CONCLUSION: RESISTING PRIVILEGES
In some ways, the "identity privilege" lists in this essay represent the very early stages in a complicated process of dismantling male heterosexual privilege. The lists reveal that our identity privileges are legitimized through the personal choices we make everyday. All of us make choices that facilitate discriminatory practices. Many of us get married and/or go to weddings, notwithstanding that gay marriages are unrecognized. Others of us have racially monolithic social encounters, live in white only (or predominantly white) neighborhoods, and send our kids to white only (or predominantly white) schools; still others of us have "straight only" associations. These choices are not just personal, they are political as well. And the cumulative effect of these micro-political choices is the entrenchment of the very social practices—racism, sexism, classism, and homophobia—we profess to abhor.93
My purpose in constructing the "identity privilege" lists is to suggest that identity privilege should be self-referentially contested. We have to remake ourselves if we are to remake our institutions. We cannot hope to institutionalize our political commitments unless we localize our politics. Joining a de facto white only country club and challenging the politics of racial segregation won’t do. The former helps to facilitate the latter.
The value of conceptualizing privilege micro-politically is that it forces all of us to think about the extent to which, on a very personal level, we are "unjustly enriched" because of certain aspects of our identities. If we observe and come to terms with the "unjustly enriched" aspects of our personal lives, we are more likely to take notice of the ways in which unjust enrichment operates systemically.
Of course, there are material costs incidental to the repudiation of personal privileges. People have little incentive to see themselves as unjustly enriched, for that carries with it the possibility of disgorgement. And what would it mean to resist privilege anyway? With respect to gay marriages, for example, does resistance to heterosexual privilege require heterosexuals to refrain from getting married and/or attending weddings? This essay does not explore these hard issues. I leave to others the task of theorizing about the various forms that critical resistance to identity privileges might take.