No One Wants You to Apologize for Your White Male Privilege!

So, TIME magazine (my favorite magazine when I was a teen, because I was really cool and had a lot of friends when I was 13) posted an opinion piece by a Princeton freshman titled “Why I’ll Never Apologize for My White Male Privilege.” And, unfortunately, I read it. And I just sighed a lot. Oh, you sweet summer child, you really know nothing of winter, do you? (Sorry, it’s Game of Thrones night.)

If you didn’t read the article (which was a smart decision), the summary is, “My grandparents escaped Nazis and my parents worked hard so I don’t have any privilege, QED.” There is so much wrong with this piece, I’m not sure where to begin. Let’s start with the title!

First off, one of the biggest misconceptions about privilege is that anyone wants you to apologize for it. Who has ever said that? We want you to be aware of it. No one wants to force you out of college and into a Siberian work camp. Relax.

Second, your story about how your grandparents and other relatives escaping Nazis in Poland…hmm…it sounds like your Jewish relatives had a harder time than non-Jewish people in Poland when the Nazis invaded. I mean, obviously, it was a hard time for everyone in occupied Poland, but Jewish people (and gay people, and disabled people, and Romani, etc.) had a bit of a harder time than non-Jewish people, right? Weird, it sounds like non-Jewish (and non-gay, disabled, Romani, etc.) people had…privilege. Whoa. Weird, right?

Ah, but you accounted for that already, didn’t you? “It was [my grandparents’] privilege to come to a country that grants equal protection under the law to its citizens, that cares not about religion or race, but the content of your character.”

Subtly invoking MLK, I see. Hey, white people? Please stop invoking MLK to justify your weird, shitty, racist arguments. Seriously. If you’re conservative and bring up MLK to support anything you say, you’re doing it wrong. I promise. MLK wasn’t a conservative and wouldn’t support any Republican policies.

Anyway, the real problem with your argument is that you believe we truly live in a “colorblind” society. After John Scalzi wrote “Straight White Male: The Lowest Difficulty Setting There Is,” Jim Hines wrote a post called, “Facts are Cool.” You should check it out. I’ll wait.

Privilege isn’t about what happened in the past. It’s about what happens in the present. In the present, racist things still happen. Shocking, I know! It’s not as if hundreds of people of color write about white privilege and current-day racism, over and over and over and over again. (The linked articles are about various topics under the umbrella of racism and white privilege, just to show the variety of issues.)

Racial discrimination is not a thing of the past. As of 2010, black men earn 74.5 cents to every white man’s dollar, while Hispanic men earn 65.9 cents, black women earn 69.6 cents, and Hispanic women only earn 59.8 cents. And according to a study done in 2008:

Among those with no criminal record, white applicants were more than twice as likely to receive a callback relative to equally qualified black applicants. Even more troubling, whites with a felony conviction fared just as well, if not better, than a black applicant with a clean background.

Whether you acknowledge it or not, people of color have disadvantages that white people do not. This doesn’t mean white people haven’t worked hard or that their lives aren’t tough. It means we don’t have to worry about the things black people have to worry about. A friend of mine was joking recently that he can buy weed, put it in his glove box, and drive home from his dealer’s house in the middle of the night without worrying about being pulled over (or that the cops will search his car) because he’s a clean cut white dude. Whereas a black teenager can be assaulted by the police for holding a puppy.

No one’s asking you to apologize for being white or a dude. We’re asking you to acknowledge that maybe, just maybe, the scales are tilted in your favor, and maybe you could stop being a dick about it for five seconds.

If you already knew all this, then please just enjoy one of my new favorite tweets:


Sarah is a feminist, atheist vegan with Crohn’s Disease, and she won’t shut up about any of those things. You really need to follow her on Twitter (and probably Google+, just to be safe).

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  1. I for one expect all white men to apologize and grovel at all times. I’m disappointed that this post seems to discourage them from doing so.

    (obviously joking)

    1. Almost every antagonistic response to articles calling out the fact of white privilege (or something similar) assumes that what you said in jest is the actual serious content, “in brief”, of the article. Public discourse on the lowest difficulty setting.

      1. You have it backwards. Telling someone to “check their privilege” in lew of actually dealing with an argument is a lame attempt to set public discourse on easy. We don’t give a shit about the dogma that your ideology teaches, and are not interested in jumping through your politically correct hoops. It’s intellectual bullshit based on fallacious reasoning.

  2. Yeah, maybe we should start demanding apologies from white men just for being white men. I mean, they all seem to assume that that’s what privilege means, so why not just roll with it? It would be amusing, at least.

    1. It’s not an assumption. We ARE being asked to apologize. Maybe you didn’t do it but that doesn’t stop others. There are many other reasons why the phrase “check your privilege” is wrong, and one of them is that it is an ad hominem attack used in lew of proper argumentation. It actually means “shut up white boy”.

        1. I just checked my privilege and obviously you were underprivileged with the genes required to grow a brain. I really do feel sorry for retards like you and I’ll be sure to check my privilege with each one of you morons. I have to remind myself that you are incapable of actual thought processes that make any kind of sense because you are too busy drooling on yourselves.

