If you are, at any point, unsure what race or gender you are, or which way you sexually swing, go to a university debate. About anything. Doesn’t matter if you’re taking about gender relations or Gaza, sooner or later you’ll have your privilege, or lack thereof, checked for you.
Speaking on a panel in Oxford this week, as part of spiked’s ongoing Down With Campus Censorship! tour, it wasn’t long before I heard the immortal non-rebuttal: ‘Well, that’s all very well for you to say, as a white-cis-heterosexual male.’ In Edinburgh the following night, we didn’t even have to wait to go out for questions before I was reminded of both the colour of my skin and the contents of my pants by one of my white-cis-heterosexual female opponents in the course of her opening remarks. For the rest of the evening, ‘speaking as a [insert multi-hyphenate identity here]…’ was, naturally, the preface to almost every audience contribution.
Privilege-checking has become a source of mockery for students who actually retain one foot in reality.