privileged.

    (And that to me is an absurdity of the privilege rhetoric – plenty of people with little social standing, poor job skills or prospects, this despite being all of the things they are said to be privileged about.)

    The other thing that stands out is the “access to education” as a privilege to be checked rather than a right. Any failure for someone to have access to education should be any nation’s shame, because education is so vital to modern living and something we ought to strive for.

    • Posted March 26, 2018 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

      It’s the neo-marxist Critical Theory where one’s membership in a class is all that matters, not an individual’s talents and traits, and the distillation of all social interaction to a power struggle among those classes.

  20. Posted March 26, 2018 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    “privilege”
    “racialized communities”
    “colonization”
    “oppression of the transgender community”
    “rape culture”
    “consent”

    All nonsense or non-existent neologisms.
    Pure, unadulterated evil promulgated by totalitarians.

    • Helen Hollis
      Posted March 26, 2018 at 11:31 pm | Permalink

      Can you expound on how consent is All nonsense or non-existent neologisms?
      I did not give consent to be raised a JW.

      • Posted March 27, 2018 at 3:18 am | Permalink

        See the link to the university’s sexual consent policy.

    • Posted March 27, 2018 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

      Rape culture is, unfortunately, too real – but not where the SJWs are seeking it.

  21. Posted March 26, 2018 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

    How is “white” defined? Is it a matter of appearance, that everybody sees a person as white? Or does a person have to have no recent African/Asian/First People/etc. genetic input? Who is going to decide? Isn’t the goal to stop judging people on superficial traits?

  22. kelskye
    Posted March 26, 2018 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

    I’m also curious as to why the lists don’t include:
    * growing up wealthy
    * attending private schools
    * attending university
    * physically attractive
    * having strong social skills
    * having a high IQ
    Because from what I’ve read about studied in the soft sciences, these demonstrably make a difference to one’s success. I don’t think it fits into the ‘privilege’ rhetoric, because these aren’t the kinds of traits that are morally relevant to those that care about privilege.

  23. Posted March 26, 2018 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

    After reading some of these posts, I wonder why the privileged are so keen to deny it. They do protest too much, methinks…

    • Jessy Smith
      Posted March 26, 2018 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

      This is why I really hate this ‘check your privilege crap’. I don’t see why I should have to explain my problems to random strangers, in person or on the Internet, in order for my opinions to be of worth.

      I find it extremely demeaning.

      I could tell you my tale of woe and all my problems, but frankly I don’t think it’s yours or any ones business.

    • ladyatheist
      Posted March 26, 2018 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

      I have encountered quite a few white men who really don’t “get it.” They really believe they got where they are solely through hard work and other good moral behaviors.

      I challenge the white men reading this to send out copies of their resume with identical qualifications to a dozen recruiters. Put a whitey-white name on one, and minority names on the others. You might be surprised. EEO / Affirmative action really doesn’t give people a leg up or an advantage over white men.

      https://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/minorities-who-whiten-job-resumes-get-more-interviews

      • TJR
        Posted March 27, 2018 at 3:41 am | Permalink

        Depends where the job is. I strongly suspect a Japanese-sounding name will be better in Japan, a Brahmin-sounding name better in India and so on.

        • ladyatheist
          Posted March 27, 2018 at 6:43 am | Permalink

          I’m talking about the U.S. & Canada, of course.

    • BJ
      Posted March 27, 2018 at 12:04 am | Permalink

      Disagreement means guilt, apparently. You think like a witch hunter and wonder why people find your ideology repulsive, or think you might be using it to shame your outgroup.

      Also, interesting you assume that everyone who disagrees with you is automatically from the groups you consider privileged. What a privileged way of thinking. And, again, like a witch hunter.

      You made no argument, but demonstrated well why people do not find those with your beliefs trustworthy or pure in motive.

    • Posted March 27, 2018 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

      I have recently read a number of reports on the plight of US working-class mostly white males mostly of Christian background in flyover states. All articles stated that the life expectancy of these people was falling due to substance abuse, other health problems, and suicide. This was attributed to difficulty in finding job and desperation about the future.

      I think that, if any other group was affected this way, the authors would discuss how to help them. However, with the white working-class males, the only concern was that they would vote / voted for Trump.

      (I am a partly privileged European, i.e. white and of Christian background, but female.)

