Thoughts on Public Schools, Private Schools, Privilege, and Inequality

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137 Responses

  1. Avatar Kim says:

    Most people live in a cocoon all their lives. Some people are brave enough to venture outside of it, and learn something. But, in reality, there are very few of them, and very many of the rest of us.

    This entire article reads like a massive generalization. Your cocoon is not the rest of the world. I went to a top 10 public school in PA (Not My Fault!) … and it was way more difficult than college (quadruple the workload. also, in college I could pick based on my strengths). Now, I know someone who went to a different “top 10” public school in PA (the ranking was totally his fault). He’s a ton brighter than I am, and I don’t think even growing up in a small town kept him from holding multiple Creative Class jobs as a teenager.

    “The Lady and the Tiger” — I remember reading that from a 7th grade NY Public School primer.

    “I will end up doing this because it was how I was raised” is a massive copout, by the way. If you really feel like XYZ outweighs diversity, or getting free bus rides to the museum, or any of the other advantages a city public school gives, then say so. But, if all you say is “I’m going to make this decision because if I don’t everyone will think I hate my kids.” you come across sounding all cowardly. And that’s less bad than the way you originally put it, which is unthinking.Report

    • Avatar Alan Scott says:

      I can’t speak specifically to “The Lady or the Tiger”, but I think the value of having students read literature much earlier than expected is somewhat lacking.

      I mean, Ernest Hemmingway writes at the 4th grade reading level. That doesn’t mean fourth grade students would particularly benefit from reading Hemmingway. The age at which someone can engage with the words of the text doesn’t correspond to the age at which they can engage with the ideas in the text, and I worry that students reading significant works of literature in middle school just don’t get the chance to engage with the ideas.

      That said, I think there are some important exceptions: If a student expects to read a non-trivial amount of Shakespeare during their high school and college career, then I think it would be a good idea to read a few shakespeare plays in middle school–The English of Shakespeare is almost a different language from the English of today, and if students are expected to understand 16th century English, then they should be exposed to it early and often.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        I worry that students reading significant works of literature in middle school

        And are turned off from reading it (again) – or anything else – later in life.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

        We started doing Shakespeare in middle school and high school English had a Shakespeare play a year. 9th grade was Julius Ceasar, 10th grade was Romeo and Juliet, 11th grade was Hamlet, and 12th grade was King Lear.

        My 12th grade English class was pretty advanced as these things go. We read Hesse, Kafka, Lawrence, etc.Report

      • Avatar Burt Likko says:

        It’s like history, or math. If the instructor can make it come alive, convey the wonder and joy in it, the students will respond and repeat the enrichment later in life. If the teacher can’t find a way to convey that Mr. Darcy was like, really hot, but kind of a dick when the book starts, then Darcy is just a wooden, inert figure in a long, dull book about dull, dead people. Only when you realize, yeah, this guy is all rich and good-lookin’ so he can get away with making dick moves, then his later moral redemption is much more interesting.Report

      • Avatar Murali says:

        Should literature classes aim to get students to engage with the ideas in the text? By engage with the ideas, I mean evaluate the ideas.

        For instance, if the class was doing Gift of the Magi, we might try to ask ourselves what de Maupassant was trying to say*, but should literature classes go on to engage with that message? That seems like a philosophical task and it seems that English teachers (who are usually lit majors) are no better equipped to do philosophy than their students.

        *Though even that seems like it could go wrong terribly.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw says:


        O. Henry wrote the Gift of the Magi

      • Avatar Chris says:

        I suspect he was thinking of “The Necklace.” Irony is irony.Report

      • Avatar Murali says:

        No, I was just somehow mistaken for a very long time that guy de Maupassant wrote gift of the magi. But then I went to public school so what do I know? (In fact I only took literature in secondary 1 and 2)Report

      • Avatar Glyph says:

        “Irony is irony.”

        No it’s not, it’s the opposite.Report

    • Avatar bookdragon says:

      My kids are in a high-ranked (not top 10) suburban school in PA. This is entirely my fault as I took a good job which happened to be located in this area a few years before the first was born.

      I would never say we aren’t privileged. My husband and I are both engineers and make a good living. The suburb is safe and filled with other professionals, particularly, because of the companies located here, other engineers. However, we are not in what I’d call a white privilege bubble – our area is anything but monochromatic. There is a huge and diverse oriental community, a local mosque, a Hindu temple, etc. Cultural offerings the reflect this diversity, both officially and unofficially. The school district sponsors an annual International Day for students to learn about each others cultural backgrounds. In 5th grade my daughter started learning Chinese, not as a course, but from a fellow student (whom she was teaching Hebrew in exchange).

      This would never have happened in any of the schools I went to in Ohio, which ranged from rural to suburb to city. However, I did read ‘The Lady and the Tiger’ in 4th grade, in a fairly poor small town school district where most students did not expect to go to college, so I’m not sure how that relates to academic rigor.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        I was told the story of the lady and the tiger when I was a kid by my mom as one of the stories she told in the car to keep us occupied.

        She sort of gave away the meaning of the story by laughing about how people kept bringing the author to cocktail parties, plying him with drinks, and then asking him which door got chosen and him explaining that that wasn’t the point of the story.

        I was surprised to find kids who hadn’t heard that story when I got to High School because I just assumed that, hey, *I* know it. Don’t you kids have parents who tell you stories in the car??? Which brings us back to the whole “privilege” thing.Report

  2. Avatar Kolohe says:

    5&6 the best and richest (but I repeat myself) public school systems in the country have magnet schools that allow the students more independence and leeway in their curricula.

    there might be a generational shift in your anecdata, in that urban/suburban living patterns and what socioeconomic strata lives where has shifted between the 80’s and early 90s and today.

    I would still stack up the best public schools in the country over any given private school, but that’s also because I’ve got a 9 to 1 numbers advantage in the pool I can draw from.Report

    • Avatar Kim says:

      the best private schools still spank the pants off public schools.
      it’s who you know, not what you know.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw says:


      My experience is that magnet schools usually exist in big cities. NYC and SF both have magnet high schools and the competition to get into these magnet high schools is fierce. I know people who went to these high schools and many had a sibling who failed the tests for these schools. I heard a lot of stories about parents doing a mad dash to find a private school because their kid could not get into Bronx Science, Stuy, Brooklyn Tech, etc.

