Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Short Takes on the Princeton Won't-Apologize-for-White-Male-Privilege Tempest in a Teapot

Brief takes on the current tempest in a teapot in right-wing media circles: the essay of Princeton freshman Tal Fortgant defiantly claiming that white men must refuse to apologize for their privileged position in most societies around the world (Time has helpfully reprinted it, assuring that it will grab national attention): 

Conservative money front is behind Princeton's "white privilege" guy.

"Everybody hates a tourist": On learning to be stupid at Princeton.

What really draws conservatives to Fortgang is an idea about what young people like him represent — that they don’t need to reassess their ideological assumptions on everything from gay marriage and immigration to inequality and systemic racism; that their attitudes actually aren’t out of touch with the times; that there’s still a future for their paleolithic worldview, because there are young people to carry that torch.

There are clear and present advantages to being born and continuing to be recognized as a (cisgender heterosexual) white man in America. 

TPM Reader CS thinks I'm too pessimistic about how long the current political impasse will last.  

To which CS responds:

To put it bluntly, as the aging, angry, white Christian conservatives voters continue to die off and be replaced by younger, more secular progressives, I would think that the tilt towards "blue" would continue on into the indefinite future. 

I've included the TPM link because this is what the discussion of straight white male privilege is really all about, isn't it — the continuing outsized presence of straight white males at the control panel of almost every institution wielding power in American culture, including corporations, academies, government sectors, churches, etc.? I'm inclined to share Josh Marshall's pessimism about how simply the breakdown in the American political process, which that group of people has specifically engineered despite the will of the majority, can possibly be resolved.

I wonder how it can be resolved, as long as power remains disproportionately in the hands of straight white men, who can assure their control of everything — as a minority — long after their demographic sway holds. Because power and money disproportionately lie in their hands. And because they have institutions like the Supreme Court at their beck and call to shore up their minority control of everything. 

Since power and money reside disproportionately on their side.

The photograph of Tal Fortgang talking to Fox News's Greta van Susteren is from a video of the segment uploaded to YouTube by Miles Read (opens to video).

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