  24. Posted March 26, 2018 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    I claim the biggest unprivilegedness of all: left-handedness. The entire world for me is On. The. Wrong. Side. oppressing me every second of my life!

    I’m also triggered whenever I hear something described as ‘sinister’ — hate words like that are literal violence that literally kill southpaws.

    You dextrous bigots might scoff and try to erase my lived experience, but you’ve never been left-handed, so shut up and listen.

    Oh, and I want reparations.

    • Posted March 26, 2018 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

      My father was left-handed and his teachers tied his left hand down and forced him to learn to write with his right hand. Surprisingly enough, he had the most beautiful handwriting.

      • Posted March 27, 2018 at 3:18 am | Permalink

        They colonized his right hand.

      • Posted March 27, 2018 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

        Metoo! They “reformed” me, forced me to write with my right hand. Today we are a free society and teachers are more sensible. They just teach the kids to write, no matter which hand.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted March 27, 2018 at 1:53 am | Permalink

      You need to become an Arab then. Arabic is written right-to-left so you will immediately become privileged!

      cr

      • Posted March 27, 2018 at 11:51 am | Permalink

        I had a friend who went through the Jewish day school thing and of course learned Hebrew. He rejected a lot of the religious heritage, but he did say that as a lefty writing Hebrew was a relief!

      • Posted March 27, 2018 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

        Because my hand smeared the ink, I got C’s & D’s in penmanship, proof of the school-to-prison pipeline for southpaws & systemic anti-sinisterism.

  25. Posted March 26, 2018 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

    I remember, when I was highschool, seeing a similar flyer. Except it was for some Christian club, and it was a list of your ‘Sins’.

    Seems like a similar strategy, honestly…

  26. chris moffatt
    Posted March 26, 2018 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

    If I am privileged, which is arguable using that list, it is because the deterministic Universe is unfolding as it must. I can’t help it; it’s not in my control. Sorry!

    • Posted March 26, 2018 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

      So, you at least partly agree with the posters. Didn’t you notice that they define privilege as something over which you have no control (as in: unearned)?

  27. Posted March 26, 2018 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

    U Ontario is a mad house. Its policy on consent makes it essentially impossible for two people to have sex legally. It also defines anything that “enforces traditional heterosexual gender norms, roles, or behaviours” as sexual assault.

    https://usgc.uoit.ca/policy/policy-library/policies/legal,-compliance-and-governance/policy-on-sexual-violence-for-students-and-procedures-for-responding-to-incidents-of-sexual-violence.php

    • BJ
      Posted March 27, 2018 at 10:01 am | Permalink

      That was a terrifying read! I mean that in all seriousness and without exaggeration.

    • Posted March 27, 2018 at 11:54 am | Permalink

      I think you’re misreading this – it is *harassment* based on that. So you can be punished for telling someone to “stop acting gay”, or whatever.

      • Posted March 27, 2018 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

        Look again: “Gender-based harassment that enforces traditional heterosexual gender norms, roles, or behaviours” is listed as one of the offenses that constitute “sexual harassment” which “is a form of Sexual Violence ….

        And what, exactly, constitutes enforcement of traditional heterosexual gender norms, roles or behaviors? Who gets to decide? This is exceedingly dangerous.

        In any case, it is sheer madness to criminalize telling someone to ‘stop acting gay’. I have gay friends who say stuff like that — are they exempt?

  28. Posted March 26, 2018 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

    Many of the privileges listed (and more unlisted) have accrued to a large number of us based on the hard work and efforts of our ancestors. Hopefully, we have been taught to carry forward these benefits in our own lives to our children, grandchildren, etc., and the communities we live in.

    As with so many of our ancestors, mine immigrated, no easy task. And, their progeny continued to go where it was deemed possible to become more privileged through hard work, education and land ownership. In many cases, there were extended periods of farm labor for others and menial jobs to feed the family. In 1941, my father paid off the Missouri hospital bill for my birth by working on an Iowa farm at a $1.00 milking cows morning and evening and cutting corn all day.

    As recently as my grandmother’s time, she was able to obtain no more than a 3rd grade education due to the economic instability of her family. My mother and father received 8th grade educations but were capable of doing anything they wanted or needed to do because of their native intelligence and drive. They ensured that my brother and I had access to books (bi-weekly visits to the library that we were privileged to be near)and that education was emphasized. We both were privileged to be considered advanced students, graduated from high school and had some college (I subsequently obtained a BA and MA on my own with the support of my husband and children).