      The suburbs of NYC generally seem to divide based on geography. My hometown school district had 5 or so elementary schools, 2 middle schools, and three high schools (one was a very small alternative school). Your school was based on where you lived in the town and all were considered excellent.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        My experience is that magnet schools usually exist in big cities.

        Do you have any experience in smaller cities/towns? Magnet schools usually exist where districts are big enough to populate them and the district has embraced the magnet school concept, which means there are some in the middle of nowhere (well, to the extent that a place like Shelbyville, TN is the middle of nowhere).Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        There are also statewide magnet/boarding schools, like the one my wife went to.Report

  3. Avatar greginak says:

    I think both Freddie and Conor, both of whom often make good points, go to far. Does reading Invisible Man end privilege or Elie Wiesel end anti-semitism? No, of course not. But they might be good things for a HS kid to read, might lead to some eyes being opened or at least make a richer educational experience. The kind of programs they are talking about aren’t’ going to lead to revolution and they certainly might lead to teenagers making overly broad, dogmatic statements like they know they every damn thing in the world, but then again teenagers are going to do that no matter what.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw says:


      I agree. Freddie in general would not be Freddie if he went too far. I think he is wrong for viewing this as a intentional conspiracy but I do think he is generally right about the effects of having specific classes on privileges and that once people (parents and students) began getting too uncomfortable the classes would be scaled back or eliminated. I think the programs come from a place of well-meaning but in my experience end up getting used more as cultural capital in university. “Look at all the fancy academic talk I learned before I got here!!!”

      My friends who attended very exclusive private schools liked to point out how there were less economically advantaged students at said private schools and these students were often on scholarship. I know people who attended exclusive K-12 private schools via scholarship and other benefactors and these people grew up in poverty. These scholarships are good but they can’t help everyone and often are designed to. It seems more like keys to the kingdom than meaningful reform.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        I think he is wrong for viewing this as a intentional conspiracy

        He doesn’t.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

        Well North also got that vibe from Freddie’s writing and you made a similar comment.

        Can you elaborate on what Freddie is doing and what we are missing then with his rhetorical devices?

        I am obviously not in complete disagreement with Freddie and probably agree with him more than I disagree but is style seemed to go a bit towards accusing this of being intentionally misleading.Report

      • Avatar greginak says:

        @saul-degraw Up to a point i agree about the cultural capital argument although i think that capital is most likely to be used in stoned discussions of how crazy the world is at 3am. So i don’t worry to much about it.

        I think doing these kind of classes, if well done, are better than not doing anything at all. They aren’t going to change the world but better then doing nothing. Not as good as taking a concrete action though. However, like i mentioned in the other thread, plenty of high achieving private school/rich kids do “good works”. Are those just resume builders to get into a good school or genuine. Probably both.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        Perhaps you should read it again. The whole argument is that privilege is defended by arms until it is no longer needed because the system itself, into which we’ve all opted (figuratively), does so by itself, so that the defense of privilege emerges organically from that system. This is why, as Freddie claims through the whole piece, “the defense of privilege is carried out by those who rail against it.”

        Unless you see “power” in this context as inhering in individuals who are consciously and broadly manipulating the system, in which case, dude, you really need to read some left wing texts:

        When establishment power’s tactics were cruder, less refined, appropriation relied on insincerity; it was a form of outward deception. Now the deception is self-deception. The most committed, most passionate critics of privilege become the agents through which their own critique is packaged, consumed, and ultimately stored away in a mental closet like last season’s handbag.


      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        That’s the beauty of it. Instead of being done by people who know better and are doing it anyway, it’s done by people who *SHOULD* know better… but are doing it anyway.

        The next level will be people who couldn’t have known better and that’s why they were doing it.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        They definitely should know better, at least when their former students send their kids to the school while they’re away at their Lake Como villa.Report

  4. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    Even in the best of circumstances, you can’t replicate the elite or semi-elite private school experience onto a public school. Public schools are going to have more kids and probably less of a budget than many, but not all, private schools. Public schools are also more likely to have to deal with to politics when it comes to curriculum and teacher-student relations. Private schools mainly consist of relatively likely minded people regarldess of whether the private schools is something elite like Philips Exeter or a religious school of some sort. Our high school was probably as close as you could get to a high-priced private school in a public school setting in terms of having an ambitious curriculum and extra-curricular activities. Even than it still it many of the constraints faced by public schools like parental disagreement and the budget.

    I’m in agreement with you, De Boer, and Freidersdorf on the ridiculousness of a private school teaching about privilege. It won’t have any actual possitive effect and would be mainly be used as a form of social preening by people who attended the fancy private schools. It is nothing more than a Potemkin village solution in the same way that granting generous scholarships to a handful of disadvantaged kids of color is a Potemkin village solution. It allows elite private schools and those that patronize them to look like they care without doing anything about the overall problem. Its great for the couple of dozen poor kids that get to go but useless for the hundreds of thousands or millions struggling in poverty. Any solution to privilege or socio-economic inequality, if we agree that these things are important to eliminate and many people do not, must scale to help millions.Report

  5. Avatar j r says:

    Interestingly, both the left and the right seem to find the programs problematic.

    This seems like as good a place as any to say that I really hate the word “problematic” in its current usage. It’s become a passive aggressive way to say that you don’t like something. This is the definition of problematic:

    constituting or presenting a problem or difficulty

    The fact that a bunch of rich kids are getting instructed in the finer points of post-structuralist social justice theory is neither a problem nor a difficulty. It is power and privilege doing what power and privilege have always done: finding ways to differentiate itself from the less powerful and the less privileged.

    This kind of thing is only problematic if you start from the belief that this sort of Social Justice (TM) is actually about justice in the first place and not largely a way for rich private school kids to differentiate themselves from rich public school kids. This is the equivalent of TOMS shoes and voluntourism. There is nothing necessarily wrong with it as long as you understand what it is really about.Report

    • Avatar Chris says:

      The other definition of the word is “questionable,” which is how it’s used here I believe. It’s kinda odd to get upset about people using the other dictionary definitions, because they’re not the ones you prefer. Or rather, doing that is problematic. 🙂Report

      • Avatar j r says:

        If it’s not obvious, my objection is to the particular usage where the writer deploys the word to signal that the thing in question may possible violate some social justice norm without bothering to name the norm or the violation or offer anything much resembling an actual argument.

