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“check your privilege” is only trying to start a dialogue. That’s almost the equivalent of saying that “check my cock for your wife’s lipstick” would start a dialogue about the state of one’s marriage.

“When people with privilege hear that they have privilege, what they hear is not, ‘Our society is structured so that your life is more valued than others.’ They hear, ‘Everything, no matter what, will be handed to you. You have done nothing to achieve what you have.’ That’s not strictly true, and hardly anyone who points out another’s privilege is making that accusation. There are privileged people who work very hard. The privilege they experience is the absence of barriers that exist for other people.
…If a discussion about privilege serves any purpose, it is so that the privileged recognize their own and are then compelled to work to dismantle the structures that have bestowed privilege upon them. In order to do so, one would have to recognize the call to ‘check your privilege’ as less of a personal attack, because it is not. It’s a wake-up call to action.”
– Mychal Denzel Smith


That is why privilege is so hard to spot from the inside. I’m a straight white middle class cis male, which carries a fair bit of privilege in our society, and even though I am aware of this fact it is still hard to really see how privileged I am because I’m inside the “bubble”.

It doesn’t feel like I’m privileged, I know I’ve worked hard for what I have in my life, I have to follow the rules, and there are obviously people who are more privileged than I am.

It requires taking a step back, and realizing that just because I’m privileged doesn’t detract from the work I have done, or the success I have earned.
It requires flipping the narrative: privilege doesn’t mean I haven’t had to work hard for my success, it just means others may have to work harder for the same things. It doesn’t mean I am getting raised up beyond what I deserve, it just means there are fewer barriers in my way. Ultimately, I had to realize it’s not about me.
Now I can read the stories and talk to my friends and when people talk about the struggles they have I can understand them and start working on changing myself and our society in small ways.

It isn’t about taking away “advantages” from the privileged classes, but removing arbitrary barriers that have been placed others in front of.
It’s about trying to bring everyone else up so everyone gets the respect and the consideration that we all deserve as humans. There is nothing wrong with privilege, it shouldn’t be “special”, everyone deserves to be treated as well as “privileged” classes are. I want everyone to have my privilege.

It’s really great to get to that place, but then we get to this:

It isn’t about taking away “advantages” from the privileged classes, but removing arbitrary barriers that have been placed others in front of.

As someone who fights for equality I think it’s unfair and disingenuous of us to present this case because at the end of the day, it just isn’t true. When you fight to remove the barriers in front of other people, you ARE fighting against your own self-interest, and you ARE fighting to remove your privilege, because your privilege comes from those people having those barriers. If a group of 50 well-paid executives contains 45 men and 5 women, for there to be 25 women in that group, 20 men need to no longer be in it. We need to be honest about that, and honest about the fact that we ARE asking straight white middle class cis men to fight against their own interests if they want to be active allies to our cause.

Like, I’m not giving you a cookie or anything. But I AM acknowledging that it’s hard.

I agree! And realistically, most people won’t fight against their own self-interests, which is why these problems have persisted over thousands of years. Lip service isn’t enough. The master’s tools never dismantle the master’s house.

Are these comics are supposed to SJW ad libs with a victorian age setting?
Because half of this shit doesn’t even make any sense.

“check your privilege”

No. Because I refuse to allow people to make me feel bad about things I have no ability to control, whether that’s me being a tranny, or me being white. If the idea of privilege were used to serve a cause that wasn’t inherently about making people feel shit about things like being white, or born into wealth, or not born in a third world country – then fair enough. But its not, and that’s the only way I’ve ever seen it used. Yet there are hundreds of people who seem to use and abuse the concept of privilege to make people feel bad about themselves, tell me, why is this form of bigotry so accepted yet any bigotry against the “under-privileged” not accepted? Fuck bigotry. All of it. Even if the most underprivileged, black, poor, transsexual, lesbian blind dumb and deaf kid is doing it.

You are not being asked to feel guilty. You may feel guilty, but people asking you to check your privilege are not generally interested in your guilt, nor is your guilt their aim. Their aim is to push you to understand how your dismissal of experiences you do not share is an outgrowth both of an ignorance that is the luxury of people with relatively more power and a desire to remain ignorant in order to perpetuate a status quo that benefits you over others. No, you are not responsible for the status or the society into which you are born, but you are responsible for what you do in reaction to those circumstances–including whether you are willing to acknowledge other peoples’ struggles–whether you are willing to listen to them or eager to shout them down.

While it is true that almost everyone has both some degree of privilege and disadvantage, it is too often true that those with the greatest degree of privilege are those who are least willing to listen those with less.

It seems this is supposed to be a feminist comic. But occasionally you post pro-genderist comics like this. It’s a little bothersome. It seems you’re a feminist only up to the point where feminism disturbs your belief in gender.

…you did READ it, right?

I did read it. Obviously the older woman was supposed to be the party in the wrong. The correlation is obvious. Anti-genderists are mostly second-wavers and are often called out for following an old, outdated ideology.

It’s funny how people will pretend that someone is offended by the root of the word, rather than how the word is actually used. Aside from “not-trans” not needing a word to describe it, “cis” has become an aggressive term among SJWs.

