I’ve completely swiped these links from the sidebar at Official Shrub.com, and from Lake Desire’s list at New Game Plus.
- White Privilege: Unpacking The Invisible Knapsack
This is Peggy McIntosh’s original article, which inspired the other lists. There’s a number of interesting discussions of this list on the women’s studies listserv archive.
- Able-Bodied Privilege
- Average Sized Person Privilege
- Being Poor Is…
This one isn’t actually in the “privilege checklist” format, but I think it fits in.
- The Black Male Privileges Checklist
- Christian Privilege
- The Costs of American Privilege
Okay, this one isn’t even a list. But as Lake Desire says, let’s shoehorn it in here so that American privilege will at least get a mention.
- Daily Effects of Straight Priviliege
- Heterosexual Privilege. (And see also. And see also, also.)
- The Invisibility of Class Privilege (pdf link)
- The Male Privilege Checklist
My own contribution to the trend; probably the most-read piece I’ve ever written (or, in this case, compiled).
- Non-Poor Privilege Checklist
- Non-Trans Privilege Checklist
- Privilege to Game
Lake Desire’s list of how privilege, gaming and boycotts intersect
- Social Class Privilege – Beyond Ethnicity, Gender, and Religion (.pdf link) EDITED TO ADD: This is actually two lists — one of upper class privilege, one of lower class privilege. As Laura pointed out in comments, the lower class privilege list is pretty damn asinine, as well as an example of the balance fallacy. I’m leaving this in out of a sense of completeness, but I don’t endorse it. And if you click over, bring many grains of salt with you.
- Monogamous Privilege Checklist
- We Can’t Be Equal While…
Not really a “privilege” list, but similar enough in spirit that I wanted to include it. One thing I like about this list is that it includes ways that sexism harms both sexes.
I’m hoping that the comments to this post can be used to interactively keep this post up-to-date. So if you know of a link that you think is relevant to this post, or if you notice that one of these links has died, please leave a comment.
UPDATE: Maia has a critique.
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I react to these lists very differently. I think this device is more useful in analysing some types of oppression than others.
For example a lot of the class-priviledge checklist said that one of the privileges of being upper-class is that you could only interact with people of your own class. That’s just as true for the poor as it is for the rich, in fact it’s true for everyone.
I actually have quite a few problems with political analysis around priviledge, because it tends to be individualistic. I also really feel a need to distinguish between areas where you are actually privileged, and areas where other people’s rights are being trampled on. I would say not having to do your share of house work is a male privilege. But not having to be afraid of rape? I’m not comfortable seeing that as privilege – that’s a right.
Hmmm I feel a post coming on.
Maia: you said it better than I could, so I’ll just say : “yep.”
“Maia said it better than I could, so I’ll just say “thanks.”
Defenders of the concept of privilege argue that it is a relative concept.
This notion can be critiqued on several several grounds. Firstly it obfuscates the important distinction between suffering an unfair disadvantage, and enjoying an unfair advantage. As Maia says, freedom from the fear of rape is a right. The problem is not that men generally enjoy this right; it’s that women very often do not.
Secondly, because many people understand “privilege” to mean an unfair advantage, as Maia does, the relative definition makes it harder to discuss these issues. It’s like trying to discuss “violence” with Objectivist Libertarians who define the term differently from everyone else
Thirdly, the “relative” definition is not an honest one. It’s sole purpose is to be trotted out in response to criticisms like mine and Maia’s. As soon as the debate moves on from what the word means, changes back to “unfair advantage”, as evidenced by the “You don’t want to give up your privilege” trope, and the claim that men “benefit”, which only makes sense if privilege is understood so by the person making this comment. (Maia, being female, has the “privilege” of never having to face that one herself, at least with respect to gender.)
And it is that ad hom which exposes the real purpose behind the trope: it’s to frustrate debate, by silencing those members of the allegedly privileged group.
My previous posts on this subject: “Privilege” and “Disadvantage” as sexist framing devices and Do white men really benefit from privilege?
I look forward to it.
