Ammo Grrrll is offers a short course: HOW PRIVILEGED ARE YOU? Competitive Victimhood 101. She writes:
Let me stipulate right out of the box that I consider myself blessed beyond any possible sense of merit. Blessed by being raised by two stable, loving parents in a great small town in the Midwest; blessed by finding a wonderful spouse early in life; blessed with good health for myself and loved ones. I thank The Holy One, Blessed be He, for these blessings every day, multiple times.
But “privilege” per se? It is a stupid word in most of the contexts in which the “intersectional” mush-minds use it. Mostly it is used as a bludgeon with which to browbeat anyone who has worked hard and achieved anything. And also to excuse massive laziness and the eagerness to demand benefits unearned except on the basis of some accident of birth, like color or gender.
The whole school of thought makes me sick – not just for the inherent unfairness of blaming people for reading to their children, for being smarter than the average bear, for “not building” the many businesses they worked 12 hour days to sustain. But even more for the disaster that professional victimhood inflicts upon those who rely on it to skate through life.
Let us look in the harsh light of day upon a few choice examples of people who fit into the category of multiply oppressed. Let us look at a person who is black and also a woman. How about Ms. Halle Berry. By Intersectional Victimhood Theory, Ms. Berry should be almost too oppressed to speak. Perhaps being so physically beautiful that she was once voted “the 6th most beautiful woman in the WORLD” eased some of the pain and opened a couple of doors for her. Her net worth in 2012 was estimated at $70 million. Oh, and she was also an honor student in her high school, so there’s a demerit for being “cognitively privileged.”
Though I am loaded with White Privilege – my kin are just paleskins back to the beginning of time with nary a 1/32 Pretend Cherokee to make higher cheekbones — for some reason nobody is interested in casting me as a Bond Girl emerging like a vision from the sea in a bikini. God knows, I wouldn’t pay to see that. So it would seem that even White Privilege is trumped by Beauty Privilege. Not even to mention Youth Privilege. There was a time 50 years ago when the bikini part would not even have been that far-fetched, but alas, the airbrushing required in late, late middle age would have used up so much of the budget that Bond would have had to buy his tux at Ross (Dress for Less).
Mr. Stephen Hawking is not only a man, and a white man, but he also has “cognitive privilege” up the wazoo. But what able-bodied Hispanic gay woman would like to trade places with him? Volunteers? Step right up. Maybe things are a tad more complicated than would appear at first blush. Even profoundly disabled, Mr. Hawking has a net worth of $20 million.
Neither do I enjoy Height Privilege. Not only will I never play professional basketball, but I have to risk life and limb standing on 2-step stools and kitchen chairs in order to reach even the middle shelves above my counters. My old performing contract used to stipulate that I needed a 2-foot riser, if the room didn’t have a stage. I am almost exactly the same size standing at floor level as most people are sitting in a folding chair and no one past the first two rows could see me. Sad.
Somehow, despite being born black, Michael Jordan, awash in Height Privilege and Talent Privilege, and Work Ethic Privilege, has managed to accumulate a net worth of $1.3 BILLION. There are about 50,000 coal miners in the U.S., 3% of whom are black, and a tiny handful of whom are women. One site I looked at on American net worth said the average net worth for someone 45-54 years old, excluding equity in a home, was about $25,000. Though coal mining actually pays pretty well, it is not inconceivable that Michael Jordan has a net worth equivalent to all the white, male coal miners in the United States – COMBINED.
So stick your “Intersectionality” in your hat. And we haven’t even got to Oprah yet.
Ellen DeGeneres, gay woman, very high on the Victimhood Scale — though I’ve never known her to play that card — has a net worth of $200 Million. Not only would she never have to work another day in her life, but with even a modest interest rate, she should be able to live off just the INTEREST on that forever even with a Hollywood lifestyle. And a regular person could live off the interest on the interest! Well done, Ellen!
I’m sure if you are able to stay awake long enough to plow through the academic gibberish that is the Intersectional Theory, there will be some kind of codicil in there saying that “sure, there are exceptions.” But my guess is that the reason for those exceptions is never explained honestly. How could it be? It would negate the whole theory if the answer were as simple as talent, hard work, attitude, grit, making responsible decisions about drugs and criminality and sex, and then a little blind, dumb luck.
Maybe someone has very little talent. But hard work, attitude, grit and responsibility are available to any person in this great and good land of opportunity.
My Daddy – not remotely a Participation Trophy kind of guy – always used to tell me, “People who are good at excuses are seldom good at anything else.” Intersectional Theory is just one big excuse with a faux intellectual veneer. Which is soooo much easier than actually putting in the work. Remember Rosie Ruiz, the woman who slid into the 1980 Boston Marathon in the last half mile or so? She didn’t train at 4:00 a.m.; she didn’t sweat; she didn’t battle shin splints or calluses. She just budged the line and tried to carry off the trophy. Is there any better definition of Affirmative Action?