“Cis” has to do with gender in the English Lit. and Women’s Studies department, but in the Math, Physics and Engineering departments “cis” means cosine plus i times sine. It’s a point on the unit circle in the complex plane. A useful gizmo, and current since the 1800s, so the math nerds have priority.

As for checking privilege; the phrase is a mixed message. Outwardly it demands an end to pulling rank. Inwardly it pulls rank. It is a demand for empathy, delivered with a sergeant’s bark. This is hypocrisy, of course; and as such an excellent way to train the young to the ways of the world.

“Check your privilege” does not mean “don’t pull rank”. It’s a turn on “none so blind as those who will not see,” except instead of “will not” we’ve got a little Venn diagram, those who will not and those who don’t have to, and a lovely overlap in between. “Check your privilege” is an appeal to those who will see or might see but never had to see, so yes, an appeal to empathy that nevertheless will fall on plenty of those who never had to see and won’t see, and those who can see but will not see, of which the Earth is ever so well stocked.

And cis for not-trans no doubt arose from Chemistry jargon–I noticed that it caught on quickly among nerds–it’s almost an in-joke that has very quickly become super-cereal, you guys. But the rage about “cis” leaves me non-plussed. A “check your privilege” moment if there ever was one. Really, there are people who are so outraged at their gender status becoming marked rather than unmarked that they’re trying to rub out the use of the word “cis”? King Cnute might have a word or two with them. The status will become marked anyway, might as well have a cute moniker as a clunky one.

What is the real meaning of a phrase, such as ‘check your privilege’? Two theories exist; prescriptivism and descriptivism. Prescriptivists say that there is a ‘proper meaning’ of a phrase, given by knowledgeable authorities, that it is erroneous to vary from. Descriptivists say that the meaning of a phrase comes from how the people actually use it.

You advocate a prescriptivist theory of the meaning of “check your privilege”; that its proper meaning is a plea for empathy, directed at those offending unknowingly, who will change their ways once gently corrected by those wiser than they. But I suspect that many others prefer a descriptivist theory of the meaning of “check your privilege”; that it has two meanings, one being the definition given in the previous sentence, and the other being “a condescending demand for the end of condescension, as hypocritical as it is self-righteous”.

Which theory is correct? Which meaning is accurate? Those who use that phrase tend to be prescriptivist about it, and favor the first definition, but those on whom it is used tend to be descriptivist about it, and favor the second. Because of this clash of meanings, the phrase is not ideal for use in communication.

Language constantly evolves, so descriptivism tends to win in the end. Authorities propose, but the people dispose.

Are you auditioning for the role of “douchebag #2” and trying to put yourself into the mindset, or were you spurned in high school and now taking it out on everyone? Either way, wow, good job.

I do not prescribe, I describe. In this comic, the young woman used definition #1, and the old woman used definition #2. The young woman heard herself plea for equality; the old woman heard her talk down. That cross-talk is the point of the joke.

That same cross-talk is built into ‘check your privilege’. It’s simultaneously egalitarian and condescending. This comic contradiction is what give the phrase its power.

As for cis; I agree that it’s a witty chem-pun. Bravo! It’s also an in-group’s fleer against majority outsiders, as are “honky”, “goy”, “Anglo”, “breeder” and many others. For people to bristle at “cis” means that it’s fulfilling its political function. It’s _supposed_ to offend, that’s what gives it power. For a cis to shrug off “cis” would ruin the game.

So the old lady in this comic was really being very cooperative. But she erred at the end; really the young woman was acting as a handmaiden of the _oligarchy_.

Uh, no! As a PhD scientist (chemist) and mathematician, “cis” has nothing to do with cosine and the rest of your sentence makes zero sense to anyone who actually studied higher math. “Cis” is an old Latin term that means “on this side of.” “Trans” means “opposite or across from.” Cis and trans are used in chemistry, especially organic chemistry, specifically in regard to certain diastereomers. Keep studying, paradoctor.

Sorry, but:

cis(x) = cos(x) + i sin(x) = e ^ (ix)

Your mathematical education is incomplete.

Ah! “cis is a rarely used mathematical notation” that is “redundant” and “Euler’s formula offers an even shorter and more general short-hand notation for cos(x) + i sin(x).” Fair enough, even though it is not normally used. Still wrong about cis and benzene rings though.

Oh, and in the Chemistry department, “cis” means “bonded to the next carbon over on the benzene ring”. Again, current since the 1800s.

Oops, I was wrong. Sorry. For correct chemistry, see:

Probably just stay away from chemistry completely, since you do not understand it. Also, “cis” has nothing to do with cosine or mathematics, as you previously stated. Probably just stay away from math too, rather than make random things up about cosines and points along a circle. Some of us did study these subjects and we are spitting coffee out of our noses.

“Privilege” has a root meaning of “private law”; i.e. favorable purchased judgements. Therefore its natural referent is the 1%. Yet no-one ever says “check your privilege” to the Koch brothers, or to the the Queen of England. That would be laughable, for “check your privilege” is cant.

You must not read The Guardian. They’ve been telling the Queen to check her privilege for years.

And should I ever run into the Koch Brothers, I promise I’ll say it to them, too.

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