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The list on class manages to avoid stating the obvious : upper-class people HAVE MORE MONEY.
And that makes a hell of a difference.
Also upper-class people see their interests reflected in government (else, how would they remain upper-class ? Mmm ?)
And the list of supposed “lower-class privileges” is complete delirium. “I don’t have to worry about having a career” ? Ha !
“I don’t have to worry about being attacked when I am walking.” Hello ? Most victims of attack are working-class.
“Inspirational stories of individual success are always about people like me.” Hello ? Hello ? HELLO ?
When you see “privilege” everywhere, you end up seeing it nowhere, and you also lose sight of the basic structures of oppression and exploitation in our societies. Losing this means losing sight of how to fight them.
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Here’s one you missed: The Pirate Privilege Checklist (via aeneas-rising).
In case anyone is interested (probably not since this string is now so old), McIntosh just published a reflection on the whole Invisible Knapsack thing on July 24, 2007, in the online version of the magazine “Business Report”: http://www.busrep.co.za/index.php?fSectionId=2515&fArticleId=3948242
Interesting to see her take on it so many years and so many lists later.
I just did a counterpoint to the “Male Privilege List” – the Female Privilege List. A sample:
1. I’m allowed to avoid stress and competition, so I can enjoy an additional 5 years of life
2. I can choose professions that are less lucrative, and not be called a loser.
3. If I don’t rise to the top of my profession, it’s OK – people won’t judge me the less for it.
4. I’m entitled to the benefits of a safe, orderly society, but no one expects me to risk my personal safety to maintain it.
. . .
It is at http://sweatingthroughfog.blogspot.com/2007/10/mens-privilages-vs-womans-privilage.html
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Interesting reads. As members of many of these groups, I’ve understood the deficits that place them, but rarely examined the advantages afforded to me.
However, ‘non-trans’ can more completely be summed up as ‘non-cisgendered’. ‘Transexual’ tends to imply that the term works inside the gender binary, while it does technically include non-gendered or androgyne individuals. ‘Non-cisgendered’ is clearer, meaning ‘physical sex not matching identified gender’.
I’m glad this link came up in the sidebar. I haven’t gone through everything yet, but it presents an interesting challenge so far, especially in terms of able-bodied and cisgendered privilege. There are probably a few items that could be added to the Christian privilege list, though.
We need an “adult privilege” list.
**My ideas and conversational inputs will not be dismissed based on my age.
**I have some say in the laws that govern me.
**Unless I commit a crime and/or am mentally ill, no one has the legal right to touch my body against my will (e.g., spanking), nor do they have society’s leave to do so.
**If someone DOES touch my body against my will, they cannot–in any seriousness–claim to be doing so out of love, and I can legitimately claim a violation of my basic human rights.
**I am allowed to hear or to seek out opposing viewpoints (i.e., other than that which I have been taught), whether others (such as my “parents”) like it or not.
**No one gets to demand my respect or love.
**In a fight between parent and child, I am not the one who will be taken by the police, and it will be assumed that the other party (the child) is guilty.
**I can generally expect that my personal information (e.g., medical, academic, etc.) will remain private.
**I have the final say regarding my relations (romantic, friendly, etc.) with other people.
**I cannot legitimately be treated as de facto human property.
**I have the privilege of moving freely and engaging in more-or-less uninhibited self-actualization.
**No one has the right to attempt to mold me into a carbon copy of themselves (or of their own unrealized dreams).
**I can pretty choose how to look or dress and alter my body however I see fit.
**My desire to be independent and free from coercion is not considered pathological.
**I can choose my own religion or political ideology without others assuming they have the right to change me (or keep me FROM changing).
**People cannot prevent me from doing something, or force me to do something, and claim it’s “for my own good.”
**I can criticize adults without it being treated as a moral offense.
**I am not subject to controlling images that seek to deny me, based on my age, legitimate subjective agency. (Images such as the school shooter, the suicide risk, the punk, the nerd, the weirdo, etc.)
**Any education which I undertake probably doesn’t seek to make me into a particular kind of person; in fact, it allows–if not encourages–independent thought.