        It often comes across as I could tell you what’s wrong with this TV show/song/awards show joke, but it’s easier to just call it problematic and move on. In general, I find it problematic when people try to let moral intuitions do the work that normative ethical arguments ought to be doing.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        Well that’s definitely not new.Report

      • Avatar Jim Heffman says:

        Basically, “problematic” is what “privilege” used to be, now that people are starting to ask what rich white college students are doing claiming that they’re oppressed and marginalized and victimized.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman says:

      I’m personally annoyed at the turn the word “problematic” has taken because it’s a word I have long used quite a bit, and now I have to scramble to find synonyms that don’t carry the same connotations.Report

    • Avatar Jim Heffman says:

      I was actually going to comment about “voluntourism” but you beat me to it. The idea that you’re somehow morally elevated by having done this thing.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      In the past few weeks, I’ve read a handful of essays describing such things as Fifty Shades as “problematic”.

      Not that women should not be allowed silly fantasies, mind. Not that women shouldn’t be allowed to explore their own sexuality, mind. But shouldn’t we, as a society, want yadda yadda yadda. 100,000,000 copies! Isn’t it problematic that we, as a society, still haven’t overcome yadda yadda yadda.

      Now while I agree that we, as a society, need to do a lot better at teaching young people how to deal with other young people (my suggestion is highly regimented and chaperoned rituals of courtship coupled with poetry. Lots and lots of poetry…), I’m also vaguely troubled (“you mean you find it problematic?” “shut up”) by this tendency to say “you’re doing it wrong” to people who have different preferences.

      We don’t know what we want, we can barely put stuff into words, then we’re surprised that we’re unsatisfied with where we ended up.

      This will continue. For a good long while.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        And I tried to come up with a guy version of the feminist article critiquing Fifty Shades.

        “Clownjobs? That’s just weird, dude.”
        “Don’t judge me, dude.”
        “Dude, it’s weird.”
        “Dude, it’s *HOT*.”
        “Dude, it’s weird.”

        And so on.Report

      • Avatar Glyph says:

        Are you down to clown?Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        Cake-sitting, dude. Cake-sitting.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        Coincidentally, I find criticisms of FSOG problematic, for reasons I’ve explained. 😉Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        50 shades of gray sold more tickets per capita in Mississippi than any other state.

        It’s okay folks, you can calm down now.

        Seems the South still like their Lee better than the rest of the country likes soft-core porn.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe says:

        The difference between Lost Cause revisionism and soft core porn is that one is filled with airbrushed characters who don’t show all of their naughty bits through creative editing, and the other is shown on Cinemax late at night.Report

      • Avatar KatherineMW says:

        All the strongest criticisms I’ve heard of Fifty Shades aren’t about the fact that it’s crap, but about the fact that it takes what is, by any standards, an abusive relationship and portrays it as “kinky”. I’ve read pieces by women who have been in abusive relationships talking about how it’s dangerous to glorify that kind of thing. I’ve read pieces by people who like kink talking about how utterly Fifty Shades misrepresents it.

        The key question seems to be whether the people who read the book are genuinely buying into its premise, or whether they realize it’s screwed up and enjoy it regardless, just like lots of us enjoy action movies without accepting the implicit premise that any problem or dispute is best resolved by shooting people.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        @katherinemw, my understanding is that minus the kink, relationships like those in 50 Shades are standard fodder for the romance novel industry. It seems to be a very popular fantasy.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

        The key question seems to be whether the people who read the book are genuinely buying into its premise, or whether they realize it’s screwed up and enjoy it regardless

        Just like Atlas Shrugged.Report

      • Avatar Alan Scott says:

        I’m also vaguely troubled (“you mean you find it problematic?” “shut up”) by this tendency to say “you’re doing it wrong” to people who have different preferences.

        @jaybird ,
        I feel like that’s basically the opposite of the way I’ve seen problematic used in Social Justice circles. When I see people call something problematic, they basically mean “There are things about this that are bad, but you aren’t a bad person for liking it”. See, for example, this 50 shades thing, which is basically people commenting about how fine it is that a bunch of folks are enjoying softcore bondage, but gee wouldn’t it be nice if it didn’t conflate S&M with abuse.

        Problems imply solutions, and Problematic is essentially an admission that a thing has worth, and that it can be made even better by solving whatever is wrong with it.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        My experiences with “problematic” are more in line with how it’s used here:

        See, for example, the entry on Kerli on the front page. It discusses such things as white people with dredlocks and Kerli’s overuse of bindis.Report

      • Avatar Alan Scott says:

        From further down on the same blog:

        The point of this blog to point out that EVERYONE has their moments that are problematic. We aren’t saying that they are all awful, no good people all of the time, just that you should be aware of these moments and that its ok to still like them and not support them for these moments.


      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        Yeah, we’re using the word differently. They use “problematic” to describe actions that they feel should stop. Sure, you can still like (celebrity) but this celebrity should not (list of behaviors from out-and-out racism down to wearing this culturally appropriative outfit/accessory/hairstyle).

        As it is, it’s putting “used a racist/homophobic/ableist/transphobic/antitheist slur” (or “wore blackface”) right next to “appropriated the yin/yang symbol” or “wore dredlocks” and using the same term to discuss all of these.Report

  6. Avatar KatherineMW says:

    I think it’s worthwhile for kids to be aware of, and think about, how things like poverty and income, and race and gender affect people’s lives and experiences. It seems like the battle between dislike of the world “privilege” and advocacy for its use obscures the very simple underlying ideas.