          You are also busy talking out giant student loans for degrees in Woman’s Studies (or similarly ridiculous degrees) which won’t provide a decent living. Part of my burden in life for having been privileged with brain is to work hard to pay for your loan when you default, and likely in the future your birth control pills. The later which I am more than willing to pay for to eliminate retards like you from the gene pool.

          1. Now where did I put that card… ah here it is. I thought you had given up.

            Let’s see woman’s studies, check – birth control pills, check – you just keep plugging away you’ll get there.

            A word of advice though, don’t have a brain, retard, and drooling are all part of ablest shithead bingo. That’s an entirely different game that I’m sure you would be great at, but if you want to finish this game you’re going to have to FOCUS!

  3. I don’t think anyone wants white dudes to give up their privilege. What people want is for everyone to enjoy the same privileges. That can only happen if everyone acknowledges the privileges they have and which other people do not enjoy, and the reasons why it falls out that way.

    1. How can I give up a privilege I don’t have. I can’t give up my privilege to sit at the front of the bus when I hav no such privilege.

        1. You drooled on the keyboard and the result makes no sense whatsoever. Were a bib when you are on the internet.

        2. You drooled on the keyboard and the result makes no sense whatsoever. Wear a bib when you are on the internet.

  4. I researched the author of the original piece, and his father is the Managing Director of a global investment bank in NYC, the kid grew up in one of the richest counties in the US, and he goes to a very wealthy college. So he is practically the 1%, but he neglects to mention that in the article. Instead he talks about how his family started out making wicker baskets (queue violins). I can only imagine him acting like a rich, entitled jerk, and very rightly being called on it, and not liking it, and writing this manipulative piece to throw guilt on people who hold him responsible for his bad behavior. Using the suffering of his ancestors in that way is pretty disgusting.

  5. Beautiful, Sarah.

    I wish the “invoke MLK” meme would just die. Desmond Tutu is still being accused of being anti-white and anti-Semitic. Nelson Mandela was on the terror watch list until a few years ago. Martin Luther King might have more sympathy for cause of ‘white boy on the internet’ if he were, you know, alive. (Though at least he actually did say those words that are now quoted out of context; I can’t say the same for a certain Chief Seattle speech.)

    The difficulty is what “I don’t have any privilege” means. Like, I’m a cis man. (I’d argue that being a trans man disqualifies one from male privilege, because society doesn’t see trans men as men, hence my ‘cis’ qualifier.) And heterosexual. That qualifies as privilege. But I’m also American Indian, which means…Just look at Duro v. Reina.

    But good news! If you have privilege, you can raise awareness about issues related to those who don’t even have the privilege of having a token in the mainstream media. Just so long as you don’t make it all about you.

    And be aware that someone who is not privileged in some way can be a sweet summer child about something else. We saw that recently on social media, where one Korean woman was mad because of Stephen Colbert’s joke about the Washington Redskins. After realizing she had just become the punchline to the joke, she then backpedaled and said she was really angry because white men have no right to talk about the issue, as if there’s a single Indian in the MSM.

      1. I guess that’s my indigenous privilege, then. That, and free gas and no taxes, per that renowned legal scholar Justin Bieber. Oh wait, yeah, that’s not real. What I do get is jurisdictional complications that make it basically impossible for white people to be prosecuted, should they commit a violent crime against me on a reservation.

        Seriously, though, what made her a punchline is that the entire joke worked on two levels: On the first, anti-Indian racism is still very permissible (You don’t see minstrel shows anymore…except at the games of certain sports teams.) even as other forms of racism are officially hated. And on the other, Snyder buying an indulgence, and thus sinning anew. (Snyder has a history of anti-Asian racism, too: His Six Flags mascot was a Japanese tourist shouting “More flags! More fun!”)

        But seriously, though, have you read her justification?

        She actually confesses the whole thing was just to trollolol twice. (At least if I’m reading it correctly.) She also says context, not just making sure not to take things out of context, but context as an epistemological concept, is oppressing her. Seriously.

        She’s also become besties with Michelle Malkin (who, you may note, doesn’t think internment camps were a horrible idea, which is…kinda hilarious, since if I were trying to improve the GOP’s reputation, I’d be all over the internment camps, since they were FDR’s baby). So…yeah.

    1. Whoah, had to slip a little concern troll at the end there, didn’t ya? Suey Park had many responses to the outrage over #cancelcolbert, backpedaling was not one of them. #youdontgetit

      1. She pals around with people who think locking up people for the crime of being of Japanese ancestry is a fine dandy thing to do. She’s been denounced by NDN activists, Asian activists, and just about everyone else for this particular stunt. She may not want white allies, but she’s certainly gotten a lot of them through this stunt. Though I don’t know why they’re dressed like ghosts when this isn’t Halloween…

        She’s #NotYourAsianSidekick because she’s already Dan Snyder’s.

