A logical and respectful exploration of privilege

LegendOfKage

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Mar 6, 2018
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My personal favorite political you tube channel released a new video today, and I think it's pretty good.



tl;dw?
Privilege as a concept, or a way of viewing the world, is best used as an abstract argument of likelihood, rather than a concrete example of certainty. Many examples commonly associated with privilege can be earned through effort, or are only situationally advantageous. Being white is generally not an example of either one of these, and is statistically very advantageous. This is often for the advantages that come with a higher likelihood of being born into situations that provide intact families, better schools, and less poverty. A focus on privilege can also lead to the negative result of people dwelling on what are statistical disadvantages rather than focusing on their strengths.

Your thoughts? Do you feel that the conversation around privilege could be a lot less heated if instead of "privilege doesn't exist" the argument came down to "privilege exists, but we agree we're talking about statistical likelihood and not making assumptions and generalizations about individuals, right?"

Are there any points in the video that you disagreed with?
 
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AV

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Do you feel that the conversation around privilege could be a lot less heated if instead of "privilege doesn't exist" the argument came down to "privilege exists, but we agree we're talking about statistical likelihood and not making assumptions and generalizations about individuals, right?"
My initial reaction is that in my estimation, the people who use privilege as an argument are either incapable of, or unwilling to see it as a statistical likelihood, because that doesn't support whatever their core argument is in the same way.
 

matt404au

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There is nothing constructive to come from speaking in terms of privilege because it inevitably frames any proposed solution around taking away and dragging down. Moreover, it breeds one of the most destructive human emotions: jealousy. On the other hand, speaking in terms of disadvantage frames the solution around giving and lifting up. While privilege and disadvantage are effectively describing the same thing — a class imbalance — the psychological effects of speaking in terms of one and not the other couldn’t be any more different. It’s the difference between charity and theft.
 

DunDunDunpachi

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Privilege is an ideological non-starter for me.

We all have it (to address the video's insistence that we all have it in some form), but it is not measurable in a way that excludes bias and cultural influence. Drawing the arbitrary categories for which group has privilege and which group does not is also inherently biased.

It's a quasi-philosophical, quasi-religious idea, like socio-political karma for communists. It's not a new concept and it certainly isn't a nuanced concept. Your sins (i.e. your privileges and advantages) might have given you the means to surge ahead in life, but plenty of people didn't have those advantages. So, you should absolve yourself of your sins and give those things to the people whom the State and/or the Religion say you should give those things to.

Redistribution because of the State's need. Redistribution because the Religion says it is the right thing to do. Redistribution because think o the children. It all goes back to forceful redistribution which suffers from the same problems of bias and cultural influence (not to mention avarice and malice and greed which always seem to pop up among the revolutionaries).
 

Saruhashi

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There is nothing constructive to come from speaking in terms of privilege because it inevitably frames any proposed solution around taking away and dragging down. Moreover, it breeds one of the most destructive human emotions: jealousy. On the other hand, speaking in terms of disadvantage frames the solution around giving and lifting up. While privilege and disadvantage are effectively describing the same thing — a class imbalance — the psychological effects of speaking in terms of one and not the other couldn’t be any more different. It’s the difference between charity and theft.
This is pretty much my views on the subject also.

You can definitely see on social media that we are already fostering a kind of extreme bitterness between groups and the concept of "privilege" is helping to fuel that.

It's going to be difficult to reel in extremists in a situation where you have people who believe that they are being cheated out of a good life by the privileged class.
Similarly you are going to struggle to reason with people who go off the deep end because they are constantly berated for having "privilege" but actually their lives are a bit shit.

When you have a concept that, as you say, feeds into people's most destructive tendencies then you have to be careful with it,
Unfortunately people seem to be using it as a kind of weapon and when you do that you probably end up with bad consequences.

"Look at these people... they've got advantages in life that they didn't earn... that they don't deserve..."
If that's the starting point then you'd better be super fucking careful where you go from there.
 

matt404au

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This is pretty much my views on the subject also.

You can definitely see on social media that we are already fostering a kind of extreme bitterness between groups and the concept of "privilege" is helping to fuel that.

It's going to be difficult to reel in extremists in a situation where you have people who believe that they are being cheated out of a good life by the privileged class.
Similarly you are going to struggle to reason with people who go off the deep end because they are constantly berated for having "privilege" but actually their lives are a bit shit.

When you have a concept that, as you say, feeds into people's most destructive tendencies then you have to be careful with it,
Unfortunately people seem to be using it as a kind of weapon and when you do that you probably end up with bad consequences.

"Look at these people... they've got advantages in life that they didn't earn... that they don't deserve..."
If that's the starting point then you'd better be super fucking careful where you go from there.
Yep, I refuse to cede any ground to the false prophets of the academic ivory towers that the privilege concept is emanating from. It’s Marxism in a shiny new skin that is purposefully designed to take advantage of the greatest vulnerability of Judeo-Christian values: guilt. It is a political weapon, and a very sophisticated one at that. People need to stop giving it any credence because it is intended to prey on and manipulate their emotions. Anyone who genuinely wants to help the disadvantaged should get out there and do exactly that the old fashioned way. They should go and volunteer their time instead of participating in twitter slacktivism that does nothing but boost the ego of the slacktivist.
 
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appaws

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I question the whole philosophical underpinnings of this....the idea that everyone should in any way be equal....why is that moral?

If one generation has the agency to work hard to set up an advantageous position for their offspring, why would that be morally problematic? To me that seems like a positive good. And if some lack agency and their offspring have a more difficult time, why should I be morally conflicted about that. I can feel for them, or do charitable things to help them...but that in no way calls into moral disrepute the fact that my parents were intelligent and motivated to provide for my siblings and I.
 

