The University of North Carolina at Greensboro has invited students to tour the “House of Privilege,” in which students go from room to room, exploring “different types of privilege” and discovering “resources to help dismantle systems of privilege in our community.”
Using a “museum approach” with actors playing the roles of oppressed and privileged people, they display different forms of inequality, “highlighting the construct of privilege and providing Windows of Opportunity; the resources that can be used to start disassembling privilege in multiple forms” (emphasis added).
If that doesn’t give you the creeps, I don’t know what will. No longer are social justice warriors concerned about highlighting the needs of the poor in our communities and finding ways to meet those needs (usually through wealth redistribution), they are focusing on “dismantling systems of privilege.”
Making Everyone Equal Requires Oppressive Force
This evolution of the social justice agenda was inevitable, of course. The Great Society with its socialistic effort to redistribute wealth in order to bring about economic equality was doomed to fail because, as Margaret Thatcher said, “The problem with socialism is you eventually run out of other people’s money.” No matter how much you redistribute, it’s never enough. Economic equality in a free and just society is a myth.
Now, with the social justice agenda extending beyond economic interests and aiming for absolute equality in all areas of human existence, the effort is even more hopeless. If you define inequality as “oppression” and “privilege” as anything that is contrary to, more successful than, or just different from a particular “oppressed group,” then there is no real path to equality without force. In other words, we would have to sacrifice liberty on the altar of equality.
That’s because this “oppression” supposedly created by privilege isn’t real oppression. It’s just differences between individuals and groups based on a variety of factors, none of which involve sanctioned cruel and unjust treatment by a more powerful group. If oppression is so broadly defined to include inequalities of outcome and natural disparities, which are part and parcel of a free society, then there will always be oppressed groups and individuals as long as people are free to be, speak, act, and even dream.
The originators of the House of Privilege, however, believe equality can be achieved by dismantling “oppressive systems.” In their campaign, students go into different rooms where actors present scenarios of different kinds of privilege. Those who benefit from them, of course, are “oppressors.”
See the Oppression Inherent in the System!
What are these oppressive systems, you ask? Who are these nasty oppressors holding so many in bondage? Here are just a few of the scenarios, because if you really think about it, they can be legion.
Food privilege: One family eats McDonalds, while another feasts on steaks.
Religious privilege: Everyone knows Christmas songs, but no one knows the Diwali songs.
Gender privilege: A man is a CEO, while a woman is a secretary.
Able-bodied privilege: One person is forced to live in a wheelchair because of a handicap, while another gets to walk around because he’s able-bodied.
Racial privilege: A black family lives in poverty with gunshots outside the window, while a white family lives in peace and quiet in the suburbs.
Sexual orientation privilege: A straight couple enjoys housewarming gifts after getting married, while the gay couple is ignored. Or a pretty straight girl is crowned homecoming queen, while the transsexual boy who thinks he’s a girl isn’t even allowed on the court.
Language privilege: English-speaking people read road signs with ease, while Spanish-speaking people are left confused and disoriented.
Here’s a video from one college reporting on how this is presented in a House of Privilege:
This program is an extension of another called Tunnel of Oppression, in which students are exposed to various forms of discrimination and oppression while walking through different theaters. Here’s a video from Southern Illinois University showing this program and its effect on students. If it reminds you of brainwashing tactics, you’ve got it just about right.
Because Everyone Doesn’t Have All Good Things, Nobody Should?
The root problem with the House of Privilege and Tunnel of Oppression is that while activities like this sometimes identify real struggles and difficulties in society, they typically offer no real solutions. That’s because their definition of oppression and privilege are built on Marxist paradigms that have no legitimacy in a free republic like America.
For there to be oppression, someone must be the victim and someone else must be the oppressor. In all of the scenarios of “privilege” listed above, who are the oppressors? What are the “systems of privilege” that are oppressing these underprivileged groups and individuals? Are rich people oppressing poor people? Are white families in suburbia oppressing black families living in the city? Are Christians who celebrate Christmas oppressing Hindus who celebrate Diwali?
Let me put it this way: Will it really help the black family in a violent neighborhood where jobs are scarce to dismantle the livelihood, homes, and jobs of white families in suburbia? How will dissembling the white family bring opportunity to the black family?
How will dismantling the religious system of Christianity bring equality to the religious system of Hinduism? Remember, the goal of the House of Privilege is not simply to bring awareness about minority groups and their struggles. It’s to “dismantle systems of privilege.” It’s inherently destructive. Think about what that means. It means breaking apart not only economic systems (capitalism), but disrupting and dismantling relationships and organic associations.