  6. While i agree with much of the article, i think a glaring omission regarding privilege is that of wealth vs poverty. Growing up poor is hard. Growing up poor caused me to wear”poor” clothing, grow up in a”bad” neighborhood, eventually save up for a cheap car that made me”suspicious” everywhere i went.caused cops to ask where I’m going, where i been.they also would search my car, me, my friends, etc.they would call the dog when they didn’t find anything.when i finished college, got a good job and bought a new car, i felt like i had a Romulan cloaking device, as cops didn’t even LOOK in my direction. My point? Poverty sucks, and you are constantly judged for it.

    1. This is very true, but being poor AND being a minority is even harder. In any case, privilege isn’t only about race, pretty much any person will have some sort of privilege. You experienced a certain set of barriers due to growing up poor, but someone else who is a minority, or disabled or a transgender person will have experienced their own set of barriers and disadvantages that you didn’t have to face. Privilege is not about whose life is worst or best, it’s about understanding that if you haven’t walked in someone’s shoes, then you don’t know what it’s like to be them, and you can’t dismiss their problems just because you haven’t “seen” those problems for yourself.

  7. I’d like to point out that due to continuing colonialism and racism that has led to the erasure of Native & Indigenous people we don’t even have statistics on our earnings. With that said the poorest county in the country is where the Lakota Sioux reservation resides. Pretty telling fact right there. And what an arrogant asshat that guy is! The very fact that he had his offensive and ignorant dribble published in TIME is a perfect example of his privilege.

    1. Something I end up bringing up constantly. Something is wrong when I’m reading about rapes of Indian women, but actual Indian women, survivors explaining that the rape is itself a racial hate crime as well as a sex crime, are silenced by the white author.

      It’s…frustrating. It took this long just to get people to listen wrt: Keystone XL, even though you know there will be a lot of sex offenders working on pipeline construction, since sex offenders can’t live or work near a school or be around children; and we’ve seen how bringing in white men to work on resource extraction spikes the rate of sexual offenses.

  8. I agree, Lucretia. That’s why I included the facts about how people of color are generally paid less than white men. Class and race often intersect, but the reason why I didn’t go further into class issues was because the original article did not mention them.

    1. In all seriousness what this guy wrote was gross. Today someone white on my facebook was complaining about it being unfair that black people get away with all the racism and that white people get ostracized. That unfriend button somehow got really noticeable at the point.

      1. Oh dear nonexistent God, don’t remind me. Right now I’m trying on another forum to explain that, no, wearing a headdress doesn’t mean you’re “preserving Native American culture” or anything like that. Nor does that skull in a headdress logo Ecko Unlimited is putting on shirts right now.

  9. Seriously, I didn’t want to apologize for my privilege before, but reading this thing is so cringe-worthy that I want to apologize for sharing phenotypes with this weasel.

    1. Don’t worry you don’t share pheontypes with him where it counts. He was privileged to be born with a brain.

  10. Yeah like when we have less than qualified foreign workers who come here, cheapen our labor force by driving down minimum wage and safety standards. Man I must only get my jobs due to my privilege. Must be because I have such a “white male” name.Heaven forbid that the people who have lived here for 4-5-6 generations should have more privilege than the the people who come here and barely know how to speak English. I forgot equality for all! Let’s downplay the fact that alot of foreigners come here to exploit our workforce and education because of this mentality. Then again maybe I’m fine with my mcdonalds and tim hortons all being ran by Philipinos. I realize that I shouldn’t talk when we have done such horrible things to our first nation brethren. But god damn. Pretty bias. This whole feminism crusade really kinda reminds me of that 1930’s picture of the women who state “lips that touch liqour, shall not touch ours!” Well ‘ladies of the 1930’s prohibition era, take one look at your selves in the mirror and realize there’s a good reason those men were drinking..”’s because your faces are not aesthetically pleasing” and while I agree with some tennants of feminism I am against it as it is represented today. I believe it will cause more detriment to society than anything. Give an inch take a mile kinda thing and I don’t see it stopping anytime soon until the old anecdote become’s true. Women are always right, never wrong, even when they are.

    Seriously the only real privilege is RICH privilege and this knows no ethnicity or gender. But while we’re at it let’s talk about female privilege and family courts!

    1. And johnnydouche chimes in.

      I’m not sure which particular type of wrong you are, libertarian wrong, misogynist wrong, xenophobic wrong, MRA wrong, or some other all-encompassing wrong.

      I guess we will just go with stunningly wrong.

      1. Oh I remember you, You’re that person that likes to insult people and leave nothing to the discussion!
        Please go into detail describing all the things you’ve just labeled me and then maybe I’ll entertain you with another reply.
        I guess you have a handle of what the job market is like over here. How there is a against temporary foreign workers platform gaining traction over here, I guess we should talk about how much chinese investors are buying up all our property. I have nothing inherently against any culture but when I see my friends who can’t get jobs because companies are hiring cheaper less than qualified work from someone who just came to the country, and when I see much of our land being bought up by wealthy foreign investors who would probably only use those houses one time out of their if at all. It pisses me off. Yeah privilege my ass.