Liberty4all

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Commies would say you didn't work for your position in life and wealth should not pass from one generation to the next.

Commies would also say that your parents ill gotten gains were probaly a result of their privilege and therefore letting you inherit is a self perpetuating cycle.

Basically it's all about stealing what your parents have earned and giving it back to the state to redistribute to those the state decides is more "deserving".
 

AaronB

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May 5, 2013
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Tucker Carlson's show last night talked about privilege and identity politics, and the main takeaway was that it diminishes sympathy for poor white people without actually helping black people. That seems to be where the Democratic Party is right now.

Has anyone done actual analysis showing that privilege is primarily due to race or gender rather than class and family structure? I would think those latter two are the real issue. For example, lack of a father in the household is a better predictor of a stint in prison than race.
 

Ryujin

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The problem with discussing the concept of privilege is both the clandestine redefinition of language that has malformed its common meaning and the ideological pedestal that privilege has been placed upon as a core tenet of the intersectional ideology.

Putting those issues to one side for the moment allows us to discuss privilege without shouldering the extra weight brought upon by the baggage that these issues tend to bring to the discussion.

In the abstract sense, every person alive today holds "privilege" in some form or another. This can more easily be distilled into the concepts of advantage and disadvantage.

For example lets present a scenario: Person A can run 5% faster than Person B

In this scenario we could consider Person A to have an objective advantage over Person B in the category of running speed.

At the same time this automatically means that Person B is disadvantaged when compared to Person A, in the category of running speed.

This could be said to describe a situation where Person A is "privileged" over Person B.

In this sense every person on the planet has certain advantages and disadvantages, perceived or otherwise when compared to the next person or the population at large.

We could make similar comparisons with height, strength, intelligence, attractiveness, fitness, education, wealth, career, status, age, recovery speed, eye sight, night vision, spacial awareness, acquired skills, number of siblings, number of children, marital status, access to medicine, local economy, number of injuries, birth defects etc...

The list could literally go on near infinitely in as many forms of categorization as desired.

To use an extreme example that is somewhat absurd but helps to get the point across: If you have not been burned over most of your body by a horrific fire then you could say that you have "Non-Burn Victim" privilege.

We all recognize this as both logically true when looking at the concept of privilege as advantages vs disadvantages, however at the same time we realize that it is a silly thing to consider in our day to day lives.

Something also worth pointing out is that these advantages/disadvantages, or "privileges" for the advantaged group are not static unchanging advantages.

These "privileges" are contextual, often situational and subject to environmental and societal influences. They are temporal and subject to change over time as societal norms, perceptions and even environments change.

To go back to the Person A/Person B example above, imagine a scenario where these two people are running across a highway as they assume there are no cars, suddenly a truck comes speeding down the furthest lane ahead of them.

Being 5% faster Person A has already reached this far lane at the same time the truck is passing and is killed by the oncoming truck.

In this specific example Person B being 5% slower had not yet reached the far lane and as such was missed by this speeding truck thereby surviving the ordeal.

In this situation Person A's speed advantage actually resulted in a disadvantage related to their environment and the specifics of this context. As a result of this Person B's slowness relative to Person A meant that Person B actually had the advantage in this specific situation.

Granted this is a contrived hypothetical example designed to help with the thought experiment.

To use potential real world examples:

Being a white person in a white majority population in a first world country is generally considered to be advantageous vs another ethnicity.

However being that same white person in a country such as China, Japan or somewhere like South Africa might not result in the same advantages as would be enjoyed at home.

Bringing back the identity politics ideological baggage to the table, the idea is that "privilege" is automatically an oppression of the disadvantaged is simply idiotic.

In my above scenario, Person A is not "oppressing" Person B simply because they happen to have a situational advantage.

Then to undo this perceived oppression the intersectionalists and their ilk seem to believe as @matt404au rightly points out that the only way to do this is by taking away the advantage of the "privileged" group to "even the playing field" so to speak.

Applying this my Person A/Person B scenario above, this would mean somehow slowing down person A so that they lose their advantage in speed.

Maybe you could imagine this being adding weights to Person A to slow their speed as an example or maybe at an extreme hobbling person A in some fashion, possibly through surgery to try to eliminate the gap.

Another possibility would be to somehow convince Person A that they are not deserving of their advantage in speed and should instead feel guilty about it in comparison to the slower Person B.

This would result in Person A purposefully not moving at their full potential speed to "even the balance" or even purposely running slower than Person B because "they deserve a win" etc..

What this would result in is generally considered to be an equality of outcome, which when thought about logically doesn't make any sense. Especially when people can be divided into a near infinite amount of "advantages" and "disadvantages" perceived or otherwise.

The simple fact is that we in the west, are incredibly privileged compared not only to other peoples of the world currently alive today, but historically privileged to a degree that is almost unprecedented in history.

We are privileged compared to all of our ancestors, even our recent ancestors such as our grand parents.

People ascribing to the identity politics/intersectional ideology have forgotten this, either through ignorance of their station in the world or through sheer will power to not acknowledge ideas that may conflict with their dogma.

Anything that challenges the belief structure must be shunned, pushed away, ignored, silenced, censored, destroyed.

So to close: Yes we are all privileged who happen to live in the west or other first world countries. This privilege or more accurately this set of privileges however is not an "oppression" of the the disadvantaged.

Again I echo @matt404au 's statement that solutions to large imbalances in society should be to help "bring up" the levels of the disadvantaged to bring them closer to or equal to the level of the advantaged thereby mostly eliminating the gap.

