A Response to Privilege

I was casually scrolling through the dumpster fire that is my FaceBook feed this morning can came across a post someone made sharing this video:

“So the lesson is that some people are born into better circumstances than others? That’s not profound, it’s banal. It’s also not exactly hidden to people with this ‘privilege’. It’s also not as important as making good life choices and applying yourself.”

“Is it my fault that over the course of 3 generations my family has moved from peasantry to the 1%?”

“I do not, in fact, accept any obligation to people born in the ghetto or otherwise in difficult circumstances.”

“”Privilege” is merely the latest progressive update on “original sin”.”

And some attempts at a discussion:

“No. you just have to be aware that for some people it is much harder to achieve your standard of living and help to accommodate those who cannot quite reach that level.

“Privilege in this context just means you have certain advantages in life that you may not even be aware of. It’s only a problem when you start blaming others for not succeeding as well as you when they don’t have those advantages. This kind of privilege is something to be grateful for and humble about.
The more traditional version of privilege is “private law.” That’s where you use your wealth and power to make sure that the law for commoners doesn’t apply to you. Because you’re better and deserve to get away with stuff. That’s the territory you stray toward when you get arrogant about your advantages.”

And more negative responses to those statements:

“It’s only a problem when you start blaming others for not succeeding as well as you when they don’t have those advantages. The real problem is the reverse. I don’t see many people asking the government to put a tax on poor people. I do see a lot of demands by ‘disadvantaged’ folk to take what is earned by others.”

I started writing a massive text response (which I will be reproducing below) and I had a moment where I balked–these people won’t change their minds just from my argument, surely not if they are capable of saying such things as listed above. I spoke with my friend who also felt that, while intentions were good, I was mostly doing it for myself (which is valid and probably the reason we get into such comment fights). These people did not seem like the type of people that I could have an actual discourse with, if they seemed to lack any empathy or self-awareness to…frankly…how privileged they sounded.

I think a lot of the ideas of being mindful of privilege have been reduced purely to wealth in this thread, but that’s only one part of it.
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