There was an opinion article in this Sunday’s New York Times by a law professor: White Economic Privilege Is Alive and Well.
It’s an interesting example of radically differing ways of viewing the world. One of the comments nails the essence of the disagreements over this controversial issue; it highlights Leftist ideologues’ intentionally use of the word privilege. Words matter. Economics is the competitive allocation of resources. Privilege has a highly negative, racially hostile connotation. It implies profound unfairness and oppression, which is not what’s going on in America. A more appropriate economic word is advantage. In economic competition, like sports or military conflict, some competitors enter the playing field with advantages; but you wouldn’t call them privileged. Look, those football players are bigger and faster than the other team, they’re privileged. Wow, that nation’s army is bigger and better trained, they’re privileged.
Those who have an economic War Chest had and continue to have economic advantages. Calling us privileged, racist or dream hoarders is offensive. Here’s the full unedited comment on that article:
Boulder, CO 1 day ago
Words matter. Stop using “privilege.” It makes non-privileged whites and non-blacks angry. Rightly so. Start using other words, like “advantage,” which are cleaner and clearer, and more justified in import. People who have nice opportunities, who grew up in the upper middle class and are likely to stay there, are privileged. People outside of that sphere are not. Most whites are not privileged, and are not given privileges. Most whites have an array of comparative advantages over non-whites: They’re given the benefit of the doubt comparatively more often, don’t have to live down prejudicial preconceptions, are not red-lined, and more. Most, in other words, are accorded basic human rights and dignity that should be extended to everyone, but aren’t. But that’s not the same as being “privileged” and should not be labeled as such. Using “privilege” is hyperbole, like labelling demeaning remarks as “violence.” Using “privilege” as a label connotes that the thus-labeled person is well-off. Calling a person who is struggling to make ends meet “privileged”, accordingly, is asking for a fight, one likely to deepen racial animosities instead of repairing them. Moreover, it implies directing fewer resources toward those who are just struggling, and so, setting up a who’s worse-off fight within the ranks of the poor, pitting poor against poor for resources that every poor person needs. So cut the crap and use a different word.