I think this is much healthier than trying to restrict or disenfranchise the advantaged to bring them down to the level of the disadvantaged.
 

njr

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Jan 26, 2009
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The problems when discussing arguments and applying privilege are: How do you measure it? What can someone do to dispense with the privilege they have to make their argument valid? There’s too much buy in for it, ceding ground that you have privilege without knowing how much you truly have can invalidate everything you argue further. Given that, it makes more sense to treat people as individuals since that does away with generalizations and assumptions.
 

matt404au

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Apr 25, 2009
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The problem with discussing the concept of privilege is both the clandestine redefinition of language that has malformed its common meaning and the ideological pedestal that privilege has been placed upon as a core tenet of the intersectional ideology.

Putting those issues to one side for the moment allows us to discuss privilege without shouldering the extra weight brought upon by the baggage that these issues tend to bring to the discussion.

In the abstract sense, every person alive today holds "privilege" in some form or another. This can more easily be distilled into the concepts of advantage and disadvantage.

For example lets present a scenario: Person A can run 5% faster than Person B

In this scenario we could consider Person A to have an objective advantage over Person B in the category of running speed.

At the same time this automatically means that Person B is disadvantaged when compared to Person A, in the category of running speed.

This could be said to describe a situation where Person A is "privileged" over Person B.

In this sense every person on the planet has certain advantages and disadvantages, perceived or otherwise when compared to the next person or the population at large.

We could make similar comparisons with height, strength, intelligence, attractiveness, fitness, education, wealth, career, status, age, recovery speed, eye sight, night vision, spacial awareness, acquired skills, number of siblings, number of children, marital status, access to medicine, local economy, number of injuries, birth defects etc...

The list could literally go on near infinitely in as many forms of categorization as desired.

To use an extreme example that is somewhat absurd but helps to get the point across: If you have not been burned over most of your body by a horrific fire then you could say that you have "Non-Burn Victim" privilege.

We all recognize this as both logically true when looking at the concept of privilege as advantages vs disadvantages, however at the same time we realize that it is a silly thing to consider in our day to day lives.

Something also worth pointing out is that these advantages/disadvantages, or "privileges" for the advantaged group are not static unchanging advantages.

These "privileges" are contextual, often situational and subject to environmental and societal influences. They are temporal and subject to change over time as societal norms, perceptions and even environments change.

To go back to the Person A/Person B example above, imagine a scenario where these two people are running across a highway as they assume there are no cars, suddenly a truck comes speeding down the furthest lane ahead of them.

Being 5% faster Person A has already reached this far lane at the same time the truck is passing and is killed by the oncoming truck.

In this specific example Person B being 5% slower had not yet reached the far lane and as such was missed by this speeding truck thereby surviving the ordeal.

In this situation Person A's speed advantage actually resulted in a disadvantage related to their environment and the specifics of this context. As a result of this Person B's slowness relative to Person A meant that Person B actually had the advantage in this specific situation.

Granted this is a contrived hypothetical example designed to help with the thought experiment.

To use potential real world examples:

Being a white person in a white majority population in a first world country is generally considered to be advantageous vs another ethnicity.

However being that same white person in a country such as China, Japan or somewhere like South Africa might not result in the same advantages as would be enjoyed at home.

Bringing back the identity politics ideological baggage to the table, the idea is that "privilege" is automatically an oppression of the disadvantaged is simply idiotic.

In my above scenario, Person A is not "oppressing" Person B simply because they happen to have a situational advantage.

Then to undo this perceived oppression the intersectionalists and their ilk seem to believe as @matt404au rightly points out that the only way to do this is by taking away the advantage of the "privileged" group to "even the playing field" so to speak.

Applying this my Person A/Person B scenario above, this would mean somehow slowing down person A so that they lose their advantage in speed.

Maybe you could imagine this being adding weights to Person A to slow their speed as an example or maybe at an extreme hobbling person A in some fashion, possibly through surgery to try to eliminate the gap.

Another possibility would be to somehow convince Person A that they are not deserving of their advantage in speed and should instead feel guilty about it in comparison to the slower Person B.

This would result in Person A purposefully not moving at their full potential speed to "even the balance" or even purposely running slower than Person B because "they deserve a win" etc..

What this would result in is generally considered to be an equality of outcome, which when thought about logically doesn't make any sense. Especially when people can be divided into a near infinite amount of "advantages" and "disadvantages" perceived or otherwise.

The simple fact is that we in the west, are incredibly privileged compared not only to other peoples of the world currently alive today, but historically privileged to a degree that is almost unprecedented in history.

We are privileged compared to all of our ancestors, even our recent ancestors such as our grand parents.

People ascribing to the identity politics/intersectional ideology have forgotten this, either through ignorance of their station in the world or through sheer will power to not acknowledge ideas that may conflict with their dogma.

Anything that challenges the belief structure must be shunned, pushed away, ignored, silenced, censored, destroyed.

So to close: Yes we are all privileged who happen to live in the west or other first world countries. This privilege or more accurately this set of privileges however is not an "oppression" of the the disadvantaged.

Again I echo @matt404au 's statement that solutions to large imbalances in society should be to help "bring up" the levels of the disadvantaged to bring them closer to or equal to the level of the advantaged thereby mostly eliminating the gap.

I think this is much healthier than trying to restrict or disenfranchise the advantaged to bring them down to the level of the disadvantaged.
HARRISON BERGERON by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

THE YEAR WAS 2081, and everybody was finally equal. They weren't only equal before God and the law. They were equal every which way. Nobody was smarter than anybody else. Nobody was better looking than anybody else. Nobody was stronger or quicker than anybody else. All this equality was due to the 211th, 212th, and 213 th Amendments to the Constitution, and to the unceasing vigilance of agents of the United States Handicapper General.

Some things about living still weren't quite right, though. April for instance, still drove people crazy by not being springtime. And it was in that clammy month that the H-G men took George and Hazel Bergeron's fourteen-year-old son, Harrison, away.

