This Is Me Checking My Privilege (BONUS: Create Your Own Privilege Venn Diagram!)

Lately there’s been this whole drama surrounding a student at Princeton who feels attacked because every time he tries to share an opinion people are like, “Check your privilege, bro.” So the other day he wrote an essay that was all, “Listen, just because I’m a white male doesn’t mean I have privilege! My grandparents went through shit,” and then Violet Baudelaire at Jezebel was like, “Dude, you’re missing the point; just acknowledge that you’re white and move on,” and then this rebuttal happened and then finally I was like, CAN’T WE ALL JUST GET THE FUCK ALONG?

Now, I’m of the firm belief that our physical characteristics have absolutely nothing to do with what actually matters — spirit — which knows no color or gender or money (or penis size, for that matter, which is unfortunate because I’m huge). We are all cut from the same cloth, and if everyone would realize this — that we’re all in it together — then the world would pretty much heal immediately and we could all live the rest of our lives in perfect utopian harmony drinking light beer and listening to soft rock every day.

But I realize that the world is filled with judgy douche canoes, and so things like privilege and arguments and arguments about privilege exist, whether anybody wants them to or not.

And so, because I’m self-obsessed and live in fear of ever being called out as an out-of-touch asshole, I’d like to formally check my privilege right now so that in the future when I say, “Why do I feel so oppressed right now?” and someone comes back at me with, “ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR PRIVILEGE, BITCH!” I can be like, “Ba! Ha! I ALREADY DID,” and send them a link to this blog post.

So. I’m white. Which means I haven’t had to deal with much racial profiling (except for when people automatically assume that I enjoy Greek yogurt and/or can’t dance—only one of which is true) in my life. I’m also a man, which means that I automatically have the privilege of being able to vote (wait…?) and also I’ll probably never have to push a baby out of my vagina that I don’t have.

But I’m also gay (Yay! +10 minority-group-credibility points for me!), which in my opinion is a personal blessing but most definitely not a societal privilege. I have to deal with shit like homophobia. And the fear of getting gay-bashed. And politicians that are all “NO SOUP EQUAL RIGHTS FOR YOU!” (Note: I wouldn’t put it past them to also try to deny me soup, if it were constitutionally an option, which, I don’t know anything about politics so maybe it is and I should stock up on Progresso while it’s still legal? That or learn politics.)

Okay, one more privilege: I’m the tallest person I know. My driver’s license says 6’3” but that measurement was from Mariah Carey’s The Emancipation of Mimi era and so I think I’m actually closer to 6’4” these days, which some people might call “freakish and carnival-esque,” but I like to think of as “the thing that comes before ‘dark and handsome.’”

My height often works to my benefit—mostly when I’m looking for people in crowds, attending general admission concerts, or being roped into conversations with bigots who hate little people. Other times, though, it puts me at a major disadvantage to others—like when I try to hide from police, get drunk on a limited supply of alcohol, or drive a Volkswagen.

In conclusion:

Privilege Venn

What would your privilege Venn diagram look like?




  1. My pie chart would be a cake. I’m not sure if there’s any innuendo going on there. But if there is, I’m unaware of it — which shows just how underprivileged I am.

  2. If you factor in self-doubt, I think I’m underprivileged. Otherwise, no complainies yall! (I can’t believe I just wrote that. Don’t judge me.)
    I love that you measure time in Mariah years.

    • LOL. I think it’s the energy of my blog that subconsciously led to both the “y’all” and the phrase “no complainies,” and so therefore judging you would be like judging myself, which, well, I do all the time but won’t in this instance.

      Mariah years are the ONLY years.

  3. I never knew that “pie” was the prime example of gayness. Thanks for dropping knowledge.

  4. or penis size, for that matter, which is unfortunate because I’m huge
    I had to drop the tea I’d just sucked in back out of my mouth and into my mug when I read that.
    Because I am classy.
    Also, I don’t like choking.
    And I could relate to the statement because: Me, too. Obviously. Such a big penis.

