Skip to comments.There is a phrase that floats around college campuses, Princeton being no exception, that threatens
Posted on 05/05/2014 3:10:03 PM PDT by Scoutmaster
There is a phrase that floats around college campuses, Princeton being no exception, that threatens to strike down opinions without regard for their merits, but rather solely on the basis of the person that voiced them. Check your privilege, the saying goes, and I have been reprimanded by it several times this year. The phrase, handed down by my moral superiors, descends recklessly, like an Obama-sanctioned drone, and aims laser-like at my pinkish-peach complexion, my maleness, and the nerve I displayed in offering an opinion rooted in a personal Weltanschauung. Check your privilege, they tell me in a command that teeters between an imposition to actually explore how I got where I am, and a reminder that I ought to feel personally apologetic because white males seem to pull most of the strings in the world.
I do not accuse those who check me and my perspective of overt racism, although the phrase, which assumes that simply because I belong to a certain ethnic group I should be judged collectively with it, toes that line. But I do condemn them for diminishing everything I have personally accomplished, all the hard work I have done in my life, and for ascribing all the fruit I reap not to the seeds I sow but to some invisible patron saint of white maleness who places it out for me before I even arrive. Furthermore, I condemn them for casting the equal protection clause, indeed the very idea of a meritocracy, as a myth, and for declaring that we are all governed by invisible forces (some would call them stigmas or societal norms), that our nation runs on racist and sexist conspiracies. Forget you didnt build that; check your privilege and realize that nothing you have accomplished is real.Talinside
But they cant be telling me that everything Ive done with my life can be credited to the racist patriarchy holding my hand throughout my years of education and eventually guiding me into Princeton. Even that is too extreme. So to find out what they are saying, I decided to take their advice. I actually went and checked the origins of my privileged existence, to empathize with those whose underdog stories I cant possibly comprehend. I have unearthed some examples of the privilege with which my family was blessed, and now I think I better understand those who assure me that skin color allowed my family and I to flourish today.
Perhaps its the privilege my grandfather and his brother had to flee their home as teenagers when the Nazis invaded Poland, leaving their mother and five younger siblings behind, running and running until they reached a Displaced Persons camp in Siberia, where they would do years of hard labor in the bitter cold until World War II ended. Maybe it was the privilege my grandfather had of taking on the local Rabbis work in that DP camp, telling him that the spiritual leader shouldnt do hard work, but should save his energy to pass Jewish tradition along to those who might survive. Perhaps it was the privilege my great-grandmother and those five great-aunts and uncles I never knew had of being shot into an open grave outside their hometown. Maybe thats my privilege.
Or maybe its the privilege my grandmother had of spending weeks upon weeks on a death march through Polish forests in subzero temperatures, one of just a handful to survive, only to be put in Bergen-Belsen concentration camp where she would have died but for the Allied forces who liberated her and helped her regain her health when her weight dwindled to barely 80 pounds.
Perhaps my privilege is that those two resilient individuals came to America with no money and no English, obtained citizenship, learned the language and met each other; that my grandfather started a humble wicker basket business with nothing but long hours, an idea, and an iron willto paraphrase the man I never met: I escaped Hitler. Some business troubles are going to ruin me? Maybe my privilege is that they worked hard enough to raise four children, and to send them to Jewish day school and eventually City College.
Perhaps it was my privilege that my own father worked hard enough in City College to earn a spot at a top graduate school, got a good job, and for 25 years got up well before the crack of dawn, sacrificing precious time he wanted to spend with those he valued mosthis wife and kidsto earn that living. I can say with certainty there was no legacy involved in any of his accomplishments. The wicker business just isnt that influential. Now would you say that weve been really privileged? That our success has been gift-wrapped?
Thats the problem with calling someone out for the privilege which you assume has defined their narrative. You dont know what their struggles have been, what they may have gone through to be where they are. Assuming theyve benefitted from power systems or other conspiratorial imaginary institutions denies them credit for all theyve done, things of which you may not even conceive. You dont know whose father died defending your freedom. You dont know whose mother escaped oppression. You dont know who conquered their demons, or may still conquering them now.
The truth is, though, that I have been exceptionally privileged in my life, albeit not in the way any detractors would have it.
It has been my distinct privilege that my grandparents came to America. First, that there was a place at all that would take them from the ruins of Europe. And second, that such a place was one where they could legally enter, learn the language, and acclimate to a society that ultimately allowed them to flourish.
It was their 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.
It was my privilege that my grandfather was blessed with resolve and an entrepreneurial spirit, and that he was lucky enough to come to the place where he could realize the dream of giving his children a better life than he had.
But far more important for me than his attributes was the legacy he sought to pass along, which forms the basis of what detractors call my privilege, but which actually should be praised as one of altruism and self-sacrifice. Those who came before us suffered for the sake of giving us a better life. When we similarly sacrifice for our descendents by caring for the planet, its called environmentalism, and is applauded. But when we do it by passing along property and a set of values, its called privilege. (And when we do it by raising questions about our crippling national debt, were called Tea Party radicals.) Such sacrifice of any form shouldnt be scorned, but admired.
