Who Has Privilege?

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To put it mildly, Adam Carolla didn’t grow up with privilege. He doesn’t even know how to spell it. So where did the current obsession with privilege come from? And how do we get over it?

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Privilege…what's the obsession with privilege? It's driving me nuts! Not only didn't I have privilege, I don't even know how to spell it. (I think there's a ‘d’ in there somewhere, isn't there?) 

If I told you a story about a kid who grew up poor, product of divorce, did a lot of dumpster diving, sister ran away at age 14, welfare and food stamps…if I told you that kid was black, you'd go, “Well, yeah, that's because of systemic racism.” But if I told you that kid was me, you'd go, “Whaaaaat? What are we doing? What happened to your privilege?”

The real white privilege isn't privilege: It's knowing that nobody cares about you, good or bad. No one's gonna do anything for you because you're white and no one's going to do anything against you because you're white. I'll give you an example. When I get pulled over by a cop, I assume it's either because I was speeding or the cop’s an over-officious jerk. But either way, my skin color doesn't play in. If I was black, I'm assuming that it was “driving while black,” or that he was profiling me. 

Let me give you another example of the white privilege I’m talking about—the privilege of not obsessing over privilege. I had a neighbor call the police on me during the day—during the middle of the week, when I was doing a construction project—because our phone lines got crossed. So I picked up the phone to call Anawalt Lumber. My neighbor picked up the phone. I said, “Oh, sorry. I think our lines got crossed somehow.” Next thing I know, a police cruiser rolled up to my home.
Now, if I was black, I would have no choice but to think that was racially motivated. I mean, why else would your neighbor call the cops on you because your phone lines got crossed—unless, in fact, you're black? And as a matter of fact, I'm not even black and I think it was a racist incident.

Do you get it? Whites do have privilege, but not the privilege the race hustlers are selling.
I don't think people really drill down enough on this. I've had horrible things happen to me my entire life. I've had school teachers and counselors that were horrible. I've had construction foremen who treated me like crap. I've had program directors who treated me like crap. And the good news is, is I'm white, so I just know they're a-holes, not racist.

Why do we want anyone worrying about someone else’s privilege? Who cares? This is America. You make your own breaks. Anyway, isn’t the goal not to judge a person by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character? I think I heard that somewhere. What's the guy's name—Marty? Anyway, privilege means you have it better than most, not that you have it better than some.

How about tall people? Tall people have an advantage over short people. Thin people have an advantage over fat people. Attractive people—you're welcome—have an advantage over the homely. There are always gonna be people lower than you on the totem pole, no matter what color your skin is. Wait a minute—are we allowed to say totem pole? I feel like that's racist.
Every minority person living in the United States in 2021 is doing better than people living in the Congo, Bangladesh, or many other places around the world. And if you don't believe me, then why are they all trying to get here? Do the math. We're a systemically racist country that people are trying to kill themselves—they're literally risking their lives—trying to get into the systemically racist country. Let's just say this country was a facility, and the facility was systemically racist. And every year, people died trying to hop the fence and climb the wall to get into the facility. People of color? Would that make sense?

The great news is, is that if you're willing to bust your hump, there's no better country to do it in. So maybe we should stop obsessing on skin color or gender or sexual proclivities and get on with the hump-busting.

You know what would fix all this nonsense? A little gratitude. You got up this morning, you put your shoes on, your fridge was full, you hugged your kids, you said goodbye to your wife, you said hello to your girlfriend. Gratitude for living in the best country in the world, at the best time to live in the best country in the world. Whatever your skin color is, there's no better country than the United States to call your home.

I'm Adam Carolla for Prager University.

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