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Understanding Privilege and Critical Race Theory


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Several years ago, I was travelling in Asia. In a cafe (Cambodia?  Phnom Penh?), I saw older women talking lively at a nearby table. Curious, as I paid my bill, I managed the courage to ask them - in English and in sign language, pointing at my passport - who they were, where they were from. In accented English, one  of the older women answered that they were Korean. The other older women watched as she answered.

First point: Koreans are the Maritimers/Newfoundlanders of Asia.

Second point: Singapore is Toronto and Hongkong is Montreal (or they used to be).

Main point of the OP: The older Korean woman, the sole sort-of English-speaking woman, was privileged.  As she explained in broken English, they were friends on vacation abroad. Her unilingual friends watched as she explained their story.

I wondered how difficult/frightening it would be to travel without knowledge of English. Heck, I know this only too well.

======

In this world, "privilege" is having the ability to speak English.

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On 7/30/2021 at 2:36 AM, August1991 said:

Several years ago, I was travelling in Asia. In a cafe (Cambodia?  Phnom Penh?), I saw older women talking lively at a nearby table. Curious, as I paid my bill, I managed the courage to ask them - in English and in sign language, pointing at my passport - who they were, where they were from. In accented English, one  of the older women answered that they were Korean. The other older women watched as she answered.

First point: Koreans are the Maritimers/Newfoundlanders of Asia.

Second point: Singapore is Toronto and Hongkong is Montreal (or they used to be).

Main point of the OP: The older Korean woman, the sole sort-of English-speaking woman, was privileged.  As she explained in broken English, they were friends on vacation abroad. Her unilingual friends watched as she explained their story.

I wondered how difficult/frightening it would be to travel without knowledge of English. Heck, I know this only too well.

======

In this world, "privilege" is having the ability to speak English.

People aren't complaining about the above.

But they are complaining about things like brain training anti-whiteness and bigotry of low expectations into school children. Why is that, do you think?

Edited by Charles Anthony
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19 hours ago, August1991 said:

In this world, "privilege" is having the ability to speak English.

Maybe that was true for the past 150 years or so, but not so much anymore. 

In tomorrows Canada you better brush up on your mandarin.

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12 hours ago, OftenWrong said:

Maybe that was true for the past 150 years or so, but not so much anymore. 

In tomorrows Canada you better brush up on your mandarin.

It is still true today - and my example of unilingual Korean women abroad is evidence.

Your example of Mandarin is well-placed. Many years ago, I found myself in the Canton train station trying to buy a ticket to Beijing. (On paper, I had written "Beijing" in Chinese characters and I walked from counter to counter looking for similar characters above the ticket counters.)

Of course, many people stared at me. And eventually, I met someone who spoke English well enough to write a short note in, uh, Mandarin to explain who I was. 

=====

OftenWrong, I think that you don't quite understand how this world can intimidate someone who doesn't speak English.

People have travelled abroad with me simply because they knew that I could manage in English.

Years ago, a Frenchman once said to me: "If you speak English, it is like having $20,000 in your pocket."

Some people are "born" with the ability to speak English; this is what I mean by privilege, and why I have some agreement of "Critical Race Theory".

=====

Last Point: Why are the native anglophones so privileged? Why does the ability to speak English confer such privilege? What is it about the English language?

Often suggested explanations: easier grammar, culture (The Beatles/Shakespeare), Churchill/WWII, the US, common law (vs civil code), less diverse accents, accident of history

Whatever the explanation, native speakers of English have a privilege in this world.

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1 hour ago, August1991 said:

Whatever the explanation

Conflict of the superpowers, british colonialism was supreme. Plus industrial revolution, winning the americas which spawned the next english speaking great power, USA.

or something

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1 hour ago, OftenWrong said:

Conflict of the superpowers, british colonialism was supreme. Plus industrial revolution, winning the americas which spawned the next english speaking great power, USA.

or something

Something?

Many guys were willing to die abroad to defeat dictators.

How many Russians died abroad to defeat Napoleon or Hitler? 

How many Chinese?

====

We, in the West, nowadays live in a 21st century world.

Edited by August1991
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8 hours ago, August1991 said:

Many guys were willing to die abroad to defeat dictators.

Yeah but that is modern history. In colonial times which established english as the most common language, the english speaking whites were the oppressors.

That is the question you asked. 

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On 8/1/2021 at 7:49 AM, OftenWrong said:

Yeah but that is modern history. In colonial times which established english as the most common language, the english speaking whites were the oppressors.

That is the question you asked. 

No, "whites" is not in my OP. (I think.)

