"I know what racial oppression feels like... my ancestors were Irish." "Assuming I have male privilege.... is sexist." If you missed out on the short-lived but prolific Tumblr page of Privilege Denying Dude (a series of images that used a stock photo of a white dude sandwiched with all-too-familiar privilege-denying text, like that seen here)—you missed the beginning of a genius appropriation of a popular meme (or internet trend) that shoveled smarm back in the face of the privileged cluelessness that litters YouTube and social-justice blog comment threads alike (not to mention IRL). What started as a simple trend went viral, with thousands of submissions (all with their own unique manifestation of privilege!) coming in . But due to a terms of violation with the image used, Tumblr shut down the site last Friday.
Channing Kennedy at Colorlines spoke with PPD's creator, Diana Lopez, about the trajectory of PPD's run on Tumblr. There were the highs ("People asked why PDD saying a certain something was bad, and boom, extensive discussion [followed]. It was great."), the lows ("Straight white men [were] specifically displeased, speaking out about [the joke being on them], and demanding results. They felt entitled to their space, the Web.")—and ultimately its official end (but according to Lopez's Tumblr, something else will be back up soon).
But internet memes are harder to kill than Justin Timberlake's dream of an acting career. And like the advice dog/courage wolf meme that spawned it, memes don't listen to the laws of copyright, and you can make your own PPD (new stock dude included!) at memegenerator.net.
And Ryan Gosling (the new face of Privilege Denying Dude) is only the start of what will hopefully transform into other meta-memes. After all, cocky white guys aren't the only ones out there with privilege, and commenters have already come up with several follow-up memes including Nice Guy (TM), the The De-Rail-Inator, and Big-Picture Bro on on Garland Grey's recent post on PDD on Tigerbeatdown.
And now, your moment of zen from Lopez:
The Internet could help [people unfamiliar with the concept of privilege] see others' oppression—and I don't mean oppression from across the country expressed in a blog post. But rather mistreatment close to them they always knew was 'off,' but didn't know was systemic oppression. For example, a family member with a disability having trouble finding work. I hope with all my heart that something clicks for all of them so that we become allies.