Everyone comes into this world with advantages and disadvantages.
In the last century, public morality focused on the disadvantaged. Government policy changed dramatically, aiming to help those lacking many obvious advantages. But that focus got fuzzier and fuzzier as the ranks of disadvantaged people remained, even grew larger. Progress was made on several fronts, sure, but not on all — especially not on the ones most targeted.
We even “lost ground.”
Maybe because of this, the political focus shifted to “privilege” — which often merely means “advantaged” and sometimes means a special license granted by custom or law, which is said to be “systemic.”
White males, we are told, have the most of it.
So they must be attacked.
But does “white [heterosexual male] privilege” really exist?
Sure, in some contexts. But so do other “privileges.” Here is a better question: Are there privileges so built in that people try to horn in on them?
When there really was white privilege, “passing for white” was a thing. Now, we see other directions of racial “passing.” Sen. Elizabeth Warren, 99 and 44/100ths pure white, for example. If white privilege were really systemic, would she have pretended to be a native American?
If white privilege were significantly at play in the academic world, the issue of Asian students qualifying for (and being accepted into) the country’s most prestigious universities wouldn’t even come up.
And if white people actually enforced their privilege, would the charges against Jussie Smollett for perpetrating a fake racial/ideological hate crime have been dropped?
If the results of focusing on advantage and privilege have been so dismal and dismaying, maybe it’s time for a refocus: on simple justice.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.