My exploration did yield some results. I recognize that it was my parents privilege and now my own that there is such a thing as an American dream which is attainable even for a penniless Jewish immigrant.
I am privileged that values like faith and education were passed along to me. My grandparents played an active role in my parents education, and some of my earliest memories included learning the Hebrew alphabet with my Dad. Its been made clear to me that education begins in the home, and the importance of parents involvement with their kids educationfrom mathematics to moralitycannot be overstated. Its not a matter of white or black, male or female or any other division which we seek, but a matter of the values we pass along, the legacy we leave, that perpetuates privilege. And theres nothing wrong with that.
Behind every success, large or small, there is a story, and it isnt always told by sex or skin color. My appearance certainly doesnt tell the whole story, and to assume that it does and that I should apologize for it is insulting. While I havent done everything for myself up to this point in my life, someone sacrificed themselves so that I can lead a better life. But that is a legacy I am proud of.
I have checked my privilege. And I apologize for nothing.
Should I check my God-given rights at the same time?
Oh bravo! Excellent article.
I have the right to bear arms, but linerals think it should be a governemnt handed privilege until you retire and then you are back to being a serf awaiting your death panel date.
Boy, is he going to the wrong school!
Anyone who uses the phrase “check your privilege” against another first needs to have their own privileges checked.
1) You are speaking freely. If you had earned that right you would not question it in others. As such, using an unearned right, you are a spoiled brat. Check your privilege and listen before you speak.
2) You are speaking to someone you think is privileged. If you truly believe this, then you should keep a humble and courteous tongue in your mouth, lest those you deem to be superior to you remind you of your inferiority.
3) Since you believe yourself to be inferior, the proof of this is not even speaking until you are spoken to.
Clearly, he is unrepentant, and this proves the need for reeducation camps established by FEMA, security by Homeland and reeducation provided by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
FWIW, Jewish students are 13% of Princeton. That’s by far the lowest in the Ivy League and the school has a goal of getting it back up to 20%.
No problem with that, until you realize Jews are only 2% of the population.
I doubt I have any disagreement with this student or his no doubt well-earned presence at Princeton.
I have a lot of problems with his ethnic/religious compatriots who have led the fight to have “white people” limited to no more than their percentage of the population (actually much less) at elite colleges, while allowing, indeed encouraging, Jews to exceed their percentage by 10x or 15x.
The poor fellow (author)...spent way too much time trying to get someone to understand, when they really do not want to understand and never will.
Engaging the willfully intolerant with all this "talk" is a waste of creative talent. Intellectual pretzel gymnastics and self mental torture would be more productive. You live..you learn.
Wonder what kind of grade he'd get on this if he turned it in as part of his course work in say, an English writing or a sociology class.
He would be stigmatized
Here is a further article
Former Prof. Richard Falk, now of UN infamy for his anti-Israel stances, was a longtime law professor at Princeton, along with other far-leftists and communists (the other old Communist Party USA clique of law professors was at Rutgers, led by Arthur Kinoy, a veteran Stalinist who worked on the faux Rosenbergs appeal.
Falk’s poison is apparent in this “Privilege” assault on white students as his anti-American, marxist hatred legacy is deep and long.
I’m glad that a Jewish student has stood up to Princeton’s self-imposed “quota” and anti-white attacks. Like the writer, I’m from a Holocaust devastated family and know what both “quotas” are as well as “German privilege” policies.
We know when the anti-semitic, now also anti-white/Christian, mobs are inside the gates, this time in academia. Our “canary in the mine” antennae were up decades ago and now they are permanently up, be it at any California university, Brandeis, Princeton, CUNY, NYU, Wayne State, Florida State, Northwestern Un., Un. of Illinois, Chicago, or at DePaul.
The convergence of the white marxists, black extremists, Hispanic irredentists, and Arab/Moslem jihadists/sharia uber alles folks, is the penultimate poisoning force of the mind on any campus. The ultimate shame is that too many professors have joined in this “hate group”, including many self-hating Jewish profs who should have learned something in European History, if no place else.
The liberals of the 60’s have poisoned the well of education and many of them are on campus as teachers to make sure that new supplies of mental poison are added on a continuing basis.
If the alumni don’t fight back now, kiss the major universities good by.
My grandparents fled oppression of Jews in Eastern Europe, and were not victimized by the Holocaust. My grandfather insisted that my mother and my aunt go to college in the 1940’s. My father worked for 55 years, since he was fifteen, in a factory from 7AM to 5PM, and then worked evenings and weekends in his coin business. My mother went to work teaching school, and my father sold part of his coin collection so that my brother and I could go to college. I finished college and passed the CPA exam, and then started my own accounting office, working sometimes fifteen hours a day.
I’m privileged. I am very, very privileged.
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