I am a white male. I was born like this. It seems to be a pattern. I was born into a family of white skinned people. Some of them are male and some of them are female. It never seemed to be a problem until recently when a group of victim-based advocates starting screaming at the top of their lungs. According to these pundits I am a criminal and should spend the rest of my life apologizing because I am a white male. Somehow I am told that the only reason for my achievements and accolades was because of the color of my skin and the sex organs between my legs. I had this evil curse of "white privilege" as if my skin were stained orange and I was carrying the plaque.
This sounds like an altogether familiar story. It is very similar to the Catholic story that I was brought up with as well. Under the Catholic tradition, all beings are born into the world with original sin stained to their soul. This is forever a black mark put there because of the evil doings of Adam and Eve in the famous Garden of Eden Biblical story. Apparently Eve was tempted by the devil and picked and ate one of the forbidden fruits and she and Adam now had to leave the garden to forever be stained and punished. All of their off spring now suffered from this original sin. This marking is often referred to as "shame." Shame tells one that you are worthless and flawed just by being born and you will just have to live with it.
If these two stories sound familiar than you are correct. We are all dealt a hand when we are born. Some of us are tall, dark and handsome. Others are short, fat and pimpled. Some are born into wealthy families. Others are greeted by slum conditions and disease when they first arrive. One should not have to apologize because of the appearance of their body or the tribe they were born into.
This bashing of people had come to the surface when I watched a television interview where Gail King (a black woman) was interviewing Presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke (a white man). Ms. King opened up on Mr. O'Rourke like a volley of cannons shooting off. She was adamant that Mr. O'Rourke should reconsider being in the race for the Presidency because he was a white male and she had insinuate that he had gotten all of his success because of his white male status. Ms. King believed that only minorities and women should be running for President this time around. He did everything he could besides getting on his knees and asking for forgiveness to explain why being a white male should not preclude him from the Presidential race.
I have never heard more manure spitting dialog than I had at that moment. The hypocrisy of it all. The only reason that Gail King has a job as a news anchor is because she is best friends with Oprah Winfrey. Ms. King has "Oprah Privilege." As it turns out Oprah has had the ability to turn people into stars who would never have been discovered. She made stars out of Dr. Oz, Dr. Phil, Rachel Ray, Deepak Chopra and many others. They all climbed the ladder of success, wealth and influence because they all received the gift of "Oprah Privilege". Yet, I do not hear Gail King or any of the others having to apologize for this unfair advantage that they received to get to where they are now.
Whether you were born into it, worked hard to get it or where just darn lucky, nobody should have to apologize for the privileges that they have received. Most people have some form of privilege over others whether they are willing to admit it or not. Most people who might read this article are Americans. Americans certainly have far more privileges than most people in the world. Do I hear any people having to apologize for being an American? The people who often complain about privilege are those who seem left out. When those same people are embellished with privilege they suddenly become silent.
Privileges come in many shapes and sizes. There is no doubt that being white has allowed many to have some benefits over others. Primarily shaped by a white European system, America has a white, Anglo Saxon, Christian base to it. This includes the monetary system, the language, the penal code, the educational system and many more elements. It is certainly easier for a white person to hail a taxi than others "of color." Very few whites are pulled over by police officers just for driving down the road.
However, most people of all shapes, sizes and colors experience times of privilege. Owning an American Express credit card can provide you with many special privileges over others. This includes travel privileges, first in line to buy concert tickets, unlimited spending limits, concierge services and emergency travel evacuation privileges. When owning one of these credit cards you are certainly part of the elite of society.
When boarding an airplane there are many privileged statuses. First on board are generally the first-class passengers because they are the elite of customers having spent several times the amount of a coach passenger for the same trip. Next comes the handicapped, elderly, families with children and of course those with emotional support animals. If you are a normal well to do traveler you might be boarding last because there are so many before you with so many special privileges.
The handicapped in society have garnished all sorts of special privileges. They have the right to park in special parking places, board airlines early, jump up to the front of the line at the DMV and have special seating at public events like movies and concerts. Should we criminalize them because of their special privileges that they receive?
Military members receive many special privileges as well. There are special airport lounges just for them, many discounts available in stores and they receive the GI Bill when they return back to society which might help them go to college or purchase a home. There are many veteran's benefits available to just veterans (and their dependants) like health care and dental care. Veterans can buy a home without a down payment and burial is free for them when they die.
Native Americans have many special privileges that the rest of us do not enjoy. Some Alaskan Native American tribes are the only Americans allowed to hunt whales. Whale hunting has always been a part of their culture and they have a unique status of being allowed to hunt and kill whales to feed their families. No other American has this privilege.
Native Americans also have the special privilege of opening up and running a gaming casino just because of their race. While there are casinos in such cities like Las Vegas and Atlantic City, these are not raced based endeavors. No Irish Americans or Italian Americans are allowed to open up a gaming casino based on their race. In fact, to share in the profits of these gambling riches, one must prove the authenticity of one's heritage or be left out in the cold when the pay outs come in. Someone who is a "half blood" might receive quite a bit less income from gambling compared to a "full blood."
Another group who receives daily privileges are senior citizens. Every day we are bombarded with senior citizen discounts from coffee shops to grocery stores. Seniors are often allowed to cut in the front of lines and have the privilege of getting a seat on a bus when everything is full. Should we be criminalizing senior citizens for all of their privileges?