    When I was in later elementary and early high school, I thought I was very smart and that I got good grades because I worked hard, and if other people were doing worse than they were either less smart or less hard-working. Simple things like talking with my parents made me recognize that other kids didn’t necessarily have parents who helped them with there homework, or who had the time and effort to teach them to read before even starting kindergarten, or a ton of books at home, or even free time after school; they might need to have a part-time job. As time went on, though reading books, reading online articles, I became more aware of other simple things. Reading The Audacity of Hope, Obama’s mention of having people mistake him for a valet, or security people trail him around stores, suprised me. Ta-Nehisi Coates’ pieces discussing the environment in which he grew up, where violence and self-defence were daily fact of life, felt like another world to me. Hearing from other women about incessant catcalling, sexual harassment, and workplace discrimination made me aware that my lack of experiencing those things was the exception – not the rule – for women.

    If high schools can make kids more aware of that kind of thing, that’s all to the good. It’s a matter of understanding many people’s lives, realizing that they may not be the same as yours, realizing that you may have advantages you don’t realize, and that other people may have to deal with types of crap that you didn’t even know were an issue.

    I don’t think it should be a separate class, just something good to bring up in any class where it becomes relevant. For example, when kids read To Kill a Mockingbird – which was Grade 10 for us – also assign a few present-day pieces by black authors that give kids some understanding of present-day racism, so they don’t just think of it as something that happened in the past. In a Social Studies class, take a bit of time for the kids to write down/think about/ discuss what things make it easier for them to study. The local library? An internet connection? Advice from parents? A quiet place to work? Prompt some discussions about how it might affect them if they didn’t have those things. Bring up ideas about things that upper-class kids may take for granted so much they didn’t bring them up: a safe neighbourhood, a safe home environment, regular meals, not being targeted by cops. Modify this idea to do it in a way that kids who don’t have these things can bring them up without feeling embarassed.

    There’s no need to couch it in the language of sociology. If folks object so much to the use of the word “privilege”, I’m quite open to suggestions as to what word you’d recommend to express the idea behind my first three paragraphs in a succinct manner.Report

    • Avatar j r says:

      Did you read the Freddie or the Connor Friedersdorf piece?

      Neither of them are making a semantic argument about the word privilege. They are making a very specific set of arguments about how the teaching of privilege and social justice in this context only works to further maintain the privilege of those students in fancy Manhattan and Brooklyn prep schools.

      To put it another way, the primary outcome of this sort of thing is not going to be kids who are more aware of how the world works, but kids who posses a specialized body of knowledge that they can deploy to differentiate themselves from other kids who didn’t go to these kinds of school.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        Precisely. As Freddie put it, it teaches them how to wriggle out of criticisms of privilege.

        If you just teach that white is privilege, and male is privilege, and wealthy is privilege, you might end up with white dudes arguing that because they were socially awkward geeks, the feminist narrative of privilege is wrong. Not that anyone here would fall for such transparent sophistry.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        @chris, I think a more likely outcome is that wealthy, white people who had these classes would use them to demonstrate their superiority over white people who did not. Basically as a form of bullying and rank pulling.Report

      • Avatar dhex says:

        @chris , @leeesq
        “As Freddie put it, it teaches them how to wriggle out of criticisms of privilege.”

        “I think a more likely outcome is that wealthy, white people who had these classes would use them to demonstrate their superiority over white people who did not. ”

        i think you’re both wrong in the right way.

        1) direct criticisms of the privilege of others generally happen where?
        a) in college
        b) on the internet
        c) no where else

        there is no wriggling outside of these places, and the wriggling is limited.

        2) similarly rich kids criticize other honky crackers in places like
        a) college
        b) the internet
        c) no where else

        “superiority”? c’mon. how often does this actually happen?

        these discussions happen on the internet. they do not happen very much in real life, because no one talks like tumblr in real life sans a few hundred folk.

        now discussions about what privilege actually is – being invisible to cops (in a good way), less invisible to employers, etc etc and so forth – happen all the goddurn time. but nobody uses that language for the same reason that you don’t hear the term intersectionality all that often and your watercooler deep dives about the foucault and the “mental health” profession only happen in your mind.*

        if you grab 100 randos and say “privilege – define it!” and they can look past your insane rudeness, you’re probably going to get 100 descriptions of “a driver’s license” or something to do with getting the last piece of birthday cake.

        i’d look at you warily and back away, presuming you were some nutbag from alternet with a hidden video camera, but i am a special kinda guy.

        anyway, rhetoric gotta rhetor. next month it’ll be something else, because such are the travails of fashion. unless you’re getting a phd in the humanities, it will almost never, ever impact your job chances. or maybe if you’re joining a cbo that’s hard into that kind of thing, but presumably by either of these points you’re going to understand the lingo, if not at least semi-believe to the limits of credibility required by the culture.

        tl;dr – “privilege” is the libertarianism of rhetorical gambits. very popular on the internet. less so anywhere not the internet.

        * they happen by my water cooler but n=1, thun.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        Also at protests.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        Though I’d add that “privilege” is just s version of this we’ve all become aware of recently: talk of racism, the 1%, sexism, etc., are everywhere, online and off. This isn’t just about “privilege,” it’s about privilege.Report

      • Avatar dhex says:

        “This isn’t just about “privilege,” it’s about privilege.”

        yes. it’s the branding that’s most fascinating about it. and how belief begets behavior.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw says:


      I agree with your points overall but @j-r has the right comment here.

      The effect of these programs is not going to be what you or greginak want or describe even if it is what the programs want. The effect is going to be that the students of these fancy private school are just going to have another way of maintaining their privilege.

      This is a quote from the NY Times Story:

      “Mr. Gay, who is black, says schools are increasingly drawn to conversations about privilege and race because they understand that “raising students to live in a bubble — a white bubble, a black bubble, a Latino bubble, whatever type of bubble you want to call it — is not to your benefit in a global society.”

      This how Freddie sees it:

      “In an earlier time, establishment power would have opposed the creation of an anti-establishment professional class. Today, establishment power recognizes that the surest way to blunt the impact of a social movement is to professionalize it. Thus the rise of the professional anti-racist, the professional anti-sexist, the professional opponent of privilege. Sincerity in pursuing the cause becomes not an impediment to serving the needs of establishment power but a powerful virtue.”

      He is not completely incorrect.

      Here is another example. The NY Times:

      “For most of their history, private schools were the living embodiment of white privilege: They were almost all white and mostly moneyed. Not anymore. This year, according to the National Association of Independent Schools, minority students make up a third of the population of New York City private schools, and 18.5 percent of all students receive financial aid.”


