If you’re a white male professor at Berkley and you’re writing about the political implications of “douchebag” while labeling some on the political right as douchebags and some on the left as not-douchebags, then you are a douchebag. I.e., the author of this article is a douchebag.
The problem with all of the terms/critiques that the political left tries to employ in bringing about egalitarianism is that each one is self-referential; for nearly every proponent of PC/opponent of inequality and discrimination and so on is him or herself white, educated, middle class, privileged. In other words, when you critique the very things you are, you don’t come across as self-aware or humble or compassionate, but rather as extremely self-righteous or hypocritical. So instead of furthering your case you hinder it, for we humans find little else so repulsive as self-righteousness and hypocrisy.
I’m aware of the objections to what I’m saying — that it’s only the privileged who have voice in our culture, and that’s why mostly white academics are heard; that there are minorities who make great arguments against systemic inequality but they’re few in number, because, naturally, systemic inequality. In other words, people on the left acknowledge that the left’s politicizing and moralizing in search of equality can be really annoying and self-righteous and even collaterally divisive, yet they see it as necessary because the less privileged can’t do it and someone must. So we will, they must reason, the ones with voice and money and white skin and college degrees, dammit, because we care about the less privileged people in this world.
Can you see why the movement only makes headway in its own circles?
There’s another problem with the whole anti-privilege movement in that it has set itself up to be impervious to critique. For example, I’ve right now rendered myself a douchebag for critiquing another douchebag’s argument against douchebags. I’m a heterosexual white male with a college degree, and the left has constructed all kinds of narratives to explain why someone like me would resist their critiques of privilege or inequality. You’re likely familiar with these narratives and they suggest that I’d only critique such arguments in order to greedily preserve white privilege and patriarchy.
Alas, the wheel goes ‘round.
Now, the author of this article at least tries to make a distinction — that it’s how one *uses* his white male privilege that determines whether he is a douchebag or not. But if we believe the left’s arguments about systemic privilege and patriarchy then we must accept that a white male’s givenness — his skin color and gender — ALWAYS work to his advantage, and unfairly so, even if he would prefer they didn’t. Consequently, all white heterosexual males are douchebags, not just those who visibly capitalize on their white maleness.
To put it clearly, if you belong to the caste of douchebags yet try to exempt yourself because your ethical framework differs (never mind that you share all the other traits), then you are the greater douchebag.
Call me a douchebag.