"PRIVILEGED" OR "OPPRESSEDLESS"? WHITE "SUPREMACY" OR WHITE "OPPRESSEDLESSNESS"?
June 21, 2021
“Don't you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thought-crime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it."--George Orwell
Let's dump 21st century Newspeak!
English lacks a word for something related to a very important concept, and the ruling class takes advantage of that lack to divide-and-rule us.
The concept is this:
To dominate and oppress ALL working class people, the oppressive upper class treats one section of the working class much worse than another section for the purpose of creating resentment and mistrust between the two sections and thus preventing their solidarity and hence preventing them from successfully challenging the power of the oppressor.
The word that is lacking is a word for describing the status of the section of the working class that is NOT treated worse, but which is nonetheless harmed (by having its solidarity with the other working class people destroyed), not benefited, by the fact that the other section is treated worse.
The word that, unfortunately, is used today for this status--since there is no better word handy--is "privileged." But the word "privilege" means, by definition (and by widespread tacit understanding regardless of what some dictionary might say) a benefit. Clearly something that harms a group of people is not a benefit, and the status of people so-harmed should not be described with a word that means they are enjoying a benefit. This is why it is wrong to use the word "privilege" in this context.
Yes, white working class people are on average not treated as badly by the ruling class as are non-white working class people, but it is entirely misleading to refer to this fact by saying that the white working class people enjoy a "privilege"--a benefit--from this. This is the point that MLK, Jr. makes in his speech (read it and listen to it here) in which he explains that the Jim Crow laws HARMED, not benefited, the poor whites.
We need a word other than "privilege[d]" that would properly, not misleadingly, go in the blanks here:
"Under Jim Crow laws, poor whites were _______."
"It is an example of white ________ that when a white person shops in a mall they are not followed by security the way a non-white person is."
The word "supreme" or "supremacy" is less misleading than the word "privilege[d]" because it doesn't connote a benefit; it just denotes a more-of-something-desirable-versus-less kind of relation.
But what is really required is a word that explicitly denotes the more-of-something-desirable-versus-less relation AND ALSO the fact that the group with more is, along with the group with less, harmed, not benefited by the difference between the two groups.
We could invent a new word. What about "oppressedless" and "oppressedlessness"? So we could say:
"Under Jim Crow laws, poor whites were oppressedless."
"It is an example of white oppressedlessness that when a white person shops in a mall they are not followed by security the way a non-white person is."
If we were using such a word, we'd have a lot more solidarity between whites and non-whites than we have today with the word "privilege" making many working class whites believe that anti-racism is code for anti-white since it tells them they are the guilty beneficiaries of racial discrimination against non-whites and do not deserve their "white privilege." Read here how the ruling class deliberately promoted the phrase "white privilege" to destroy working class solidarity.
By using such a new word we'd be reinforcing, instead of denying, the great insight of the labor movement, that among working class people of all races an injury to one race in an injury to all races, that AN INJURY TO ONE IS AN INJURY TO ALL.