It was tragic, all right, but George and Hazel couldn't think about it very hard. Hazel had a perfectly average intelligence, which meant she couldn't think about anything except in short bursts. And George, while his intelligence was way above normal, had a little mental handicap radio in his ear. He was required by law to wear it at all times. It was tuned to a government transmitter. Every twenty seconds or so, the transmitter would send out some sharp noise to keep people like George from taking unfair advantage of their brains.

George and Hazel were watching television. There were tears on Hazel's cheeks, but she'd forgotten for the moment what they were about.

On the television screen were ballerinas.

A buzzer sounded in George's head. His thoughts fled in panic, like bandits from a burglar alarm.

"That was a real pretty dance, that dance they just did," said Hazel.

"Huh" said George.

"That dance-it was nice," said Hazel.

"Yup, " said George. He tried to think a little about the ballerinas. They weren't really very good-no better than anybody else would have been, anyway. They were burdened with sashweights and bags of birdshot, and their faces were masked, so that no one, seeing a free and graceful gesture or a pretty face, would feel like something the cat drug in. George was toying with the vague notion that maybe dancers shouldn't be handicapped. But he didn't get very far with it before another noise in his ear radio scattered his thoughts.

George winced. So did two out of the eight ballerinas.

Hazel saw him wince. Having no mental handicap herself, she had to ask George what the latest sound had been.

"Sounded like somebody hitting a milk bottle with a ball peen hammer, " said George.

"I'd think it would be real interesting, hearing all the different sounds," said Hazel a little envious. "All the things they think up."

"Urn, " said George.

"Only, if I was Handicapper General, you know what I would do?" said Hazel. Hazel, as a matter of fact, bore a strong resemblance to the Handicapper General, a woman named Diana Moon Glampers. "If I was Diana Moon Glampers,"
said Hazel, "I'd have chimes on Sunday-just chimes. Kind of in honor of religion."

"I could think, if it was just chimes," said George.

"Well-maybe make 'em real loud," said Hazel. "I think I'd make a good Handicapper General."

"Good as anybody else," said George.

"Who knows better then I do what normal is?" said Hazel.

"Right," said George. He began to think glimmeringly about his abnormal son
who was now in jail, about Harrison, but a twenty-one-gun salute in his head
stopped that.

"Boy!" said Hazel, "that was a doozy, wasn't it?"

It was such a doozy that George was white and trembling, and tears stood on the rims of his red eyes. Two of of the eight ballerinas had collapsed to the studio floor, were holding their temples.

"All of a sudden you look so tired," said Hazel. "Why don't you stretch out on the sofa, so's you can rest your handicap bag on the pillows, honeybunch." She was referring to the forty-seven pounds of birdshot in a canvas bag, which was padlocked around George's neck. "Go on and rest the bag for a little while," she said. "I don't care if you're not equal to me for a while.”

George weighed the bag with his hands. "I don't mind it," he said. "I don't notice it any more. It's just a part of me."

"You been so tired lately-kind of wore out," said Hazel. "If there was just some way we could make a little hole in the bottom of the bag, and just take out a few of them lead balls. Just a few."

"Two years in prison and two thousand dollars fine for every ball I took out," said George. "I don't call that a bargain."

"If you could just take a few out when you came home from work," said Hazel. "I mean-you don't compete with anybody around here. You just set around."

"If I tried to get away with it," said George, "then other people’d get away with it-and pretty soon we'd be right back to the dark ages again, with everybody competing against everybody else. You wouldn't like that, would you?"

"I'd hate it," said Hazel.

"There you are," said George. The minute people start cheating on laws, what do you think happens to society?"

If Hazel hadn't been able to come up with an answer to this question, George
couldn't have supplied one. A siren was going off in his head.

"Reckon it'd fall all apart," said Hazel.

"What would?" said George blankly.

"Society," said Hazel uncertainly. "Wasn't that what you just said?

"Who knows?" said George.

The television program was suddenly interrupted for a news bulletin. It wasn't clear at first as to what the bulletin was about, since the announcer, like all announcers, had a serious speech impediment. For about half a minute, and in a state of high excitement, the announcer tried to say, "Ladies and Gentlemen."

He finally gave up, handed the bulletin to a ballerina to read.

"That's all right-" Hazel said of the announcer, "he tried. That's the big thing. He tried to do the best he could with what God gave him. He should get a nice raise for trying so hard."

"Ladies and Gentlemen," said the ballerina, reading the bulletin. She must have been extraordinarily beautiful, because the mask she wore was hideous. And it was easy to see that she was the strongest and most graceful of all the dancers, for her handicap bags were as big as those worn by two-hundred pound men.

And she had to apologize at once for her voice, which was a very unfair voice for a woman to use. Her voice was a warm, luminous, timeless melody. "Excuse me-" she said, and she began again, making her voice absolutely uncompetitive.

"Harrison Bergeron, age fourteen," she said in a grackle squawk, "has just escaped from jail, where he was held on suspicion of plotting to overthrow the government. He is a genius and an athlete, is under-handicapped, and should be regarded as extremely dangerous."

A police photograph of Harrison Bergeron was flashed on the screen-upside down, then sideways, upside down again, then right side up. The picture showed the full length of Harrison against a background calibrated in feet and inches. He was exactly seven feet tall.

The rest of Harrison's appearance was Halloween and hardware. Nobody had ever born heavier handicaps. He had outgrown hindrances faster than the H-G men could think them up. Instead of a little ear radio for a mental handicap, he wore a tremendous pair of earphones, and spectacles with thick wavy lenses.
The spectacles were intended to make him not only half blind, but to give him
whanging headaches besides.

Scrap metal was hung all over him. Ordinarily, there was a certain symmetry, a military neatness to the handicaps issued to strong people, but Harrison looked like a walking junkyard. In the race of life, Harrison carried three hundred pounds.

