I know some people are feeling like this discussion has gone on forever, but I just read this (maybe it's old news?) and I wanted to share it. It's a different take than a lot of what I read on the "Princeton Privilege" kid:
Tal. Hey bro.
I want to talk to you for a minute.
I read your article, 'Why I'll Never Apologize For My White Male Privilege'. First off, congrats on landing an article on Time. That's huge.
And I get it, dude. You're annoyed with the 'check your privilege' line. Hey, I am too. I think it's overused, and it's basically turned into a meme at this point.
I read your piece. You're Jewish. Your family, or at least your family a couple generations ago, had it pretty damn rough. And your dad worked his ass off so that you could have the opportunities that he didn't. That's great.
But, I want to talk about this line right here:
"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."
This is where you messed up, bro.
This country actually does care about your race. A lot.
You brought up some of the horrors of the Holocaust. That's a pretty heavy card to play off the bat, but it's not going to work on me.
I forgot to tell you: I'm black. And I bet you can already guess where I'm going with this. You want to tell me about the systematic extermination of six million? I see that and raise you to ten million. You want to talk about a few years of forced labor? Let's try for a few hundred. You seem to be able to trace your family's history back pretty far. That's awesome. I can't, because they didn't really keep records for property like that back then.
I'm sure that if you wanted, you could come up with some ways that somewhere in history, Jewish people had it rougher than black people. Or maybe even now. And we could go back and forth about this, endlessly.
But realistically, in the court of general opinion on historical victimhood, you're not going to win. I will. Black people always do.
But really, is this a game that you want to win? Would you like to be at the bottom rung of the social ladder? Is pity what you want?
Probably not. And right there — that annoyed feeling that you probably had when I asked if you wanted people to be sorry for you — that's the same feeling that a lot of people probably have when you accuse them of coming up with 'imaginary institutions'.
It's not imaginary, bro. It's real.
It's good that you've put effort into understanding your past. But we also need to understand everyone's present.
What I'm trying to get at here is that bringing up various ways that your ancestors' lives sucked isn't a good defense for racism.
I'm not saying that you're racist (but it's okay if you are). I'm saying that you are, probably unwittingly, defending the racism that exists in society.
There's a lot of ... talking at Tal's level, I guess? A lot of the word "bro." I know that will bother some people here, but (as a native Californian) I can deal with it. I don't think the language cheapens the message... then again, I rarely think that anyway.
This essay surprised me. There are many parts that raised my hackles, especially on first read. But I think the approach is interesting, and I think this is the first essay in total disagreement with the Time-published privilege piece that I've seen written in this way.
I figured there'd be people here on GT that would want to read this, so here you go: