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The privilege to tell others to “check your privilege”

The privilege to tell others to “check your privilege”

Check your own damn privilege

Complaints about privilege are growing tiresome.

It’s the shallow call of those who can’t win an argument on the merits. It’s a cop-out.

It’s an epidemic on campuses, and in the “white privilege” industrial complex where careers and incomes depend on getting universities and donors to pony up big $$$ to support conferences and academic slots.

We saw it last night on Twitter as an anti-Israel divestment resolution at UC-Davis ended in a tie, which meant it did not pass:

Ramesh Ponnuru writes about this phenomenon at Bloomberg, ‘Check Your Privilege’ Means ‘Shut Your Mouth’:

We’ve all known forever that Princeton University is a place of many privileges. It has recently gotten a new one: Starting an argument from there, filled with conservative sentiments and anecdotes, is now a surefire way to command the attention of the Internet.

Last time it was “the Princeton mom,” Susan Patton, who wrote to the school’s newspaper advising female undergraduates to spend more time finding a husband. Now it’s Tal Fortgang, a freshman at the university, who complained about being told to “check his privilege” — the prevailing campus lingo urging people to admit their advantages in life — one too many times. (I was privileged to attend Princeton in the last millennium, before people used these words.)

Critics have been ferocious, and have largely missed the point. Sometimes they miss their own point. Mary Elizabeth Williams, a writer at Salon, says that Fortgang is only imagining that anyone has asked him to apologize for his privileges; a few sentences later, she complains, “Just what the world needs — more unrepentant affluent people.” So he isn’t being asked to apologize, just to repent?

It’s also reflected in the microaggression mania, as we documented at McGill University in Montreal, Microaggression Mania: McGill U. student leader apologizes for .gif of Obama kicking open door.

Noah Rothman writes, The Pending Implosion of the ‘Check Your Privilege’ Movement

The rapidity with which the “privilege” movement caught on within a small but influential cast of left-leaning opinion bloggers is rivaled only by the alacrity with which the many layers of “privilege” were discovered and subsequently denounced. In an effort to limit those who could claim the moral authority associated with being underprivileged, the movement grew unwieldy and overburdened. Now, the first glancing blow at its logical foundations has threatened to topple the structurally unsound inverted pyramid of the “privilege” movement. It seems set to collapse in on itself.

Your privilege, which you will be reminded to “check” repeatedly by those adherents to the faith, centers on the subjectively defined benefits associated with your gender, age, religion, physical appearance, full use of all or some extremities, height, race, skin tone (not to be confused with race), and sexuality. And that is a truncated list of the ever-expanding catalogue of “privileges” one might wield.

There is a privilege, alright. The privilege to tell others to shut the hell up check your privilege.

I wish I had that one.


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A better tag line for the Left would be “Check your wallet.”

This reminds me of “you don’t get it”. That’s the cry of the bully.

And since when have Jews (speaking of Tal) had privilege? In the old days, Princeton did their best to keep us out.

    mzk in reply to mzk. | May 9, 2014 at 10:55 am

    And since a lot of these SJP people appear to be Moslems, THEY were the ones with privilege, and Jews and Christians kept their heads down and said “Yes, Massa”. In some of those few places where Jews still live among Moslems, this is still true. We should be saying this to THEM.

“I wish I had that one.”

Here, Prof., I have one to spare!

I have had it with these people, and I’m militant about it!

“Screw THAT” is my first and only response to this nonsense from now on.

Henry Hawkins | May 9, 2014 at 11:06 am

Check your privilege = Because I said so

    rinardman in reply to Henry Hawkins. | May 9, 2014 at 1:38 pm

    So, can we assume they’re using their stupidity as a “privilege”, and tell them to “check your privilege”?

The left’s mantras and slurs are becoming more generic so that they have unlimited application and can be employed without the necessity of any thought.