      “To improve the optics and keep overwhelming irony at bay, privilege enacts aesthetic reforms that deepen greater inequality. Like the woman elevated onto the board of a company where the CEO makes 300 times the average worker, establishment power looks to diversify systems and institutions that are unequal by their nature and elitist in their function.”Report

      • Avatar Kolohe says:

        “He is not completely incorrect.”

        The use these days of the double negative to make an understatement is questionably problematic.Report

      • Avatar KatherineMW says:

        I don’t see why helping kids to understand what things might be going on in the world that they don’t notice has to necessarily increase the power of elites.

        People can’t oppose things that are wrong with society, things that intensify inequality, unless they recognize that those things exist. That a well-off person’s experience of the world doesn’t match everyone else’s experience of the world.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        @katherinemw, I suggest reading about potemkin villages. These sorts of programs create an illusion of caring about or doing something about a big issue while actually doing not that much. Getting a scholarship to fancy private school is great for the few dozen of underprivileged kids that see them but are really insufficient for the millions of kids struggling in poverty. These are big problems and we need solutions that are scalable to their size.Report

      • @saul-degraw

        The effect is going to be that the students of these fancy private school are just going to have another way of maintaining their privilege

        Why can’t it be that and what @katherinemw suggests? Why must we, as the lede to this blog post asks, decide “Can anything good from teaching private school students about white privilege and inequality? Or is it just a program to make people feel good about themselves?”?

        Such programs probably have the potential to do some good and maybe even sometimes live up to that potential. Other times they don’t. Perhaps most of the time. But then….pretty much anything that’s taught is going to not be learned as the teachers want it learned, or not learned as fully, or learned only to be useful on a transcript and to be forgotten soon after.

        (I guess i have to admit that while I skimmed the NYT piece, I haven’t read Mr. DeBoer’s or Mr. Friedersdorf’s columns.)Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        Freddie doesn’t say that teaching kids about privilege can’t be a good thing.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe says:

        I’m not seeing a scenario where Freddie would be support of teaching kids about privilege, outside of maybe the gulag. He seems outright dismissive of any attempt of members of “the Establishment” to educate their members or the petit bourgeois, as is all boils down to one method or another to co-opt and control the People.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        He’s not dismissive of the education, he’s dismissive of the methods.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:

        Here’s my .02 Deniros on why teaching privilege is a bad idea.

        1. The sticky part about the concept of privilege is that it’s at root psychological property of people (either an expectation held by the privilege holder the he or she gets or receives X, or the perception in others that the privilege holder gets or receives X), and because of that, we’re talking about really murky, emotionally sensitive, impossible to verify, stuff that comprises the core of how certain people view themselves. That doesn’t seem like a good topic for academic treatment except in some sorta psych-type class talking about those properties in observed subjects in a really clinical way.

        2. The other sticky thing is that the types of behavioral patterns or established cultural norms (etc) which give rise to the observation that certain types of people receive preferential treatment or are unconstrained by norms constraining others (or etc) doesn’t require crawling into anyone’s head, let alone crawling in to instill the concept of “privilege” as it’s used in certain contemporary isms. I mean, I think it’s a useful shorthand for a whole bunch of observable behaviors, myself. But insofar as someone resists using that word because he or she doesn’t believe that the word applies to them, well, the game is pretty well over at that point. What evidence would suffice to demonstrate to the person who claims they aren’t privileged that they are in fact wrong?Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        Privilege is a relational property, not a psychological one. It has psychological effects, to be sure, and part of the point of talking about it is to get people to recognize it and its effects on their behavior, but privilege exists, as a relation, largely independent of anything its beneficiaries think.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe says:

        “He’s not dismissive of the education, he’s dismissive of the methods.”

        Perhaps no form of subtle social control better exemplifies privilege’s ability to dominate through soft power than the way in which privilege theory itself becomes a commodity, monetized and peddled to the privileged as easily as consumer electronics or expensive clothes.

        I don’t see how he separates the product from the means of production, unless there’s some other way of teaching privilege theory that is substantially different from the methods of teaching readin’ ritin’ and ‘rithmitic. (which are myriad)

        Sincerity becomes a tool of power. When establishment power’s tactics were cruder, less refined, appropriation relied on insincerity; it was a form of outward deception. Now the deception is self-deception. The most committed, most passionate critics of privilege become the agents through which their own critique is packaged, consumed, and ultimately stored away in a mental closet like last season’s handbag.

        I mean, this seems to perfectly embody the heads I win tails you lose mobius strip of Freddie’s logic. Either the elite exercise and maintain their power through “insincerity”, or, failing that, “sincerity”.

        The whole piece is IOZ without any of the wit or charm. And normally, Freddie’s critiques of, well, anything, are a lot more cogent, even if I usually disagree with them. Either that, or I’m simply not understanding him because he’s coming to it with more priors than the comedy album section at a good vintage record store.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        You undermine your own reading when you write, “unless there’s some other way of teaching privilege theory that is substantially different from the methods of teaching readin’ ritin’ and ‘rithmitic.”

        He is railing against the honing of complex concepts into discrete, palatable slogans, which might be how you teach arithmetic to 1st graders, but it ain’t how you teach trigonometry to high school kids. His whole rant is about methods, methods that aren’t at all like the way we teach reading and writing at that level. The quotes you chose say as much.

        And if I remember correctly, he’s an IOZ fan from way back.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:

        Chris, I’d say at root privilege is psychological, and those psych properties coupled with various aspects of power create institutional structures social norms whereby it’s effects are objectively perceived. As relational, of course.

        I won’t push on that conception of it, tho, since I don’t think much hinges on it. Well, except for idea that the sticky wicket in each and every discussion of privilege is getting the privilege-holder to recognize (on a personal and therefor psychological level) that they are in fact so. Not to mention dealing with the accompanying judgment. Aiyaiyai.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        I’ll just say that whether your parents are involved in your education, whether your school can afford up to date textbooks and attract quality teachers, whether you are subject to the effects of academic stereotypes, whether you need student loans to attend college, whether you can afford transportation, etc., all loci of privilege, do not hinge on anything in your head.

