The hills are alive with the sound of privilege-shaming. Whether it’s white, male, heterosexual, affluent, first-world, thin, attractive, animal, mineral, or plant privilege, chances are someone’s asked you to check it. If there’s anything about you that makes you better off than anyone else, you should be made to feel guilty.
Well I’m here to tell you that privilege shaming is a cancer upon society, and its proponents are the scum of the Earth. It’s useless, counterproductive, and overtly harmful. Here’s why:
Privilege can’t be helped. Ripping on people for being born better off than you is entirely useless because they can do nothing to change it. Was someone born wealthy and with greater access to education, health, and professional networking opportunities? That can’t be undone, and attempting to do so, to destroy a privileged person’s life to the point where all their natural advantages are undone, sounds pretty sinister to me. Additionally, some aspects of privilege can’t be changed. To persecute people based on their race, gender, national origin etc. sounds an awful lot like racism, sexism, and xenophobia. Aren’t those supposed to be bad things?
Privilege is a “victimless crime.” Sure, people benefit from privilege, but no one suffers by its hand, unless you consider envy as suffering. The health, wealth, happiness, and stability of an individual or group in no way harms others. Removing privilege makes no one better off while definitely making some people worse off. No one benefits. Just as no one suffers from privilege in the first place.
Privilege is a red herring. When privilege shamers work their dark art, what they’re really targeting isn’t privilege itself, but rather privilege disparity. Such a disparity is in part caused by natural circumstantial variations that can’t be avoided, and partially by oppression of underprivileged groups. That oppression is the real target, the real bogeyman in this story. Focusing on tearing down the privileged distracts from the true mission of making us all better off.
Privilege shouldn’t be shamed. It should be celebrated.