I really believe Privilege 614 is well-intentioned. Any word in its title other than Privilege and this thing would have blown over as some rich kids having a party and photo blog.
Instead, yesterday there was a viral outrage by another sect of young professionals in Columbus who found fault in its seemingly discriminatory principles. A lot of memes and hashtags and namecalling has come from that anger at Privilege 614, and I want to use this post to describe some of where I think it is coming from.
The memes are funny, but the vast divide between one group’s outrage over the word Privilege and one group’s admiration of the word Privilege is really, really fascinating and something I think we should talk about on not just a local level, but a national one.
I don’t think it has gone unnoticed, either, that judging by the photos many of the people at this party were African Americans and many of the people who reacted negatively were Caucasian. Does that mean anything? I don’t know.
To start the discussion though, here’s why one side of young Columbus was mad yesterday:
Poor person outrage
White guilt/ Liberal outrage
Oy. I don’t think exclusivity has ever or will ever work in young Columbus (ie. The Social, Bar L’etranger). We have chosen not to live in New York for a reason. We have pretension here, certainly, but I think the majority of the young crowd here holds dearly, bless us, a midwestern ideal that country club memberships are not nearly as credible as a man/woman who earns what he/she has by his/her own merit. We don’t like politics and we don’t want to play them. We’re talking about what, on its most base level, looks like rich kids of high school versus the kids who got their Calvin Klein tees at Salvation Army. Exclusion also reminds us of our religious small town upbringing (Ohio!) that rejected people immediately for one aspect of their person hood. I think the reaction to Privilege 614 made its exclusivity more nasty than its founders ever intended it to be (anyone can go to their parties), but it’s, again, the glorification of something that has hurt so many people in the past that feels ignorant.
Edit: A good friend of mine made this comment on Facebook that I think is really interesting too and something to consider before the outrage takes over:
“* I think that the creators of this event are young and didn’t give much thought to how weighted that word is in some circles (which is itself a topic of discussion/knowing that it is a weighted word is itself perhaps a sign of some “privilege”)”