And to offset his good looks, the H-G men required that he wear at all times a red rubber ball for a nose, keep his eyebrows shaved off, and cover his even white teeth with black caps at snaggle-tooth random.

"If you see this boy,” said the ballerina, "do not - I repeat, do not - try to reason with him."

There was the shriek of a door being torn from its hinges.

Screams and barking cries of consternation came from the television set. The photograph of Harrison Bergeron on the screen jumped again and again, as
though dancing to the tune of an earthquake.

George Bergeron correctly identified the earthquake, and well he might have - for many was the time his own home had danced to the same crashing tune. "My
God-" said George, "that must be Harrison!"

The realization was blasted from his mind instantly by the sound of an automobile collision in his head.

When George could open his eyes again, the photograph of Harrison was gone. A
living, breathing Harrison filled the screen.

Clanking, clownish, and huge, Harrison stood - in the center of the studio. The knob of the uprooted studio door was still in his hand. Ballerinas, technicians, musicians, and announcers cowered on their knees before him, expecting to die.

"I am the Emperor!" cried Harrison. "Do you hear? I am the Emperor! Everybody
must do what I say at once!" He stamped his foot and the studio shook.

"Even as I stand here" he bellowed, "crippled, hobbled, sickened - I am a greater ruler than any man who ever lived! Now watch me become what I can
become!”

Harrison tore the straps of his handicap harness like wet tissue paper, tore straps guaranteed to support five thousand pounds.

Harrison's scrap-iron handicaps crashed to the floor.

Harrison thrust his thumbs under the bar of the padlock that secured his head harness. The bar snapped like celery. Harrison smashed his headphones and
spectacles against the wall.

He flung away his rubber-ball nose, revealed a man that would have awed Thor, the god of thunder.

"I shall now select my Empress!" he said, looking down on the cowering people. "Let the first woman who dares rise to her feet claim her mate and her throne!"

A moment passed, and then a ballerina arose, swaying like a willow.

Harrison plucked the mental handicap from her ear, snapped off her physical
handicaps with marvelous delicacy. Last of all he removed her mask.

She was blindingly beautiful.

"Now-" said Harrison, taking her hand, "shall we show the people the meaning
of the word dance? Music!" he commanded.

The musicians scrambled back into their chairs, and Harrison stripped them of
their handicaps, too. "Play your best," he told them, "and I'll make you barons and dukes and earls."

The music began. It was normal at first-cheap, silly, false. But Harrison snatched two musicians from their chairs, waved them like batons as he sang the music as he wanted it played. He slammed them back into their chairs.

The music began again and was much improved.

Harrison and his Empress merely listened to the music for a while-listened gravely, as though synchronizing their heartbeats with it.

They shifted their weights to their toes.

Harrison placed his big hands on the girls tiny waist, letting her sense the weightlessness that would soon be hers.

And then, in an explosion of joy and grace, into the air they sprang!

Not only were the laws of the land abandoned, but the law of gravity and the
laws of motion as well.

They reeled, whirled, swiveled, flounced, capered, gamboled, and spun.

They leaped like deer on the moon.

The studio ceiling was thirty feet high, but each leap brought the dancers nearer to it.

It became their obvious intention to kiss the ceiling. They kissed it.

And then, neutraling gravity with love and pure will, they remained suspended in air inches below the ceiling, and they kissed each other for a long, long time.

It was then that Diana Moon Clampers, the Handicapper General, came into the studio with a double-barreled ten-gauge shotgun. She fired twice, and the Emperor and the Empress were dead before they hit the floor.

Diana Moon Clampers loaded the gun again. She aimed it at the musicians and
told them they had ten seconds to get their handicaps back on.

It was then that the Bergerons' television tube burned out.

Hazel turned to comment about the blackout to George. But George had gone out into the kitchen for a can of beer.

George came back in with the beer, paused while a handicap signal shook him
up. And then he sat down again. "You been crying" he said to Hazel.

"Yup, " she said.

"What about?" he said.

"I forget," she said. "Something real sad on television."

"What was it?" he said.

"It's all kind of mixed up in my mind," said Hazel.

"Forget sad things," said George.

"I always do," said Hazel.

"That's my girl," said George. He winced. There was the sound of a rivetting gun in his head.

"Gee - I could tell that one was a doozy, " said Hazel.

"You can say that again," said George.

"Gee-" said Hazel, "I could tell that one was a doozy."

"Harrison Bergeron" is copyrighted by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., 1961.
 

Saruhashi

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I question the whole philosophical underpinnings of this....the idea that everyone should in any way be equal....why is that moral?

If one generation has the agency to work hard to set up an advantageous position for their offspring, why would that be morally problematic? To me that seems like a positive good. And if some lack agency and their offspring have a more difficult time, why should I be morally conflicted about that. I can feel for them, or do charitable things to help them...but that in no way calls into moral disrepute the fact that my parents were intelligent and motivated to provide for my siblings and I.
Even if we gave them a win on that point and said ok it's not moral for people to be unequal there's no way to "equalize" or "level the playing field".

For as long as scarcity is a thing there will be competition for the best available stuff. That can be for jobs or homes in certain areas or even smaller things like tickets to a concert or midnight showing of a movie. PS5 launch day? You know they will sell out and people who want one will go without.

In almost every aspect of our lives there is a limited amount of accessibility to desirable things.

So we say OK... "it's not moral that all these nice houses have white people living in them".
Fine but realistically the only solution is to remove some of those people and replace them with a different demographic.

So in an instant you've just reversed the privilege. You've taken it from someone who lives there (by booting them out, I guess) and handed it to someone else. So we know we can't go down that road because we end up with the same moral conundrum.

We might say then "well why don't we build a whole bunch of these desirable houses so we have enough for everyone".
Not possible. Where does the money and materials come from? Who builds them?