Juba Doobai! | May 9, 2014 at 11:16 am

Hey, every Tom, Dick, and Harry is exercising privilege these days. The Bishop of Rome exercised his Communist privilege to demand the “legal distribution of wealth”, whatever that means. Somebody ought to tell the Communist Bishop of Rome that Jesus said “the poor you have always with you.” Frankly, the Bishop of Rome would have more credibility on the matter if he would begin by redistributing the Vatican’s wealth.

As noted above, “Check Your Priviledge” has a bad habit of putting free speech in check:

Check out this:

Quoting from “Unlearning Liberty, Campus Censorship and the End of American Debate” by Greg Lukianoff.

From the Introduction, The Dangerous College:

“It may seem like a paradox, but an environment that squelches debate and punishes the expressions of opinions, in the very institution that is supposed to make us better thinkers, can lead quickly to the formation of polarized groups in which people harbor a comfortable, uncritical certainty that they are right.”
“…The result is a group polarization that follows graduates into the real world. As the sociologist Diana C. Mutz discovered in her book Hearing the Other Side (2006), those with the highest levels of education have the lowest exposure to people with conflicting points of view, while those who have not graduated from high school can claim the most diverse discussion mates. In other words, those most likely to live in the tightest echo chambers are those with the highest level of education. It should be the opposite, shouldn’t it? A good education ought to teach citizens to actively seek out the opinions of intelligent people with whom they disagree, in order to prevent the problem of “confirmation bias.”
“…campus censorship poses both an immediate threat to all of our freedoms not just because free speech is crucial to every other freedom, but also because it teaches students wrong lessons about living in a free society.”

As the blanket “racism” charge becomes more diffuse due to gross overuse and misapplication, something new, and preferably more vague – and therefore harder to parry – will gradually replace it. And this one is silly enough to be almost the ideal “have you stopped beating your privilege yet” accusation.

The privilege to tell others to shut the hell up

I (as some can tell) am an extremely blunt person who literally shut off mouth filter the day I turned 40.
so I exercise that privilege a lot.. 🙂

now, off topic, Prof can you enable the bbcode commands in reply boxes so we don’t have to manually type blockquote/string/strike/etc?

Midwest Rhino | May 9, 2014 at 11:57 am

“CHECK your privilege”

It is actually used as an assault … like a “body check” in hockey. You are pushing toward the goal of making a point, and the “haters” slam you into the boards with the body blow of “(I) check your privilege”.

Or like “check” in chess. All they have to do is bring up your traditional values, or white maleness, and your king is in check (since liberal bigots/fascists make their own rules in la la speech control land) … you can’t make another move without defending the king, and they keep backing you into the corner if you play by their racist rules.

There was a day when we actually had the privilege to learn about the real purpose of our constitution in eigth grade civics even, and how it was designed to “check the privilege” of the powerful in political office. Mostly WASPy men formed a intricate document to decentralize power, and keep mob rule in check.

This privilege to be an American (of any race, color, creed) is one we should all “cling to”, along with our religion of choice, and certainly our guns. America is exceptional, and last time I “checked” on the privilege of being raised here, most of America was still very proud of our traditional culture.

Henry Hawkins | May 9, 2014 at 12:19 pm

To the first pajama boy who tells me to “check your privilege” I will reply “check your zipper” and when he looks down I shall knock him flat on his ass.

    LukeHandCool in reply to Henry Hawkins. | May 9, 2014 at 12:47 pm


    Even the doofiest and stupidest of Pajama Boys is not going to tell some 6’5″ non-Pajama Boy to check his privilege.

    Unclench your fists, Henry.

    LukeHandCool (who prays Henry doesn’t run into some 6’7″ Pajama Boy. I’d pay to see that)

      Henry Hawkins in reply to LukeHandCool. | May 9, 2014 at 1:06 pm


        LukeHandCool in reply to Henry Hawkins. | May 9, 2014 at 1:20 pm

        LOL. I’m getting an idea for a campy sci-fi screenplay.

        Attack of the 6’8″ Pajama Boys.

