I ask you
As a white heterosexual Christian male, of at least seven-eighths British ancestry, I demand to know what my privileges are. Can I jump queues when I am wearing my “White Privilege” pin? (Get yours here.) Do I qualify for other special treatment? Platinum credit facilities, for instance? More air miles? Clearly marked safe zones for my sex and kind? Will I be automatically short-listed for any job or prize? Granted priority for my partialities and opinions? Extra parmesan on my spaghetti bolognese? A bit of deference if I happen to be drunk and somewhat feisty?
The best I’ve received was an offer of a senior’s discount at a Sally Anne thrift shop the other day. Ten percent off a three-dollar book. (Then I blew it by admitting I was under-aged.) I asked the lady what my White Privilege discount would be instead. Being from Hungary, she was ready with a precise answer.
“Height in inches divided by weight in pounds,” she said, adding after a cheerful pause, “times nine-point-seven over the square root of pi.”
(She is my favourite Hungarian immigrant, since the last one died.)
More than twenty-five years ago, in my Idler magazine, we published an internal government document, which proposed a careful grading of people by shades of race and ethnicity for the purpose of making “reverse discrimination” more algorithmic. The funny thing was, it wasn’t a joke. There were seven levels, each carefully described. Those at the top could be treated like dirt, those at the bottom got anything they wanted, so far as we could see. (Can gentle reader guess who was at each end?)
I recall this only because I’m trying to think back to the origin of that ghastly, sick, viciously evil, rainbow pageant called “identity politics.” More cumbersome research (I checked Wiki) takes us to the early ’seventies. Those inventive Subcontinentals may have started it with reserve places in the Indian bureaucracy for Dalits (the “untouchable” caste). For that I think they should have been raised two places in the chart.
Alas, it would seem, my White Privilege only entitles me to certain adjectival honorifics, as, “Racist,” “Sexist,” “Islamophobe,” &c. Plus vaguer expressions, such as “Fascist,” for which one need not even be Italian. As one drops down the list, fewer and fewer of these terms are applied. At the bottom one is merely, “Sir.”
A correspondent has now called me a “White Supremacist.” I didn’t ask why, for as I’ve learnt, only people with Privilege (in this case, some intelligence) can formulate explanations. Instead I replied, “I’m whatever you say, my little ball of sunshine.”
But do they have a pin for that, I wonder? And what do I get if I wear it?