Talk:privilege

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Question: while a specific sense is listed for legal usage which regard to evidence, there are other legal uses that do not involve evidence...should we assume these are covered by sense #1 (the general sense)?--71.111.229.19 10:02, 11 June 2010 (UTC)

RFC discussion: May 2015[edit]

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privilege

1 A particular benefit, advantage, or favor []

2 Challenged sense: The status or existence of such benefit or advantage.

In order to advance racial equality in the United States, what we've got to do is reduce white privilege.

This is a particularly significant word in the US these days. I don't understand this definition, possibly because I have basked in white privilege for so long myself, but also possibly because it is badly worded. Is this redundant, being an insignificantly distinct aspect of definition one? It does not seem substitutable in the usage example, which is a first, but not conclusive, test of poor wording. Urban Dictionary has a colorfully worded definition, not favored by their users: "The sweet end of the inequality stick." DCDuring TALK 16:58, 18 May 2015 (UTC)

I'd say one significant difference between sense 1 and the "white privilege" sense is that the former is countable and the latter is uncountable. It's a privilege to attend Harvard, but maybe you only got in because of privilege. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 18:22, 18 May 2015 (UTC)
Good point. But I'll have to let this stew for a while before I tackle it. If someone else wants to take a run at it, please do. DCDuring TALK 18:58, 18 May 2015 (UTC)
The semantic difference is that "privilege" (mass noun) is supposed to be an institutional thing that you are born with, due to your skin colour, or gender, or what not; whereas "a privilege" might just be a temporary thing like being allowed to sing at karaoke night. Equinox 22:00, 18 May 2015 (UTC)
The semantic difference (institutional/long-term vs. more particular/short-term) doesn't seem to correspond to the difference between countability and uncountability. The privilege of Englishmen and the privileges of Englishmen.
Perhaps a simple rewording as "The state or condition of being privileged or having privileges" is sufficient. DCDuring TALK 00:15, 19 May 2015 (UTC)
  • I rewrote it slightly and expanded the entry in general, agreeing with most of the comments above. Ƿidsiþ 12:58, 20 May 2015 (UTC)