Don’t think white privilege exists? These reactions to the Scripps National Spelling Bee winners will fix that.

In the video above, professional A-hole-masquerading-as-journalist Tucker Carlson can barely hold back the tears of admiration as Army Colonel Kurt Schlicter talks about his recent article on, I Checked My Privilege and It’s Doing Just Fine. It’s an excellent example of whitesplaining and complete self-unawareness that opens with a paragraph that’s so slanted, it’s damned near vertical:

Liberals have a new word for what normal people call “success.” They call it “privilege,” as if a happy, prosperous life is the result of some magic process related to where your great-great-great-grandfather came from.

The thesis of his article is summed up in a single line:

“What you call ‘privilege’ is just me being better than you.”

It’s hard work, he says, and not his ethnic background, that put him where he is today. And he’s right: hard work is a key element in success. But whether that success is recognized as such is dependent on more than hard work.

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The 2014 edition of the Scripps National Spelling Bee made history for that fact that for the first time in its 52-year history, it ended in a tie between two winners, Sriram Hathwar, 14, of Painted Post, New York and Ansun Sujoe, 13, of Fort Worth, Texas. They’d nearly gone through all of the 25 designated words to spell in the championship round before it was declared a draw.

The co-winners have solid academic track records:

“It’s about character and achievement,” Colonel Schlicter says in his argument for the non-existence of white privilege, and Sriram and Ansun have both in great quantity. They rose to the top for a pool of 11 million students who participate in school bees, who are then whittled down to 281 competitors from all 50 states, a handful of U.S. territories, and even seven other countries. You can’t even hope to qualify if you don’t have a voracious appetite for reading, and succeeding in the Bee requires a lot of practice, memorization, and learning about other languages so that if you’re given a word that you’ve never seen before, you can ratiocinate its spelling, a Brobdingnagian task given that the English language is a salmagundi (see what I did there?).

To borrow Colonel Schlicter’s line: they won by being better than you. And that’s how you’re supposed to win.

Many people had a problem with their victory, however, and took to social media to express their great displeasure:

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If you really have to see more, Jeff Chu’s done an excellent job rounding up comments like these on a page called A-M-E-R-I-C-A-N.

Lest there be any doubt, these kids are American. The article doesn’t say whether they were born here or not, but even if they weren’t, they’ve likely lived most of their lives in the U.S., go to top American schools, and have assimilated enough into the culture to participate in uniquely American things like spelling bees. They’re great examples of the American dream, where it’s not your background that makes you, but hard work and determination, whether it’s hitting the books, the gym, or the pavement. That simple ideal is the greatest thing about American culture. It’s why most of us come here.

Those complaints are white privilege in action.

The reason that some people don’t believe white privilege exists is that to them, it doesn’t look like privilege. “Nobody’s held a ceremony in my honor, I don’t get bumped to the front of the line at the movies or nightclubs, and I don’t collect a six- or seven-figure paycheck, so I don’t see any privilege here”.

In the case of white privilege, the privilege is in the tiny things that many people take for granted that many of us, at one point or another, are denied. This includes simply having your perfectly by-the-rules, merit-based, did-better-than-everyone-else victory recognized instead of having it trashed on account of your not being white. It’s about never having to have your American-ness doubted or dismissed because you can pass for someone whose ancestors were on the Mayflower. It’s about automatically belonging based on, to quote Colonel Schlicter, “where your great-great-great-grandfather came from”.

It makes me want to file for American citizenship, just to spite those guys.

Yours Truly during my move to Tampa, and yes, I own that jacket.

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