Good Morning! (Or Whatever!) Look at This Sh#t!

[Content Note: Privilege; white supremacy; male supremacy; bootstraps bullshit; references to Holocaust and violence.]

So, Tal Fortgang, a white, male, 20-year-old freshman at Princeton University has written an extraordinary piece about how he doesn't have privilege because of his family history, which includes some of his Polish relatives being pursued and persecuted during the Holocaust.

Fortgang weaves a classic bootstraps tale of the American Dream, about forebears who suffered and sacrificed to give him the life he has today, as a Tea Party conservative.

It's a story that probably looks a little bit like a lot of white USians' family histories, in one way or another. And it has fuck-all to do with the individual and cultural privilege that any of us experience today.

(That doesn't mean, of course, that an otherwise privileged white person might not experience, for example, religious discrimination or be marginalized by class. But one of the crucial things to understand about how privilege works is that being marginalized along one axis does not mean you cannot be privileged along another.)

The whole thing is fucking amazing in its complete misunderstanding of what the concept of privilege even is, but here's a pretty solid excerpt:
That's the problem with calling someone out for the "privilege" which you assume has defined their narrative. You don't know what their struggles have been, what they may have gone through to be where they are. Assuming they've benefitted from "power systems" or other conspiratorial imaginary institutions denies them credit for all they've done, things of which you may not even conceive.
See, here's the thing about white privilege: Whatever struggles I have had in my life don't change the fact that I am still privileged for my whiteness. And the fact that I am more privileged in some ways than other white people, and less privileged in some ways than other white people, is irrelevant in discussions of white privilege, because the point isn't comparisons with other white people; it's that my whiteness gives me privilege inside a racist culture.

Rinse and repeat for every axis of privilege.


Kate McDermott sent me the link to the original article; I also happened upon it this morning via an approving article in The College Fix ("Your Daily Dose of Right-Minded Campus News"), under the brilliant headline: "Meet the Poster Child for 'White Privilege'—Then Have Your Mind Blown."


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