Is this real life? Gawker hosts Privilege Tournament

NCAA style bracket w different oppressions

You know when someone says something, and you’re thinking: Hold up -  you did not just THINK that, you also let that shit come out your mouth, huh? Well, dear readers, today I present you with Gawker’s Privilege Tournament. This is extra special, because Hamilton Nolan didn’t just think about this; he took the time to write it down, he looked it over, and he still decided it was a great idea. Let’s start at the beginning, shall we:

Privilege: so sweet to have. But even sweeter to not have. Privilege has its benefits, but the lack of privilege confers that sweet, sweet moral superiority.

Those are literally the first three sentences of the post, y’all. You know, it’s hard to have all that privilege. Being a white dude is so sad these days you guys! I mean, maybe your people had their land stolen and experienced a massive genocide and are still getting their children taken away from them; maybe your family was put in “War Relocation Camps” not so long ago; maybe you can’t wear a hoodie, or even just fucking exist, without being considered automatically suspicious and a target for vigilante and state violence; maybe you were forced to leave your family behind to go to a country where people generally hate you to survive because global north economic policy made that impossible at home. But listen, you have it so good! You obviously don’t even know. Let this white dude tell you! Hamilton Nolan, he will set up some categories, and then have the rest of us duke it out for who gets that super sweet layer cake of oppressions. Here’s how it works:

This is the privilege bracket. It is like an NCAA bracket, but without the privileged assumption that you know about sports, which are an inherently masculine-dominated, ability-privileged activity. Here, we will pit eight categories of non-privilege against one another, tournament-style. Each round, the least privileged will advance. At the end, only a single category of non-privilege will be left standing. Or, more likely, unable to stand.

Haha, did you get that? People with disabilities, it’s great making fun of them. They have it so easy. I mean, what does this poor lil’ white guy have? Systemic institutional power? Social capital? A widely read media platform? All that privilege is sweet y’all, but HOW FUN is the White Supremacist Capitalist Patriarchy, am I right? Maybe you don’t get that it’s a joke. Isn’t it funny? It’s hilarious to make historically and systemically oppressed peoples the butt of your jokes. It’s also super fresh and edgy, and has definitely never been done before. YOU ARE SUCH A GENIUS INNOVATOR, HAMILTON NOLAN! I’m impressed!

Let’s definitely try and make a hierarchy out of really complicated systems of oppression that intersect in tons of different ways. Let’s forget all that intersectionality shit! Let’s definitely come up with the worst thing to be, that’s gonna be awesome for everyone.

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  1. Posted September 26, 2013 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    Gawker’s riffing on less-privileged people who themselves play the oppression olympics. Posts like this:

    The proliferation of discussions on privilege and social justice on tumblr that are completely divorced from reality and academic theory have kind of made a joke of (the very real and very important!) topic of privilege. We have kids out there who haven’t head Butler, Lorde, hooks, or anyone in that category, making wildly unsound claims about privilege and what it means. It’s all emotional. And not that that doesn’t count for anything, but it brings down the entire discourse. So, Gawker saw an opportunity to be irreverent, because that’s what it does best.

  2. Posted September 26, 2013 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    OK, let’s try and salvage this poop sandwich…

    Imagine instead of an NCAA tournament, the competition was round-robin style and every week, one of the “teams” from each bracket would be matched up with another — i.e. in week 1 “Gay” would match up with “Homeless” etc… But instead of being a bunch of Hamilton Nolan’s (read; morons) we actually have a substantive conversation about what it’s like to exist at the intersection of that “matchup.”

    I would make sweet blog-love to any site that featured an ongoing dialogue describing the challenges and also triumphs of multi-dimensional people who are constantly being forced exist in only one space.

    Some of these groups would have to be re-worked or eliminated because the match-up wouldn’t be all that interesting (see tall vs protestant).

    • Posted September 26, 2013 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

      Not that I don’t FEEL for tall people or Protestants… I don’t want to just assume your stories aren’t worth telling. Maybe this is a terrible idea…

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