This issue has gotten quite a bit of traction lately. Ever since a freshman named Tal Fortgang published an op-ed in a B-level Princeton publication on the topic, everyone and their uncle has been talking about this issue. Simply put, the underlying issue is the phrase “check your privilege” and Fortgang’s indignation at being referred to with the epithet. Fortgang went on a painful rant about how his ancestors faced adversity, worked hard and gave him a better life. Therefore, he concluded, he had “checked his privilege” and was satisfied by his findings. Of course, Fortgang fundamentally misunderstood the meaning of this entire convention, but its true meaning opens up a whole other can of words.
Privilege, as it is currently understood in left-leaning polite society, means those who has received some comparable advantage in their life. If, like me, one is White, male, straight and comes from a financially stable family, one undoubtedly has received some extra boosts in the race of life. Only the truly naive would deny that much. My biggest issue with this topic is the nomenclature; at its core, I hate the word “privilege” in some of the denotations it is used in. Additionally, more radical adherents to this philosophy lose track of the real point of this exercise, advocating equality of opportunity. The radicals instead advocate for equality of outcome, but I’ll get to that.