Is it a 'Privilege' Not to be
May 10, 2014
[Also please see, "True or False: An Injury to One Is an Injury to All?"]
[Also please read "Why and How Big Money Promotes "White Privilege" Rhetoric"]
Some on the Left have recently begun asserting that people who are the ones NOT discriminated against (working class whites in the United States, working class Jews in Zionist-controlled Palestine, working class males in some cases) are "privileged."
Instead of talking about racial (or ethnic or gender) discrimination, these Leftists prefer to talk about "white privilege" or "Jewish privilege" or "male privilege" and so forth. The following will show that not only is the word "privilege" inappropriate in this context, but additionally it is the oppressor class and only the oppressor class that benefits from this use of the word "privilege." (How and why Big Money promotes "privilege" rhetoric is discussed in detail here.)
First, let's see why the word "privilege" is simply an inappropriate word to apply to people who are the ones not discriminated against by an oppressive power.
noun \ˈpriv-lij, ˈpri-və-\
: a right or benefit that is given to some people and not to others
When person A and person B are wrongly oppressed by person C, but C oppresses B less than A, it is correct to say "C discriminates against A" or "B is oppressed less than A"; but it is simply wrong to say "B enjoys a privilege." Why?
For two reasons:
#1. The word "privilege" refers to a BENEFIT, but there is no benefit in being oppressed (as person B is), not even if somebody else is oppressed more. It is well known by those with experience in the labor movement that "An Injury to One is an Injury to All." When the employer discriminates against one group of working people it is for the purpose of fomenting mistrust, anger and resentment between the discriminated-against group and the non-discriminated-against group, to destroy solidarity between them, and thus to be able to dominate and oppress BOTH groups easier.
This is why, among working class people (both blue and white collar), an injury to one is an injury to all. When the oppressor, C, discriminates against A it is thus an injury not only to A but also to B; it is absolutely not a benefit, or "privilege" enjoyed by B.
#2. A "privilege" is a benefit that is either a) deserved or b) undeserved. An example of a deserved benefit is the privilege of being allowed to drive a car, granted only to people who have passed a driver's test and thereby demonstrated that they deserve this privilege. An example of an undeserved privilege is royalty being handed great wealth, etc., because of their supposed 'royal blood.'
If one says that person B (the less oppressed person in our scenario) enjoys a privilege, then it is either a deserved or undeserved privilege. But it is clearly neither:
Does B deserve to be less oppressed than A? Certainly not. None of us, for example, would say that whites deserve to be treated less badly than blacks by the police, would we?
What about if we say that B's lesser oppression is undeserved, then? The proper thing to do when somebody is enjoying an undeserved privilege is to abolish that privilege. So, if it is an undeserved privilege for B to be oppressed less than A, the proper thing to do would be to abolish that privilege by calling for the oppression of B to be increased until it matches that of A's oppression. But does anybody reading this article seriously believe, for example, that the way to make a more equal society is by calling for the police to start treating whites worse, until they're treating them just as badly as they treat blacks? I doubt it.
The inappropriateness of the word "privilege" in this context is evident in light of the above.
Not Only Inappropriate, but Also Dangerous
Using the word "privilege" in this context is not only inappropriate; it is positively dangerous. It's dangerous because it harms the oppressed and benefits the oppressor.
Saying that person B enjoys an undeserved privilege essentially points an accusing finger at person B (who is not an oppressor), and lets person C (the actual oppressor) off the hook.
Furthermore, by wrongfully accusing person B of enjoying an undeserved privilege, and making the accusation in the guise of an apparent concern for the welfare of A, it foments resentment of B against A. Additionally, wrongfully accusing B of enjoying a benefit "at the expense of A" promotes anger by A against B. The Left's use of the word "privilege" thus destroys solidarity among the oppressed and shields the oppressor from anger that would otherwise be directed at it. This is precisely why Big Money promotes "white privilege" rhetoric, as discussed here.
Canadian Postal Workers--Men and Women--Fought Discrimination Against Women Postal Workers with a National Wildcat (Unauthorized) Strike
"In the early 1970s, Canada Post Office began implementing its postal mechanization programme. The system was staffed with female postal code machine operators paid $2.94/hour compared to male postal clerks making $3.69/hour. The national office of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers instigated a national illegal strike to bargain for better wages for the new postal work. The strike lasted from April 19 to 26, and ended when the federal government agreed to arbitrate the pay scale for postal coders. An arbitrator awarded female postal coders the same wages as male postal clerks." [from this source]
Canadian Postal Workers Went on Strike for Maternity Leave
"Claude Parrot led a 42 day strike in 1981 (June 30 - August 12) for the right of its members to maternity leave. CUPW became the first federal civil service union in Canada to win the right to maternity leave for its members." [from this source]
Canada's Postal Workers are Mostly Male, So Why Did They Go on Strike to Oppose Discrimination Against Women?
"Canada’s postal carriers are divided into two sectors: 8,450 rural and suburban carriers (RSMCs), a workforce that’s 70 percent women, and 22,147 urban carriers, made up of 70 percent men." [from this source]
The reason the men joined with women to go on strike to oppose discrimination against women is because they understood that AN INJURY TO ONE IS AN INJURY TO ALL! They did not believe that men were "privileged" (benefited) because only women were discriminated against!