No, I Won’t Check My Privilege | The American Conservative

My privilege is just fine, thank you. You really need to check yours because your “check your privilege” privilege is showing.


Source: No, I Won’t Check My Privilege | The American Conservative

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?

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.

The cry of “Check your privilege!” is a well-worn rhetorical trick that manages simultaneously to undermine an argument, detract from the speaker, and shut down further discussion. It’s long past its sell-by date and should be put out of its misery entirely.