On Privilege

I read an article highlighting the white privilege of Bernie attending the inaguration in a warm coat and warm mittens. This is a case where “privilege” means “recipient of general courtesy that should be extended to anyone”. Someone less “old white dude” shows up, they’re gonna get hassled over their attire. But I have trouble identifying the fact someone is able to wear warm, comfortable clothing to an event as the problem.
I’ve gone to operas, ballet performances, symphonies, plays, and Michelin rated restaurants wearing a warm coat and boots (carrying dress shoes in a waterproof handbag, not for the fashion statement as a “don’t trek muddy snow melt all over the joint” courtesy). The cloakroom attendant keeps my warm coat and bag of wintery boots. Is that privilege? Sure, in the same way that letting Bernie sit in the audience without haute couture displays his privilege. Do I need to be aware that I’m fortunate not to get hassled at the door? Sure. Do I need to be aware that I’m fortunate, when playing with my daughter in a park, to know the cop who cruises by to check on us really is just saying hi? Sure. But the *problem* is when some non-white non-dude human does the same thing, they should be treated the same way — anyone with a valid ticket should be cheerfully greeted like they belong there — because they *do* belong there.
Point out how privilege manifests itself, advocate for changes that extend such courtesy to everyone, and ensure you treat everyone equitably.

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