Why Does Privilege Make People So Angry? | Decoded | MTV News


– When it comes to social justice, there’s one word that can stop almost any conversation dead in its tracks. Privilege. (electronic instrumental music) If you’ve ever stumbled into
a conversation about racism, you’ve probably heard the
phrase “White privilege,” which has been ruffling feathers since the phrase became
commonplace in the 1960s. The concept of privilege
isn’t limited to race, but when it’s brought up, no
matter who you’re talking to, too often the response
isn’t very friendly. “Privilige? “How dare you?” So what exactly is privilege, and why does talking about it make so many people so angry? Privilege is defined as a special right or advantage available only to a particular person or group of people. In the context of social inequality, it means that some groups of people are treated better than others, based on their race, gender, class, sexuality, or physical ability. Now here’s the thing about privilege. Everyone has it. You’ve got privilege,
you’ve got privilege! We’ve all got privilege! So for example, as an able-bodied person, I’ve never struggled to find a bathroom that I can comfortably access, or gone out to lunch with friends to only realize that I can’t find a parking spot to get into the restaurant, or even fit through the door. When I turn on my favorite show, I can watch and enjoy with ease, because I don’t require captions
or descriptive narration, which too many shows don’t have. So why does talking about
privilege make some people angry? I think there are a number of reasons why privilege can be
difficult to talk about. Number one. When people hear the word “Privilege,” it feels like they’re being blamed. When we use privilege in
everyday conversations, we here phrases like “X is
a privilege, not a right,” so the vocabulary makes it seems like it’s something
that you don’t deserve. Combine that with the
fact that conversations about social inequality
tend to be very passionate, it’s easy to understand why someone might be upset when “Check
your privilege” comes up. No one wants to be the bad guy, and for some people, the concept of privilege
feels like they’re being blamed for something that’s
out of their control. And when you think about it that way, sure, that’s bound to make someone angry. Number two. Privilege makes people feel guilty. Talking about privilege is not meant to make you feel guilty. Guilt isn’t productive. Acknowledging it isn’t about shame, it’s about challenging the system that perpetuates inequality. The existence of privilege
isn’t my fault or your fault, but understanding and acknowledging it is an important first step in working to make in a world where
these obstacles don’t exist. However, ignoring the problem, or refusing to acknowledge
the problem exists, just allows it to continue and thrive. Number three. Anger is a defense mechanism. For some people, talking about privilege feels like they’re being attacked, or worst yet, that their
privilege is going be taken away. In reality, privilege
describes things that everyone should experience. For example, as a straight person, I don’t encounter people passing judgment when I’m affectionate
with my husband in public. That’s not a bad thing. It should be that way for everyone, no matter their sexual orientation. Number four. They just don’t understand privilege. The thing about privilege
is it’s kinda hard to see. It’s like when a horse
has those blinders on. They can see what’s in front of them, but there’s a whole bunch of stuff in the peripheral that they can’t see. As wonderful as it would be for everyone to be treated fairly and equal, no matter who they are, that’s just not the world we live in. Privilege doesn’t mean your rich, a bad person, have had
everything handed to you, or have never had challenges or struggles. It just means that there
are some challenges and struggles that you won’t experience because of who you are. So when you’ve lived your
whole life with something, it’s hard to understand what
it’s like for those without. Now it’s impossible for me to guarantee that every time privilege is
brought up, it’s justified, or that everyone talks about these issues in a responsible way that’s free of name-calling or personal attacks, and unfortunately, if you’ve ever had a particularly nasty encounter that included
the word “Privilege,” then you might be turned off forever. But if you want support
equality for everyone, which is why I hope
you’re watching this show, it’s important to remember that these conversations are
inherently tough, but necessary, and that discomfort or anger you may feel when about talking about or understanding or acknowledging your privilege, pales in comparison the
oppression that those on the other side of the
coin deal with everyday. So have you ever had difficulty talking to someone about privilege? Or maybe you have
trouble understanding it, or even acknowledging it? Tell us about it in the comments below, and we’ll see you next
week, right here on Decoded. In our last sketch, we revealed the secret training camp for social justice warriors. Here’s what you had to say. You’re right Nick. There’s nothing wrong with
poking fun at yourself, but there’s also nothing wrong with standing up for
the rights of everyone. Uh-oh, Lugamo, you are
on to our secret plan. (evil laughing) You know what Naruto? I also support freedom of speech. But saying that you’re offended, or sharing how you feel about something is not inhibiting your freedom of speech. Freedom of speech does not
mean freedom of consequences. (electronic instrumental music) (hip hop instrumental beat)

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