Last updated on January 14th, 2022 at 05:23 am
People generally laugh when they learn of some new looniness going on at our woke universities. “That is just crazy; it will never go anywhere,” the average citizen says and thinks no more about it. The problem with this thinking is that it is generally not true. The craziness that starts in the universities usually ends up infecting the rest of society.
A case in point is the campaign “Check Your Privilege” created at the University of San Francisco in 2014. As stated on the university’s website, “Check Your Privilege” was “a campus wide social marketing campaign…implemented to raise student, faculty, and staff awareness around social inequalities and privilege.” Why was this campaign needed? Because:
We live in a society that is often oppressive to certain groups of people. However, we all carry particular types of privilege(s) that allow us to advocate for social justice and change in various situations. This campaign seeks to begin the discussion around privilege and social inequalities in an effort to raise critical awareness of the institutional oppression often seen in the United States of America.
The highlight of the campaign was a set of posters showing the types of alleged privilege in the United States that were to be distributed around the University of San Francisco; the campaign also said that other colleges and universities could make use of the posters as well.
“If you are confident that the police exist to protect you, you have white male privilege” said one poster. Another poster proclaimed: “If you can expect time off to celebrate your religious holidays, you have Christian privilege.” The able-bodied were privileged as well: “If you don’t have to worry about how to get up Lone Mountain [in San Francisco], you have able-bodied privilege.” And don’t forget class privilege: “If while growing up, college was an expectation of you, not a lofty dream, you have class privilege.”
Heterosexuals are so privileged that they were the subject of two posters. The first one said: “If you cannot be legally fired from work because of your perceived sexuality, you have heterosexual privilege.” The second declared: “If you used public bathrooms without stares, fear or anxiety, you have cisgender [i.e., heterosexual] privilege.”
A final poster made it easy to determine if you have privilege: “If you don’t have to think about it, it’s a privilege.”
So that you would always be reminded of who was evil, at the bottom of each poster was a list of the groups that the campaign considered privileged (and a check mark next to the particular group a poster was highlighting). Surprise, surprise, the groups were: White, Male, Class, Christian, Cisgender, Able-Bodied, Heterosexual.
T-shirts were also given out to students with an almost identical listing of groups (educational privilege was an added group); students were told to put a check mark next to each privileged group they belonged to. As the campaign said: “Yes, the majority of students at USF have some type of privilege. That is why for every student who picked up a shirt, Educational Privilege was already checked off. However, there are a lot of students at USF who were only able to check off 1-2 additional privileges on their own.”
If you think the campaign was stigmatizing anyone, don’t worry. The campaign assured us that it was not designed to offend anyone:
We do not seek to offend anyone with the posters or make anyone feel bad for holding any level of privilege. The hope is that individuals who see the posters will take a moment and reflect on their identities and the ways in which they can use their respective privileges to advocate for others. When we think about social change, one must be open to the idea of thinking beyond their own world view. We must all consciously consider, with an open heart and mind, the ways in which we move about the world.
This lunacy would not have been too bad if it just stayed within the walls of the University of San Francisco and other radical colleges that used the posters. Unfortunately, such is not the case. At least one school district in California, the Desert Sands Unified School District in La Quinta, has based its own privilege campaign on the “Check Your Privilege” one. As reported in the Daily Signal, teachers of Advanced Placement English at La Quinta High School were teaching students about “Systems, Power and Privilege” using materials from the “Check Your Privilege” campaign. Parents learned about the school’s privilege campaign when they looked at the online lesson plans for the class and saw they contained snapshots of posters from “Check Your Privilege.”
After parents complained about the curriculum, the school district said it was taking “corrective” action. As reported by the Daily Signal:
Following requests for comment from The Daily Signal, Desert Sands Unified School District public information officer Mary Perry said “the lesson was not in alignment with the district-adopted curriculum” and “actions are being taken to rectify the situation.” “The teacher was operating outside the scope of [the] adopted curriculum and had potentially presented a biased position,” Perry said. “Corrective action is underway.”
While it is laudable that the school district is taking action, it is still troubling that insanity from the university has ended up trickling down to a local school district. But that is the problem: what is created in the university does not stay in the university. Multi-culturalism, political correctness, and critical theory (on which the “Check Your Privilege” is based) have all infiltrated society from the university.
The lesson for all of us is clear: the next time we learn about crazy ideas being spawned in our universities, we cannot just laugh and shrug our shoulders. No, we must actively engage and show the falsity of such ideas before they become entrenched at our universities. If we fail to do this, we will have more cases like the one in La Quinta.