But in what does this “privilege” consist? Yes, whites have not been discriminated against the way African-Americans have. They have not been denied jobs or forced to drink from separate fountains because of the pigmentation of their epidermis. This is surely an advantage — but how big an advantage?
Charges of white privilege make it sound as if every Caucasian is automatically successful. The fact is most are not. Few are born with silver spoons in their mouths. The vast majority needs to work hard to achieve the objectives they desire.
Far more pervasive is “liberal privilege.” The very people who accuse others of not being sufficiently grateful for their status are guilty of taking their own advantages for granted. Liberals do not seem to recognize the special treatment they receive. They actually believe they are nicer and smarter than others as a result of having been allowed to get away with this conceit.
Liberals, because they are liberal, assume they are more compassionate than anyone who disagrees with them. From elementary school on, they are praised for their concerns about the welfare of others — even though this kindness is only manifested in verbal declarations.
Likewise, from the earliest grades, their teachers applaud their superior intelligence. Since they agree with the principles they are being taught and regurgitate them on cue, they are regarded as unusually perceptive. Critical thinking, although orally encouraged, is, in practice, punished.
And so liberals grow up in a bubble of self-deception. Their self-esteem is grounded in conforming to beliefs that do not accord with reality, but which nevertheless earn them gold stars and certificates of achievement.
Then they enter the real world. Yet for them, it is not altogether real. The books they read and the television shows they watch confirm their special status. Liberal newsreaders and authors assure them they are better than their conservative peers. Clearly, they are more generous and insightful than these relics.
If liberals decide to enter politics, the effusive praise is ladled on with a bucket. They quickly learn being liberal means they never have to say they are sorry. Whatever mistakes they make will be blamed on their opponents. That they have good intensions is sufficient to merit adulation, no matter what the outcomes.
Liberals can destroy the economy, but hey, no one could have done better. They can undermine the national security, but at least they were showing the appropriate humility. They can drive their country into bankruptcy, but this only confirms their compassion.
If one is a liberal, any nasty thing one might say about an opponent is passed over in silence. The cruelest invective is regarded as appropriate, given the sins of the target. Even vulgarity is excused because it emphasizes the understandable passion of the speaker.
If one is a liberal, lies are accepted as essential to promoting benevolent causes. The rabble does not appreciate the benefits heaped upon them; hence, it is OK to manipulate them into submission. Whatever the falsehood, the worst criticism will be that one “misspoke.” Or maybe one was quoted “out of context.”
Is this not privilege? Is it not a form of protection others do not obtain? Yet liberals consider it their due. They become huffy if their motives are questioned. Then they drive up truckloads of excuses they expect to be accepted without dissent. If this still doesn’t work, they attack their critics as playing politics (which, of course, they do not).
Nowadays, when publicly queried, liberals trot out focus group tested talking points. After this, they stonewall their questioner by changing the subject. But the full depth of their privilege is revealed when the pubic subsequently refuses to be outraged.
Melvyn L. Fein Ph.D. is professor of sociology at Kennesaw State University.