Uh hey, my name is Chuck Grankowski…you might know me as Grimy Chuck down on the corner of 30th and Maple with that cardboard sign that says “ANYTHING HELPS GODBLESS.” Listen, uh, I don’t mean to be impatient or anything, but when do I get to live in a house again? I’ve been doing the whole “homeless” thing for about twenty years now, and…well…I mean, I’m white, you know? And a guy. And basically straight too (I don’t count the stuff in that I do behind that dumpster in the alley between Birch and MLK Boulevard. A man’s gotta get his Vicodin one way or another). So yeah, I’ve pretty much got the whole trifecta of privilege. But, I can’t figure out how to activate my privilege, which is why things are still pretty much shit around here.
I’m not even really sure how this whole process works. I mean, I only learned about all of this “privilege” stuff this week. See, there’s this McDonald’s that I hang out outside of so the people coming out will feel bad for me and give me their leftovers. Sometimes college kids will stop and talk to me too, but four days ago, one of them actually stopped to explain to me why she wouldn’t give me anything. This girl—purple hair, cat-eye glasses, shaved on one side of her head, frowns a lot; you know the type—told me that it isn’t right for me to ask for food, since I already have something called “white cis male heterosexual privilege.”
According to her, privilege is this invisible phenomenon that influences every action and interaction that a person experiences and determines what kind of life that person can have. She said that as a white straight man, I have no business trying to take handouts, since my entire life is one big handout. So yeah, privilege is basically just another word for The Force, I guess, and since I’m a white guy who likes to have sex with women, apparently I’m the most powerful kind of Jedi there is!
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That purple girl opened my eyes to an entirely different way of life. Suddenly, everything has become so much clearer; the only reason things have been so bad is because I haven’t been using my white guy powers! God, it all makes so much sense now. Bill Gates didn’t get rich by being smart or talented; he just used white man magic to become a billionaire. Once I start using my own, the world is gonna be my oyster. No more sleeping on cardboard and getting crapped on by stray dogs for this straight white guy!
Still, as awesome as white male privilege sounds, I can’t figure out how to turn on the goddamn thing. I’ve been having sex with crackwhores and hiding in dumpsters to stay out of the sun for the last three days, but no matter how straight and how white I get, nothing seems to be changing. I think I’m supposed to “check” something in order to activate my white guy powers, but I never learned how; the purple girl kept yelling “check your privilege” at me when I asked for the rest of her french fries, but I have no idea what the hell that means. It must be one of those things that your dad is supposed to teach you, like shaving or how to catch a ball, but mine left when I was six to go buy a pack of smokes and never came back.
Any advice that you straight white guys out there can offer me would be appreciated. Is there a privilege brochure or something that I can pick up at the free clinic? I’d really like to get my privilege checked as soon as possible, ‘cause I’ve got some unused scratch tickets that I’m kind of banking on to keep my bookie from breaking my knees…again. I don’t want to take a coin to those bad boys until my privilege batteries are running on a full charge.