        Privilege is not primarily a psychological property. It is, in the vast majority of its manifestations, not a psychological property at all. It almost always has psychological effects, many different kinds, but it is not a psychological property.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:

        It is, in the vast majority of its manifestations, not a psychological property at all.

        Yeah, I disagree. I think the reason those states of affairs obtain (well, excluding certain types of situations that I wouldn’t lump into the category of “social privilege” like parents’ earning power and the like) is due to the psychological properties of folks who hold prevailing cultural and institutional power.

        Eg, I don’t think having different incomes is a “privilege”, even for the kid. I think having different incomes purely as a result of social factors – say, race or gender – is.

        Hell, even inheriting money doesn’t have anything to do with social privilege, or political privilege, tho some folks think it’s a high sign of “being privileged”. Personally, I think it’s important to distinguish between the two, as difficult as that might be.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        Privilege is a function of opportunity. I suppose to the extent that opportunity is psychologically determined, it is a psychological property. However, the disparity in opportunity afforded by differences in the quality of education is not psychologically determined, for the most part. Except in the sense that learning is psychological, and better educations better facilitate learning, but I don’t think that’s what you mean by psychological. I think you mean it is an attitude or set of attitudes, the valences of motivations and values, etc. I which case you are talking about the effects of privilege.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

        They should kick out those minority kids and cut way back on the scholarships, if that’ll make Freddie happy.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:

        I which case you are talking about the effects of privilege.

        No, I’m talking about the causes of privilege. It didn’t emerge in a vacuum or by happenstance.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        I suppose we disagree, pretty substantially, on privilege is then. For example, I would think most privilege is structural, a result of class, race, and gender disparities which are, themselves, perpetuated by attitudes, but which are not those attitudes. It’s possible to be privileged by one’s gender, say, without being sexist. It’s even possible to be privileged by one’s gender while recognizing that privilege and trying to combat it. Such things are not possible with a primarily or even substantially psychological version, but I’m interested in hearing how that type works. Perhaps we’re identifying two sides of a coin.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        Privilege is used in a lot of different ways by different folks. I’ve seen it refer to zero-sum interactions (if this person has something, someone else doesn’t) and I’ve seen it refer to positive-sum interactions (for example, how parents train their kids).

        Here’s some examples from Freddie:

        Social capital reasserted itself. Privilege did what it does. At the very moments when my life was most broken, the vast advantages of being born white and male, to educated and caring parents, who read to me and told me I was good, who connected behavior to consequences and advised me to live life consciously– all these realities quietly worked in my favor. No, I don’t have any money, I’m in student loan debt up to my eyeballs, I could very easily emerge from graduate school without a job, my credit’s a wreck, things like car trouble and unexpected tax penalties can totally derail me…. But there is an obvious path to material security for me, whether in the job I want or not, and that advantage is the product of social capital that I did very little to earn.

        I could tell (and have told) stories about how my childhood had some pretty crappy things happen in it, but I was born to loving parents who read to me and told me that I was good, who kicked my ass if I got Cs, who pushed me to constantly read, who pushed me to learn, who pushed me to learn how to teach myself.

        I am also white, and male, and heterosexual, and cis-gendered.

        A veritable mélange of privilege. But some of those things are things that shouldn’t be a big deal at all… but some of those things are a very big deal indeed and we need to get more and more and more of that stuff.Report

  7. Avatar Kolohe says:

    this (“Teaching Social Justice in the Physics Classroom”) made the round a few weeks ago (and may be in that Friday linky post somewhere.

    Zooming into his TLDR

    TL;DR: As science teachers, we have to take an active role in undoing the bias in our society. Don’t be afraid to try, and don’t wait until you know exactly what to do

    Is there any other aspect of science instruction where this is a good idea? “As science teachers, we have to take an active role in demonstrating electricity/chemical reaction/germ theory of disease. Don’t be afraid to try, and don’t wait until you know exactly what to do.”

    Heck, is there any pedagogical norm that encourages teachers to just dive into a subject without some sort of prior training and sufficiently rigorous framework?Report

    • Avatar Chris says:

      As he has what looks to be a fairly detailed lesson plan, I’m not sure where “don’t wait until you know exactly what to do” comes in.

      Besides, doing stuff before you know exactly what to do is pretty much the very spirit of science as a method and human institution.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      “The Privilege Gene is one of the strangest recessive genes in existence. We had thought that it was on the Y chromosome but we see that it also had markers tied to white skin, blond hair, and blue eyes.”Report

    • Avatar Will Truman says:

      Yeah, using science class as an opportunity to impart moral values seems like a pretty bad idea on multiple levels.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        Sociology of science seems like a perfectly valid topic in science classes to me. I take that to be what that person is doing, or at least advocating.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        When I think about using science class to ensure that certain cultural ideas are respected, I can’t help but remember that I’ve already played this video game and the boss fights get really, really funky.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        Is there gender discrimination in science? What does the data say? If we’re suggesting teachers not discuss that data, what are we? If it were any other data, we’d be called denialists. Here we’re the voice of reason.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        Even if scientifically valid measures are used, I see it backfiring on student-parent-science relationship in a pretty big way. Another subject of “they’re trying to brainwash us” in a subject that, unlike history, it is not inevitably so. Introducing culture war football where it’s not inherent (or elective) just strikes me as a really bad idea. For the culture wars some, but for science, education, and science education especially.

        Tying physics and social justice comes across to me like tying biology and atheism.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe says:

        from page 2


        We are, I admit to the students, leaving the realm of hard science, of research and hypothesis.


      • Avatar Chris says:

        Physicists are all physics chauvinists. That’s unsurprising.Report

    • Avatar KatherineMW says:

      I can see what he’s going for, and his lesson plan looks good, but he’s teaching social science, not physics. He’s teaching it at a significantly higher level than most of what I remember doing in high school, though. And sometimes mixing up the subjects can be a good thing – students can be more willing to pay attention and get interested in the subject of discussion if they feel like they’re “getting out of” doing “real work” (e.g., physics problems).