=====

My OP merely references language.

After age 13 or so, it is possible that someone can change an accent - but it is impossible to change a skin colour.

 

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English is the language with the largest global footprint

more people speak or understand it than any other language as a result

so naturally you are more likely to encounter people who speak or understand it when traveling than any other language as well

Edited by Yzermandius19
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Posted (edited)
On 8/6/2021 at 7:26 AM, Yzermandius19 said:

English is the language with the largest global footprint

more people speak or understand it than any other language as a result

so naturally you are more likely to encounter people who speak or understand it when traveling than any other language as well

Yzermandius,

The question is why English is so predominant. Why does it have this "global footprint"?

Why are native English-speakers so privileged? Or to use Critical Race Theory, why do so many people in the world want to learn English as a second language?

======

Returning to my OP, I still wonder why Americans debate "privilege" and "critical race theory" when Americans are among the richest, most privileged people on Earth.  

 

Edited by August1991
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1 hour ago, August1991 said:

Yzermandius,

The question is why English is so predominant. Why does it have this "global footprint"?

Why are native English-speakers so privileged? Or to use Critical Race Theory, why do so many people in the world want to learn English as a second language?

======

Returning to my OP, I still wonder why Americans debate "privilege" and "critical race theory" when Americans are among the richest, most privileged people on Earth.  

 

English is so predominant because the English were so predominant

the sun never set on the British empire, and they spoke English

it is not rocket surgery

people learn the language because it is beneficial to understand people who know English, especially in predominantly English speaking nations

only those with few problems have time to discuss privilege as if it is some important issue, privilege begets talking about privilege

Edited by Yzermandius19
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  • 1 month later...
On 7/29/2021 at 11:36 PM, August1991 said:

In this world, "privilege" is having the ability to speak English.

Thanks for the story, well told.  I don't think "speaking English"="privilege" but I do think speaking English is a form of privilege. I think I can best explain by making two short lists of some of the things I had as a child that most of the kids in my class didn't:

My dad made a lot of money, so my stepmom could afford to stay home.  I was read to every night, and owned dozens of books before I could read any of them.  Seeing my Dad play sports made me want to play sports, so I did, and became very athletic, and of the 30ish kids in my class, only 1 of them is now in better health than I.  By the time I was 8, I owned at least a hundred hardcover non-fiction books (this was before the internet).  If I asked a question, my parents did their honest best to answer it, even if it was the thousandth question of the day.  If they couldn't, they bought me a book that could.  For instance, when I asked where babies came from I was given a popup book that clearly showed the process of sex, how it works, what the sex organs looked like, how they worked, how eggs become fetuses become babies, and how they are born.  My parents also owned bookshelves, and I read from them as I pleased, encountering ideas well beyond my years without supervision, oversight or censorship.  By the time I was 8, I had already read hundreds of books, most of them non-fiction.  I could go on, but you get the idea - I represent an enormous amount of accumulated advantage, and it was given to me for free by my parents, because I'm their son and they love me. 

This is not to say that "being privileged" is the same as "being given everything for free."  I spent my formative years as an acceptable target of public violence.  When I fought back I was punished, because you're not supposed to hit people, you're supposed to tell the teacher.  When I told the teachers, they looked me in the eye and told me I deserved it.  When I didn't fight back the other kid wasn't punished, because I shouldn't have said or did whatever got them mad, which emboldened more of them to attack me.  I got more and more angry and started winning all my fights, because we were all the same size but I was way more angry, so instead of fighting one person every day I got to fight six people at once every day.  I stood and fought enough times to learn that being right, being angry, being fast, being smart, didn't matter.  What mattered was being outnumbered, being helpless, being alone.  By the time I was 8, I had already been spat on hundreds of times.  As with the bit on privilege, this is only early childhood stuff, I could go on but why bother?  I don't want sympathy, I want to paint two contrasting pictures of myself and say, "both of these pictures accurately describe my early childhood," so that I can go on to make a larger point about what it means to be "privileged."

When Fox News Liberals talk about "privilege" they make it out to mean "everything has been handed to me on a silver plate and I've never had to work for anything or suffer and I don't deserve anything I've accomplished so I'm a bad person who should feel bad and probably give away a bunch of my stuff too."  When reasonable adults talk about privilege, we're saying "I represent a higher than average amount of accumulated advantage, and the process by which society decides who gets advantage and who doesn't is unjust, and it would be great it we could make that process fairer."

Hope this is helpful.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 10/5/2021 at 11:09 PM, GrittyLeftist said:

.....

