Michael Matteo: Woke privilege 101

Op-ed views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author.

If I had a penny for every person who has mentioned the phrase, “White Privilege,” without having read either of the 2 articles written by Peggy McIntosh in the late 1980s about it, I’d retire. The actual title of her first article was White and Male Privilege, and the second was titled: White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack. It was originally a list of 26 observations that McIntosh had about unconscious advantages white people had, but this list was expanded to 50 observations in a later writing. The first “advantage” on the list “I can if I wish arrange to be in the company of people of my race most of the time.” Twenty-six is “I can choose blemish cover or bandages in “flesh” color and have them more or less match my skin. The list goes on and on with random observations that are supposed to define the privileges that white people have in American society. It is this list of generalizations that has led to bodies of work like critical race theory, the 1619 project as well as numerous books that attempt to support the notion that America is systemically racist, and the only solution to this problem is for each person to become “woke.”

It is worth mentioning that McIntosh’s experiences were hardly the typical experiences of the average white person, so it’s puzzling why her random list is lauded by those who staunchly believe in white privilege should apply to ALL white people. McIntosh grew up in a New Jersey suburb where the median income was four times the national average. Her father was head of Bell Laboratories Electronic Switching Department in the 1950s and he owned numerous patents that made him extremely wealthy. She attended Radcliffe College and Harvard, hardly the resume of an average American. Yet, her observations have been used by those on the left to make the claim that ALL white people have this magical privilege.  

The idea of “white privilege” spread faster than COVID and mutations of it became “white fragility,” “implicit bias,”  “male privilege,” “intersectionality,” “systemic oppression,” and many other terms that led to best-selling books, adoption of these ideas into public school curriculums and other fallacy-based theories like the 1619 Project and Critical Race Theory.  

Since the entire concept of white privilege isn’t based in fact or logic, and is about generalizations I decided to compile a similar list of what it means to be “woke” and the perceived privileges of being “woke” in America today. “Woke,” according to Webster’s Dictionary, is defined as being socially aware, and its ideology is the only way to combat systemic racism, sexism, homophobia and many new “isms” yet to be created. Peggy had 50 things on her list, so I decided to write 51.

The 51 Privileges of Being Woke

  1. If a word doesn’t suit your agenda, all you have to do is change its meaning to suit your purposes.
  2. It is ok to rewrite and revise history as long as it suits the purpose of blaming all societal ills on systemic racism.
  3. Feelings are more important than facts, reasoning and logic.
  4. When on the end of a losing debate you have the right to name call, label, mischaracterize your opponent’s argument and not answer any question that causes you to show that you’ve done any research about the topic being debated.
  5. When you can’t defend a position, make a negative statement about Donald Trump.
  6.  You get offended for other people.
  7. You define “hate speech” as any speech that you find disagreeable.
  8. You need to check the political affiliation of a person committing a reprehensible act because you don’t want to offend a fellow woker.
  9. You believe that diversity is important in hiring someone, and hiring based upon merit is racist, sexist and transphobic.
  10. You believe shoplifting is about reparations.
  11. You believe America is composed of 2 groups: Oppressors and the Oppressed.
  12. You believe hardworking Americans should pay for you to go to college for free and major in gender studies.
  13. If your skin color is white, and you deny that you are a racist, this proves you are a racist.  
  14. You believe perception is reality and if you identify as something, others should respect your claims of what you claim to be.  
  15. You believe whatever the mainstream media says as long as it supports your beliefs.
  16. You believe the phrase, “All Lives Matter,” is a racist statement.
  17. You own copies of “White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism,” “How To Be An Anti-Racist,” and “Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race.” 
  18. You apologize for the melanin content in your body.
  19. The most important purpose in your life is to discover new micro-aggressions and ways of being offended.
  20. You bow to the altar of political correctness.
  21. You believe that social media fact-checkers are unbiased.  
  22. You tune into The View for your information and believe that the panelists on the show are well-informed and intelligent.
  23. You believe in the cancellation of Shakespeare, Mozart and other evil European white guys in school curriculum and replacing them with less quality works of people of color to promote diversity.
  24. You use the New York Times as reference material, when its sole purpose is as an underlining for your cat’s litter box.
  25. You find reasons to become outraged over professional sports team names and insist on their renaming the teams to support a kinder, gentler society even though sports are, by nature, aggressive.
  26. You believe use of proper grammar and math are racist.
  27. You blame others when you fail at something because nothing is ever your fault.
  28. You believe people should apologize for the sins of their ancestors even though they didn’t commit these sins, and those who were never sinned against should receive benefits on behalf of their oppressed ancestors.
  29. You believe dressing in costumes of other cultures is cultural appropriation, but will eat ethnic foods.
  30. You believe the main reason for the American Revolution was to maintain the institution of slavery despite factual evidence to prove that this is untrue.
  31. You believe people should be fired for using the wrong, newly created, gender pronouns.
  32. You believe Alexandria Ocasio Cortez makes a better lawmaker than she makes a drink.
  33. You believe it’s your right to shout down conservative speakers or put pressure on campus authorities to cancel their speaking appearances.
  34. You are ashamed of the American flag and national anthem.
  35. You vote for people who spend tens of thousands of dollars on their own private security, but who vote to defund or eliminate police.
  36. You believe it is okay to harass diners at restaurants and demand that they verbalize support for your causes or threaten them with violence.
  37. You believe it is okay to cancel people for things they did in nursery school.  
  38. You believe the January 6th storming of the capitol is a heinous crime, but defend looting of businesses, attacks on police and setting fire of federal buildings.
  39. You believe Brown v. the Board of Education was not about ending the segregationist policy established in Plessy v. Ferguson, but was actually a white power play to illustrate white supremacy.
  40. You believe that if a person objects to teaching 6-year-olds about anal sex, masturbation and asking them to choose their gender, that person is transphobic.
  41. You believe that college students need safe rooms to guard themselves against ideas that may harm their fragile egos.
  42. You believe wokeness is the solution to all the ills of society.
  43. You believe that straight, white males are the enemy of society and must be purged from history books and their statues torn down.
  44. You use contemporary standards to judge historical figures instead of viewing them in terms of the standards for the time period when they lived.
  45. You believe speech codes on college campuses promote higher learning.
  46. You believe your views are paramount to others’ views and insist they respect what you say, but disrespect what they say.
  47. You believe a person’s ability to act or do something skillful with a ball makes their more opinion important than anyone else, especially if they support what you believe.
  48. You believe in the censorship of what you term “misinformation,” but if something you like is censored, you protest.
  49. You believe asking for someone to provide a valid ID to vote is racist, but have no problem with people using ID to open bank accounts, buy cigarettes/alcohol, get on an airplane, adopt a pet or donate blood.
  50. You believe having diverse characters in movies are more important than good acting, an exciting plot and an excellent storyline, and the writer needs to be someone other than a straight white male.  
  51. If you refuse to date or have romantic relationships with trans people, you are transphobic.
Michael Matteo

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