Privilege is a hard concept to define. Some people take it as the idea that if you belong to a group of people that historically have been at the top of the social scale, your privileged status must exempt you entirely from the problems of the downtrodden classes. The reality is that yes, there are plenty of poor people, people who may indeed be male, white, christian, conservative, whose opportunities in life are restricted by the systems we have in place. It doesn’t seem to them that they are privileged in any case, because of the poor neighborhood they live in, their inability to pay for school, their inability to find time off of work to deal with an illness, yet alone the money to fulfil the copays necessary to deal with their illnesses. But this definition of privilege is horrible flawed, because it requires one to believe that there are no social ills simply because there is suffering at the top tiers of the food chain. Let me state this very simply, you are privileged if you think sexism, racism, homophobia etc., don’t exist because you yourself haven’t experienced it, there are elements of your life that also suck, and because social ills aren’t as bad as they used to be.
Here is what privilege is, when you think you are being discriminated against because somebody wished you well and said happy holidays instead of assuming you celebrated Christmas. Privilege is thinking that the problem of racism has been solved, because your one black friend, who is in actuality just a reluctant acquaintance, hasn’t seen fit to share his encounters with social inequality. Privilege is when you confuse the ancient right to force your religious beliefs onto others as a loss of freedom, just because people you call sinners can now receive the same rights and dignities you have always possessed. But perhaps one of the worst manifestations of privilege comes from the idea that one has the right to inform people that they are going to be tortured for all eternity, but that it is hate speech to say that idea is ridiculous, and shouldn’t be used to settle issues with constitutional law.
Case in point here is a video that has been going viral lately. It is a video in which people share their concerns for coming out. Except that, they aren’t concerned for coming out as gay, but they are worried to reveal to the world that they are anti-gay. They defend the right to hold opinions on gay people and their unions, views that would be called out as discriminatory if it were directed at any other group or their marriages. They also attempt to defend themselves against the charge of bigotry because in their sight, it isn’t bigotry to hold the idea that some people are worth less than others are, if it is a “sincere religious belief”. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/domenick-scudera/bgot-vs-fggot_b_7712846.html?utm_hp_ref=gay-voices
Really, you are worried about being a conservative christian when over 70 present of the country is christian? You think you are being discriminated against even though you have the right to do the same things you have always done, and say the same things you’ve always said? Or is it because others are exercising their free speech to counter your ideas, and they are saying things about what they see as a hateful ideology, that you just don’t want to hear? Check this link if you want to see what real bigotry and persecution is like, just bear in mind that these pictures may not be appropriate for all viewers. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/06/25/hate-crime-skinny-jeans-attack_n_7665276.html
But if I pretend that privilege is, purely homophobic in nature, or that it only manifests itself in whining or violence I would be remiss in my duties as a social activist. Privilege more often manifests itself as the implicit ostracism of one person’s viewpoint simply because of their background, but the acceptance of it when someone more like yourself agrees with it. Oftentimes this happens when somebody makes an argument and is told they are wrong, then somebody else says the exact same thing and is praised for it. How is that a logical acceptance of fact? Not to mention, how is it fair to assume social groups you don’t belong to have an ulterior motive when they argue about a cause, but someone who you agree with is just being reasonable if they speak out about the exact same cause. For example, if a woman speaks about sexism, or someone black speaks about racism, the woman is called sexist, while the black person is called a racial agitator, but if a white man speaks out against racism and sexism, the same people think he is being compassionate, this isn’t right. http://thedailyshow.cc.com/videos/whllzy/helper-whitey
I have a list of things I think we should do to combat privilege. One, you get as well as you give in argument, so if you don’t want your ideas mocked, don’t start off the conversation by denouncing your opponent as a traitor, damming them to hell, or cursing at them. Two, judge arguments by their merits and not by who is making the arguments. Three, the people who control our society are bent on using you as a pawn, they do this by distracting you by turning your angst against other groups of people. If you hear somebody call for the wholesale destruction, the humbling, or the subjugation of an entire group of people, all the arguer is doing is distracting you from your true aggressors. This has been true ever since the aristocracy discovered that it could always direct your anger towards a rich peasant who is resented because he is doing better than his peers, instead of the peasant’s anger being directed towards their lord who does worse than nothing, and is the root cause of their poverty. Finally four, if you claim that you have some special enlightenment, that you are without bias, you are subjecting yourself to a prison of the mind. Only by admitting it, can we do something about our problems, and be free.