          Henry Hawkins in reply to LukeHandCool. | May 9, 2014 at 1:58 pm

          On a winter’s night in 1977 at Third and Willis in the Cass corridor in Detroit, at a jazz club called the Willis Show Bar, I learned that the simple and swift application of a reverse-held pool cue across the shins halfway ‘tween knee and ankle will reduce a 6’5″ motorcycle club enforcer to a 1’4″ pile of quivering, cursing flesh.

          LukeHandCool in reply to LukeHandCool. | May 9, 2014 at 2:08 pm

          I only tapped you on the shoulder to ask to borrow the chalk for my pool cue.

          Ragspierre in reply to LukeHandCool. | May 9, 2014 at 2:56 pm

          My father (stuntman) knew a bouncer in one of Hollywood’s more “rat-pack” clubs who claimed never to have had to hit anyone.

          He wore wingtips with thick, rigid soles. He would kick an unruly patron in the shin, and then follow it all the way down.

    Midwest Rhino in reply to Henry Hawkins. | May 9, 2014 at 6:09 pm

    that’s funny, kinda … but really, you’d face assault charges …

    It is not yet time for assault … as I see it. That day may come, but it will be more serious. Kneecapping style thuggishness only works for union thugs that have Democrat (political, media, Hollywood, organized crime) support. Tea party groups had trouble with clean and civil protest permits, but “Occupy” groups got away with rapes, drums ‘n drugs, and leaving dirty refuse on public grounds, for weeks.

    True Americans don’t have institutionalized “mobster” cover up to protect them. (see Lois Lerner, Eric Holder, etc.) But the day may come when the 70% tire of the 10% turning us to the dark “commie” side.

    Anyway … I guess you had a point, I assume you won’t really assault people that say “check your privilege” … dealing with the “check your privilege” crowd, can not yet be done by physical assault, as satisfying as that seems. I’m also 6’5″, but am so far, pacifist in action.

    But I respect your privilege to dream of being dirty Harry … even though that is not a realistic response, as I see it. Did I miss something? I mean, I know you were being silly, I guess … but what are the realistic responses available?

      Henry Hawkins in reply to Midwest Rhino. | May 9, 2014 at 6:18 pm

      What I do depends on whether there are witnesses or surveillance cameras. I’d knock a lib on his ass in a heartbeat if sufficiently provoked. Honey Henry don’t care. Honey Henry don’t give a shit.

      I encourage every American to start an internal dialogue to determine the answers to the questions:

      When will I fight? When is enough enough? How long will I adhere to rule of law when my enemies laugh at the law?

      I quite literally have only one enemy. It’s my own government. I’ll die standing rather than living kneeling, and I do not bluff.

        Midwest Rhino in reply to Henry Hawkins. | May 9, 2014 at 6:47 pm

        I certainly appreciate that. The individual American must certainly make that determination.

        We are approaching that point … and the left, seems to have been operating under the duplicitous rule of using the “organized crime thug” stick, along with organized government bureaucratic stick … to assault us.

        Obama’s own people say in the end, it comes down to the barrel of the gun. And indeed the Bundy escapade showed, the feds only back down when presented with brute force.

        But the brazen presentation of such force … must be carefully presented. I do see your own government as your singular enemy … in a sense. Certainly the executive serves their own cabal. And indeed, the individual must choose freedom over the DC “borg”.

        But to be clear(er) .. we are surpassing “legal insurrection’, in a sense. Except that, when we observe repeated seditious activity inside our government, it is actually our duty to resist beyond what the organized criminal cabal would deem “legal”.

        I’ll leave it to the freedom loving lawyers to clarify further. God be with you Henry. 🙂

          Henry Hawkins in reply to Midwest Rhino. | May 9, 2014 at 7:51 pm

          I don’t care about all that*. I just want to kick some pajama boy ass in the worst way. I was a badass in my youth, now looong gone, but I figure I’ve got one good butt-kicking left and I don’t want to waste it. It’s a long story I wouldn’t bore folks with here, but I’m a junk yard dog out of downtown Detroit who somehow ended up in a wine & cheese situation in NC. It is not a natural fit and I am not on many guest lists among my peer group. You can put a $5,000 Armani suit on me and I’ll just look like a biker at his parole hearing. But I will fight.

