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Archive for January, 2016

If you are someone who uses the word privilege to criticize people, here is a way to test whether you have been doing it well.

Not doing it well

If just about anything a rich person says could get them criticized by you for their privilege, then you are criticizing them for being well off, not for being ignorant of the advantages they had in life. Examples:

Statement: “I was curious if I could care about (money) on some fundamental level, and I couldn’t”

Criticism: “That’s because you are in such a privileged position that you don’t need to care about money — you already have it!”

Statement: “I decided to take a high paying job”

Criticism: “This is a great example of privilege. S/he just gets to casually choose whether or not to take a high paying job”

Statement: “I decided to devote my life to charitable causes”

Criticism: “Of course you can choose to devote you life to charity, because you are so privileged that you don’t have to worry about bills”

Doing it well

Reserves privilege criticisms for (born) privileged people who are very judgmental of people who had far fewer advantages who haven’t been as successful, seemingly unaware that their advantages likely played at least some role in their success.

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I know there are other types of privilege besides money. For example, if a white person living in a suburban neighborhood said that they are happy with the policing in their neighborhood, I don’t think that warrants privilege criticism. But, if they say something like, “I don’t know what these black people are complaining about, I have always found the police to be helpful,” that statement suggests ignorance of other peoples situations due to living in a privilege bubble.

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