**Usually, I am not vulnerable to hospitalization, punishment, or other awful fates for being myself.
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The “Christian” list is in itself an example of privilege – by Christian it assumes Protestant. At least half of the items on that list, by my estimation, are NOT true for Catholics in my experience, although I live in the Midwest and that might be different in different parts of the country (for example the Northeast has a higher Catholic population so Catholics in the Northeast might not experience the same amount of othering I do in the Midwest).
On reading these lists, I couldn’t help wonder if the author of this post would consider the benefits and advantages enjoyed by people with ‘aesthetically pleasing’ appearances to be privileges also. I know you touch on Average Sized Person privilege but what about, say, taller individuals getting salaries greater than shorter ones, a well documented fact and so on. Would this constitute privilege too?
However much “othering” one might experience while this Christian sect, or that Christian sect, the core property of having a Christian belief structure and observing Christian holidays and practices creates significantly more inclusion than exclusion. Exclusion is central to a lot of privilege and oppression — which is probably why ghettos, white country clubs, and male dominated board rooms exist. It’s hard to tell the in crowd from the out crowd if the damned out crowd refuses to know their place.
One example of religious exclusion that’s not experienced by many (if any) Christians, relates to holy days and the way some religions insist on having them on days other than Sundays and bank holidays. My employer permits me to take off — with pay — any religious holy day that involves being in or near a synagogue from sundown to sundown. And yet, I’ve had managers and co-workers and colleagues all boggle that I’m taking time off — with pay — to beg and plead with G-d not to kill me.
“Othering”, however, is not the same as “oppressing”. Catholics can still marry Catholics, or Protestants can still marry Protestants, but queers can’t marry, and trannies are even more hopelessly screwed than the non-trans queers of the world.
There are things about being Catholic (I was raised in a city that was extremely Catholic) that might throw others, but as the list points out, “I gave up meat for Lent” is something that is fairly well understand by the dominant class, even if they aren’t all Catholics. Feeling uneasy as the only white person in an otherwise all-black environment does not make up for the crime of “Driving While Black”. Having ones femininity questioned does not make up for having ones entire gender, and validity of ones gendered behavior, attacked at every turn.
Privilege is NOT NOT NOT about the trivial things.
Who is to decide what is trivial and what is not? Who is to decide what is oppression and what is not?
My husband’s family had the KKK demonstrate in front of their house within the last 20 years (I’m not sure of the exact year). They were essentially chased out of town.
Why? Because they are Catholic. Is that trivial?
True, Catholic holidays usually coincide with Protestant ones. I also don’t disagree that there is Christian priviledge, and that Catholics partake in it an benefit from it. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t any oppression against Catholics, as a group, by Protestants, as a group. Many parts of that list are NOT true for Catholics (in my experience), ergo the list is problematic to be called a Christian list. I’m sure a list could be made for Christian priviledge that was universal for Protestants, Catholic, and Orthodox Catholics (whose holidays are NOT shared with other Christians), but this list was not. Specifically, in my experience the most problematic items are:
“2. I can talk openly about my religious practices without concern for how it will be received by others.” When I mention my religion, I’ve been called a Devil worshiper, a Papist, an Idoloter, a cannibal, been told I support child molesters and want Africans to get AIDS…
“8. I can probably assume that there is a universality of religious experience.” I am acutely aware of how my religious experience, my theological basis, the style of holiday worship and even which holidays and sacraments are celebrated differ from that of Protestants.
“9. I can deny Christian Privilege by asserting that all religions are essentially the same.” See #8
” 11. I am probably unencumbered by having to explain why I am or am not doing things related to my religious norms on a daily basis.” Why is there dust on your forehead? Why are you fasting? Are you aneorexic? God doesn’t WANT you to starve yourself, you know. God doesn’t WANT you to not eat meat, you know. If God cared for you He wouldn’t make you do that. It’s hypocritical.
“12. I am likely not judged by the improper actions of others in my religious group.” How can you be Catholic when priests molested kids? Do you support child molesters? The Pope came out against gay marriage. Why do you hate gays? Why are priests celibate – clearly it causes child molestation.