        1. Then maybe, just maybe you should take that up with the overprivileged Wall Street criminal types who set that system up and get a tax break as a thanks. No, you would rather rail against the people who are trying to make their lives better.

          Have you ever denigrated a labor union? If so you are part of the problem.
          When an illegal worker gets a job who do you believe should be punished, the worker or the owner? If you think that the punishing the worker (by deporting them probably) will end the problem you are fooling yourself.

          And I remember you too. You are a jack-ass that feels you are owed something for existing as your ridiculous little rant would show instead of realizing that it is the rich white men who have run this country into the ground that is causing your problems. Who do you suppose is hijacking the political process in this country? Here’s a hint, it’s not the immigrant workers or women’s organizations. Try looking to the Wall Street rich types who feel they are above the rules, perhaps you have heard of the Koch brother?

          Anyway, you are an ignorant troll and you need to stop. Seriously.

        2. Definitely going to have to agree with what mrmisconception said. If your problem is with “companies hiring cheaper less than qualified work” then why are you taking your anger out at those workers instead of the people running those companies?
          It’s hard not to suspect that you have no interest in criticizing them because you dream of being them someday.

      2. He’s fractally wrong. No matter how much you zoom in on an element of his argument, it’s just as wrong as the whole, and that whole spirals out into repeating patterns of wrongness. Wrong at every scale.

        Witness any follow comments by him as an illustration.

    2. You remind me of the legislator in Kentucky who, faced with a bill that would regulate how animals can be euthanized, tried to amend it with an ag-gag, on the grounds that nobody at the Humane Society wants to talk about abortion.

    3. You do realize that about three to four generations there was a good chance that the histrionics applied to the “foreigners” were applied to your family members.

    4. “But while we’re at it let’s talk about female privilege and family courts!”

      Fun fact: Unless you’re a sex offender or abusive or a drug addict or something similar, you can usually get shared custody. Also, we don’t live in a sitcom. (And if we did, it wouldn’t be Two and a Half Men.)

  11. Nice, usually when people ignore the arguments in favor of insulting or deflecting comments it means they can’t refute said arguments. I have an idea let’s label him this this and this! YEAH THAT’LL SHOW EM! Go figure. *rolls eyes*

    1. You didn’t make an argument, you just said a lot of very wrong things. It’s not even that your argument is bad (although it is), it’s that every bit of underlying information and every assumption you’ve made is wrong. There’s nothing to argue with, because you’ve not made any reasonable assertions. It’s like you had said that the sky is yellow, clouds don’t exist, and that your round tires have four edges. It’s ignorant, and shallow, and contemptible that you’d think we should engage you with your complete and utter nonsense.

  12. What female privilege in family courts is a joke?
    the TFW program is a joke?

    Look I don’t need to directly insult or label people in order to feel better about my self.
    Please offer something to the discussion other than the vitriol spewing from your mouth. Thanks. ;)

    1. OK, let’s talk. Using your logic that you deserve a job over an immigrant because you (or rather your family in some random bullshit reasoning) have been here longer I assume you will step aside if you are up for the same job a native American right? Or maybe you would never take a job when first arriving in a new community, or does the distance traveled or bordered crossed make some arbitrary difference? Or does the whole “I was here first” argument only work if it’s you that has been there longer?

      What do you believe leads to the “female privilege” in the court system? I’ll give you a hint, it’s the idea that a woman’s job is to birth and take care of babies and that men aren’t good at it that leads to those outcomes not some punishment for the men, does it hurt men? Yes, but it is not by design, it is caused by misogyny pure and simple.

      And quite frankly you are a pig, men were drinking because the women weren’t pleasing to their eyes? I hope for your sake that was a joke that you don’t believe because that shit is corrosive to you entire existence.

      1. ^^^^^This. All of it. However, my favorite part was when johnnyrock said the reason they thought why men were drinking and then goes on to take pride in not directly insulting anyone. I guess it’s just fine when you insult feminists in general. Just don’t dare insult any particular one.

      2. As rapists have been given joint custody of children conceived in their rapes, I’d say “female privilege in the court system” is itself a joke. When rapists of 14 year old girls are released with only a month served in a 10-year sentence, I’d even be tempted to say “female privilege in the court system” is a fantasy.

    2. The idea of “female privilege” within the court system is typically based on a faulty reading of the numbers. First of all, custody cases are very rarely decided by a court. The vast majority of the cases are decided by mutual agreement of the parties and the court is not involved. In cases where the court is involved and sole custody is awarded to the mother, in the vast majority of those cases, the father was not seeking custody. When fathers are seeking custody, you’ll see the numbers even out a lot more. And there are a lot of ways in which men are privileged in this situation. In studies on domestic violence it was found that men who had committed domestic violence against their partner were more likely to seek sole custody of their children than non-violent men. And they were awarded custody 70% of the time, despite the history of violence between the partners. The issue of child custody and child support is a really complicated one, with a lot of factors that just looking at “how many women got custody in all cases” won’t reveal.