When Fox News Liberals talk about "privilege" they make it out to mean "everything has been handed to me on a silver plate and I've never had to work for anything....

GrittyLeftist,

Compared to anyone born around 1490, when people knew nothing of calculus, I was born into a world - some 500 years later - when calculus made jet travel possible.

In this sense, I am "privileged" - indeed, anyone born now in this world in the 2000s is rich/privileged because of the inherited knowledge of the past.

=====

The future can be a very rich place. Unless we screw it up by arguments in the present of who has what.

So, what makes the future rich? Discovers calculus? 

 

Edited by August1991
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On 8/3/2021 at 11:15 PM, August1991 said:

No, "whites" is not in my OP. (I think.)

=====

My OP merely references language.

After age 13 or so, it is possible that someone can change an accent - but it is impossible to change a skin colour.

 

This is in response to all you said so far to this post. 

To me, it is arbitrary to which language will dominate with one exception: that it has sufficient fecundity and evolves to be inclusively neutral as opposed to cultural segregating languages. I am using the term "fecundity" from this same topic as discussed in linguistics. It just means that it has the ability to evolve with changes. Most languages are intentionally biased to some particular culture, including their religions and beliefs about one's genetic superiority/inferiority. English, while it has its own roots in the British colonizing as interpreted negatively, nevertheless has this property because of this. And many people from different countries who teach this is in line with this thinking.

Quebec's French is intentionally anti-universal (more than  and in contrast to its original country's source) as it successfully isolates kids who grow up in ONLY that language and possibly why there is a secular uprising against permitting ideals of such arrogance by the religiousity of puritanical language beliefs. 

Our bilingualism also biases against those who speak ONLY one of these languages with respect to federal power in government because it FAVORS precisely those like yourself who represent above average income (to be able to travel the world, for instance).  When using "privilege" as a self-descriptive term, you cannot speak for others based on non-economic classifications. 

But I do not get the title's relationship here. Can you please explain? 

Edited by Scott Mayers
The sentence regarding 'privilege' added.
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On 10/5/2021 at 9:09 PM, GrittyLeftist said:

This is not to say that "being privileged" is the same as "being given everything for free."  I spent my formative years as an acceptable target of public violence.  When I fought back I was punished, because you're not supposed to hit people, you're supposed to tell the teacher.  When I told the teachers, they looked me in the eye and told me I deserved it.  When I didn't fight back the other kid wasn't punished, because I shouldn't have said or did whatever got them mad, which emboldened more of them to attack me.  I got more and more angry and started winning all my fights, because we were all the same size but I was way more angry, so instead of fighting one person every day I got to fight six people at once every day.  I stood and fought enough times to learn that being right, being angry, being fast, being smart, didn't matter.  What mattered was being outnumbered, being helpless, being alone.  By the time I was 8, I had already been spat on hundreds of times.  As with the bit on privilege, this is only early childhood stuff, I could go on but why bother?  I don't want sympathy, I want to paint two contrasting pictures of myself and say, "both of these pictures accurately describe my early childhood," so that I can go on to make a larger point about what it means to be "privileged."

When Fox News Liberals talk about "privilege" they make it out to mean "everything has been handed to me on a silver plate and I've never had to work for anything or suffer and I don't deserve anything I've accomplished so I'm a bad person who should feel bad and probably give away a bunch of my stuff too."  When reasonable adults talk about privilege, we're saying "I represent a higher than average amount of accumulated advantage, and the process by which society decides who gets advantage and who doesn't is unjust, and it would be great it we could make that process fairer."

The problem is that when governments use "privilege" as a means to make laws regarding reparations or 'reconciliation', it intentionally targets ALL people of something only 'culturally' biased people think like in terms of statistical interpretations. For instance, those arguing 'our' privilege have the relative power to make ammending laws that attempt to fix this issue by targetting some genetic relation of themselves as EQUIVALENT owners of the problem.

So, for instance, if you are white and well off (or English speaking as per the OP), you might interpret the fact that the largest plurality of people OF some race is statistically larger than yours who are classified as poor. One can point also to some statistic that might demonstrate that an unusual large proportion of such a race is also not wealthy. Such interpretation then would jump to the conclusion that the race of mention is poor due to racism

This intepretation though becomes a useful reason for those who are 'white' and who dicatate that 'privilege' is synomous with being White. It suffices to make laws (by THEM and their peers in the same economic powers) that target quotas to lift up the statistical representation of those suffering of the particular race being disriminated against . Then a law might be set up to favor some quota of them BUT intentionally transfers the debt that you agree is due to 'white privilege' onto ONLY the specific 'sacrifice' of the whites who are in the same ecomomic impoverishment as the discriminated race.