“13. If I wish, I can usually or exclusively be among those from my religious group most of the time (in work, school, or at home).” That was only true when I went to parochial school. Otherwise, I’m in the minority.
” 14. I can assume that my safety, or the safety of my family, will not be put in jeopardy by disclosing my religion to others at work or at school.” As you read above, in the case of my husband, that is not true. In certain areas of the country it isn’t a problem, but in others, you must watch yourself. Likewise with some people.
“15. It is likely that mass media represents my religion widely AND positively.” Widely, yes. Positively…eh. It’s pretty mixed.
“17. I can travel without others assuming that I put them at risk because of my religion; nor will my religion put me at risk from others when I travel.” There are parts of the world still where if I were VISIBLY Catholic I would be in danger. Heck, there are parts of this country (USA) that are like that. If I do not reveal my religion, however, I should be fine.
“23 I can safely assume that any authority figure will generally be someone of my religion.” Catholics are ~ 25% of the US population, or ~30% of Christians (less in my region though). This is a sizeable chunk, yes, but it is a minority so I cannot assume other people I meet are Catholic, including authority figures.
“24. I can talk about my religion, even proselytize, and be characterized as “sharing the word,” instead of imposing my ideas on others.” In my experience, non-Catholics do not take kindly to unasked-for sharing of the Catholic version of the Bible. Wikipedia has a pretty good summary of this (section 4): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criticism_of_the_Catholic_Church#Contentious_interactions_with_other_religious_and_non_religious_social_groups
“26. I am never asked to speak on behalf of all Christians.” I am often asked to speak on behalf of all Catholics. Why don’t Catholics like birth control (don’t get me started on that question)?
“27. My citizenship and immigration status will likely not be questioned, and my background will likely not be investigated, because of my religion.” Not so much anymore, but once upon a time this was true for Irish Americans. Now, Catholics who are of Latino, Chicano or Hispanic origin have a difficult time.
“28. My place of worship is probably not targeted for violence because of sentiment against my religion.” This happens at Catholic Churches. Mostly vandalism.
“38. The elected and unelected officials of my government probably are members of my religious group.” There has been one Catholic president. He was assassinated. In my experience there isn’t a Catholic around who was alive at the time who doesn’t have some suspicion that those two facts are related.
Catholics do share some Christian priviledge, however there is also Protestant priviledge from which Roman and Orthodox Catholics are excluded, and by glossing over that, and assuming the Christian list represents a universiality of all Christians including Catholics, which it does not, is in itself priviledge on the part of the list’s author. This is not about denying priviledge. Many items on that list DO apply to me, as a Catholic. I’m just pointing out that, also, many do not.
That said, I’m pretty sure these lists aren’t about the Oppression Olympics. Many of the points raised about furrycatherder could be said about any religion, or many of the other lists (Jews can marry Jews, and Muslims can marry Muslims but gays can’t marry…this is a non sequitor, because one can be Protestant AND gay and still not be able to marry – these are not mutually exclusive) . Am I to understand from your statements that religious oppression is not as “bad” as oppression of homosexuals? Oppression is oppression. It differs in flavor, yet it does have defining characteristics.
@Leah: I hear what you are saying. You’re definitely right that there is still anti-Catholic sentiment in the United States and that any oppression is oppressive. You’re right that in the U.S. social context, especially, Catholics have often been viewed with suspicion and denied posts of power due to unjustified stereotypes about the Roman Catholic Church.
However, simultaneously, it’s also true that at the Roman Catholic church, as an institution, (which should be held distinct from the power exercised by most individual Catholics) participates in particular ways in oppression. It exercises power in the world in ways that no other denomination of Christianity, and in some way, no other religion, can. As with being on the receiving end of oppression, oppressive institutions also “[differ] in flavor, yet [do] have defining characteristics.”
No other religion on earth, including any Protestant denomination, has anything like the status of the Holy See (in Vatican City) which has all the rights of full membership in the UN, and only does not vote because the Church chooses not to exercise this power at this time.
