False Premise #1: You need to be a member of an Approved Victim Group™ in order to objectively evaluate a topic relating to an Approved Victim Group™.
Alright, here’s the problem:
If a personal and emotional tie to an issue makes you more likely to ascertain and identify the truth in it, then our court system needs to be drastically reworked. Most people would consider it a grave injustice if a man was on trial for murder and the prosecution stacked the jury box with the families of murder victims. Or if someone was charged with vehicle theft and his fate was to be decided by a jury of people who just had their car stolen last week.
We understand that, in many cases, emotional closeness to a subject is more likely to bias you than some degree of emotional detachment might. In the Justice System, we don’t lock people away (or at least we shouldn’t) based on feelings. We don’t (or at least we shouldn’t) find them guilty with our emotions. We find them guilty (or at least we should) with facts and evidence.
Similarly, if the topic at hand is whether abortion should be legal, or whether affirmative action should exist, or whether racist NBA owners should be treated like Hitler Incarnate, what we need to do is find the truth. And we find the truth largely with logic, with reason, with facts, with evidence — not solely with our feelings, however earnest and sincere. I’m not saying that emotions have no role, and I’m certainly not arguing for the reverse where women have no say in an abortion conversation, and black people have no say in an affirmative action conversation.
I think personal experience can give someone a valuable insight and add an important dimension to the debate, but personal experience is, by no means, a trump card. And it is, by no means, the most important factor in a discussion of this nature.
The victim’s family will be heard from in the trial, as they should be. The judge will take them into account during sentencing, and the jury might be swayed by their story. But only a maniac would think that the victim’s family should BE the judge and jury. That is a recipe for tyranny, and any hope of objectivity will be obliterated, by design.
When I took to Twitter to ponder why people think that white men can’t have opinions on ‘race issues’ and ‘women’s issues,’ I got this reply:
— Carol Banks Weber (@CBWJazzExaminer) May 2, 2014
What better way to perfectly encapsulate the Identity Politics mindset? You have to ‘know what it’s like’ in order to be an ‘authority’ on a subject. Therefore, a woman who’s had an abortion is a greater authority on the reasons why abortion should be legal than, say, a biologist or a doctor or a constitutional scholar.
Whoever can claim the closest emotional connection automatically gets to be right. It’s that simple.
It’s that stupid.
Can you imagine if the Identity Police existed back in Aristotle’s day? He was a privileged man, so I suppose his insights were invalid.
“Hey Aristotle, shut up with your Ethics, man. You don’t know what it’s like!”
False Premise #2: White men have never been, never could be, and never will be victims of discrimination and prejudice, and they’ve all been propped up by the phantom hand of ‘privilege.’
There’s really no need to dissect this nonsense, mainly because, as we’ve already established, it doesn’t matter. It’s not true, but even if it were true, that wouldn’t make a white man’s views any less worthy of consideration.
In any case, the premise is self defeating. It contradicts itself. You’re being prejudiced against white men by saying they can’t have an opinion about a subject, and then justifying the prejudice by claiming that they’ve never felt prejudice. The minute you play that card, you lose it — even though you never really had it.
OK, this is getting confusing.
The point is: all people have been discriminated against in some way or another, and we’ve all felt prejudice in some way or another. Only some of us, however, have studied an issue like abortion for well over a decade, read mounds of literature about it, formed our thoughts and ideas very carefully, written about it many times, and meditated on it seriously, only to be told that none of it counts because we don’t have a vagina.
That’s a form of prejudice I have felt, along with the form I feel whenever I mention in a post that I’m Catholic and then get bombarded with people bitterly mocking my faith, making jokes about pedophilia, and telling me I’m going to burn in hell. Considering that my faith is more important to me than anything on the planet, this is bigotry that strikes right at the core of my being.
Or the kind I feel whenever someone wishes cancer on me, or tells me to kill myself, or just generally goes to great lengths to viciously insult me, my family, my appearance, my religion, my education, and my beliefs. This happens on a daily basis, and I dare say that, in fact, I’ve had more cancer and suicide wishes thrown at me than the vast majority of everyone reading this — black, white, male, or female.
I’m not really complaining. This comes with the territory, and I know I could escape these attacks if I just learned to shut up and go with the flow. But that’s not ever going to happen, and so the attacks will never stop.
I get it. I’m prepared.
I only bring this up so that you’ll understand that bigotry and prejudice take many forms. It’s quite possible that I have not experienced the sort of prejudice you’ve experienced, and it’s just as possible that you have not experienced the sort that I’ve experienced. I guess that makes us ‘even,’ and so our ideological disagreements will, tragically, have to be settled with reason and logic, not emotionalism and self-victimization.
The notion of White Man Privilege™ has already been masterfully handled by this white dude at Princeton, so I don’t think I need to extrapolate much further. I’ll only augment his points by urging you to think twice before you inform a stranger about the supposed advantages he’s enjoyed.
For all you know, he could be like that boy pictured above, and maybe he grew up in a place like this:
And maybe he came from somewhere like Eastern Kentucky, or anywhere in the Appalachian region, where most of the people are very, very poor and very, very white.
Or maybe he’s Jewish and his ancestors suffered through the holocaust.
Or maybe he’s a survivor of abuse, and neglect, and hardships you can’t possibly fathom.
Or maybe he struggles with things — deeper things — mental and emotional and spiritual afflictions that would make you crumble into a little ball if you had to carry the weight for even one second.
Or maybe not.
Do you know? Do you know these things before you postulate about his ‘privilege’?
It makes it all the more disgusting that this ‘privilege’ idiocy frequently oozes out of college campuses, where, so often, college students living the high life on daddy’s dime go around preaching to people in the real world about how easy our white man lives must be. Some of these presumptuous loudmouths have never even paid a bill or worked a job, and there they stand, telling the rest of us about our privilege.
I should also mention that, obviously, white men are sometimes the ones saying that white men shouldn’t talk about ‘reproductive rights’ and ‘racial issues.’ I think these pitiful types devolve into such a sorry state through a potent mixture of self-hatred and white guilt — but mainly cowardice. They’re more than happy to display their empathy by refusing to form an opinion about the most pressing cultural issues of our time. And if they get a woman pregnant, they’re more than happy to ‘leave the decision up to her,’ which is a really nice way of saying that they’re more than happy to ‘put the entire burden of the situation on her shoulders, so that they can carry on living like immature little boys and still sleep well at night.’
The whole thing is just gross.
So, let’s stop it, OK?
But, then, it’s easy for me to say that. I’m a white man.