The first few statements
1. I am white.
2. I have never been discriminated against because of my skin color.
3. I have never been the only person of my race in a room.
4. I have never been mocked for my accent.
5. I have never been told I am attractive “for my race.”
I have never been raped.
When I went into the military (US Air Force, in 1984) part of the medical examination involved a doctor pushing a finger in your sphincter. To my thinking, this was simply a normal part of a medical examination, to which tens of thousands of people are subjected every year.
I’ve never been told that I’m overweight or “too skinny.”
I have a little more sympathy for people who are severely underweight. This can be much more difficult to deal with. If you're honestly anorexic, seek help if you aren't already getting it.
I have never been cyber-bullied for any of my identities.
The Verdict on the TestWorse than the individual items in this list is the basic attitude it shows in general. Essentially all of the questions really seem to revolve around one point: a belief that if people act as if they like or admire me, that’s “privilege”. It seems to me that it does a fair job of testing one thing. I’m not a psychiatrist, but I see little choice but to conclude that regardless of the actual score you get in this test, if you consider the test or score as having even the slightest bearing on reality, you should probably seek professional help immediately (no, I’m not being sarcastic at all—I’m 100% serious).
Real PrivilegesI believe I am extremely privileged. Let me list a few of the factors in my life that I think have been real privileges:
1. I learned to read at an early age.
2. I had a large supply of books available at an early age (for people less ancient than myself, feel free to substitute Internet access—it not only provides much more information, but makes it dramatically easier to access as well).
I’ve lumped these together because they largely go hand in hand. They are also absolutely immense privileges—if you checked off every one of the items in the test under discussion, it still means far less than having learned to read.
For the vast majority of human history, large parts of the population were in danger of starving to death, or being a casualty of war (or both)--often many times in their lives. Although I’ve never actually been in danger of starving to death, I’ve gone for two or three weeks at a time without an actual meal. Even that degree of hunger dwarfs the trivial nonsense discussed in this test.
Even for people whose lives weren’t directly endangered, anything approaching “fulfillment” from life was far beyond most peoples’ dreams throughout most of human history. Slaves and serfs frequently had no choice at all in their lives, and even nominally “free” people frequently had little real choice, and essentially no chance at “upward mobility’ at all.
Even compared to when I was a child growing up, the amount of information people have easily accessible is absolutely astounding. Being able to type a paper for school on a computer and correct spelling errors easily instead of writing it by hand and starting over if you made too many spelling mistakes--there's no way to meaningfully compare these.
7. Living in the western world
Even today, many people are raised in enforced ignorance. There are still people in danger of dying from starvation or diseases to which cures and/or effective vaccinations are well known. A great deal has been done relatively recently (much thanks to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, among many others), but there’s seriously a lot left to do, and areas where such assistance is routinely refused as well.
Conclusions1. The test is utter nonsense
2. There are real privileges—and they’re huge compared to the trivial nonsense covered by the test questions. They’re also very close to universal among essentially everybody with access to the test though. We, the people with easy access to the Internet are much more alike than different—and all of us are almost supremely privileged.