The 'sacrifice' is actually a scapegoat tactic, not a 'sacrifice' because the wealthy privileged whites making the laws are using the apparent compassion favoring the discriminated race to simultaneously CONSERVE their own LIABILITY to whatever 'privilge' their own direct relatives caused by arrogantly permitting laws that discriminate against the poor whites

I too know this from my own background. I've been discriminated by other non-whites who are also poor because they buy into this 'white privilege' and assume that I must have some rich relative to help me somewhere. It makes it easier for a someone of a minority race to justify their own reason for stealing money from my pocket. The lawmakers asserting whites as a class of privilege are the ones controlling how the minority race looks at the problem too: by defining in terms of 'culture' it begs of them that I too have some 'culture' of being White and so earn the right to be stolen from, even if I'm already down.

I then receive the discrimination by the 'privileged' whites who simply interpret my own flaws as specifically and uniquely my own because THEY are of the view that I MUST have had the same minimal advantages they had and are too blind to notice these as accountable for their OWN 'privilege' only. For example, we are not all 'loved' by our parents (as is assumed some default by those who do); we do not receive 'allowances'; many of us are expected to pay rent even as a teen when we try to get work while living at home; we do not all get a car given to us by some parent before the age of twenty. [I think an argument can made about who succeeds based only on whether they had a car before they were 20. And it cannot be rational to assume they 'earned' it by hard labour.]. 

I have not heard of "critical race theory" before the recent politics and so cannot comment yet on whether this theory is at issue here. But if it has something to declare about specifying laws that segregate people based upon race when the particular issues are non-racially relevant, like why people are rich or poor, then I will likely be against it. 

Does anyone have recommended sources for "critical race theory" they like? I will Google it up but it might be interesting to know too which sources people favor. Thank you.

 

Edited by Scott Mayers
fixed some (hopefully all) poorly written sentences.
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9 hours ago, August1991 said:

1. The future can be a very rich place. Unless we screw it up by arguments in the present of who has what.

2. So, what makes the future rich? Discovers calculus? 

 

1. I agree, uUnless that "what" is things like health or security.    There would still be poor people under a universal income benefit, but they wouldn't lack food, health or security.

2. We REdiscover the value of knowledge, and we understand that democracy doesn't apply to intelligence: some know more than we do.  When we lost religion, we lost something called 'Deference'.

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On 10/14/2021 at 10:46 PM, Scott Mayers said:

This is in response to all you said so far to this post. 

To me, it is arbitrary to which language will dominate with one exception: that it has sufficient fecundity and evolves to be inclusively neutral as opposed to cultural segregating languages.

.....

blah, blah..

There's a reason Hitler lost and people still speak Bulgarian today.

Individuals chose.

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On 10/15/2021 at 7:01 AM, Michael Hardner said:

1. I agree, uUnless that "what" is things like health or security.    There would still be poor people under a universal income benefit, but they wouldn't lack food, health or security.
...

Michael,

The Great War (1914-45) was a catastrophe for people in Austria-Hungary, East Prussia. It destroyed many civilised, truly multi-lingual cities - places like Montreal where unilingual people lived side by side.

Nowadays, Montreal is a remnant of a European past.

 

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Reading this thread is like arguing with myself. So, I may be inconsistent.

As John Maynard Keynes once famously said in response to a journalist who pointed out when he contradicted himself: "When I realise that I'm wrong, I change my opinion. What do you do?"

=====

My OP: Each of us is born with the genetics of our mother/father, and the chance of our birth.

Some of us are born so we can speak English easily, without accent. IMHO, this is privilege.

That's it, that's all.

=====

Why the English language is dominant is another question.

Edited by August1991
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3 hours ago, August1991 said:

1. The Great War (1914-45) was a catastrophe for people in Austria-Hungary, East Prussia. It destroyed many civilised, truly multi-lingual cities - places like Montreal where unilingual people lived side by side.

2. Nowadays, Montreal is a remnant of a European past.

 

1. Do you have Netflix?  I highly recommend Babylon Berlin.  There are/were people who did better after the war.  You sometimes create something through destruction.

2. We're also remnants of the American dream: democracy and a melting pot.  Although nobody would say either thing.

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4 hours ago, August1991 said:
On 10/14/2021 at 8:46 PM, Scott Mayers said:

This is in response to all you said so far to this post. 

To me, it is arbitrary to which language will dominate with one exception: that it has sufficient fecundity and evolves to be inclusively neutral as opposed to cultural segregating languages.

