by: Tal Fortgang
There is a phrase that floats around college campuses, Princeton being no exception, that threatens to strike down opinions without regard for their merits, but rather solely on the basis of the person that voiced them. “Check your privilege,” the saying goes, and I have been reprimanded by it several times this year. The phrase, handed down by my moral superiors, descends recklessly, like an Obama-sanctioned drone, and aims laser-like at my pinkish-peach complexion, my maleness, and the nerve I displayed in offering an opinion rooted in a personal Weltanschauung. “Check your privilege,” they tell me in a command that teeters between an imposition to actually explore how I got where I am, and a reminder that I ought to feel personally apologetic because white males seem to pull most of the strings in the world.
I do not accuse those who “check” me and my perspective of overt racism, although the phrase, which assumes that simply because I belong to a certain ethnic group I should be judged collectively with it, toes that line. But I do condemn them for diminishing everything I have personally accomplished, all the hard work I have done in my life, and for ascribing all the fruit I reap not to the seeds I sow but to some invisible patron saint of white maleness who places it out for me before I even arrive. Furthermore, I condemn them for casting the equal protection clause, indeed the very idea of a meritocracy, as a myth, and for declaring that we are all governed by invisible forces (some would call them “stigmas” or “societal norms”), that our nation runs on racist and sexist conspiracies. Forget “you didn’t build that;” check your privilege and realize that nothing you have accomplished is real.
But they can’t be telling me that everything I’ve done with my life can be credited to the racist patriarchy holding my hand throughout my years of education and eventually guiding me into Princeton. Even that is too extreme. So to find out what they are saying, I decided to take their advice. I actually went and checked the origins of my privileged existence, to empathize with those whose underdog stories I can’t possibly comprehend. I have unearthed some examples of the privilege with which my family was blessed, and now I think I better understand those who assure me that skin color allowed my family and I to flourish today.
Perhaps it’s the privilege my grandfather and his brother had to flee their home as teenagers when the Nazis invaded Poland, leaving their mother and five younger siblings behind, running and running until they reached a Displaced Persons camp in Siberia, where they would do years of hard labor in the bitter cold until World War II ended. Maybe it was the privilege my grandfather had of taking on the local Rabbi’s work in that DP camp, telling him that the spiritual leader shouldn’t do hard work, but should save his energy to pass Jewish tradition along to those who might survive. Perhaps it was the privilege my great-grandmother and those five great-aunts and uncles I never knew had of being shot into an open grave outside their hometown. Maybe that’s my privilege.
I have a few, mostly PAID FOR. But I have RIGHTS, bought and paid for over the years by the Founders of this Nation, and the people who fought for them in various wars. I want no privilege. I want no strings attached to anything I might do. I particularly don't want privilege from whatever runs my Country today. I want them REMOVED.
Spot on Randal. Spot on.
Check my privilage?.......... CHECK YOUR POLITICAL ELITISM!.............. My uncles volunteered to fight in The Second World War... They VOLUN, "FREAKIN," TEERED; because they KNEW what ADOLF HITLER and the NAZIS would have done to; BARAK OBAMA...... ERIC HOLDER...... and COUNTLESS OTHER MINORITY AMERICANS!!! AND, that was TOTALLY and COMPLETELY UNACCEPTABLE to THEM..... and THEIR ENTIRE GENERATION.
Now OBAMA and his buddies want to behave like the VERY SAME NAZIS that "OUR PEOPLE" PROTECTED THEM FROM!
Jews are not white.
And way too many Jews are involved in destroying us whites. What gives?
Tina, you have asked the ultimate question!!!!! I have never, ever, ever, ever (get my drift) figured that one out!
Those who cry check your privilege in effect challenge your right to speak... by privilege. It is these miscreants of social justice that we are supposed too bow before, acknowledging their superior privilege/right to question our right to not only speak... but to exist as we are... They challenge our right to be and too carry on with our cultural identity. They are the total sum of all evil in the world... true despots and the oppressors of humanity... using their privilege too condemn others who don't agree with them.
Now this is nuts! Princeton - you have endorsed nuttiness as part of your teaching methods. How can our country fall behind the Ultimate Nut and continue this racist doctrine of blaming the brightest, the hardest working and the most qualified that the affirmative action student - who has lesser intelligent (yep, folks - some are not as smart as others) - is still having inferior racial issues. Freakin' nuts!
I would research all universities before ever, ever, ever sending my child to a LIBERAL arts institution of higher learning. Reading the liberal editorials in our local paper from a USC law professor certainly placed USC to the deepest left. Send your kid to the wrong college and you could easily lose that kid for life!
Right on Jo Anne