Got privilege, honky boy?

Wednesday 14 May

When I lived in Denver one of the two papers there had a very funny food critic named John Kessler. He writes for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution now. One day John put in his column a photo taken at the meat and sausage counter of a local supermarket. It was of a sign advertising Cooked White Brats.  John’s caption to the picture: “They finally found a use for them.”

Mr Stephen Parkhurst has found an even better use for them. He makes hipster videos for publication on YouTube. Last September he issued one with actors as snarky Millennials commenting on their white privilege, complimenting (Irony Alert!) us Boomers for all the stupid stuff we did, and whinging about the present state of things in America, for which they, tender darlings, are now taking all the blame. It’s hard to tell if it’s serious or parody, which, one is given to understand, is all part of the fun. Mr Parkhurst replied to a commenter that the vid, while tongue-in-cheek, was seriously meant.

Well, just last week a sequel appeared, “White Guys: We Suck and We’re Sorry.” Maybe it was in response to Tal Fortgang’s recent outburst at Princeton. It features a half-dozen milquetoast pantywaists who, as they brag about their white male privileges, retardedly recognize the terrible and tragic truth. They verbally self-flagellate and confess their sins. These guys are whipped already; they might as well win a few points by abject proskynesis. They want a darn good spanking, please. “Don’t cut us any slack,” says one. Another closes with “We’re terrible people.”

Haw haw haw, made ya think, right?

If you, dear reader, want to “check your privilege,” you can go to a White Privilege Convention for discipline. Charlotte Allen wrote about last year’s conference here.  If you can’t attend, you can always buy a helpful instructional dvd for a hundred bucks, “a marvelous introduction to the topic.” If you’re a white guy, you deleterious slab of undeserved Western advantages, the WPC might even have some intensive training especially for you.

If you’re unsure how privileged you are, and thus how much treatment you need, you can take a quick MyPrivilege test on-line right here! I proudly report that I score 74/100, “Quite Privileged.” And if you’re still not clear on the concept, go right to the source, Peggy McIntosh. Nice lady, Peggy.  She’s got a list of 46 examples of White (mostly male) Privilege, very helpful.

But if you’re still in possession of a normal supply of androgens, men, buck up. In book 12 of the Iliad, Sarpedon and Glaucus, two Lycian chieftains who have recently come as allies of the Trojans, hesitate to join a battle at the Greek palisade. Sarpedon delivers a quick motivational speech to his friend: “Hey, how come we have all the best food and possessions? Why do our people honor and look up to us? It’s because, when there’s fighting to be done, we don’t hang back; no, we’re right on the front line, risking our lives in the thick of battle. We might die, but at least we’ll have earned the advantages and prestige we enjoy.” Sarpedon is a son of Zeus. Talk about privilege. Oh, he gets killed by Achilles’ buddy Patroclus not long after this.

Now, you don’t have to buy a whole package of Homeric ethics to get the message here: risk, sacrifice, and hard work justify preeminence and privilege. It’s an ancient core Western value, especially for men. It is bred in our bones to strive to achieve precisely to enjoy the benefits that result from our exertions and risk — not to apologize for them.

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