Wednesday, January 15, 2014


Talking with my wife tonight, we talked quite a bit about the idea of privilege, and why I'm tired of hearing about it.

First, it is absolutely vital that everyone on the planet keeps an eye out for their own assumptions and why they have them. It would have helped Mitt Romney look significantly less retarded, for example. And people who say things like, "Why don't they just speak English," or, "Well, I haven't ever heard that (as if somehow ignorance undoes reality)," do definitely need to do some privilege checking. But here's the problem I have:

There's a tendency in children's movie writing to make simple things the object. In watching a documentary on the Bronie phenomena, they discussed how the cartoon is all about friendship and teaching lessons and junk. How didactic of it. I can't help but feel that in media aimed at children there's this unfortunate tendency to make the given the point. Yes: of course you're friends. So were Luke and Han and Enkidu and Gilgamesh, but so the fuck what? What next? And then what? Well, and then Luke and Han murder the shit out of a space murderball, and Enkidu and Gilgamesh murder some stuff. But with children's stuff, the fact that Enkidu has a friend is the ultimate point. The fact that Luke has a friend is the central theme. You'll note that older children's faire doesn't make the simple the ultimate.

When was the last time you felt scandalized that a woman or a black man were seen out and about voting? You'd have to scrounge quite thoroughly to encounter such a person in America. And if you did, it's probably be in the perennially stereotypable South.

That's how it is with privilege. It's basic, it's given, it isn't the end result, but the step right before, "Yeah? So?" It's the morning shit just after the coffee and before you leave the house: necessary, but you don't really make a big deal out of it (usually). Yes, Mitt, we all know you're ridiculously wealthy. Yeah? So? Ah. I see. You are crazy constipated.

This notion of "check your privilege" has become something like describing your disgusting I-had-nothing-but-whiskey-and-Taco-Bell morning shits to total strangers in that if you do that, there can be no more conversation. It's a real showstopper. If you make privilege the point of all discussions about racial sensitivity, well, there can't really be anything after the ultimate point, can there? Imagine how many conversations must be stopped cold because someone's told they need to "check their privilege." Oh shit, I am white, so that bars me from speaking about anything. I guess you win. Or don't. Or whatever: we're arguing, not playing checkers. Is there really a winner?

But again, I am white, and I made sure to visit the best porcelain bowl before I hit the road.

Yeah? So?