        1. Yes. Because there are a lot of fathers who walk away from parenting. I think ‘sexist Family Courts’ might be the most successful lie to come out of the MRA movement. Divorce and custody are messy, and it makes intuitive sense that husbands and fathers would be discriminated against when it comes to child custody and alimony. But, they’re not. (unless there is some data I’m unaware of)

          News articles:

          Studies from Massachusetts and Florida:

          1. The MRA movement also makes things tough for real male victims of sexual abuse: “But what about TEH MENZ!” has become the default response. All because MRAs have to be horrible people.

          2. In fact, MRAs don’t do much to help men at all.

            They’ve had plenty of opportunity to be advocates against male sexual assault-they don’t.
            They’ve had plenty of opportunity to speak out against the deaths and assault of Black men by the police-they don’t. They’ve had plenty of opportunity to speak out on all manner of issues dealing with gender bias and toxic masculinity in the lives of young boys-they don’t.

            They mostly seem to be interested in scoring points against women on the internet and whining about not having access to pretty, submissive White women when they want them.

            That whole movement is a sham.

        2. Why don’t you think through what that means? They are charged with failure to pay child support; they are mainly men. So why do you think those men aren’t paying their child support? Do you believe that a man who can’t even be bothered to pay child support would 1. make a good custodial parent and 2. want to have custody of his children and seek it in the courts?

          You aren’t representing women because one or more of the following things are true: 1. women are awarded custody more often; or 2. women pay their damned child support.

          1. Also possible:
            1. In Ohio (where I work), women are given custody at birth if they aren’t married. This is by law.
            2. Poor women are less likely to be married when they give birth.
            3. Poor women tend to have children with poor men.
            4. Poor men are less likely to pay child support because they don’t have money.

          2. To clarify – women have sole custody rights and men have none. Certainly it is a sexist policy, though there are practical reasons this occurs, chiefly that it is a lot easier to tell who the mother of a child is rather than the father. Technology is removing this obstacle, though even then there is a cost associated with DNA tests and therefore poor people are discriminated against on that basis. Court systems are also difficult to navigate without attorneys, cost money, and so again this negatively affects the poor. In Ohio, a child support enforcement agency was created to aid in creating and enforcing child support. There is no similar organization for establishing and enforcing visitation and parenting time.

            Essentially, what I am saying is that when it comes to low-income people, there are a lot of barriers for men to work through. These barriers exist at other income levels, of course, but people with money tend to have better results in court than those who don’t.

          3. And the reason things are this way is because society still assumes women are the best or only option for child care. This is both bad for men and women. It’s still not sexist against men as it is based on sexist expectations and ideals about women and child-rearing. I hope you realize these things you outline while not incorrect are not necessarily positive things for women (as well as men). It is still sexist because the very basis of those regulations and laws are due to sexist ideas *about women*.

          4. ” It’s still not sexist against men as it is based on sexist expectations and ideals about women and child-rearing. ”

            Let me be clear. It’s clearly discriminating against men, but due to sexism toward women AND men. Obviously some of the reasons this occurs is because they assume women are the best, or only, option, while assuming men are not, which comes with it’s own baggage. But this sort of attitude doesn’t just affect women with regards to children and divorce.

          5. Of course this was said much clearer by mrmisconception above so I’m going to copy-pasta him ;)

            “What do you believe leads to the “female privilege” in the court system? I’ll give you a hint, it’s the idea that a woman’s job is to birth and take care of babies and that men aren’t good at it that leads to those outcomes not some punishment for the men, does it hurt men? Yes, but it is not by design, it is caused by misogyny pure and simple.”

          6. Edward:

            So what you’re saying is that if one of these men went before the court, post-birth, and said, “I want custody of my child,” the judge would have to shrug and say, “I’d like to award you custody, but the law absolutely forbids me from giving it to you.” You’re saying that =at birth= the woman is automatically given custody – are you also saying that the law forbids the man from gaining custody later?

            Because if that’s not what you’re saying, then we’re back to my point: that men who can’t be bothered to seek custody of their children and also can’t be bothered to pay their child support are not innocent victims of a discriminatory court system.

            I do hear you on the issue of poverty, but you should know that the forces that keep people in poverty fall most heavily on women, so I’m not sure why you focus on poor =men= who don’t have any money.

          7. @marilove I would definitely agree that the sexism that formed these laws is heaped in sterotypes about men and women. I guess my point is that there are real barriers for fathers. The domestic court system is often an extremely expensive and frustrating experience for everyone involved, men and women. While the MRA types tend to sound pretty nutty, I have a lot of sympathy for how the domestic court and child support systems treat people, especially men.


            Yes, a father can ask for custody or visitation rights, but he has to establish paternity and then file in court for said orders. This can be an intimidating and expensive process (not to mention he has to prepare to be ordered to pay child support). Of course, many people can and do overcome these barriers. However, that doesn’t mean these barriers don’t push a lot of people away from their children, and these barriers would affect poor, uneducated people more than rich, educated ones.

            It is somewhat similar to the efforts to reduce voting. Sure, if someone really wanted to vote they would get an i.d. and birth certificate and whatever else was required. However, laws that put up barriers to voting tend to reduce voting, which is why it is a contentious issue.

