I Am Privileged!
As Facebook slowly transitions away from a site where people say meaningful things about their lives to a site where people post the results of various buzz feed quizzes that report on important personality traits like your alignment (I’m chaotic good), what Firefly Character you are (I’m Luke Skywalker), how long you would survive a zombie apocalypse (I died of a heart attack when I saw the report on television) or what kind of ladder you use to change a lightbulb (a badly balanced stack of used video cartridges).
The most popular quiz for the last few days has been a 100 question quiz on how privileged you are.
Before I go any further, I’m going to ignore the fact that everyone taking the quiz should have scored at least a 20% because of the fact they had the free time to take a 100 question quiz on the internet. Right there you are doing a lot better than most.
So I filled out the quiz and my score was 68 out of 100. It seems like I’m fairly privileged. I was surprised, though, because as a straight white male with some amount of financial success, I expected I would be swimming in privilege. About the only way I don’t have privilege is because I’m an atheist and I am not part of the wealthiest 1%.
I probably would be if I sold those video cartridges.
It seemed like the quiz was going out of the way to make me feel better about the fact that I won the genetic lottery. It was saying “oh yeah – you don’t have to worry about anybody passing laws that will deny you anything but hey, people sure don’t like atheists!”
I really appreciate that whoever wrote this quiz wanted to help me come to grips with the fact that I can walk down the street without a single person whistling at me or a cop just asking me what I’m doing walking down the street. I can hold hands with my wife and not a single person will look at me like a freak. And this quiz wants me to feel good about that fact.
Because I could be so much more privileged than I am now. I don’t have a chauffeur or a nanny. I have to drive my kids around myself. Hell, I’m not even privileged enough to pay someone else to fill out this quiz for me.
Quizzes like this are conversation starters, I guess. For instance, you have no idea how many interesting comments I got after I posted that I was the continent Australia (2). The point isn’t how privileged I am (or what continent I am) but rather how privileged I think I am (or what continent I’d prefer to be) in comparison to the results of the quiz.
Privilege is a tricky subject because those who don’t have it would like some and those who do have it either think they don’t because they are morons or want to keep it because having that kind of privilege is the sort of thing you want to hoard like Scrooge McDuck hoards pennies.
This meme will soon fade from my Facebook feed. It will be replaced by a quiz about how many 80’s movies I’ve seen (ALL OF THEM), what shade of blue I am (Aquamarine), and what World War II Political leader my mug shot most resembles (Churchill).
That’s appropriate. Because the true measure of privilege is how quickly you can forget you have it so you can just spend your time enjoying it.