    I wouldn’t put it past them to also try to deny me soup, if it were constitutionally an option, which, I don’t know anything about politics so maybe it is and I should stock up on Progresso while it’s still legal?
    No, don’t worry. I’ve got you covered there. When I’m forced back into the kitchen sans shoes and with many babies in my belly, I will make you soup. I will send it on the underground soup railroad and you can share it with your friends. You will probably need to send me books in return, though, because I suspect I won’t be allowed to read. Or vote.

    Back in the day, I dated a guy who was 6’5″ and that is TALL. And so useful! Only…I do drive a VW so he had that whole riding-in-my-car issue you mentioned. Also, I am 5’5″ and that created comedy when we stood together. Still. I never needed my stepladder when he was around and that was awesome.

    And pie probably isn’t gay. I think it transcends all things human and is, rather, a divine substance. And while I do realize that many gay people are also divine, that is not what I am talking about. I am saying that pie cannot be categorized with our mundane human terms. Pie just is and we accept that and love it. Because it is DELICIOUS.
    (P.S. If you can say “penis” in your post, you can probably also say “vagina.” You don’t have to own one to type that word. I mean, look, I just typed “penis” in my comment several times and I don’t really have one, huge or otherwise. Not attached to my person, at least. I mean, I have one on loan that I can use pretty much whenever I want and there’s also the pretty, battery-operated one, but they’re not part of my physical being, you know? The point here being V is for VAGINA and vaginas are just as important as penises, which you did not call P)

    • Oh my GOD I just cackled about three times per paragraph of this comment. The postscript sent me over the edge. You are right about V’s! I mean, vaginas. Okay that didn’t hurt my fingers to type as much as I thought it might.

      Thank you for the soup railroad offer! I will gladly swap books for soup, as long as there is some broccoli cheddar involved. Maybe lobster bisque too.I guess we can discuss further once this dystopian anti-female, anti-gay future takes shape. OMG did we just land on a brilliant premise for a new YA trilogy???

      Lastly, this: “And while I do realize that many gay people are also divine, that is not what I am talking about.” LMAO.

        Dude, we are going to be rolling in money!
        But…no lobster bisque. I live in the mountains, remember? We’re lobster-free here. I am growing broccoli in my garden this year, though, and I know where to get good cheddar so that one’s a go!

        And good job on the vaginas. I am really proud of you for not dying while or after typing that. I’d give you a big hug but I’m worried your huge penis would just get in the way.

  5. Haha really enjoyed this

  6. This is a lot of information to digest. In no particular order, I really like “gay as pie” but I think you mean “gay as a picnic basket”. I’m white so privilege. I have birthed babies but not out the V, I got a C so that’s maybe in the middle. I’m short. Catholic, that might be deemed a disability so that’s not so much privilege. My first husband is 6’4″, tall is really good. I think Tall should go in privilege because your height can intimidate people into giving you soup and pie so that’s a privilege. I have carpal tunnel so that’s a disability so no privilege there.

    As it turns out, I have a very hard life. I didn’t realize that until now. Thanks Nic.

    • OMG can you imagine a picnic basket with a pie IN it?! It would be, like, Liberace. Also, you make an excellent point about soup intimidation. How did I not think about that?!

  7. I’m white – privilege.
    I’m straight – privilege.
    I’m female – not privilege.
    My mother is lower class/working class (not privilege), my father is middle class (some privilege), and I am kiiinda middle class (some privilege) – jury’s out on that one, especially since the middle class is having some issues lately.
    I’m college educated – privilege.
    I have depression, which is technically a disability – not privilege.

    Privilege: 3
    Not privilege: 2
    Not sure: 1

  8. Sending privilege-checkers to this blog post is a fine idea. I also think you can get that sweet diagram on business cards and hand them out as needed.

  9. One of my BIGGEST grievances is when somebody claims to be “oppressed.” It’s used on Twitter by tons of insta-twitterlebrities (of the gay variety) and, to me, it’s lost all of it’s meaning.

    I’m privileged, but I’m also gayer than a pack of Fun Dip, which cancels out my whiteness, I think.

    But really, WHO THE FUCK CARES. Let’s approach this from a HUMAN level. Not a race-gender-sexuality-religious level.

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