  13. We want you to do A. We don’t want you to do B. We want you to be aware of C. We don’t want you to apologize for D. It’s OK for you to do E, but only if you think about F and G is lingering there in the back of your mind.

    Just listen to the tone of these statements. I think it’s easy to see why white dudes get annoyed or even downright pissed in light of these because the condescending tone and underlying notion that somehow you know better is astounding. Everyone’s just trying to get by, so how about we all do just that?

      1. Whoever said I was that I was only thinking of myself? Actually, whoever said that the statement I made even applied to me to begin with?

        I’m just merely noting that some folks seem to be obsessed with others’ inner monologues and I can understand how those on the receiving end might be a little annoyed.

        1. OK, so you were excusing the butthurt of others? That’s a new one on me, but if you say so.

          Then let me adjust my reply.

          Poor babies are being asked to have empathy for others, how will they cope?

          1. No, they’re not being asked to have empathy, they’re being told what to think. And if they don’t think exactly that, somehow they’re the assholes even though apparently your condescending remarks are perfectly fine.

          2. I also find it ironic that you’re suggesting others should have a little more empathy, yet you berate me for actually having it.

          3. People are being asked to acknowledge that they have things better than others all things considered, they are not being told what to think. If they want to refuse to acknowledge it that’s fine, but we are then well within our rights to disagree in a condescending manner. I think the contempt they show by refusing to see their privilege is far worse than being stung with snark.

            You are welcomed to disagree and I am free to condescend, freedom is funny that way. Hope I didn’t berate you too much.

        2. I’m white, cis-gender hetero. I am totally aware of my privilege, or at least I try to be. (I tend to discover new things that I have either taken for granted or simply never considered before – similar things, but there’s a fine line there in my meaning.) I also try to keep in mind that strangers do not know me or my views or what I’m capable of, so (for example) I try to make sure I’m not following a woman too closely on a sidewalk, especially at night; I don’t want her to be concerned about my intentions. There’s nothing at all confusing or belittling about being aware of a situation, and the situation is privilege. The only thing one needs to apologize for is being an ass.

        3. Just imagine how annoying it is when privileged little ignorant children still in college tell some blue collar worker to “check his privilege”. About as annoying as some rich busybody going around telling poor people to “count your blessings”.

  14. What is interesting about this article is that speaking from my own personal family history its quite readily evident that who became privileged actually changes at time goes on. For the most part what the Princeton writer conveniently ignores and actually happened to my great grandfather is that Polish people weren’t considered white enough to buy land in certain parts of New York.

  15. Great post. One brief comment – “Privilege isn’t about what happened in the past. It’s about what happens in the present. In the present, racist things still happen.” Yes, racist things still happen, and that’s a lot of what privilege is about, but privilege is, I think you’ll agree, also about the past. One reason, for example, that black Americans are so much worse off today than white Americans in terms of wealth is past housing discrimination. To be sure, housing discrimination still exists, and still sucks, but if we want to know where the current wealth disparity came from, one place to look is at (very racist) government policies around housing from the 1930s through the 1950s. These provided white Americans the opportunity to build wealth, and systematically prevented black Americans from doing so. Even if racism were to vanish (and it won’t), we’d still have to deal with the fact that, on average, being born white in the U.S. means being born with access to wealth that the government helped whites create, and prevented blacks from gaining access to. That’s privilege, too.

  16. Where can I get some of this white male privilege thing!? I am white and male but I am pretty sure I don’t have any. Society seems to be utterly determined to hand my arse to my ex wife because she is a woman and a Christian. What – I already have it!? Are you sure because I don’t see it anywhere. I do have it? If you say so. Okay yes Ma’am. Sorry I doubted you.

      1. Typical “argument” against white privilege, just as Obama being in power is the opposite “argument” against racism still existing. Both as vacuous.

  17. “No one wants to force you out of college and into a Siberian work camp. Relax.”

    Wrong, I do. But not for being a white male, for being a douche.

    Wrongs done to your grandparents does not give you a lifetime pass on the privilege you inherited from your parents. The ‘persecution’ or the Boers by the British at the end of the 19th century did not justify apartheid. Nor does the holocaust justify what Israel does every day to Palestinians.

  18. You know who gets a cookie every time they do something they’re expected to do just because it’s good and decent? My dog. And my dog is an entitled little asshole.

  19. There’s something deliciously ironic about a dude complaining about a lack of meritocracy, then saying he should get a pass from criticism because of how hard his grandparents had it.

  20. “it sounds like your Jewish relatives had a harder time than non-Jewish people in Poland when the Nazis invaded.” That’s a disgusting understatement. Great job in minimizing The Holocaust by saying “had a harder time.” Yes, they did have a “harder time” as in they were hunted, rounded up and gassed en masse. Someone was out to ELIMINATE ALL JEWS, so yes, you can say they had a harder time. I’m sorry… is someone out there trying to eliminate all black or all minorities? No, they aren’t, so please understand that “subtly invoking The Holocaust” (see what I did there?) is GROSSLY out of line for this discussion. Anyone who compares them in any way has NO understanding of the Holocaust and NO understanding for the plight of black people. It should be offensive to black people to have this said. Slavery would be a closer comparison to The Holocaust, but even THAT wasn’t ships full of Africans being gassed and eliminated. I’m not trying to take away from the horribleness of slavery at all in ANY way… but to compare the current state of affairs in 2014 to The Holocaust in ANY way is horrible.

