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Privilege. Check.

One of the common weapons used by the liberal commentariat to disparage their opponents is the rubbishing of new terms or ‘difficult language’. A particular bete noir of theirs is checking their privilege. But it’s not a difficult concept as a thought I had yesterday illustrates.

We have a regular borrower at the library who is severely sight impaired and so takes out a lot of ‘talking books’ on CD. The first time I served her she asked if I could walk round the shelves with her and read the synopses on various back covers to see if it was something she’d like to borrow. Her response to several choices was “No, I’ve read that one”. My initial response to this was to think, well, no, you’ve listened to it. Then I gave my privilege a slap and understood that for her listening is reading. As I have eyes that work reasonably well, only slightly short sighted, I assumed that my way was the ‘normal’ way, ignoring the privilege that my on the whole healthy eyes allow me.

It’s as simple as that. Checking your privilege does not mean that you are being accused of holding high position or are ‘luckier’ than others, it means take the time to examine yourself as you may examine others before defining or dismissing/condemning them. Certain commentators, when confronted with this, go on the defensive and spraff on about being brought up in council houses etc., completely missing the point – ‘privilege’ in this context does not refer solely to wealth, position and status, but also to personal and societal circumstances. My eyesight allows me more privilege than someone whose eyesight is impaired; the fact that I’m male allows me more privilege than if I was female; that I’m classified as ‘White British’ allows more privilege than if I was not. This leads into intersectionality, but the commentariat *really* don’t like that one…

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