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Thursday April 9th, 2015

Are you privileged? Do you enjoy talking about it every chance you get? Then you’ll love Montreal promoter Ivan Ivanov’s “Privilege Parties”, a series of raves where white people get together to complain about privilege. “We’re changing the world by talking about ourselves” says Ivan. “Instead of dancing to EDM, we dance to the sound of oppression that emanates from the very fibre of our beings as white people. It’s a cathartic experience. At a privilege party, the mantra is: you were born into a racist, sexist social system that you have no control over -- and it’s all your fault. John Calvin is our DJ and Andrea Dworkin is our bouncer. It’s the most fun you’ll have hating yourself!"

19 year old Dawson student Emily Wintersnap says that Privilege Parties have opened her eyes to the pleasures of self-loathing. “Right now, pretending you care about oppression is really in,” says Emily. “It’s huge. That’s why multimillion dollar corporations like Vox Media and Vice are so gung-ho about privilege and oppression. Talking about privilege lets everyone know that you’re part of the in-crowd. You don’t see many working class people talking about it, and that’s the point. When you tell people that you care about privilege, what you’re really saying is that you have high social status and you look down on those who don’t. Our self-criticism is really just a bit of kabuki theatre that masks our vanity and pride. It’s all for show."

Vanity and pride are the heart and soul and privilege parties, says Ivan. “Do you think a bunch of wealthy white university graduates would be so obsessed with talking about privilege if they didn’t benefit from the discussion?” asks Ivan. “If you think their interest in social justice stems from compassion and empathy, you are adorably naive. The brilliant thing about my parties is that they make the self-serving nature of prattling on about privilege explicit. There’s no beating around the bush. We celebrate the venality, the posturing, the whole fakery of it all! We care about privilege because caring about privilege advertises how much power we have over other people. It’s like complaining about having too much money. It’s a very satisfying form of conspicuous consumption."

Emily compares Privilege Parties to BDSM without the sex. “It really is all about power,” says Emily. “When you tell someone about how privileged you are, it’s a way of showing off, a way of letting them know you’re better than they are, and that’s a lot of fun."

Ivan says his privilege parties aren’t just about dancing to the sound of oppression. “We also have a juice bar,” says Ivan. “Come for the privilege, stay for our delicious beverages made with fair trade cashew milk and premium organic fruit."
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