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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review May 6, 2014 / 6 Iyar, 5774

Check your inanity

By Rich Lowry




JewishWorldReview.com | Tal Fortgang has offended the offense-takers. The Princeton University freshman wrote an essay for a student publication, since reprinted in Time magazine, skewering the progressive trope "check your privilege."

If you haven't been told to "check your privilege," you don't spend enough time on college campuses, or on progressive websites, where the phrase is considered a debate-clinching rejoinder suitable for any occasion. It is an injunction to admit the privilege -- whiteness, maleness, heteroness, middle classness and some other -ness -- behind any uncongenial point of view.

On websites, people with presumably too much time on their hands do for "checking your privilege" what Judith Martin does for etiquette -- describe an elaborate system of rules for how the privileged can appropriately interact with the nonprivileged. It's Emily Post meets Michel Foucault. Or "Ms. Manners' Guide to Excruciatingly Politically Correct Behavior."

One feminist writer explains that "just as you have to learn a bunch of new terms for things like science class, so too do you need to do so for non-privileged groups." It evidently never occurs to them that treating the "non-privileged" as an alien class incapable of having normal interactions with other people is itself deeply insulting, but all is fair in the fight against privilege.

After being told to "check his privilege" a few times, Fortgang writes, he checked the family background that had produced the rank privilege he enjoys as a white, male Princeton student. He found grandparents who barely escaped the Nazis and came here with nothing, a father who earned his success, and parents who passed along their faith and belief in education.

"That's the problem with calling someone out for the 'privilege' which you assume has defined their narrative," Fortgang writes. "You don't know whose father died defending your freedom. You don't know whose mother escaped oppression. You don't know who conquered their demons, or may still [be] conquering them now."



The push-back against his essay -- which has generated incredible attention, including a profile of Fortgang in The New York Times -- has featured the snotty in the service of the ridiculous. The collective response could be summed up as "Please, try to check your privilege again."

Fortgang has been accused of objecting to the mere insistence that he be polite to people different from him, although there's nothing in his piece that justifies rudeness. He has been attacked as making himself out to be a victim, "the Rosa Parks of Ivy League white guys," although all that he's asking is that people judge him and his views on the merits. He has been told that he doesn't get just how privileged he is, since he has never suffered -- and presumably never will -- the travails of his grandparents.

But Fortgang doesn't deny that. His essay acknowledges all the privileges he has had; only he considers them a good thing. What he writes about is the process whereby -- to accept the left's stilted terms -- the socio-economically nonprivileged become privileged in this country.

If "check your privilege" were merely a call to be grateful for what we have, or to acknowledge the struggles of people who start with nothing or are considered outsiders, it would be unremarkable. But it carries the noxious assumption that race, class and other characteristics determine your worldview, and it is used as a cudgel against one point of view. If a white person says affirmative action is a wondrous tool of justice, or a male says we desperately need more legislation to fight the "pay gap," he is unlikely to be reprimanded about the nefarious hidden influence of his privilege.

Tal Fortgang scored a direct hit against one of the more mockable expressions of political correctness, although it won't make a difference to the people who come up with and try to enforce these ever more absurd strictures. They never feel compelled to check their inanity.

Rich Lowry Archives

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© 2014 King Features Syndicate

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