The Pope’s status in the world is unequaled by any sole representative of any other religion. His word on birth control, abortion, women in leadership, has a lot more power than any woman’s, of any religion, in any place in the world.
Since 12% of all hospitals in the United States are Catholic hospitals, many of which refuse to provide emergency contraception and ALSO refuse to make referrals for such, women who are victims of sexual assault in locations where the closest (or only) hospital is a Catholic hospital regularly are barred from receiving appropriate sexual assault care, regardless of her personal beliefs.
(The closest hospital to the college campus where I work is a Catholic hospital; it hires no sexual assault nurse and refuses to provide emergency contraception. I know many young women who have been raped and not treated properly because they simply were taken to the wrong hospital.)
Meanwhile, there is actually a majority of Roman Catholics–5 of the 9–on the Supreme Court at present, who were chosen (however, by WASP male presidents and confirmed by the WASP dominated Senates*) partly because of the Church’s stance on abortion, birth control, LGBTQ rights, etc.
Individual Catholics, especially wealthy, white male Catholics, on the Court and in other places have specifically benefited from and participate actively in the Church’s oppressive role in the world; i.e., they have experienced Catholic privilege, even within a U.S. context.
It is wrong to see all Catholics as having equal access to this power and privilege, and many Catholics/Catholic organizations resist and actively work against the Church’s oppressive power. Protestant privilege in the majority of US social contexts remains strong. And we both agree, I think, that the workings of privilege and power are just really complex.
*FYI: Wikipedia says the current US Senate closely reflects the demographics of the US with about 24 Catholic Senators, or 24%–making it the largest single Christian denomination in both the US and the Senate. BUT Judeo-Christian religious dominance, in general, is pronounced in the Senate, with 100% identifying themselves as Christian or Jewish, although 15% of the US is non-religious–not to mention that there are no other religions (e.g. Islam, Buddhism) represented.
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I can think of many counter-arguments to the “privilages” each group has been deemed to have, I would be disappointed for an open-minded person to happen upon these and take them verbatim.
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To illustrate how silly all this is: the Victim Privilege List
STF, mockery is a good way of communicating with people who already agree with you. I’ve got nothing against that; I’m a political cartoonist, after all.
But since the people at this blog (by and large) aren’t already in agreement with your views, a link that says “come here to have your view mocked!” doesn’t contribute to conversation in any interesting way.
The list itself is worth looking at, but the framing is rather awkward.
Nope, still don’t see anything worthwhile there, Doug.
Doug, the list is fundamentally insincere and thus useless for a real conversation. I have been subjected to certain forms of bias (xenophobia, religious bigotry, sexism, racism) yet none of the list applies to me. Indeed, #3 is particularly untrue for people of my ethnic origin, whose non-routine accomplishments (such as winning national spelling bee championships) are commonly derogated as indicative not of any true intelligence or talent but of simply being “robots” and “grinds.”
The framing isn’t merely awkward; it’s ignorant and insulting. I agree with Sweating Through Fog that sometimes simply saying “privilege!” is used to shut down discussion without providing a meaningful analysis of why the allegedly-privileged person is wrong, but that doesn’t make STF’s list useful or even clever.
Name one of the things on that list that a victim wouldn’t gladly give up in exchange for NOT HAVING BEEN VICTIMIZED.
Thank you, PG, for that observation. Of course, in the absence of a meaningful analysis, one cannot say that the person is wrong.
STF’s list is at best a critique of how some individuals who are members or allies of recognizedly oppressed groups behave. It fails, I think, as a critique of privilege theory itself, or of the checklist presentation of the theory.
I think the privilege critique is overused and misapplied, it’s bound to be most useful concepts are.
I think it’s better used as a consciousness raising tool than a slap down, which I can’t stand, this “check your privilege’ is unecessary and counter productive at times.
However, that victim list is a trip and actually might undermine my sentiment somewhat. It illustrates exactly why people lose patience.
What it shows above all, is not how ‘victims’ behave, but the mentality of people like Doug S.
For that reason it could be a useful learning tool.
