Privilege-checking took off around 2013 when it moved from academia to social media. The idea that people gain special advantages — privilege — based on the groups they belong to rapidly became a convenient means of keeping an intersectional score card. In the minds of those keeping count, privilege is something that must, like original sin, be acknowledged and atoned for.
Over the past five years, calls on anyone making an argument that challenges the intersectional orthodoxy to check their privilege have become ubiquitous. It’s the go-to response of those determined to stake a claim to the moral high ground but unable to formulate a coherent argument.
Calling on someone to check his privilege is a cheap form of ad hominem attack. It focuses on the person rather than what they are saying; it asks others to make judgments based on who an individual is rather than the strength of his argument.
My response to having my apparent privilege pointed out was outrage. How dare someone with no knowledge of my personal history make such sweeping assumptions? How dare they overlook all my many wonderful arguments and focus instead on my biology, something I have no control over?
It turns out it’s not all about me. The demand for privilege-checking tells us far more about the accuser than the accused because those invoking the phrase draw attention to themselves as much as to their target. They do this by demanding that everyone pay homage to their more finely tuned morality and superior knowledge of intersectional hierarchies. …
The whole idea that privilege can be tallied and each person awarded merits and demerits based on gender, skin color, sexuality, hair type, or body shape is nonsense. It’s racist and sexist in the way it asks us to pre-judge people. It closes down debate: some are told to shut up while others are awarded compensatory speaking points. Discussion stops being about facts or even contested opinions and instead becomes a trading of competing claims to victimhood.
In fact, if every view is predetermined by our inherent privilege then there is no need to discuss or debate at all. Our discussions can never move beyond the accidents of our birth.
Like much on today’s left, it is discrimination run wild.
hat-tip Stephen Neil