    These privileges have gone from generation to generation, and may they continue to do so. My grandson just graduated from university with an engineering degree. My family, and others, are evidence of the privilege of familial influences including innate intelligence, some good decisions and hard work, and an emphasis on education.

    • Posted March 26, 2018 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

      Sorry. That’s “$1.00 a day”. And corn cutting was hard work. Wish I could show you the kind of knife Dad used that fit in the palm on a hand glove.

    • Posted March 26, 2018 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

      My father’s side were Minnesota farmers and my mother’s were Nova Scotia coal miners. I really don’t have to say any more about privileges except to caution folks that this is a harbinger of things to come. It is easier to take things away from those who didn’t earn them fairly.

    • ladyatheist
      Posted March 26, 2018 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

      Being white and Christian (or European, really) and straight are privileges even if you’re poor. Privilege no longer means “rich.”

      If you’re a poor black person and you do all the things you and your family did, you will still be a black person after earning your MA and making a good income. You may be pulled over for minor traffic offenses, passed over for promotions, or ignored by professional organizations. You may find the house you’re looking at has a contract on it that was *just* signed. So sorry.

      I grew up poor and went to good schools on scholarship. Nobody would ever think “I bet she grew up in a ghetto.” If I were black, I think they might.

      Whiteness is an invisible privilege. You can’t know how your life would have been different if you were black or hispanic.

      • Davide Spinello
        Posted March 27, 2018 at 9:24 am | Permalink

        Whiteness is an invisible privilege that operates in mysterious ways. Who are we to judge the inscrutable plans of whiteness?

      • Posted March 27, 2018 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

        Whites also get abused. As was reported in other posts on this site, a white professor named Brett Weinstein refused to leave the campus of the Evergreen University on a day when white people were ordered out and this started a chain of vilification and mayhem that ended with him and his wife (also a teacher) leaving the university. A white Canadian teaching assistent named Lindsay Shephard was verbally abused by 3 professional bullies. One of them, a non-white male, after bringing her to tears, accused her of trying to manipulate him by her “white woman’s tears”.

        Anyway, if a white person, say, urgently needs a better health insurance than the one he has, the last thing he needs is to be lectured about his white or male privilege. I think this is one of the reasons why the Democrats lost the last elections.

        • Davide Spinello
          Posted March 27, 2018 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

          And they will loose again because they are obtusely playing the same game (the little intersectionalist authoritarian) even more hysterically.

        • Posted March 27, 2018 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

          For the past 8 years, the Dems have gone out of their way to alienate middle class whites – who only happen to the the biggest bloc among the electorate.

          • Davide Spinello
            Posted March 27, 2018 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

            You sir are a racist misogynist patriarchal dinosaur who refuses to appreciate the progressiveness of Lena Dunham (oh my gooooshhhh) calling for the extinction of white heterosexual white men right before the elections. I really don’t understand why they would vote for Trump rather than following her loving and progressive advise.

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted March 27, 2018 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

          No one is saying whites can’t experience bigotry but they experience it much less than non whites.

          • Posted March 27, 2018 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

            I am not sure. Think of the estimated thousands of little British girls who were enslaved by non-white pimps and the police turned a blind eye because didn’t want to be seen protecting white victims from non-white perpetrators. And we are talking about treatment of whites in white-majority countries. In many non-white-majority countries, whites would be treated far worse, actually wouldn’t be let to immigrate in the first place.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted March 27, 2018 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

        You make some good points here. I think economic background has bearing on privilege but even if you overcome your background and you are non-white, you are not going to be on level footing with other whites in your class. A white person isn’t going to have to worry about being randomly harassed for their race in the same way a black person does.

        No one is saying white people don’t face bigotry, it’s just with non-whites it’s a lot more often and a lot more given as the norm.

  29. Posted March 26, 2018 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

    Reblogged this on The Logical Place.

  30. Posted March 26, 2018 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

    Everything on the first poster is correct, if you use the (tendentiously narrow) definition of “privilege” on the second.

    * Awareness … should not be a burden: correct, because it’s a privilege, the very opposite of a burden. Being aware of an advantage is itself advantageous, generally speaking.