In America and on college campuses engaging in this kind of propaganda (and that’s what it is), the privileged groups are clear: men, whites, the able-bodied, capitalists, Christians, English-speakers, and heterosexuals. These are the “systems” that need to be destroyed and rebuilt in the image of another. If you are part of any of these “systems,” then you’re an oppressor who should feel guilty about your oppression, and, therefore, give up your privilege (i.e., your property, achievements, recognition, even rights).
Men need to give way to the demands of women. White neighborhoods must reflect qualities of black neighborhoods. English must be removed as the dominant language and another must come alongside or take its place. Christians must embrace pluralism. Capitalism must be replaced with socialism and ultimately communism. Heterosexual families must recognize the equality of homosexual couples even though they are fundamentally and biologically different due to the latter’s inability to produce children.
As you can see, the goal of the SJW House of Privilege is not really equality, it’s power. It doesn’t value liberty, it rejects it. It doesn’t celebrate differences, it undermines them. It doesn’t respect individuality, it exploits it. It doesn’t expand human nature, it reduces it. It tears apart human relationships and human nature and seeks to put them together again according to its own impulses and subjective values.
Making Everyone the Same Ends Excellence
At what point will human beings be equal in this scheme? Because human beings, societies, and groups are different in every way, we would have to reduce them down to the most basic commonality to achieve true “equality.” Ultimately, because each individual is different from the next, for them to be “equal” they must become isolated entities stripped of their differences and grouped together in a hive for mere functionality.
Is that what Americans want? Are you an oppressor because you’re a man and you’re physically stronger than a woman, making you unique and equipped to perform certain roles a woman can’t possibly perform? Are you an oppressor because you want to engage with other men without women around? No. That’s nature.
Are you an oppressor because you’re white and live in a safe environment compared to where some black people live? Are you privileged because you’re white and you were raised in a two-parent home? Are you privileged because you worked your way through school and now have a job or because your parents worked hard and put you through school, and you now have employment while some black people might not? No. That’s personal responsibility.
Are you an oppressor because you’re a married heterosexual couple and now have children together, a joining that is recognized by the state because of the public interest in the birth of that child? Are you privileged because you’re an actual mother married to your child’s father, not an artificial construct that robs the child of one parent or the other? No. That’s biology.
Are you an oppressor because you don’t suffer from a handicap or some sort of illness? No. That’s, again, nature.
Are you an oppressor because you built a business with your own two hands and through your own personal investments you are now making a profit from your hard work, enabling you to take vacations, buy a big house, and eat steak for dinner? No. That’s, again, personal responsibility.
Freedom Results in Differences
What all of these add up to is individual liberty and the diversity that goes with it. People are different. They are born different. They make different choices in life, some productive, some not. They have differing abilities and histories. This diversity is going to result in different outcomes and situations in a free society. Every person’s journey is unique and valuable. People should be respected, not derided, for their differences. Those who have more are not privileged, and they’re certainly not oppressive. They are simply living their life as free individuals.
Those who suffer in America are not oppressed. Black people aren’t oppressed by whites. Women aren’t oppressed by men. Spanish-speakers aren’t oppressed by English-speakers. Disabled people aren’t oppressed by able-bodied people. Poor people aren’t oppressed by rich people. Do these groups always treat one another with kindness and respect? No—and that goes both ways. But that is not oppression. That’s bad behavior.
America is not a House of Privilege. Our communities are not divided into the oppressed and the privileged—not yet, anyway. America is a House of Unity—e pluribus unum. Out of the many, one. Everyone comes together, different religions, ethnicities, and abilities because we share a common commitment to individual liberty and equality before the law (not equality of outcome)—or at least we used to.
SJWs’ goal is the opposite. They see America as “the many,” then pit one group against another, dividing each into the oppressed and the oppressors. The only path to unity in that scheme is for a powerful individual or group to reduce everyone to the lowest common denominator and control their lives.
This is ultimately dehumanizing, as it requires ripping away the individuality and freedom of each person until each becomes an unremarkable unit among the many—the one coexisting but not connecting with others, as all “systems” of human relationships are dismantled and “houses of privilege” with their diverse rooms are rebuilt into a collective, unified hive ruled by the most powerful. The result is not liberty, but tyranny.
America is not a land fraught with privilege and oppression. It is a country of freedom and responsibility. There will be those who struggle for whatever reason, and it is the duty of a moral and charitable people to help those in need. The goal of Americans should be to build one another up as free individuals who are valued because they are objectively valuable, made in the image of God. Our goal should not be to tear one another down (a.k.a. “dismantle”) in the name of equality, but to honor and respect one another in the name of liberty and charity.