In a sane society, Tal Fortgang’s impassioned essay denouncing the morally masturbatory “check your privilege” trope so casually tossed around by the left wouldn’t make national news. But alas, as the existence of our blog can attest, we do not live in a sane society. Fortgang has invited rage from the usual suspects on the left while winning accolades from mainstream conservatives. Many on the right seem to be overjoyed that some young white kid finally had the courage to defy the prevailing norms of political correctness and strike back at the liberal ivory tower.
However, before white conservatives continue to deify this young Princeton student, they should perhaps take the time to actually read what he wrote. Fortgang doesn’t necessarily believe that white Americans are devoid of “privilege,” but rather insists that he should be exempted from the kinds of critiques to which white gentiles are often subjected. Oh, did I mention that Fortgang is Jewish? He specifically mentions his Jewish background and family history as proof that “check your privilege” is a load of crap:
“Perhaps it’s the privilege my grandfather and his brother had to flee their home as teenagers when the Nazis invaded Poland, leaving their mother and five younger siblings behind, running and running until they reached a Displaced Persons camp in Siberia, where they would do years of hard labor in the bitter cold until World War II ended. Maybe it was the privilege my grandfather had of taking on the local Rabbi’s work in that DP camp, telling him that the spiritual leader shouldn’t do hard work, but should save his energy to pass Jewish tradition along to those who might survive. Perhaps it was the privilege my great-grandmother and those five great-aunts and uncles I never knew had of being shot into an open grave outside their hometown. Maybe that’s my privilege…I recognize that it was my parents’ privilege and now my own that there is such a thing as an American dream which is attainable even for a penniless Jewish immigrant.” (emphasis mine)
So in other words, you shouldn’t call him “privileged” because he’s Jewish and has relatives who endured the Holocaust. He’s not like those other white people. Those presumably spoiled, coddled, and nepotistic WASP’s. He’s hardly defending white Americans as a whole from the “privilege” albatross, he merely thinks that his yarmulke exempts him from the anti-white slings and arrows of social justice warriors.
Fortgang’s faux paus also demonstrates how one can criticize Jews as white people, but never as Jews. The leftist critiques of his essay are quite telling. While most acknowledged the suffering of his Jewish ancestors and how Jews have historically struggled, that still doesn’t let him off the hook for his white male privilege. Other leftists just outright called him a typical white dude whose views represent most of white America’s. I hope everyone has learned a valuable lesson; when Jews do something positive like fight for civil rights or invent something brilliant, they’re Jews. However, when they offend social justice sensibilities, they become just plain “whites,” no different from Trent the truck driver in a flyover state. This is very similar to how white looking Latinos and Middle Easterners are regarded.
The fact that Fortgang has come under so much fire provides yet more evidence for the point I made in a previous post; Far from fighting the power, these social justice warriors screeching “check your privilege!!!” are the power. For such a supposedly privileged and hegemonic group, white Americans from Stephen Colbert to Donald Sterling seem to be under a lot of fire for their insensitive transgressions (real or perceived) these days. The fact that some dimwitted, petulant Asian girl could start a campaign against Stephen Colbert and enjoy a national platform because of his perceived white racism tells me all I need to know about the supposed “privilege” of white Americans. Or take the owner of the L.A. Clippers Donald Sterling, (whose real surname is Tokowitz, and whose Jewishness has also been downplayed in favor of his whiteness) who was banned from the NBA following revelations of racist remarks made to his girlfriend. Yet further evidence of whites’ pervasive privilege is having a court of law uphold a school’s decision to forbid white kids from wearing shirts with the American flag on Cinco de Mayo (which isn’t even widely celebrated in Mexico itself).
What’s even more amazing is that so many of the people castigating the trespasses of insensitive white Americans are white themselves. We have long documented the prevalence of wimpy whites, so I can’t say I’m too surprised to see them at the forefront of lambasting Tal Fortgang. Especially when you consider how wimpy and self-flagellating white men can really be:
I still question whether or not this video is a parody. Considering that this is the same guy who made the “Millennials: We Suck and We’re Sorry” video that was actually an attack against the loathsome Baby Boomers, that possibility certainly exists. Deep down, I want to believe that whites aren’t that prone to masochism. Regardless, when watching that video, I had a hard time envisioning an oppressive, dominant majority that holds non-whites down. Far from being a domineering group scheming to retain as much privilege as possible, white American men are by far the most wimpy and suicidal dominant group on the planet. Maybe I’m simply ignorant of international events, but I have a hard time imagining a group of Israeli Jews, Han Chinese, or Indian Hindus making a video along these lines.
In my own personal life, I have hardly ever had someone directly tell me to “check my privilege.” This is despite hanging out with primarily non-white people in the liberal Bay Area. The only person that I’ve heard discuss “white privilege” learned about it in a sociology class. Yet again, this is further proof that everyday people don’t really know too much about leftist notions of “privilege,” and that cultural leftists causes are houses of sand that require the constant support of academia and the media. With the miserably sluggish economy and the complete worthlessness of humanities degrees, perhaps the mass defection of students from liberal arts to more lucrative majors will bring about the collapse of the Diversity Industrial Complex.
But in the meantime, there are better ways to defend white people than invoking an ethnic Jewish sob story.
Update: Apparently, the “White Guys: We Suck and We’re Sorry” video has been made private, as it can no longer be accessed publicly via youtube. I guess the insults and harsh critiques the maker endured as a result of that video were just too “triggering” for him to handle.