    And yes, huge anti-semitism exists today. And yes, some of us have experienced it first hand. And no, it shouldn’t be minimized. But as far as I know, I’ve never seen any Jews talking about how everyone else had privilege. We just remember that people to this day hate us for being Jews. People to this day will persecute us. People throughout our existence have done this.

    And yes, people need to stop talking about “white male privilege”. White women seem to be preoccupied with it. You want me to admit that I have things easier? Sure. I have things easier than some people. Someone taller than me has it easier than me. Someone better looking has it easier than me. Someone smarter has it easier than me. Someone born into money has it easier than me. We can keep going with this over and over. Some people have it easier, some people have it harder. When can we drop this? I treat everyone as equals until they treat me otherwise, then I reciprocate in kind.

    1. Dude, she didn’t do any understating. She was stating the obvious.

      Also, you clearly missed the point. Also, also, you said a lot of crap but didn’t actually SAY anything. These are just words with nothing to back them up. You have completely missed the point.

      1. ” I treat everyone as equals until they treat me otherwise, then I reciprocate in kind.

        Also, this is just so fucking self-absorbed, it’s insane. “I DO THIS, so we should ALL do this!”

        And I doubt this very much. You can’t see past your nose.

    2. What’s amazing is that these feminists actually believe that every single white male is priviliged in this country. Tell that to the white boy whose house I went to that didn’t have any furniture, and not a single book in the house. Yet, when he manages to learn about the library, studies hard, gets ahead then “Sarah” will be there demanding that he admit his white male privilege. While doing so she’ll also claim that NOBODY has ever asked him to apologize for it, like she was following him around all day for his entire life. She probably thinks every white male likes polo shirts and golf too.

      1. First, you seem to have not bothered to read comments pointing out that wealth is a form of privilege, so, yes, some poor white boy is going to have way less privilege than whiny “Richie Rich.” But that poor white boy is going to still have more privilege than a poor black boy. Or any poor boy of any non-white skin color. With that, I’m curious as to who said privilege is something you have in abundance or else you have none at all? Because that’s the impression you’re leaving here. It’s a spectrum.
        As someone who grew up a poor white boy (sure, not as poor as your example, so I would have had more privilege — it’s a spectrum, remember?), I was able to witness this personally as there was a poor kid of Native American descent in my school who was not treated well by all the other white kids, poor or otherwise. My only offense was being too nerdy for those in the rural community I grew up in. I’d hate to think of the childhood I would have had had I been nerdy and non-white!

        1. It’s called “White male privilege” and that is exactly how it is used. It’s not “rich white male privilege”. People using this don’t give a shit about actual background. Also your claim that being black is a automatic inferior position is asinine and flies in the face of the fact that poor non-english speaking blacker and poorer than your average African American West Indians come to the US and end up earning more than the average white american.

  21. What’s the point? You tell me? The Holocaust should not be brought into this in ANY small way. You’re trying to compare the privilege of maybe having an easier time getting a job or something of that nature to the privilege of not having your whole family gassed? I don’t treat people differently, but yes, people get treated differently for different reasons. It sucks. It’s life. There are bigger things to focus on. Racist things happen, yes. But they happen against all races, and it sucks. I feel for people that have to go through that. I want to improve the way the world is. But this focus on “white male” ignores the problems of racism. You’re singling out a group and a sex instead of working towards unity. And to be so flippant about The Holocaust… that’s disgusting.

    1. “The Holocaust should not be brought into this in ANY small way.”

      The Holocaust was brought up by Tal Fortgang, not by Sarah. Why aren’t you angry with him?

  22. And MLK was speaking for everyone. If you invoke those words of his, you’d better mean it. But no, I’m not being judged by the content of my character if you see me as a “white male.” That’s the definition of judging me by the color of my skin. Using his name and then saying “Hey white people…” is offensive to the memory of what MLK was trying to accomplish.

    1. Preach it! They don’t know what it’s like, being male, middle class, and white!

    1. You mean having money allows you to get your bullshit ideas published more readily?

      “I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!”

      1. “Here’s your winnings, sir.”

        But yeah, if you look at it, this explains why eugenics just won’t friggin die already! And why so much denial of established science because it might not be profitable is a thing.

        In a related story, our local freebie has debate pieces, usually given in the format of two two-column pieces. On New Jersey’s laws and the Tesla, the right column actually said changing the law so dealers could sell directly to consumers would negatively impact too many people’s business model. So much for laissez-faire capitalism.

        1. Yeah because anyone who disagrees with a moron must be for eugenics. I guess it’s the rule of the undistributed middle in your case instead of the fallacy.

