First of all, “privilege” is a misnomer. Privilege has to do with special treatment. If one group faces discrimination, it does not necessarily mean another receives a particular privilege. If Gingers get picked on, it doesn’t mean the rest of us enjoy non-gingered privilege. What we are talking about are relative advantages, which are indeed real. Overuse of the word “privilege” turns people off; they are then less likely to stop and listen.If liberals weren't trying to bludgeon their political opponents into silence, they'd consider these facts.
Opponents of privilege discussions must recognize, generally speaking, that life is easier in this country if you are born white, male and heterosexual. Denying this is an over-reaction. We must acknowledge that not everyone begins life with the same resources and benefits. Many face unfair hardships along the way – some are linked to race, gender, and religion.
Admitting that certain folks have relative advantages over others, however, does not make you a Lefty. I can admit the realities of my own unearned advantages without self-flagellating, liberal, white guilt.
Liberals who talk the most about “privilege,” however, need to recognize that they do not go far enough. There are numerous potential advantages that affect one’s chances in life. It is not just race and gender identity. Consider the enormous and disparate impact of wealth, attractiveness and intelligence. A man’s height is statistically significant when considering his potential for professional success; a person’s posture and weight also play a role.
And consider one of the most powerful unearned “privileges” that only some children enjoy: a two-parent home.
We'd all be better off if, instead of creating false "unearned privileges" in order to merely reverse the perceived power structure, liberals would work to help those they deem disadvantaged to overcome their disadvantages. It seems to me that, given their language and actions, liberals would prefer a Harrison Bergeron world to one in which disadvantages were overcome.