Students are another group of privileged class. Look how many student discounts you see from the fare paid at amusement parks to the admissions at county museums. This group is especially catered to because we imagine that they are all poor, without jobs and just trying to get an education. We bend over backwards with special privileges for students because we often feel sorry for them.
While we can agree that America has been dominated by white males for quite some time you might be surprised at how many privileges that women enjoy. For instance, female models are paid far more than their male counterparts. I do not see any feminist standing up for equal pay for male models any time soon. Women also have the most privilege when it comes to maternity rights and alimony. When going through child custody proceedings, it is most common for the female to either receive joint custody or full custody of the children. Rarely will a male get full custody over a female.
When it comes to alimony payments women certainly have far more privileges. Currently there are about 400,000 people receiving spousal support after a marriage break up. Out of this number only 4% are male while nearly 40% of households are headed by female bread winners. When it comes to paternity rights nearly 100% of the time privileges are granted to the female. If a male and female engage in sex and a child is the result, the male has almost no rights as to whether to keep the baby or not. All the privileges and rights are donned upon the female as to whether to keep the baby. The male will have no right and no privilege.
Teachers who have achieved the status of "tenure" enjoy privileges far beyond those of their "untenured" colleagues. A tenured professor is allowed to maintain his job without firing even under the most bizarre of circumstances. A bad teacher who is tenured will remain on the job despite his sinking performance. They are not subject to arbitrary dismissal but have the privilege of having "made it". Tenure allows for job security to the privileged who can achieve it.
Having a government job offers far more privileges than the average private sector job. While a government job might not provide the high level of financial rewards found in private sector jobs, the other privileges can be monumental. For instance, most government jobs (teachers, fire fighters, police officers, city clerks etc.) provide the perks of life time health care, a retirement package and ample vacation time. In addition, you mostly have job security. It is very difficult to fire a government employee as they have special privileges. In many private sector, non-union jobs employees are hired at an "at will" basis. This means that they could be let go at any time for no reason at all.
Members of Congress enjoy far more privileges than the average American. Some members of Congress come with their own security detail and transportation corps. Members of Congress can receive a generous pension if they served at least 5 years in office and have the "Cadillac" of health care plans. They are protected by sexual harassment lawsuits and cannot be sued for libel or slander.
We do not often speak of black privilege but it is there right in front of us. Blacks are the only race allowed to speak freely about race issues. Blacks usually have the privilege of being chosen first when it comes to sports, no matter what their talent level is. Most coaches, general managers and scouts just assume that a black athlete is more athletic than athletes of other racial groups. Blacks have the privilege of receiving special scholarships to colleges, universities, law schools and medical schools. This is called "Affirmative Action." Black privilege also allows blacks to form special groups or societies specifically based on race. These groups might be some of the following: The Black Congressional Caucus, The Black Firefighter's Association, The Black Librarian's Association.
If you were born into a wealthy family, have a celebrity parent or a parent who was professional sports star, you will have privileges far beyond the ordinary person. You might have been the bat boy in the dug out while your father was playing major league baseball. You might have had a backstage pass as your mother was singing in a musical on Broadway. You might have met people and done things that ordinary people never even dreamed of doing. This is the privilege that you were born into.
One could reasonably argue for the existence of Asian privilege. When deciding on who to let into a college or university an admissions assistant will most always choose an Asian student over others. While this idea is never publically broadcast it exists behind the curtain. Asians are generally more studious with better grades than most other ethnicities, have a quiet demeanor and do not cause trouble. You could not ask for a better student body. When applying for jobs in the tech field Asians have privilege as it is assumed that they are more highly trained in the tech world just because of their Asian ethnicity and tech knowledge. Technology just comes natural to them.
There also exists poverty privilege. While most middle class workers struggle to pay their bills and are on the edge of their seats at the end of the month to just make it, many of the nations' poor have far more privileges. The poor often receive vouchers for Section 8 housing which is provided by the government. Their health care is free or low cost with the Affordable Care Act. Meanwhile a middle income household is buried each month just to pay their huge monthly medical insurance bills. These middle income families make just a little too much money to qualify for the ObamaCare discount. In addition, poor people receive free groceries in the form of welfare, often subsidized utility bills and at times free transportation to and from where they need to go. The working class person does not get
Sports are inherently not fair. A college football team can year after year recruit the best available stock of draft choices. Notably, Alabama in the college football world comes to mind. This is their privilege. They have the greatest chance of winning because they have acquired the most elite talent. In professional baseball, the New York Yankees have had the most World Series titles over the course of the last hundred years. The New York Yankees are blessed to be in a large city market with their own television network that pours an abundance of money onto the team. The New York Yankees get the best players and have privilege because they most often have the most money to spend on creating a team. This is not fair to the rest of baseball but this is the privilege that they acquire.
Should the German people have to continue to apologize for what the Nazi's did during WWII? I think not. Should the global community have to apologize for hundreds of years of slaughtering whales? I think not. Just learn from history and move on. Should the Mayan culture have to apologize for all of the females sacrificed to the gods hundreds of years ago? I think not.
The disease of our time is not so much privilege but that of political correctness. Political correctness has woven its blasphemous tentacles into many realms of our society. Political correctness is a way of pointing fingers at others and blaming someone else for your poor choices.
Privilege exists across the board from grade schools to executive offices. Religious groups, sports groups, and ethnic groups all have benefitted from privilege. When people do not have privilege they complain about it. When they are the ones who posses the privilege they suddenly become silent. After all, Abraham Lincoln came from a privileged white class. According to history books, he seemed to do a few good things while in office.