The reality of scarcity always means that there will be some kind of "privilege" that we could identify but there is not much that can be done about it.

Unless we just "fix" society so that nobody can ever have good things. Everyone gets the absolute minimum they need to get by and it stops right there.
Yet, even if everyone lives in the same size house how do you adjust for things like getting a sea view or a mountain view or having the room that gets the most sun or even living in a city with nice weather versus one where it rains all the time?

So even if there was some major battle and "male privilege" or "white privilege" was finally gotten rid of you'd still need to work on "thin privilege", "able bodied privilege", "employed privilege", "living on the top floor privilege", "got tickets for the cup final privilege" etc.

It would be a never ending battle.
 
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appaws

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Even if we gave them a win on that point and said ok it's not moral for people to be unequal there's no way to "equalize" or "level the playing field".

For as long as scarcity is a thing there will be competition for the best available stuff. That can be for jobs or homes in certain areas or even smaller things like tickets to a concert or midnight showing of a movie. PS5 launch day? You know they will sell out and people who want one will go without.

In almost every aspect of our lives there is a limited amount of accessibility to desirable things.

So we say OK... "it's not moral that all these nice houses have white people living in them".
Fine but realistically the only solution is to remove some of those people and replace them with a different demographic.

So in an instant you've just reversed the privilege. You've taken it from someone who lives there (by booting them out, I guess) and handed it to someone else. So we know we can't go down that road because we end up with the same moral conundrum.

We might say then "well why don't we build a whole bunch of these desirable houses so we have enough for everyone".
Not possible. Where does the money and materials come from? Who builds them?

The reality of scarcity always means that there will be some kind of "privilege" that we could identify but there is not much that can be done about it.

Unless we just "fix" society so that nobody can ever have good things. Everyone gets the absolute minimum they need to get by and it stops right there.
Yet, even if everyone lives in the same size house how do you adjust for things like getting a sea view or a mountain view or having the room that gets the most sun or even living in a city with nice weather versus one where it rains all the time?

So even if there was some major battle and "male privilege" or "white privilege" was finally gotten rid of you'd still need to work on "thin privilege", "able bodied privilege", "employed privilege", "living on the top floor privilege", "got tickets for the cup final privilege" etc.

It would be a never ending battle.
And even if you give everyone the same house with an "equal" view, individuals and groups of people are not equal in ability or agency. Come back a year later and some of the houses (that were once "equal") will be maintained, or even improved, flowers planted, weeds pulled, freshly painted. And other houses will be trashed. They won't be equal anymore, the people with talent and agency will rise to the top.

And some will have a problem with that and say those people are "privileged."
 
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The problem with the "privilege" discourse is that it only masks and forgets a more reasonable & comprehensive ethics on advantage that long predates it.

Instead of it being a negative question of how to apologize for or give away your advantages as some kind of original sin, the correct ethical question was always to ascertain how our advantages and unchosen positions in life should be used well, what positive responsibilities they place on us, and how we should respect and well-govern the gifts (of place, ability, etc) that distinctly define our life.
'
It's peculiar how little respect the new regime of "privilege" even has for ostensibly lower stations in life. In the past, the notion was that every single life and vocation--even as a hand laborer, etc--carries its own dignity and responsibilities, because all of us are called to respond well to the placement we find and do the most we can with it for those around us. Today, the privilege discourse implicitly suggests that those without certain advantages or skills are inherently degraded, because it no longer even understands the concept of our gifts carrying unique burdens, so that eg. the leader and the laborer each have their own share of weights and problems to handle, neither lower in inherent dignity.
 
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Super Mario

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Privilege absolutely exists. Not in the fashion the media makes it out to be. You absolutely are not privileged by being born a white male. The closest I can come to privilege on that one is society expecting a lot from you and acting on it. Here are the three types that come to the top of my mind:

1.) Money - There's no denying that. Being born into a family of millionaires vs poverty is going to change your life. Still though, who has the right to other people's money?

2.) Beautiful women - If you are a beautiful woman, the world is yours. Guys will throw themselves at you. Jobs will never turn you down. You can even have a career of booty pictures on instagram. That's if you want to "work," finding men with money to finance your life is also not too hard.

3.) Large/atheletic - If you are born a 7+ foot black man who is very athletic, chances are you are going to be able to get into sports a lot easier than me. At 21 I looked like a big toddler. I've seen 21 year old athletes with testosterone like you wouldn't believe. So what's the "fix?" We all know there is none, because true "fairness" isn't part of any agenda.

There are more. It's definitely out there. Heck, each person might even have their own and not know it. Playing the victim card is pointless. ANYONE can have a good life. Some people have to work harder though.
 

Derekloffin

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Jun 17, 2013
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As I mentioned on that video, the problem with privilege is it isn't a useful piece of terminology. We don't go around trying to dissect the eating habits of ice cream lovers because ice cream sales are positively correlated with crime, and privilege in this usage is the same sort of thing, a correlated variable that is rarely causal. It is completely nonconstructive to discourse about social issues as it isn't addressing the causes of the issues, it is looking to divide people. It just causes the very sexism, racism, and so forth that people touting it claim they want to fight.
 

merlinevo

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Apr 28, 2019
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"Privilege" is an invention by the liberals to try to excuse the many poor choices and behaviors that leads to social inequalities which predominately affects black and brown people. It is a false and very dishonest explanation that reduces the socioeconomic disparity between the races to oppression and patriarchy, rather than work ethic, abilities and chance. It then conveniently puts all responsibilities on the failings of the black and brown community at the feet of the supposed evil and racist whites, who ironically also have many among its ranks affected by the same socioeconomic problems. Whites are expected to be blame for and to come up with the solution to the problems in the black and brown communities.