    * Should not be a source of guilt: correct, and a no brainer. These are generally things you’re born with, or (e.g. in the case of Christianity) brought up with. To the extent anyone has a choice about them – take Christianity as an example again – it would be absurd to ask them to make a different choice for the sake of the distribution of social power. So, guilt would make no sense.

    * Awareness … is an opportunity to learn: correct, and it’s an interesting and useful subject to learn about.

    * Opportunity to work toward a more just world: Yes. Duh.

    Give the devil his due, man.

    • ladyatheist
      Posted March 26, 2018 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

      Guilt only applies to people who think they earned everything they have solely through hard work. If you were born on the fifth run of a ten-rung ladder, being aware of the people born on the other rungs is just being compassionate and self-aware.

  31. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted March 26, 2018 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

    How do I check my privilege? Someone should be able to tell me if I am doing it rong.

    • Davide Spinello
      Posted March 27, 2018 at 9:27 am | Permalink

      By asking this question you are guilty.

  32. another fred
    Posted March 26, 2018 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

    I’m confused. Does working three different part-time jobs while I worked my way through engineering school count as a “privilege”?

    • ladyatheist
      Posted March 26, 2018 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

      No. Speaking standard English and being white, cisgender etc. count as “privilege.” The old definition of privilege as being rich is no longer used. We just call rich people “rich” now.

      • Richard
        Posted March 27, 2018 at 3:42 am | Permalink

        So someone like Oprah Winfrey or Michael Jordan (black billionaires) is actually less privileged than po’ white trash living in a trailer park.

        Just shows how ridiculous the whole notion of “privilege” has become.

        • ladyatheist
          Posted March 27, 2018 at 6:42 am | Permalink

          Henry Louis Gates was arrested for trying to get into his own home when he had locked himself out.

          It’s not right to cite a few exceptions (from entertainment & sports) to say racial disparity doesn’t exist.

          • Davide Spinello
            Posted March 27, 2018 at 9:34 am | Permalink

            Exactly. Anecdotal evidence may be misleading.

          • BJ
            Posted March 27, 2018 at 10:06 am | Permalink

            I remember a story like that about a local white man a few years ago. He tried to get into his house through the window at night after losing his keys and was arrested after a neighbor called the cops. Of course, it din’t receive national coverage because he wasn’t black, and thus it didn’t fit the narrative being promoted. That sounds like Henry Louis Gates had privilege in getting his story noticed.

            Also, it’s not fair to cite just a few exceptions…

          • Richard
            Posted March 27, 2018 at 10:40 am | Permalink

            But you have just stated that being white counts as privilege and being rich does not. Then, when I point out that this leads to the ridiculous conclusion that a black multi-billionaire is less privileged than a dirt-poor white person, you start talking about “racial disparity” – a quite different thing from “privilege”.

            I can only think that you believe that privilege is like Original Sin, and that all white people are automatically born with it, and all black people without it; and that remains unalterable throughout their lives, regardless of what they may do in those lives.

            • Davide Spinello
              Posted March 27, 2018 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

              Indeed I feel so bad for Jay Z and Beyonce. I hope that their children will be fine.

          • Posted March 27, 2018 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

            No, Henry Gates got arrested for being belligerent and uncooperative with the police and for refusing to identify himself as the homeowner. He was looking for a fight so he could grand-stand and cry ‘racism’. It’s his entire schtick.

            Gates had the privilege of being a highly-paid Harvard professor who lived in the type of tony neighborhood where neighbors call the cops if they see someone breaking down your door when you’re out of town.

  33. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted March 26, 2018 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

    I agree with the first five lines of the first poster. From there on I get increasingly suspicious. I can’t disagree with the proposition but…

    It’s a bit like a right-winger mentioning ‘family values’ – who could disagree with those?

    I expect I could find five lines in a speech by Hitler that would be so unexceptional and praiseworthy that everyone here would agree with them. It’s the context that starts to make me uneasy.

    cr

  34. Posted March 26, 2018 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

    I got 5/9, but I highly doubt they’d consider an Asian “underprivileged”.

    • Posted March 26, 2018 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

      I also wonder how many who see this poster can leave “Access to education” blank.

      • Posted March 27, 2018 at 11:56 am | Permalink

        Well, I think they’d say you’re illustrating the point – a university needs support staff of various kinds to function. In some places they get benefits for education, but sometimes not – and it is still hard to take advantage, especially for oneself.

