This Comment by wellokaythen on the post The Luxury of Invisible Privilege
When it comes to questions of privilege, I like to apply what I call the Envy Test: if you could snap your fingers and trade places with that more privileged person, would you do it? If not, then why not?
(For the purposes of this thought experiment, let’s assume you have the option of swapping back. You wouldn’t have to switch places forever; you could try it on for a while.)
[The following “you” is not a reference to anyone in particular, by the way, just a general “you.”]
So, if white people have more privilege, and you’re not a white person, would you be willing to become one if you could?
I’ve asked the same thing to men who think that women have more privileges than men, and I’ve asked people who thought homosexuals had more rights than heterosexuals. So far no responses. I know the test is not conclusive of anything, but it can still be quite revealing.
When I’ve applied the test to myself, I can say I definitely envy people with more money than I have, and I definitely envy people who have younger, healthier bodies than I have. I envy people who have more natural social grace and charisma than I do. I can see real privilege in those things, and I would probably trade places if I could. That’s about it, though. Whatever part of me thinks that maybe women and some ethnic groups get “too much extra consideration” nowadays, that part is nowhere big enough that I want to trade places with them. There’s a much larger part of me that thinks that in the grand scheme of things I’m more fortunate in a lot of ways.
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