Privilege is simply a catch all exception, any anti social and self destructive behaviors made by black and brown communities can simply be offloaded to the to the white society. It leaves no room to even ask common sense questions such as: are children in two parents households better off than in single parent households, are women just biologically wired differently from men to exceed at certain task or jobs, do certain communities not place a high value in the rule of law as others, etc.
 

Cybrwzrd

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HARRISON BERGERON by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

THE YEAR WAS 2081, and everybody was finally equal. They weren't only equal before God and the law. They were equal every which way. Nobody was smarter than anybody else. Nobody was better looking than anybody else. Nobody was stronger or quicker than anybody else. All this equality was due to the 211th, 212th, and 213 th Amendments to the Constitution, and to the unceasing vigilance of agents of the United States Handicapper General.

Some things about living still weren't quite right, though. April for instance, still drove people crazy by not being springtime. And it was in that clammy month that the H-G men took George and Hazel Bergeron's fourteen-year-old son, Harrison, away.

It was tragic, all right, but George and Hazel couldn't think about it very hard. Hazel had a perfectly average intelligence, which meant she couldn't think about anything except in short bursts. And George, while his intelligence was way above normal, had a little mental handicap radio in his ear. He was required by law to wear it at all times. It was tuned to a government transmitter. Every twenty seconds or so, the transmitter would send out some sharp noise to keep people like George from taking unfair advantage of their brains.

George and Hazel were watching television. There were tears on Hazel's cheeks, but she'd forgotten for the moment what they were about.

On the television screen were ballerinas.

A buzzer sounded in George's head. His thoughts fled in panic, like bandits from a burglar alarm.

"That was a real pretty dance, that dance they just did," said Hazel.

"Huh" said George.

"That dance-it was nice," said Hazel.

"Yup, " said George. He tried to think a little about the ballerinas. They weren't really very good-no better than anybody else would have been, anyway. They were burdened with sashweights and bags of birdshot, and their faces were masked, so that no one, seeing a free and graceful gesture or a pretty face, would feel like something the cat drug in. George was toying with the vague notion that maybe dancers shouldn't be handicapped. But he didn't get very far with it before another noise in his ear radio scattered his thoughts.

George winced. So did two out of the eight ballerinas.

Hazel saw him wince. Having no mental handicap herself, she had to ask George what the latest sound had been.

"Sounded like somebody hitting a milk bottle with a ball peen hammer, " said George.

"I'd think it would be real interesting, hearing all the different sounds," said Hazel a little envious. "All the things they think up."

"Urn, " said George.

"Only, if I was Handicapper General, you know what I would do?" said Hazel. Hazel, as a matter of fact, bore a strong resemblance to the Handicapper General, a woman named Diana Moon Glampers. "If I was Diana Moon Glampers,"
said Hazel, "I'd have chimes on Sunday-just chimes. Kind of in honor of religion."

"I could think, if it was just chimes," said George.

"Well-maybe make 'em real loud," said Hazel. "I think I'd make a good Handicapper General."

"Good as anybody else," said George.

"Who knows better then I do what normal is?" said Hazel.

"Right," said George. He began to think glimmeringly about his abnormal son
who was now in jail, about Harrison, but a twenty-one-gun salute in his head
stopped that.

"Boy!" said Hazel, "that was a doozy, wasn't it?"

It was such a doozy that George was white and trembling, and tears stood on the rims of his red eyes. Two of of the eight ballerinas had collapsed to the studio floor, were holding their temples.

"All of a sudden you look so tired," said Hazel. "Why don't you stretch out on the sofa, so's you can rest your handicap bag on the pillows, honeybunch." She was referring to the forty-seven pounds of birdshot in a canvas bag, which was padlocked around George's neck. "Go on and rest the bag for a little while," she said. "I don't care if you're not equal to me for a while.”

George weighed the bag with his hands. "I don't mind it," he said. "I don't notice it any more. It's just a part of me."

"You been so tired lately-kind of wore out," said Hazel. "If there was just some way we could make a little hole in the bottom of the bag, and just take out a few of them lead balls. Just a few."

"Two years in prison and two thousand dollars fine for every ball I took out," said George. "I don't call that a bargain."

"If you could just take a few out when you came home from work," said Hazel. "I mean-you don't compete with anybody around here. You just set around."

"If I tried to get away with it," said George, "then other people’d get away with it-and pretty soon we'd be right back to the dark ages again, with everybody competing against everybody else. You wouldn't like that, would you?"

"I'd hate it," said Hazel.

"There you are," said George. The minute people start cheating on laws, what do you think happens to society?"

If Hazel hadn't been able to come up with an answer to this question, George
couldn't have supplied one. A siren was going off in his head.

"Reckon it'd fall all apart," said Hazel.

"What would?" said George blankly.

"Society," said Hazel uncertainly. "Wasn't that what you just said?

"Who knows?" said George.

The television program was suddenly interrupted for a news bulletin. It wasn't clear at first as to what the bulletin was about, since the announcer, like all announcers, had a serious speech impediment. For about half a minute, and in a state of high excitement, the announcer tried to say, "Ladies and Gentlemen."

He finally gave up, handed the bulletin to a ballerina to read.

"That's all right-" Hazel said of the announcer, "he tried. That's the big thing. He tried to do the best he could with what God gave him. He should get a nice raise for trying so hard."

"Ladies and Gentlemen," said the ballerina, reading the bulletin. She must have been extraordinarily beautiful, because the mask she wore was hideous. And it was easy to see that she was the strongest and most graceful of all the dancers, for her handicap bags were as big as those worn by two-hundred pound men.

And she had to apologize at once for her voice, which was a very unfair voice for a woman to use. Her voice was a warm, luminous, timeless melody. "Excuse me-" she said, and she began again, making her voice absolutely uncompetitive.

