Focus on ‘Privilege’ May Divert Attention From Real VillainsTED talker and New York Times columnist Anand Giridharadas and Vox cast doubt on the 99 percent concept, suggesting that 1-percenter “privilege” haunts quite a few of us.
TED talker and New York Times columnist Anand Giridharadas and Vox cast doubt on the 99 percent concept, suggesting that 1-percenter “privilege” haunts quite a few of us.
Vox quoted Giridharadas:
‘Don’t console yourself that you are the 99 percent,’ he says. ‘If you live near a Whole Foods; if no one in your family serves in the military; if you are paid by the year, not the hour; if most people you know finished college; if no one you know uses meth; if you married once and remain married; if you’re not one of 65 million Americans with a criminal record — if any or all of these things describe you, then accept the possibility that actually, you may not know what’s going on, and you may be part of the problem.’
Connor Kilpatrick responded at Jacobin:
Before you go after the one percent, Giridharadas says, take a look at yourself. Kill the one-percenter within. Check your privilege.
But instead of explaining what it actually means to be among this tiny sliver in terms of concrete earnings, accumulated wealth, or class position, Vox and Giridharadas rely on strange descriptors that Vox considers “privileges.”
By forcing the middle class to divert their attention downward (and within) instead of at the real power players above, Vox and Giridharadas are playing into the Right’s hands. It’s an attempt to shame the middle class — those with some wealth but, relative to the top one or one-tenth of one percent, mere crumbs — to make them shut up about the rich and super rich and, instead, look at those below as a reminder that it could all be much worse.
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