Thursday, May 15, 2014

My "Privilege" Got Checked!

"Do you really believe that you didn't benefit from the privilege of being a white male?"

This question came at me near the end of an engaging dinner conversation with a Facebook friend at a Panera this week. I inadvertently prompted the question by showing her a Townhall Column by Kurt Schlichter to illustrate what a no-holds-barred conservative op-ed of the kind that I read daily looks like.

Schlichter's column "I Checked My Privilege, and It's Doing Just Fine" is a hard-edged, less apologetic, take on a topic that Princeton student Tal Fortang addressed in his masterful article "Checking My Privilege: Character as the Basis of Privilege". That topic is the current trend of progressives on campuses to intimidate white males into shutting up in discussions, because - you know - their privileged births disqualifies them from being valid. Is this really a college trend? American Thinker reports on an orientation course at Harvard on "Check Your Privilege". Trendy.

Take a few minutes and read all three articles in this order, and you will learn something. Read Fortang's ground-breaking piece first. Read Schlichter's fearless op-ed second. Tie it up with American Thinker.

Back to her question. Frankly, it's laughable to me that I had a privilege-greased slide through life so far, not even counting the white male part.

My parents were not even remotely wealthy, four kids on a teacher's pay. Dad worked three jobs at once, always and for years to make it happen. Mom worked 3rd shift data entry at the hospital. They stayed married to each other for 50 years. They raised 4 responsible boys. Sure, privilege.

They helped me get to college. Before that, though, I was engaged in my own future. I held two jobs in high school. I worked during college working every other semester at an aerospace company in a co-op program. I enlisted in the military. I turned my military experience and a hard-earned degree into a manager's job at a manufacturer. I turned results in that role into my next job and so on.

"So, your parents gave you your privilege. Imagine not having those parents. Imagine being born black in a crack house, and tell me you would have had those opportunities."

Yes, my parents gave me opportunity. But, that has nothing to do with being a white male. It's not wealth privilege, or race privilege, or the patriarchy or whatever.

My parents gave me a "functional" privilege. I grow up in a functional household where my parents worked extremely hard and made good lifestyle choices. They stayed in school. They were married for 50 years. They were churchgoing moral people. Not rich. Functional.

I learned from that, and have tried to live a responsible functional life. I stayed in school. I stayed off of drugs, when I could have chosen to use them in the 70's. I worked jobs from early on, and have been employed every day since 1979. I put in 50 hours of work a week at my job, often on the road away from my family. I served my country for 11 years. I made mistakes in the journey, and worked hard to recover from the mistakes. I've been married

It's laughable to me that that either my parent's life or my life would be described as privileged. For some reason, liberals are prone to denigrating hard work, responsible living, and accomplishment. I'm not buying it.

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