In his song “American Privilege,” Allen Stone challenges Americans way of life and the privilege we have simply by being American. The song specifically targets white Americans and their mounting privilege– whether it is realized or unrealized. Stone has a particular fixation throughout the song on consumerism, and how Americans waste and expend their money with little thought.
Oh, it doesn’t seem right
That I – I was born white
And my parents don’t fight
Told me they love me each night
Stone begins his song by discussing his innate privilege as a white American. He describes that he had happy, married parents who were supportive of him. For many Americans, this is a reality for them because they were born with these privileges. Stone goes on to give more examples of American privilege.
I don’t lose sleep for kids sewing my sheets
Or the ones stitching my sneaks
As long as I can buy ’em both cheap
Stone then goes on to expand on his idea of American privilege by criticizing many Americans ideal of consumerism. He attacks Americans for not caring how their materials were made, who made them, or the conditions they were made in as long as they don’t have to pay a lot of money to get them. In both of these stanzas, Stone is taking things that many Americans take for granted and making them think about what those things truly mean about them and their privilege. His articulation of how easy his (and other Americans) life is compared to others provides an introspective opinion that would make many Americans think twice about their privilege.
American privilege is blurring my vision
Although short, I think the chorus of this song is incredibly powerful. Stone is saying that although many Americans enjoy their lives and the privilege that comes with it, he believes the privilege Americans have to be a sickness. In a haze of his privilege, Stone is struggling to make the right decisions in light of his privilege. I think this is true for many Americans. They are blurred by privilege they often don’t know they have, so they inherit a disease most Americans have.
Overall, I believe this song to be poetry. I think Stone eloquently puts into perspective American privilege in a way that is presentable and not overbearing to Americans. By constantly using “I,” Stone does not place the blame on us as listeners, making us more willing to listen to what it has to the important, reflective, and necessary messages it has. .