      One reservation I have is that there’s a bunch of studies on how kids’ perceptions influence their performance (e.g.: girls who are told that women are bad at math do worse at math), so I wonder if focusing on the small proportion of black physicists would have an effect on causing black students to do worse at physics.

      Also, the line “Those who have privilege are in the best position to make change” bothers me. On the one had, it’s tautologically true that people with more power have more power, and when we have power we should use it to make society more just and more equal. On the other hand, it feels…vanguard-y. Postive social change should be led by people who are disadvantaged, because they’re the ones who know best what they experience and what changes they want to see. (And yet, I thoroughly oppose the idea that men and white people can only be “allies” of feminist and racial justice movements, not members of them.)Report

    • Avatar Kolohe says:

      I imagine it would be pretty straightforward to do this course at an elite private school with a supermajority white population.

      I’d like to see how the curricula would change at a TJ Tech, a public magnet school that has the reputation of one of the best of its type in the country – and that is also criticized for having insufficient African-American and Latino enrollment (which in turn affects the demographic profile of the STEM pipeline).Report

  8. Avatar Kolohe says:

    Is the problem with the Obama presidency that he didn’t have enough lectures about his privilege at Punahou?Report

    • Avatar Chris says:

      More people should be getting this in Bible Study anyway. They must do something like this: Matthew 15, Matthew 16, Matthew 17, Matthew 18, Matthew 19… er, there appears to be a smudge here, can’t quite make it out… Matthew 25, Matthew 26, Matthew 27…Report

  9. Avatar Rufus F. says:

    The problem I have with this way of teaching about privilege is it still plays into the notion that the student is the center of the world and that somehow being more keenly aware of themselves makes the world a better place- when it more likely just contributes to the “bubble” it’s supposed to be getting them out of. How about just have them learn more about other people? Have some 18 year old who works nights at 7-11 to make his rent come in and talk to them or something. Not to be a total jerk, but I feel like a lot of these preening “awareness raising” campaigns hinge on the idea that wealthy people are so important that them having some thought in their head is accomplishment enough.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw says:


      Do you think it would be easy to get an 18 or 19 year old working at 7-11 to come speak to a private school class about paying the rent? Would they do so under force of losing their job?

      “And Bill is only here because Jeff’s dad threatened to give him the sack if he did not come. Thank Jeff’s dad for making Bill teach you about those who are less fortunate.”Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        Scared straight.

        “Man, I wasn’t going to do my homework… but now I know that I don’t want to end up at 7-11! Maybe we should make the drugs that that guy was on illegal, you know, for his own good…”Report

      • Avatar Rufus F. says:

        Just tell Bill you’ll give him forty bucks under the table to do it. I can’t tell you how much stupid crap my boss has gotten me to do that way!Report

      • Avatar Rufus F. says:

        Or, if that’s too much, just have them watch the Bicycle Thieves.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        Inline with Rufus F’s recommendation, another good way to teach kids about privilege while avoiding current politics is to have them read the Fixer by Bernard Malamud. It deals with all of the problems of privilege but in a safe historical setting.Report

    • Avatar j r says:

      I cosign with @rufus-f. What is so lacking about the social justice approach to this topic is that it tends to revolve around the student going through some phony exercise in introspection that miraculously ends in her coming away armed with a new vocab full of jargon that just happens to correspond to the existing syllabus of the social justice movement. This is how you get to Freddie’s “we’ve all already decided.”

      There are lots of ways to talk about privilege within the context of more traditional subject matters: economics, history, psychology, literature, music, etc. And the advantage of that approach is that it stays tethered to objective, verifiable reality instead of becoming an academic circle j… instead of becoming an exercise in circular logic.

      When I watch college basketball, I notice lately that a lot of the schools are using the ‘come to Random U and help change the world’ approach, as opposed to the ‘come to Random U and learn something useful.” It’s a minor observation and I won’t hang too much on it, but it is a sign of slightly solipsistic mode of being in the world.Report

  10. Avatar Patrick says:

    I think a 10-hour a week commitment to a homeless shelter or abuse shelter or drug treatment program or tutoring at an underprivileged public elementary school will probably go a lot farther towards opening eyes about privilege than any seminar discussion.

    This is one of those times when “educating people about the problem” is probably handled better by “expanding your school’s public service component” than “adding Privilege Studies 101 to the curriculum”.Report

    • Avatar Cardiff Kook says:

      For those of us growing up in San Diego, exposure to privilege was as simple as a short drive to Tijuana. Those of us growing up in the US, regardless of race or heritage, are indeed privileged compared to those relatively unlucky enough to be born in Africa or Guatemala.

      We are all privileged (advantaged? blessed?). Of course someone else, somewhere is always even more privileged. There is no escape from that negative tunnel of envy though. Life isn’t fundamentally a zero sum race, and if we succumb to the error that it is, we’ve made the first step toward destroying the privilege our ancestors provided us. Frameworks matter.

      The key is to focus on what it is that got us to where we are and how we continue to advance our cause and that of those (today and in the future) we care about. In other words, what is necessary to ensure the unprecedented “privilege” we experience today is continued and expanded both domestically and abroad.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        ” what is necessary to ensure the unprecedented “privilege” we experience today is continued and expanded both domestically and abroad.”
        not sure that’s mathematically possible, at least without unacceptable destruction.
        The ladder of success has quite broken in the middle,and the bottom part is falling apart as we speak. [ask UBER if you don’t believe me.]Report

      • Avatar Cardiff Kook says:

        The last generation saw substantially more growth in worldwide prosperity than any other generation since man climbed out of the trees. Worldwide inequality is dropping and this is happening because the impoverished are getting better off. Inequality within “privileged” nations is happening because we are less privileged (in an unfair way) than we were a generation or more ago.

        Humans aren’t just mouths to be fed. Every human, if integrated into the worldwide network of division of labor and exchange, can also produce value for fellow humans. And that is what we are talking about with privilege. Some of us — like people of every race in the US — are privileged to live in a world where technology and institutions allow us to produce unimaginably more than our ancestors. This recipe of progress is spreading to larger portions of the world. It is good.

        More people producing more at a faster rate leading to longer, healthier, more enlightened lives. Can it continue forever? Of course. That is what human ingenuity is all about. Will it? Beats me.

