COLLEGES, those laboratories for politically correct thought, have given me a great idea for game show that fits our times. An increasing number of colleges are now doing "privilege walks," where students all start at the same point and then move forward or back, based upon whether you have been blessed with certain privileges in life. The home version of the game would be a real hit at certain parties for people who are "Feeling the Bern."
I feel that I must insert a trigger warning here! The University of Michigan warns, "This exercise can be very triggering and you should not participate unless you are sure you have plenty of time to debrief and reflect on what individuals experienced during the privilege walk." Yes, that is an actual warning.
So I've warned you and now it's time to play. I have decided to give you only some of the "privilege" steps and my thoughts on them. For the full game, you can do 30 or more.
"If you were embarrassed about your clothes or house growing up, take one step back." As Katherine Timpf writes in National Review, "So, basically anyone who has ever gone to school in a bright orange sweatshirt with flowers on it, only to feel humiliated, could technically step back for item 1 regardless of family income."
Another item on the walk says, "If you have tried to change your speech or mannerisms to gain credibility, take one step back." So when I tried to drop "youse" as the plural of "you" in job interviews and spent thousands of dollars in speech lessons to cure my Philadelphia accent, I guess I could step all the way back to Passyunk Avenue.
Another item says "If your family automatically expected you to attend college, take one step forward." I was the first in my family to attend college so I'll confess that puts me into the same league as Richie Rich. It was expected because my mom and dad recognized the value of education. Is that really white privilege? How do I repent?
Probably, my favorite item says "If you can walk past a construction site without being looked up and down or catcalled at, take one step forward." I'm not condoning aggressive catcalling, but, women, if a guy says you're looking fine today, is that a bad start to the day? What's next, organizing trigger walks at singles bars?
This list is silly for several reasons. First, it fails to recognize that many complicated things could be hurdles or advantages for a person in life. I didn't grow up on the Main Line, nor did I go to an Ivy League school. But growing up in South Philly gave me the greatest training ground in the world.
This game also fails because it reinforces victimhood status on minority students without inspiring a sense of overcoming whatever hurdles life might present. There is nothing inspirational about it. Where are these schools teaching students the tactics and life skills to overcome such obstacles?
Finally, it is clearly meant to engender guilt in middle- and upper-class whites, particularly white males. But, sadly, isn't that what much of the indoctrination that passes for teaching is engaged in on college campuses?
So more enlightened whites such as Hillary Clinton and Mayor Kenney have frequently acknowledged "white privilege." The question I'd ask both is, "If you know, then why would you run against minorities to be president and mayor, respectively?" In this line of thinking, Clinton should have given way to Barack Obama, and Kenney, a white male who went to St. Joe's Prep, should have never taken away state Sen. Anthony Williams' right to be mayor. Shouldn't that be the true outcome in the game of life?
For me, I have to hurry home and start cleaning my house from top to bottom. One of the items on the list says "If you ever had a maid, gardener, or cleaning service, take one step forward." My wife has a cleaner who comes in every other week. That reeks of privilege.
Teacher-turned-talk show host Dom Giordano is heard weekdays 9 a.m. to noon on WPHT 1210-AM Radio. Contact Dom at www.domgiordano.com.