I hear a lot of privilege talk. It emanates from respectable figures and influential sources. It seems intended to overwhelm the senses to the point where we begin to forget what the word meant in the first place. Discussions of discrimination, bias, and prejudice have had similar results.
What is privilege? To adapt a phrase from a late sociologist, it is the inherited wisdom and security of the past. An urge exists in all of us to extend ourselves into the future, and one expression of that urge is procreation and raising our children to be strong, wise, and fit. Obviously we try to give our children the best possible chance to succeed and thrive. That way, the immediate future, at least, will know a small part of us, and we’ll have played our role.
Succeeding at this is necessarily defined by cultivating privilege and advantage. Privilege, in various forms, is exactly what the successful pass on to their offspring. One may squander privilege, abuse it, or take it for granted–privilege can be misused, certainly. But the unreflective propagandistic war on privilege itself–white privilege in particular–is an expression of hatred that is plain to those with the senses to perceive it.