I think of the above “victim privilege” list as a list of reasons why someone (say, white male conservative Christians) might want to claim victimhood when they haven’t “earned” it.
I think the privilege critique is overused and misapplied, it’s bound to be most useful concepts are.
Agreed. While there is value in getting someone to recognize that their perspective may be distorted by privilege I do find that there are some out there who have seen this and have appropriated it as a way to shut down people they don’t agree with or don’t like regardless if privilege even applies to the topic in question.
Here’s one I came across recently: ” The Male Programmer Privilege Checklist ”
Sorry for the double post – the “Christian Privilege” link is dead.
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The Christian privilege link is dead, but it can be accessed by plugging it into the Internet Archive aka Wayback Machine. Can the above post give an archived link? It’s one that I particularly like to use; I’ve noticed that on a lot of progressive forums, Christian privilege is one that doesn’t get discussed nearly as often as it used to, and people who are aware of other kinds of privilege are often oblivious to why, for example, the fact that they’re not upset by a National Day of (Christian) Prayer or a Ten Commandments monument is indicative of another form of privilege.
And speaking of Christians and privilege, here’s another link about “Straight Christian Privilege” – basically addressing the issues faced by LGBTQ people who are Christians:
Don’t be fooled by the link being at a Christian forum, it’s actually very good.
Also, I would say that w/r/t the Christian Privilege checklist – and I say this as an agnostic myself – some of those are not true in certain progressive communities. For example, I frequently see all Christians lumped into one group as being anti-choice, anti-gay fundamentalists, when there are many Christians who are progressive and supportive of reproductive rights and LGBTQ equality. This anti-Christian trend in some progressive communities may be why some Christians are unable to acknowledge their privilege when it shows. So that list could use an updating.
I also think that while all Christians benefit from Christian privilege in some degree, evangelical Protestants probably have the most privilege. As an earlier commenter shows, there is still some anti-Catholic bias in our society. And more progressive Christians of all stripes often have difficulty asserting their existence when both fundies and non-Christians alike want to paint the religion with the same broad brush.
Rose, why not update the list and post it in the comments here? That way it would be preserved somewhere other than the Wayback machine.
we need a list for intelligence privilege
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Would you please, PLEASE remove the social class privilege checklist? It contains so, so many hurtful and offensive stereotypes against working-class and poor people – that we’re “lucky” because we can “intimidate” rich people (because we’re all thugs), that we “don’t have to worry” about a career or an education (because we’re lazy and stupid), etc. As a poor person from a working-class family it made me feel hurt and angry to see these things being promoted by someone who is progressive, in the context of trying to have a serious discussion about privilege.
I have to admit, I haven’t read that before — some of these links I just picked up from other sources without reading them.
I don’t really like deleting things from blog posts, especially things I’ve been criticized for. But I’ve added this commentary to the listing:
I hope that helps. Thanks for pointing that out.
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Here’s a lovely PDF of the Christian Privilege checklist: http://convention.myacpa.org/archive/programs/Boston10/Handouts/446/ChristianPrivilegeHandout.pdf
Here’s my “Normophilic Privilege Checklist”: http://minilo.tumblr.com/post/11791775945/the-normophilic-privilege-checklist
The link itself is SFW, but the rest of the blog is VERY MUCH not. So if you’d rather not see the rest, just close the tab/browser or hit the back button when you’re done instead of navigating to anything else.
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I think having privilege checklists for these following would be useful:
1. English-speaking/Anglophone Privilege Checklist
2. Height Privilege Checklist
3. Conventionally Attractive Privilege Checklist
Here’s a good link for Adult Privilege Checklist. This one is actually written from the perspective of the marginalized group, rather than the privileged group.
Now, not exactly in privilege checklist format, but I think this one also fits: Life In Our Anti-Christian America. This one is, basically, another list on Christian Privilege.
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Gee, after reading some of the discussion these lists provoked, I feel as though the lists have only succeeded in widening gaps rather than unifying everyone.
