Monday, July 31, 2017

Be Woke, Kids: Cognitive Privilege Is Neither A Problem Or A Thing

I try and browse through a wide spectrum of news sites and blogs for information and I'm pretty non-discriminatory when it comes to which side of the political equation they land on. Sometimes I go to the right, sometimes I go to the left, I think the truth usually lies somewhere in the middle on most things and it's a practice that has worked well for me thus far.

But whenever the University of Iowa, Iowa City or (in this case) The Daily Iowan start popping up on the right side of the blogosphere, I usually brace myself for an onslaught of stupid and happily, the Daily Iowan is always ready to provide.

Yes, "cognitive privilege" is now a thing. 

Look, I'm no neckbeard who gets all '"Durrrrr, Liberal, Commie Pinko, SJW snowflake" about these things. White privilege, to me, is just a fancy way of saying: "don't judge someone until you've walked a mile in their shoes." I've never been pulled over because of the color of my skin. I've never been followed in a Department store because of the color of skin. I've never been afraid to walk to my car or walk home because of my gender or have to be worried about holding the hand of my partner in public because of my sexual orientation.

TL;DR for a lot of this "privilege" talk can be summed up easily: a. Think before you speak. b. Listen. (Like really listen to a person.) and c. Don't judge someone until you've walked a mile in their shoes.

I can't think of too many people that would object to the three step process I've outlined above- but The Left seems to insist on smothering basic human decency with academic jargon that just makes regular people who don't speak that language roll their eyes and ignore them. It's the same with sexual fluidity. I watched like a twenty minute segment The View did on sexual fluidity the other day and it both fascinated me and annoyed me all at the same time. I honestly don't care what's between anyone's legs, who they love, who they marry or whatever lifestyle they lead. I won't say I understand impulse to categorize every possible permutation of lifestyle out there either, but if you want to be a homo-romantic pansexual human that identifies as female and uses 'they' as your pronoun, then you do you, friend. That just seems exhausting to me, but if it doesn't to you, then who the hell am I to judge? Just give me the 4-1-1 up front and we'll be totally fine.

But "cognitive privilege" is some bullshit I have to draw the line on. First of all, it assumes that intelligence = success. That shit ain't true at all. You just have to step off campus in Iowa City and you can find plenty of people with advanced degrees who are doing all kinds of jobs they are spectacularly over qualified for. Second, it denigrates intelligence. ("Consequently, you have nothing to be proud of for being smart.") This is the message we want to send to our children now? "You're smart- but that's nothing to be proud of." Fuck this guy and his academic bullshit and fuck this message for our children. If you're smart, be damn proud of that. Work your ass off and do something with it- and maybe then with a little bit of luck, you'll build yourself a successful life.

What this academic-ese missed was the true marker of success: in America today, it's your socio-economic status and to a lesser degree, where you live that puts you on the fast track for success. For all the grief that David Brooks got for his now infamous salami column, a lot of it was absolutely dead on the money. If you're born into the middle class, you're more likely to stay there. If both your parents had a college education, you're more likely to get one. If you're not born into the middle class or your parents didn't have a college education, social mobility is looking harder and harder with every passing year for you. (And all of this is assuming you're a straight white male. The degree of difficulty would advance a notch or five if you're a woman or a person of color.)

Be woke, kids. Let's consign "cognitive privilege" to the academic dustbin that it belongs in and go out and build some barricades and do something about class and geographic privilege in America today. Because they're the biggest markers for success in America today- and it doesn't matter a damn how smart you are.

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