          (*I do care. Thanks for your concern and call for blessing.)

          Good for you, Henry. I was not a badass in my youth, but I’ve always had the courage of my convictions and that determination can be very, very intimidating to squishy leftists. I’m a big, tall, fit guy. No one, and I mean no one, would be stupid enough to suggest that I check my privilege. However, I’ve also had enough of the fascist left, and, nothing would be so cathartic as to justly ring the bell of some crypto-commie. The time has come. I owe it to our country.

        healthguyfsu in reply to Henry Hawkins. | May 10, 2014 at 8:02 am

        I hear what you are saying but I would think it best to go our separate ways before killing and dying in the streets.

        We need to pull a Czech Slovakia.

          Henry Hawkins in reply to healthguyfsu. | May 10, 2014 at 10:02 am

          Fine. Go stand over there where it’s safe. We’ll fight for you.

          LukeHandCool in reply to healthguyfsu. | May 10, 2014 at 1:17 pm

          I’m extremely peaceful by nature, but I do recognize the need for violence at times.

          Can’t we exhaust mockery, satire, etc., first?

          And then, if we must get physical … start with Wedgies? (We call ’em Melvins here in L.A.) Maybe an occasional Wet Willie?

          The German in me says, “Yeah, go Roman!”

          The Czech in me says, “Let’s part amicably and just walk away.”

          The Jewish in me says, “Let’s pack. It’s time to go.”

          The French in me says, “Can’t we just surrender and all get along?”

          LukeHandCool (whose ancestral makeup makes for conflicting impulses. And who once had no choice but to beat two pigeons to death with a broom in Japan. (It’s a long story, too long to tell here, but suffice it to say it had to be done) Luke has always loathed pigeons as filthy animals. His absolute least favorite animal. Still, after they were dead, Luke was shaking uncontrollably, freaked out by what he had just done. Luke’s wife freaked out a little too, seeing Luke unable to stop shaking. Luke realized then, it was not in his nature to kill. He realized he was lucky never to have been a soldier, for to kill another human being, even an enemy, would kill Luke, himself. Hell, Luke realized he could never be a farmer if killing a couple pigeons freaked him out so. Luke’s not an extremist. He can kill a cockroach. But even though he hates pigeons, they are vertebrates. And Luke draws the line at killing another vertebrate unless it’s absolutely necessary. So let’s develop mockery and satire and, even wedgies if we have to, to such a degree … the likes of which have never been seen before … that we never have to resort to violence. Let’s mock them so badly to the point that they wished we were physically beating them, instead. In other words, let’s use persuasion. Vicious, merciless persuasion wielding pens and pixels. Let’s do that before we visit violence on anything as much as a pigeon.)

The whole privilege racket is nothing but progressives practicing at their own dog whistles. The kind where they distort things in order to attack people as racist. It has largely been a load of crap. It is nothing more than a way to have ideology trump the failures of the progressive movement in the real world.

LukeHandCool | May 9, 2014 at 12:44 pm

An Ivy League student telling someone else … anyone else … to “check your privilege.”

Can one die from a stroke of irony?

PC nonsense began as a light drizzle years ago that made us laugh. Surely the skies would clear and the silliness would stop. Now it’s a deluge that has filled the aquarium in which we all swim. It’s been a huge climate change of which there can be no denying.

Once again, I have to leave the aquarium, and step back, way back to get a perspective. Once again, I’ll go to the personal in Japan.

The Japanese language has co-opted a certain set of borrowed foreign words, (just as does contemporary English, e.g., from German, “kindergarten”) called garaigo. “Bread” in Japanese is “Pan,” from the Spanish.

Most of these words come from English. The one that interests me most, and which my wife uses often, is “elito,” from the English, “elite.”

What has always amazed me, is that when my wife uses it to describe another Japanese acquaintance, usually someone who is from a wealthy family, who usually went to Todai (Tokyo University, Japan’s Harvard) and is the beneficiary of networking connections with other “elitos,” it is never, ever with the slightest trace of any resentment, let alone anger.

