A 20-year-old college freshman wrote an essay for one of his college publications and was subsequently interviewed on Fox News, written about in the New York Times, and had the essay republished by TIME. Yet, he doesn’t understand why anyone thinks he benefits from white male privilege.
Honestly, that right there is all I have to say about Princeton student Tal Fortgang’s exercise in point-missing “Why I’ll Never Apologize for My White Male Privilege.”
I can think of no better proof of said privilege than the fact that Fortgang’s piece, which completely misunderstands the concept of privilege and how it works, is treated as worthy of serious discussion. And to be clear — since this is one of the many points Fortgang is confused on — I do not blame him for that fact. (He’s a college freshman; he’s allowed to bloviate on things he knows nothing about — it’s practically required. TIME, on the other hand, has no excuse.) I don’t think Fortgang should have to apologize for the fact that his uniformed opinion goes viral any more than he should have to apologize for his gender or race. I just hope that one day he’ll learn enough about the world to start questioning the myth of American meritocracy — and come to see this whole episode as a case in point.
But if you want a more comprehensive take, read the rest of Mychal’s response at The Nation.
Maya Dusenbery is an Executive Director of Feministing.