  23. “First off, one of the biggest misconceptions about privilege is that anyone wants you to apologize for it. ”

    Baloney. Leftists are constantly asking for apologies for this and that, and yes in the context of white privilege and male privilege and the combo.

    Here’s but one example:

    Examples of what people ACTUALLY mean when they say “Check Your Privilege.”

    •You are inserting yourself into a conversation where you shouldn’t be. Acknowledge what you are doing, apologize and stop it.
    •You are making my pain about you. Acknowledge what you are doing, apologize and stop it.
    •You are belittling my pain. Acknowledge what you are doing, apologize and stop it.
    •You are making my fears concerns and troubles less important than your annoyance about me talking about my experience. Acknowledge what you are doing, apologize and stop it.

    The entire elevator guy incident was all about trying to make other skeptics apologize for not accepting at the incredibly stupid arguments being made by some leftists. It was framed as “You are belittling my pain.” and the same bullshit about “Acknowledge what you are doing, apologize and stop it.”
    This is not treating males as equals but as inferiors which one has rightful control over merely because you are having an emotional incident.

    The fact that your article uses a picture of little boy not eating his broccoli instead of the actual mans picture shows what an enormous hypocrite your really are.

    How absurd that you imagine your false dogma is like broccoli and good for anyone, let alone men. How absurd that you picture those objecting to your irrationality as children when it is you who has not progressed out of childhood.

    “No one wants to force you out of college ”

    No they just want to put someone else who is less qualified ahead of the privileged white male to correct the injustice of white male privilege.

    “Weird, it sounds like non-Jewish (and non-gay, disabled, Romani, etc.) people had…privilege. Whoa. Weird, right?”

    That’s called actual privilege not the imagined kind you think white males called. There were actual laws enacted for rounding up Jews and killing them, and actually people doing it. Your sneering comment only emphasizes your ignorance. There is not dejure or defacto privilege that this Jewish guy has, in fact the dejure practice is to discriminate against Jews in admission to college. So you have it completely backwards.

    “Subtly invoking MLK, I see. Hey, white people? Please stop invoking MLK to justify your weird, shitty, racist arguments.”

    Race card, so early, boy I wasn’t expecting that till the end. Since he never made a racist argument, and in fact, you are the one pushing the racist concept of white privilege, this is quite ironic. His whole point is, and this is something a bigot like you cannot fathom, you can’t judge him by the color of his skin.

    “A friend of mine was joking recently that he can buy weed, put it in his glove box, and drive home from his dealer’s house in the middle of the night without worrying about being pulled over (or that the cops will search his car) because he’s a clean cut white dude. Whereas a black teenager can be assaulted by the police for holding a puppy.”

    Your friend is as clueless as you are. I’ve been questioned by police for sitting in my car in a parking lot enjoying sun and the weather. Tell that to Amanda Stephen who got tackled by the cops when she was jogging, or many, many other examples.

    “maybe you could stop being a dick about it for five seconds.”

    Maybe you should turn that around and wonder “Maybe I should stop being a cunt for five minutes?”

      1. No, I’ve been here before and it’s actually become more idiotic, and bigoted. There is nothing to duck and cover from because their ideology is full on bullshit and nothing more that parroted dogma. Ignorant one-side leftist hypocritical bullshit.

          1. Tilting at windmills might be his hobby.
            Follow your bliss, Mr. Macker, follow your bliss.

          1. If you use Marxist terminology and methods you should be surprised when you get called on your ideological roots.

        1. hahahaha. You’re a real loon.

          I always cringe when the Shoah is used. I hope the author understands that this is a sore spot for Jews. I know the dude brought it up but I wish it could be dropped from the reply. He’s already done enough douchebaggery without it.

          The worst is the MRA’s. They are the worst of the worst. They complain they can’t understand male privilege by falsely comparing it to say not getting a job they want and as if only they exist and the job already belongs to them.

      1. The point of “check your privilege” is to use it as a ad hominem attack when you can’t support and argument. It’s an irrational belief. It is as stupid as not addressing poor people because they are poor, or blacks because they are blacks. It’s funny how supposed skeptics are in fact igorant of basic logic and have accepted some of the central false beliefs of Christianity, that being poor is noble, and that rejecting the rules of reason is the path to enlightenment.

        1. Sorry, I somehow missed where you responded to any of Scalzi’s points in there, or the points of anyone else who has discussed privilege ever. Your entire point seems to be “I am not as privileged as certain groups in the past, thus I can’t have privilege.” Do you really not know how much easier life is as a straight white man than even just a gay black man?

          1. Scalzi’s points are irrelevant. Just because your life is on difficult mode because your mom is a crack ho, and you are a drug addict doesn’t make your reasoning powers super effective. If anything that might mean we shouldn’t listen to you because your beliefs are the product of the failed culture you come from. I certainly not going to take financial advice from the local homeless person. Why bother listening to their insane ramblings on other important subject matters? Especially ones where they have an axe to grind, like Womens Studies majors on social issues.

          2. You’re came to a feminist site to sneer at feminists.
            Who has an axe to grind?

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