Now, although around 90% of Japanese consider themselves middle-class, I’d categorize my wife’s family as working poor.

Her father passed away a few years ago, but her mother, now 67, still averages a good 12 hours a day at work, 6 days a week. Yeah, you heard that correctly. And she comes home from work everyday, exhausted as she is, smiling and cheerful and full of funny stories from her day at work.

And she speaks of the “elitos” the way my wife does; no hint of resentment nor scorn.

This whole phenomenon fascinated me and I asked my wife about it at length. And this is basically what she said:

Yeah, they are born with an advantage. But that’s the way life is. Life is unfair. But if someone in our family wanted to join their ranks badly enough, they could do it. It would take enormous sacrifice and determination. But we’re happy enough as we are. And even though life is easier for the elitos, if their kids are careless, they can squander their advantage.

My wife and her family talk of the elitos with almost a faint tone of affection.

It’s very different than over here.

You see, we are visual animals. Over here in heterogeneous America, these aggrieved Ivy League students see a fellow student with white skin and that equals privilege to them.

In racially homogeneous Japan, even though there is a socioeconomic order, or hierarchy, if you will, just as much as there is here, (perhaps even more so), my wife could not point to the privileged among her countrymen and use melanin as a causative factor … when they all have basically the same hair and eye color and skin tone.

Ain’t no race card in the deck in Japan.

That natural human reflex wired in our brains to focus visually on physical differences goes out the window in Japan.

To my wife and her family when they look at the elito, they figure that someone in the elitos ancestry was determined to get ahead. Now their descendants were reaping the benefits and it was their job not to be silly and squander it all.

Lucky for them, their skin color is the same as all their countrymen.

And even though social status is important in America, I feel it’s even more important in Japan.

That’s why, after meeting Professor Jacobson, my wife exclaimed,

“He’s a lawyer and Ivy League professor? But he’s so sweet!”

I corrected her. “Honey, he does seem like a fairly good guy. But Mrs. Jacobson is the sweeter better half.”

I told her about Professor J’s then upcoming appearance at Vassar.

She came home when I was watching the video. She didn’t know what I was watching and, as always, she told me to use the headphones so she wouldn’t be bothered by the noise.

“But Honey, it’s a video of Bill’s lecture at Vassar.”

My wife: “Really? Are they being mean to him?!?!”

“No, nobody is being mean to him.”

The look on her face said, “Good, They’d better not.”

Jeez. If only she showed such concern and affection towards me sometimes.

But then, I’m not an elito.

Those elitos got it made in every way. Yeah, I’m bitter.

LukeHandCool | May 9, 2014 at 1:51 pm

That these university students would buy into and believe this flavor-of-the-month crap … these students who are supposedly the cream of the crop … is really disturbing.

You want to ask them, “Hey, how come you don’t talk as much about the ‘War on Women’ these days as you did in 2012? How come you don’t talk about ‘Two Americas’ like you did before that pretty boy self-destructed in infamy?”

I disagree with an old saying,

“There’s a sucker born every minute.”


Suckers aren’t born. They are self-made.

Henry Hawkins | May 9, 2014 at 2:05 pm

Having long ago broken down any concept of or capacity for critical thinking among our youth, I imagine lefty college professors sitting around their offices and staff lounges laughing over what they got their students to buy wholesale without question.

“And then..” (snicker, snicker) “I told them..” (giggle, giggle) “that even though they had nothing to do with slavery..” (guffaw) “and even though most of their families did not have arrive in America until well afterwards..” (hahahaha) “they were nonetheless responsible for it!” (HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA, backslaps and high fives all around). “You can tell these clowns anything!”

Robert What? | May 9, 2014 at 2:53 pm

There is a lot of entertainment value watching privileged people (which anyone going to Princeton is) accuse each other of being privileged.




#Bigots (sanctimonious hypocrites)



Anyone who lives in the USA is immensely privileged. We need to remind ourselves of this more often.

To “check the privilege” I simply respond, “Hey, check the stupid.”

–Andrew, @LawSelfDefense