.....

blah, blah..

There's a reason Hitler lost and people still speak Bulgarian today.

Individuals chose.

I missed what you are saying here. I see the 'blah blah' you added to my own quote which implies disapproval. I disapprove of Canada's bilingualism because it implies a special religious bias with clarity. If our system was not lying about its 'mulitculturalism', it shouldn't require protection laws specified for Quebec and English (with its reference to the Queen's superiority, for instance). Our system is an accidental reflection of the traitorous humans who believe that some people are more superior over others when the rest of the colonies demanded independence (the formation of the U.S.). 

The only way to fix this is to have ONE official language (because we cannot possibly have a system of ALL languages). Having 'official' languages are about the laws, not the people apart from government that we all share. Having even two 'official' languages assures segregation of people and acts to bias the children of those who are forced by arrogant religious parents wanting to 'cultivate' their children by using tactics of innoculation (assuring an 'us' as DISTINCT from 'them' by maligning the outsiders). The reason is because one is permitted to pick ONLY one of the two. But if the language of the same laws are interpreted distinctly due to language's tendency to force bias by cultural standards, then the benefit of power ONLY gets granted to those who have a signficant background of ALL 'official' languages of that state.

And because those who have multilingual backgrounds are uniquely 'privilged' beyond the average person, they have an unfair advantage indirectly linked to their above normal economic class.  I agree that if you go to another country specifically on a normal occasion, you should try to learn the language and its culture. But to expect us to require the REDUNDANCY of learning multiple languages for the sake of the etiquette of those who disapprove of outsiders actually speaks to why any Constitutional language of a country should be in one. 

Then, unofficially, these CAN be copied in as many languages as one desires. Because most languages lack that fecundity (the ability to express new ideas), we have to also favor the particular official languages that are permitted to grow without 'cultural' conservation. 

Our system is thus discriminatory against all but those  listed cults who prefer segregating themselves apart from others related to those constituted 'cultures' (the Enlgish Protestants, the French Catholics, and whichever other groups they alone get to qualify as acceptable) and ESPECIALLY to those who have a mixed corresponding relationship to BOTH cults. 

We need to redress the consitution and remove the arrogant religious bias protecting specific cultures of authority over all others. We need a form of Americas First Amendment type law that separates Church from State with better clarity to specify that

"No government or representatives should be permitted to be run by or for specific cultures, nor use their embeded religious justifications implied by 'culture', including representing themselves as such. For the people to have a right to free speech and representation requires a system that has no means to censor nor censure diverse views that those with a biased preference to some subset of the very people electing them serve."

The representatives in a people's government should have a priorty to the humans who elect them; those with a religious bias have a priority to their religious authorities, whether this be by some specific cult or to some invisible friend they refer to as some 'god'. [ANYONE in power can justify ANY arbitrary rule by simply asserting that God had just authorized them to do so.]

Language is only a part of the problem, but would be the FIRST thing we can do to have any hope of repairing Canada's accidental formation of segregated cults. The only reason we formulated any 'union' (Canada) is due to the weakness of the historic disposition between the formation of the U.S., and Britain and France's own wars over who gets to rule over the colonies. We need to divorce ourselves from these in our consitution without perpetuities respecting them. Then to repair the issues with the Aboriginals, we need to integrate them (without religious institutes) nor by enhancing the Nationalism that we are doing. [Germany's Nazism is a belief in respecting discrete 'aboriginal nationality']

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On "Critical Race Theory":

Although the OP titled the thread with this term, it doesn't seem to relate. From what I gathered so far, "Critical Race Theory" is a collection of specific critical arguments that seem to be authored by those with some general belief in proposing government affirmative-like laws that are generally interpreted as BIASED under normal circumstances. These might be things like someone who believes a law should be made to reverse the role of "innocent until proven guilty" if a woman were to accuse a guy of some sexual violation. 

If this is the case, I am likely against this view. Some of the possible arguments (yet to specifically see at the moment) can be that we need to advocate for a victim class with special bias because they are assumed to be 'systematically' abused. It might be argued that this is done without direct intent but that under some belief that it cannot be changed without using such extreme counter-behaviors, we require using laws that are biased out of PRACTICAL considerations. 

I cannot be sure if there is no means to correct certain issues regarding racism with permanence but still believe that the logic I witness of many 'victims' these days are emoting in a way that falsely implies certain facts about whole races based upon irrational interpretations of the statitics involved. 

So I do not see how the title reflects the actual subject matter of the OP. 

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