Cynical and Southern: Since I'm 'privileged,' am I allowed to have an opinion?

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I never thought about the word "privilege" before I started writing “Cynical And Southern”. The word began creeping up occasionally in my articles.

On the University Of Dayton website, “white privilege” is defined as: “A right, advantage, or immunity granted to or enjoyed by white persons beyond the common advantage of all others; an exemption in many particular cases from certain burdens or liabilities.”

While google-ing “male privilege,” the Feminism 101 blog defines it as “a set of privileges that are given to men as a class due to their institutional power in relation to women as a class.”

On the same site, general privilege is further defined as “how society accommodates you. It’s about advantages you have that you think are normal. It’s about you being normal, and others being the deviation from normal. It’s about fate dealing from the bottom of the deck on your behalf.”

I agree completely that privilege exists. I am self aware enough to know that certain things in my life have been easier because my skin isn’t dark and because I have a penis.

And so emerges a fine line. Because I am white and male, one might argue that all my opinions and outlooks have been tainted by the fact that I’m in a more “desirable” bracket. At one point, it seemed like no matter what topic I wrote about (sexuality, race, life experience, love) someone would come along and use one word to disregard everything I thought. That word was “privilege”.

If everything I think is void due to my “privileges,” does that infer only the views held by the underdog are valid? Isn’t there a possibility that despite someone being a white male perhaps some of their views on the world are correct? Maybe the real truth lies somewhere in the middle.

I do now take my “privileges” into consideration when writing and thinking. A few of my outlooks have indeed changed, but many of them have not.

A true skeptic would point out the greatest irony of this piece. If it weren’t for my privileges would I be writing it at all?

For more Jeremy Gloff go to Facebook.

It has occurred to me before that everything I think about the world might be wrong. I can accept that. I consider myself somewhat of a free thinker and I’ll freely admit there’s a chance all my ideas are off the mark.

Once I began writing this column, however, something happened that never occurred to me. I was surprised to discover that everything I think about the world would be disregarded by some people because my skin is white and because I’m male.

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