Phoebe Maltz Bovey: Check Your Privilege-Checking

March 28, 2017

Host: Lindsay Beyerstein

Often when we talk about privilege, we’re referring to the systemic advantages some groups of people have over others, by virtue of their race, gender, or orientation. Having social awareness of privilege like this is an important part of fostering a more equal and inclusive society. Why then do people who value inclusiveness feel insulted when their own privilege is pointed out? Writer and editor Phoebe Maltz Bovey joins us to discus her new book, The Perils of “Privilege”: Why Injustice Can’t be Solved by Accusing Others of Advantage.

Bovey explains that while “privilege” is meant to illustrate advantages placed on us by societal injustice, the word also has undertones suggesting economic wealth and a life free of hardship. She asserts that for this reason using the word provokes a lot of confusion and outrage. Bovey believes that because very few people’s lives are without hardship, being told they are privileged can be counterproductive.

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