The Daily Iowan revealed the discovery of this new privilege earlier this week.
Garden-variety white privilege “is an important topic that deserves a public discussion,” the op-ed on “cognitive privilege” explains, but it is also “prudent to at least mention the wider concept contained therein: that of privilege itself.”
Privilege in general is “the receipt of certain benefits wholly through accident of birth and it is “undeniable that privilege itself is a reality,” the student newspaper explains.
As with skin color and much else, Daily Iowan author Dan Williams argues, people have no control over how smart they are. Life is a huge cosmic lottery full of winners and losers.
Cognitive privilege is one of “many kinds of privilege besides white privilege.”
Also, Williams declares, robots will wipe out manual labor jobs but will somehow not affect jobs available to members of a special cognitive elite.
“Thus, the accident of having been born smart enough to be able to be successful is a great benefit that you did absolutely nothing to earn. Consequently, you have nothing to be proud of for being smart.”
Williams believes that America will be better able to discuss “white privilege” and the “temperature-rising topic of racial privilege” if it is able to admit the existence of “cognitive privilege.”
Don’t worry, though. “The purpose” here “is not to instill a sort of Catholic guilt in someone’s psyche.”
“The purpose of pointing out someone’s privilege is to remind them of the infinite number of experiences that are possible and the very large number of experiences that are actual that they know very little about.” (Williams does not say how he has obtained his special knowledge in this regard.)
“Feelings of guilt are natural when coming to consciousness of one’s place in the scheme of things — and noticing that one has been conferred benefits through sheer accident — but guilt is an impediment to social-justice action, not a motivator (guilt slides easily into resentment),” the author writes.
“We can debate whether ‘whiteness’ is a sort of ‘master privilege’ that overrules all others.”
The concept of “white privilege” was popularized in academic circles by a 1987 essay entitled “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack.” The author was Peggy McIntosh, an inconsequential white feminist.