Now, I understand why some people didn’t like having the phrase shoved in their faces. Even if you accept that you benefit from structural discrimination, there is still an authoritarian tone to the meme. “Check your privilege” – or else, what? An implied threat lingers over the words.
The phrase may rankle when it comes from the outside (from a rainbow haired twit denouncing your Chinese tattoo as worse than the Rape of Nanking), but it can be a very positive thing when it comes from the inside.
Once you come to realize that "Check your privilege" can be a step on the road to "know thyself" it starts to feel less of an imposition. Know how the world sees you, and that it would treat you differently if you looked differently. In this positive sense, it is a call for self-awareness and humility, not to hate yourself for being white, male, CIS, or whatever.
But life is nothing without balance. For every angel, there is a devil; for every proton, an electron. While “Check your privilege” can be a good thing, it must have its necessary counter-balance.
Which takes us to “Calibrate your rage.”
|Uncalibrated rages may result in nuclear explosions|
We live in a perpetually outraged society; a world where every man is a rapist and every woman is a gold digger. A world where every immigrant is a potential terrorist and every gun owner a potential spree-killer. I know people that get more angry about white people wearing kimonos than the South East Asian sex trade.
|"Stop appropriating your own culture!"|
Take a moment to calibrate your rage today. When you find yourself boiling over with righteous indignation about a shitlord who microaggressed you on Tumblr, go read a few pages of Mein Kampf. Heck, go read a few pages of The Turner Diaries. Expose yourself to someone who literally wants to swing you from a lamppost, and then reconsider if that asshole on Tumblr is still worth getting upset over.
|Suddenly, I'm not as angry about the cultural appropriation of Hip-Hop|
It’s good to get angry, sometimes. Angry gets shit done. But when we live in a state of perpetual hyper-sensitized outrage, angry can get too much shit done. It gets shit done that should not be done. It encourages us to do more evil than we would if we just took a step back, and understood that this was not the hill to kill and die on.
If you calibrate your rage today, I guarantee that the worst thing that will happen is that you will be less angry about things that do not matter. If the person pissing you off is doing something that is actually evil, putting it into context will only remove any lingering doubts you may have. And then, you can hit back twice as hard.
So take a breath. Look at the big picture. Calibrate your rage.