Why women should be seen but not heard is an excellent blog posting on the misogyny aimed at female speakers and bloggers in my city including by those who represent them in government and their “staff” including our chief of police who verbally attacked several women at a recent meeting as “anti-police” and said he “hated” them. I’ve had derogatory and sexist cartoons and had entire blog postings labeling me a “tramp”.
And now a male blogger who gets money from city officials running for office as shown by documentation on that posting and by doing so these candidates support misogyny. I was called a “tramp” and subjected to posts calling me a “bitch” who needed to be “got rid of” when I brought up this financial relationship.
Women who speak out on financial mismanagement being called “anti-establishment” and horrible people by the police chief.
I was actually working on a privilege list for white male bloggers when I found this article so it’s given me food for thought. Because the women in my city who speak out and blog have been targeted. And imagine a blogger who calls women “tramps” having financial ties through “advertising” for several male political candidates? Or paying a male legislative aide (to a council member) money and bennies who’s referred to women as “bitches” (i.e. “She’s the biggest bitch around”) and “idiots”.
You get used to it because you have to do that. It’s either suck it up or go home but it doesn’t mean your mind still can’t be blown by some of what happens and what people in power say including in public.
I’ve just written a draft non-sex worker privilege checklist! Here.
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A “female privilege” checklist–
(though I must admit I do not understand the significance of #s 17, 18, 19 & 20)
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A lot of class privilege lists are — well, hmm, how to say this. They’re written from a poor perspective. I think separate lists are needed for “middle class privilege”, “upper middle class privilege”, “upper class privilege”, and “truly elite class privilege”. Slicing and class awareness gets narrower and narrower at the top (something well understood in kyriarchy theory).
Also there’s something very different about the ‘privileges of wealth and power’.
Most (not all, but most) of the other so-called ‘privileges’ are better described as “rights which everyone should have, but which non-white/non-male/non-cis people don’t get given”. (For this reason, I think the term ‘privilege’ in stuff like ‘white privilege’ and ‘male privilege’ is actually a terrible, misleading usage, one which plays into the hands of those who would disempower, but it’s the standard terminology, so there we are.) For instance, nobody should be stopped and frisked without actual evidence of a crime. Nobody should have to *worry* about being stopped and frisked without actual evidence of a crime. You can call it “white privilege” to not have to worry about this, but I think it gives the wrong connotations; the problem is that non-white people are being harassed and abused.
I think it’s important to make that contrast, and it’s not terribly useful to call something a “privilege” if it’s a right everyone should have.
The ‘privileges of wealth and class’ are another matter entirely. Many of these are honest-to-god privileges, things where rich people can routinely get away with stuff which nobody should be able to get away with. (And yes, *some* aspects of “white privilege” are like that, but it’s really *common* with class privilege.) There are also some “class privileges” which are really rights which everyone should have, of course. (The right to not worry about where your next meal is coming from, for instance.) But there are an awful lot of real, out-there privileges.
One of the weirdest is that having money and making people know you have money causes people to give you stuff for free. While poor people pay full price. I find this one particularly perverse.
And there’s another element to class privilege which is special, and which is actually fairly new (it wasn’t true in the ‘age of servants’) — it’s especially well-hidden. It’s not so hard, usually, for non-white people to spot what the white “privileges” are, or for women to spot what the male “privileges” are (with some rare exceptions).
By contrast, people who are more than a rung removed from a particular social class frequently have *no idea* what the richer people in that higher social class can get away with. No idea. It’s hidden from them, and so absent from their worldview, unless they somehow manage to spend quite a lot of time interacting with someone from said higher social class who is particularly un-self-aware. Lists of “upper class privilege” written by people who aren’t upper class are routinely missing the really valuable privileges. Or conflating the privileges of different subclasses within the upper class (there are some substantial segments of the upper class which are politically disempowered, believe it or not).
I’d like to see a proper analysis of social class in America sometime, but it’s something which people do their damndest to avoid.
As someone with Asperger’s syndrome, I’d like to share this to remind people of the disadvantages those of us on the autistic spectrum face. I don’t want to blame anyone, only to highlight ways you may be furthering our social subjugation without realizing it.
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