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Showing posts from June 27, 2021

The problem with "white privilege"

  On white privilege The conservative complaint about the term “white privilege” is that it induces guilt in white people. That, oddly enough, is consistent with my complaint, which is that it naturalizes a social fact. Here’s a story to illustrate the difference between subjective feeling and the system. A man, lets call him Marcel, lives in occupied Paris in 1943. Marcel considers himself unbigoted – he’s never felt any prejudice against the Jews. He’s even had Jewish friends! Marcel has a friend named Jacques. Jacques comes to him with a sweet deal: Jacques, due to “social circumstances”, has got his hands on a number of apartments at rock bottom prices. Does Marcel want to buy a couple? Now, Marcel reads the papers, and he is aware, in part of his mind, that Jews are being dispossessed of their homes and goods and even seem to be “vanishing”. But that part of his mind he is keeping in the background. In the foreground is a money-making opportunity, and he gladly joins with Jacques.