        But I suggest the white privilege peddlers spend more time in Tijuana or Nogales. Some perspective would do them well.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        “Every human, if integrated into the worldwide network of division of labor and exchange, can also produce value for fellow humans.”
        and when this ENDS?
        Perhaps we can indeed create a system where someone’s marginal utility, no matter how small, will compensate for their weight on society.

        Anything’s possible.

        But, my friend, genocide is probable. We have plans for that little trick. (no, I’m not happy I know this.)Report

  11. Avatar Kolohe says:

    My problem with Freddie’s piece is that he thinks the mode of ‘establishment’ power is unique to Capitalism and/or Neoliberalism. Surely he understands the dynamics of the post-Stalin Soviet Union and the current DPRK Kimocracy – as well as what’s going on between the in and out groups wherever the bolivarianos hold sway.Report

    • Avatar Chris says:

      I doubt Freddie would deny that, though he might point out that even in the post-Stalin years, the threat of violence was still ever present, making your example part of his point.Report

  12. Avatar Kazzy says:

    Talking about independent schools* as a discrete thing is problematic. There is great variety between and among them. Some, as you note, allow students to call their teachers by their first name. Others are steadfastly against it (I would prefer to go by my first name with my students but am not allowed).

    Independent schools are just that: independent. Each one marches to its own beat. You’ll no doubt see similarities owing to a number of causes, but there is very, very little in the way of oversight that seeks to unify them in any meaningful way.

    * Independent school is the preferred term these days and has been within the little micro world for some time now. You can call it Orwellian double-speak or an acknowledgement of their financial standing (independent of any state/municipal funding) or whathaveyou but figured I’d at least mention it.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

      I consider it Orwellian double-speak personally which is why I don’t like the term.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:

        The term dates back at least 50 years and probably further than that. Perhaps that doesn’t disqualify it from the “Orwellian double-speak” but, well, maybe you want to examine how your personal perspective/bias might lead you to describing it as such.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        @kazzy, independent is much to a positive term for something that is value neutral. Some private schools are wonder and others are horrible just like public schools. Most private schools like most public schools are in-between. Calling private schools independent schools is problematic because it places them above criticism. They are independent and march to their own drumbeat, who can find fault with that?Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

        Isn’t that letting them control the terms of debate?Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:


        Who can find fault with what? Independent schools — individually and collectively — are not above criticism. No one is arguing that they are. At least, no one that I’ve seen. And I struggle to see how identifying them as ‘independent’ communicates that.

        Are independent political candidates above criticism?


        What debate? And shouldn’t we allow groups to self-identify? At least provided they can make a legitimate claim to the term in question? Independent schools do, in fact, operate independently of the state.Report

  13. Avatar Kazzy says:

    How did all of us learn about privilege?Report

    • Avatar dhex says:

      i done humped me some liberal arts.

      more seriously, i enjoy rhetoric in and of itself, just like some folk like watching football regardless of who’s playing. and “privilege” is fascinating, like a 7 layer dip of hairshirting and punishment and false-hairshirting and lord knows what else.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      I was made to tag along to ACOA meetings in my teens. Our church delivered bags of groceries to The Needy. We volunteered at Salvation Army Thanksgiving dinners.

      I probably learned the wrong lessons, myself.

      I ended up having a lot of “othering” reinforced.Report

    • Avatar Glyph says:

      If getting yelled at online was good enough to teach us about privilege, it should be good enough for our kids.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

      The term as it is currently used?

      Through the Internets. I don’t think it was in much use in 1998-2002. We were mainly debating whether Gore or Bush were the same and 9/11.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater says:

      How did all of us learn about privilege?

      Privilege: Lived experience or analytical meta-concept? Take the course and find out!Report

    • Avatar Kazzy says:

      I ask because, to me, the question is less, “Should schools teach this?” and more, “If schools choose to teach this, how should they do it most effectively?” with a little “What are the effects of schools teaching this poorly?” sprinkled in.

      I tend to think that privilege (as defined in its most simplest of terms for the purposes of this conversation as a system of unearned benefits conferred upon a subset of the population) demonstrably exists. Ergo, teaching of its existence is appropriate (though the devil lies in the details of what, exactly, qualifies as privilege). From there, the question is what else do we say about it? Do we decry it? Teach that it should be dismantled and how to dismantle it? Recognize it as God’s will and thus it is unquestionable? For independent schools, I’m comfortable letting them decide on their own. For public schools, I think we need a far more robust conversation on the topic in order to effectively discuss it in schools.Report

    • Avatar KatherineMW says:

      The term and theory? From liberals on the Internet.

      The realization that I had advantages other people lacked, and that lots of people had to deal with types of crap I hadn’t even thought about? Mix of talking to people, thinking, reading books and blogs and internet comments, watching documentaries, and personal experience.Report

    • Avatar Brandon Berg says:

      I went to China.Report

  14. Avatar notme says:

    I’m still not sure what “privilege” even is. As far as I can tell, it is a term used whenever liberals want white people to feel bad about something.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater says:

      A little Googlin will help you understand the concept.

      Try entering “types of privilege” into the search bar (hit enter!) and click on the Wiki link.

      Specific definitions of “White Privilege” can be found by Googlin “white privilege” and reading footnote 1.

      Should take you about 3 minutes or so to read all that stuff.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:

        Oops. “reading footnote 1 at the Wiki link”. Don’t forget to hit “enter” after entering in the search terms!Report

    • Avatar KatherineMW says:

      As best I can understand, it’s when people from identity groups other than one’s own (for example, women, racial and ethnic minorities, low-income people, people with diasbilities) have to put up with crap that you don’t. Often, stuff you’re not even aware of because it doesn’t happen to you.Report

    • Avatar DRS says:

      Well, Notme, try this. One of the ways that you show privilege is to say that you don’t know the meaning of something, then dismiss it by adding that it’s a false concept only used by (sneer, snicker) liberals to insult others. Then you expect everyone to accept your interpretation just because you’re you (which is kind of funny for someone calling themselves Notme but whatever…)

      One of the most common – and most irritating to others – kinds of privilege is that kind of assertion without making any effort to see someone else’s point of view.Report