A freshman at Princeton University says that since he’s been at the school that he’s been told to “check your privilege” by his “moral superiors” several times only because he’s a white male. After being fed up with the inherently racist remarks, Tal Fortgang wrote a column in the Princeton Tory challenging the ideology that he says judges him based only upon the color of his skin as a white male.
“There is a phrase that floats around college campuses, Princeton being no exception, that threatens to strike down opinions without regard for their merits, but rather solely on the basis of the person that voiced them. ‘Check your privilege,’ the saying goes, and I have been reprimanded by it several times this year. The phrase, handed down by my moral superiors, descends recklessly, like an Obama-sanctioned drone, and aims laser-like at my pinkish-peach complexion, my maleness, and the nerve I displayed in offering an opinion rooted in a personal Weltanschauung,” Fortgang wrote.
He continues, telling of how exactly the phrase is used against him and others on campus, “‘Check your privilege,’ they tell me in a command that teeters between an imposition to actually explore how I got where I am, and a reminder that I ought to feel personally apologetic because white males seem to pull most of the strings in the world.”
From there he lets everyone know where exactly his “privilege” comes from and how he doesn’t feel he needs to be ashamed of it.
“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.
Or maybe it’s the privilege my grandmother had of spending weeks upon weeks on a death march through Polish forests in subzero temperatures, one of just a handful to survive, only to be put in Bergen-Belsen concentration camp where she would have died but for the Allied forces who liberated her and helped her regain her health when her weight dwindled to barely 80 pounds.
Perhaps my privilege is that those two resilient individuals came to America with no money and no English, obtained citizenship, learned the language and met each other; that my grandfather started a humble wicker basket business with nothing but long hours, an idea, and an iron will—to paraphrase the man I never met: “I escaped Hitler. Some business troubles are going to ruin me?” Maybe my privilege is that they worked hard enough to raise four children, and to send them to Jewish day school and eventually City College.
Perhaps it was my privilege that my own father worked hard enough in City College to earn a spot at a top graduate school, got a good job, and for 25 years got up well before the crack of dawn, sacrificing precious time he wanted to spend with those he valued most—his wife and kids—to earn that living. I can say with certainty there was no legacy involved in any of his accomplishments. The wicker business just isn’t that influential. Now would you say that we’ve been really privileged? That our success has been gift-wrapped?”
He calls out the double standard in which many on the left use to judge anyone who doesn’t share their ideology, pointing out that heritage isn’t something to be ashamed of.
“But far more important for me than his attributes was the legacy he sought to pass along, which forms the basis of what detractors call my “privilege,” but which actually should be praised as one of altruism and self-sacrifice. Those who came before us suffered for the sake of giving us a better life. When we similarly sacrifice for our descendents by caring for the planet, it’s called “environmentalism,” and is applauded. But when we do it by passing along property and a set of values, it’s called “privilege.” (And when we do it by raising questions about our crippling national debt, we’re called Tea Party radicals.) Such sacrifice of any form shouldn’t be scorned, but admired.
My exploration did yield some results. 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.”
The student then explains that the real problem with the notion of assuming privilege is that the people doing so have no idea the struggles they have seen or what it took to get them to where they’re at in life.
“Behind every success, large or small, there is a story, and it isn’t always told by sex or skin color. My appearance certainly doesn’t tell the whole story, and to assume that it does and that I should apologize for it is insulting. While I haven’t done everything for myself up to this point in my life, someone sacrificed themselves so that I can lead a better life. But that is a legacy I am proud of.”
He concluded with a strong message for his peers and administrators, “I have checked my privilege. And I apologize for nothing.”
Fortgang’s column was met with both praise and criticism, however as TheBlaze notes, someone who commented on it had to throw the race card in his face instead of realizing that his family has endured a lot.
They said that as a “white male, you are most likely ignorant of the ingrained racism or sexism that lives in society today.”
Another just couldn’t resist bringing up slavery:
“You want to play oppression olympics? What about the millions of blacks enslaved in America for 300 years, who then had to deal with segregation and Jim Crow while new immigrants were allowed to assimilate into white culture within one or 2 generations,” they said.
Do you think he’s dead on or should he be more apologetic and ashamed of being white?
You can read the entire post here, via the CollegeFix, where there’s also plenty of hair-brained comments as well.