  35. FB
    Posted March 26, 2018 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

    Why the list doesn’t include some privileges that are far more important than being Christian, or male, or native English speaker, or Canadian?

    I’m sure a short, white, Christian, born and raised in Canada, shy, bald and with ugly teeth guy could be much less privileged than, say, a tall, atheist, extrovert and very good looking bisexual latina living in Canada.

    • ladyatheist
      Posted March 26, 2018 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

      Nope, probably not.

      • FB
        Posted March 26, 2018 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

        Not possible? Why?

        • Richard
          Posted March 27, 2018 at 3:52 am | Permalink

          Because it conflicts with her ideology.

          • ladyatheist
            Posted March 27, 2018 at 6:45 am | Permalink

            No, because studies have shown that whiteness is a powerful privilege. Also, maleness. I have had the experience many times of bringing up something in a meeting, either being ignored or getting a perfunctory response, then having a man say the exact same thing and having the idea adopted as brilliant. Steam comes out of my ears every time but what can I do? I wouldn’t want to be “strident” or “bitchy.”

            • FB
              Posted March 27, 2018 at 8:15 am | Permalink

              You should visit places where people do work that nobody wants to do. The most important privileges are beauty, intelligence, good parents, and inherited wealth. In that order.

            • Davide Spinello
              Posted March 27, 2018 at 9:48 am | Permalink

              Studies have also shown that women are much more verbally abusive to other women that men are (both online and in real life).

            • BJ
              Posted March 27, 2018 at 10:16 am | Permalink

              And men have never had bad experience for being men ever. This is just one of the many problems with privilege theory: once you’ve decided on who is privileged and who is oppressed, you block out any and all privileges the “oppressed” ever receive, and perceive all privileges the “privileged” received regardless of whether or not they even exist.

              Would you call it male privilege to have men dying nearly four times as often by suicide? Or being nearly 80% of violent crime victims? Or being given 50% longer prison sentences for the same crimes? Prostate cancer both affects and kills the same number of men every year as breast cancer does women, but receives almost no coverage in comparison. We could go on and on because you’ve blocked out every disadvantaged faced by the groups you deem privileged.

              I imagine that, if women were dying by suicide at nearly four times the rate of men, we would be having a years-long national conversation on what a tragedy this is, and how it must be the result of sexism and women’s lack of privileged position in society. The same can be said of other issues where men are affected far more than women. They would all be on your list of oppression women suffer if the facts were the other way around, but they’re instead ignored entirely.

              • Posted March 27, 2018 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

                I think that prostate cancer is underprivileged by its position. We also do not hear much about colorectal cancer, which has a similar position and is an important killer of patients of both sexes.

              • Posted March 27, 2018 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

                My observation is that it is unproductive to discuss the problems that affect mostly men. They (the men) have a culture of independence and not showing weakness, esp. to women. They are less likely than women to seek and receive help, even when they are breaking under stress. Frankly, they sometimes remind to me of the anecdotal Spartan boy who let a fox disembowel him. To get somewhere with these problems, they must be reframed. For example, when I say that I’d like to see more men married, I talk about their duty, rather than about the beneficial effects of a happy marriage on the husband.

              • BJ
                Posted March 27, 2018 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

                That’s an interesting perspective, Maya, and one I hadn’t considered before. But it can’t be the only answer. Society as a whole (and ever the more as it becomes influenced by privilege and social justice theory) views problems that disproportionately affect men as far less important. I’m not sure how that can be changed, as it does make evolutionary sense. Regardless, the fact that such problem are not only ignored, but that people are often chastised by privilege theorists and social justice types when they bring these problems up, demonstrates the disingenuous nature of framing their ideology as being concerned with privilege.

            • Posted March 27, 2018 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

              This happened so often in my graduate classes that I had to take action to prevent it, including making sure people got credit for their ideas, each subsequent speaker addressed the previous comment or said “I want to change the subject, etc.” The domineering behavior of men in classes is very clear, and I see it as a form of sexism. So in that sense, there is male self-entitlement.

              • FB
                Posted March 29, 2018 at 8:44 am | Permalink

                “Domineering behavior” is the problem. In my example I said the guy was shy and the woman extrovert. Being extrovert (or not being shy) is probably one of the greatest privileges.