"Harrison Bergeron, age fourteen," she said in a grackle squawk, "has just escaped from jail, where he was held on suspicion of plotting to overthrow the government. He is a genius and an athlete, is under-handicapped, and should be regarded as extremely dangerous."

A police photograph of Harrison Bergeron was flashed on the screen-upside down, then sideways, upside down again, then right side up. The picture showed the full length of Harrison against a background calibrated in feet and inches. He was exactly seven feet tall.

The rest of Harrison's appearance was Halloween and hardware. Nobody had ever born heavier handicaps. He had outgrown hindrances faster than the H-G men could think them up. Instead of a little ear radio for a mental handicap, he wore a tremendous pair of earphones, and spectacles with thick wavy lenses.
The spectacles were intended to make him not only half blind, but to give him
whanging headaches besides.

Scrap metal was hung all over him. Ordinarily, there was a certain symmetry, a military neatness to the handicaps issued to strong people, but Harrison looked like a walking junkyard. In the race of life, Harrison carried three hundred pounds.

And to offset his good looks, the H-G men required that he wear at all times a red rubber ball for a nose, keep his eyebrows shaved off, and cover his even white teeth with black caps at snaggle-tooth random.

"If you see this boy,” said the ballerina, "do not - I repeat, do not - try to reason with him."

There was the shriek of a door being torn from its hinges.

Screams and barking cries of consternation came from the television set. The photograph of Harrison Bergeron on the screen jumped again and again, as
though dancing to the tune of an earthquake.

George Bergeron correctly identified the earthquake, and well he might have - for many was the time his own home had danced to the same crashing tune. "My
God-" said George, "that must be Harrison!"

The realization was blasted from his mind instantly by the sound of an automobile collision in his head.

When George could open his eyes again, the photograph of Harrison was gone. A
living, breathing Harrison filled the screen.

Clanking, clownish, and huge, Harrison stood - in the center of the studio. The knob of the uprooted studio door was still in his hand. Ballerinas, technicians, musicians, and announcers cowered on their knees before him, expecting to die.

"I am the Emperor!" cried Harrison. "Do you hear? I am the Emperor! Everybody
must do what I say at once!" He stamped his foot and the studio shook.

"Even as I stand here" he bellowed, "crippled, hobbled, sickened - I am a greater ruler than any man who ever lived! Now watch me become what I can
become!”

Harrison tore the straps of his handicap harness like wet tissue paper, tore straps guaranteed to support five thousand pounds.

Harrison's scrap-iron handicaps crashed to the floor.

Harrison thrust his thumbs under the bar of the padlock that secured his head harness. The bar snapped like celery. Harrison smashed his headphones and
spectacles against the wall.

He flung away his rubber-ball nose, revealed a man that would have awed Thor, the god of thunder.

"I shall now select my Empress!" he said, looking down on the cowering people. "Let the first woman who dares rise to her feet claim her mate and her throne!"

A moment passed, and then a ballerina arose, swaying like a willow.

Harrison plucked the mental handicap from her ear, snapped off her physical
handicaps with marvelous delicacy. Last of all he removed her mask.

She was blindingly beautiful.

"Now-" said Harrison, taking her hand, "shall we show the people the meaning
of the word dance? Music!" he commanded.

The musicians scrambled back into their chairs, and Harrison stripped them of
their handicaps, too. "Play your best," he told them, "and I'll make you barons and dukes and earls."

The music began. It was normal at first-cheap, silly, false. But Harrison snatched two musicians from their chairs, waved them like batons as he sang the music as he wanted it played. He slammed them back into their chairs.

The music began again and was much improved.

Harrison and his Empress merely listened to the music for a while-listened gravely, as though synchronizing their heartbeats with it.

They shifted their weights to their toes.

Harrison placed his big hands on the girls tiny waist, letting her sense the weightlessness that would soon be hers.

And then, in an explosion of joy and grace, into the air they sprang!

Not only were the laws of the land abandoned, but the law of gravity and the
laws of motion as well.

They reeled, whirled, swiveled, flounced, capered, gamboled, and spun.

They leaped like deer on the moon.

The studio ceiling was thirty feet high, but each leap brought the dancers nearer to it.

It became their obvious intention to kiss the ceiling. They kissed it.

And then, neutraling gravity with love and pure will, they remained suspended in air inches below the ceiling, and they kissed each other for a long, long time.

It was then that Diana Moon Clampers, the Handicapper General, came into the studio with a double-barreled ten-gauge shotgun. She fired twice, and the Emperor and the Empress were dead before they hit the floor.

Diana Moon Clampers loaded the gun again. She aimed it at the musicians and
told them they had ten seconds to get their handicaps back on.

It was then that the Bergerons' television tube burned out.

Hazel turned to comment about the blackout to George. But George had gone out into the kitchen for a can of beer.

George came back in with the beer, paused while a handicap signal shook him
up. And then he sat down again. "You been crying" he said to Hazel.

"Yup, " she said.

"What about?" he said.

"I forget," she said. "Something real sad on television."

"What was it?" he said.

"It's all kind of mixed up in my mind," said Hazel.

"Forget sad things," said George.

"I always do," said Hazel.

"That's my girl," said George. He winced. There was the sound of a rivetting gun in his head.

"Gee - I could tell that one was a doozy, " said Hazel.

"You can say that again," said George.

"Gee-" said Hazel, "I could tell that one was a doozy."

"Harrison Bergeron" is copyrighted by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., 1961.
I was going to post this.
 

TheGreatYosh

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The only privilege we have is living in a system created by our ancestors naturally geared towards our strengths. We are supposed to thrive in our own environment. We are actually in the process of throwing all of that away, cause we have been systematically broken down, and guilt tripped as a people.