  36. barael
    Posted March 27, 2018 at 3:51 am | Permalink

    Someone seems to have left the motte and the bailey doctrine right next to each other. Oops.

  37. TJR
    Posted March 27, 2018 at 4:03 am | Permalink

    For what it’s worth, my proposal for an improved list of the most important privileges

    Middle or upper class
    Living in the first world
    Good health
    Good looks
    High intelligence

    • Davide Spinello
      Posted March 27, 2018 at 9:49 am | Permalink

      Canada’s prime minister checks almost all boxes in your list.

      • Posted March 27, 2018 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

        Not the last one, though.

        • Davide Spinello
          Posted March 27, 2018 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

          In order to be prime minister it is better to have a famous last name than to be intelligent.

  38. Richard Sanderson
    Posted March 27, 2018 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    Study Maoism, and the Red Guards, and these dog-whistles about “privilege” suddenly make sense……

  39. smegma
    Posted March 27, 2018 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    For what it’s worth, the University of Ontario isn’t what you would call top, or even a middle tier post-secondary institution. In fact, it’s called a university only in name (which is some b.s.); it’s a technical college. So, I wouldn’t worry too much about the reach of this message. This is the first time I’ve even heard of the college and I don’t live too far from it.
    Aside from that, what about other advantages like being good looking, having big boobs, being tall, having blue eyes, being thin, etc. There are so many different things in ones life that can afford one certain privileges that the whole effort seems infinitely reductive and ultimately pointless. Also, if you’re a materialist like Coyne and other folks that read this blog (including me) it would come as no surprise to say that none of us can in any way claim any responsibility for earning access to power. All of us are shaped by forces we have little control over, so what good would it do to state such an obvious point…unless, of course the point is to be a bigoted a-hole.

    • Posted March 27, 2018 at 11:58 am | Permalink

      It *does* have graduate programs, so university does seem appropriate.

  40. Jon Gallant
    Posted March 27, 2018 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    Rowena Kitchen notes that she enjoyed the privilege of hard-working parents who ensured that their children had access to books and took advantage of education. We must bear in mind that these advantages her family passed down have all been reclassified as demerits, for which she will be taxed when the utopia of Social Justice is established.

    In that radiant future, there will be no “privileges” except for those bestowed by the revolutionary party-state, under the direction of a supreme leader with the omniscience of the late lamented general-secretary Stalin, Chairman Mao, or Commandante Fidel. World-historical geniuses of that quality may already be among us, such as in student protest groups, among the organizers of the Women’s March, in the Nation of Islam, and even in the University of Ontario administration.

  41. Posted March 27, 2018 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    Agree with you. I am tall and white(ish) and male and didn’t ask to be members of some group on that basis. I suffered from discrimination because of my membership in “that group.” It is stupid. I try very hard to consider each and every person as an unique individual and not to stereotype them and now we are making stereotyping into an effing college course.

    On Mon, Mar 26, 2018 at 2:01 PM, Why Evolution Is True wrote:

    > whyevolutionistrue posted: “These posters are part of an official > initiative at the University of Ontario, the RISE initiative. I checked all > the boxes save one (I’m not a Canadian citizen). For some reason this > bothered me. And then I realized that it’s because this kind of stuf” >

  42. Chris Laraia
    Posted March 27, 2018 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

    I think a reason why this bothers a lot of us is that the phrase “check your privilege” preemptively implies guilt. It’s assuming that we’re all uncouth barbarians screaming expletives at strangers all day.

    It’s this idea that only these very, very young people have any idea how to treat each other. The rest of us are obviously doing it all wrong.

    For the over whelming majority of society, we treat each other as we want to be treated with a general dose of fairness and civility. Work requires us all to act this way even when we’re having a bad day.

    What I want to know is what, specifically, I’m supposed to be doing other than treating people fairly as I would want to treated?

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted March 27, 2018 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

      I think “check your privilege” also has been used to silence discussion.

  43. Posted March 27, 2018 at 10:00 pm | Permalink

    I think most people here are agreed that when the concept of “privilege” is used to silence people, bully people, make people feel guilty, etc., it is not a good thing. But it seems like some folks here want to claim that the concept itself makes no sense, or that economic status is all that matters, or that in some ways black people actually have more “privilege” than white people. Perhaps this will be a useful contribution to the discussion, then. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/mar/27/race-trump-class-black-americans


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