It is entirely possible…

Posted: January 17, 2010 in Uncategorized

I will have to test out my upper body workout/chain gun theory the next time some random internet feminist decides to decide (you know, using her psychic powers and all) that I apparently have all this “privilege”…

I mean, let’s roll with that for a second…me and my vast heaping amounts of privilege…

-Okay, yep, white (or white enough that no one would ever really guess otherwise without really, really looking)

-College educated.

-Hey, in today’s world…I have a roof over my head, food on my table, and a working (12 year old economy) car.

-Er, I’m thin.

Woohoo f uck yeah I am just rollin’ in it, right????  I mean, obviously WAY more privileged than all those net feminists, right?  I mean, I am sure none of them are white, or have degrees, or a place to live and a car, or are thin, right?  I mean, one could say I have some sort of “healthy privilege”, but nah…neck/needles and my whole antisocial thing sorta messes with that.  They could and have tried class privilege…but hahahahaah NO!  I don’t have that at all!  I’m not now nor have I ever been for any more than fleeting moments anything other than working class or….less.  The “oh, well, you went to college” thing sorta falls flat when gee, I fucking paid for it and worked the entire time I was there, and oh yeah, even more in summers when I was off, and am STILL paying off lones.  Let’s put it this way- any one who has a mommy and or daddy that paid for shit for them as far as higher education or study trips abroad or even extra things like band or sports in highschool can kiss my ass… sure I played sports in highschool…I also worked nights and weekends and all that stuff to pay for it myself.  Not baby sitting either, but you know…a job. 

Seriously, when assholes call me privileged, I really want to say “Oh, lets see your notes and checks on that one too, then you can talk to me…”  I mean, okay, they are probably women…oddly enough, me too…lets move on from there…

@#$!!

Advertisements
Comments
  1. rootietoot says:

    waitaminnit…are you saying BABYSITTING wasn’t a JOB?
    ahem. I worked 4 nights a week babysitting, and 10 hr days in the summer as an au pair. Of course, they took me with them to Miami and gave me afternoons off at the beach but other than that..and the room service…and the baby sleeping most of the time…and the Mr. totally being eyecandy and picking me up from school…

    I don’t have issues with someone who’s parents paid for their college, or for anyone who sits in an ivory tower, or drives a 2 yr old volvo. I mean, I drive a 2 yr old convertible. What annoys me are the ones who HAVE and don’t seem aware of how good they HAVE it. I may HAVE it, but I know where it came from and also have a dollop of gratitude for it all. I guess that’s the thing, their constant whining about how hard they have it, when they don’t really know, having probably never lived in a rat infested housetrailer, or forgotton about it…or something.

    • Ren says:

      I guess that’s the thing, their constant whining about how hard they have it, when they don’t really know, having probably never lived in a rat infested housetrailer, or forgotton about it…or something.

      Exactly.

      And yes, baby-sitting is work, but also the one thing people assume teenage females with a job DO…its almost like a right of passage even.

      • rootietoot says:

        it’s the only thing my father would allow me to do, as apparently it was safer to leave a 15 year old girl alone in a house with a baby than to leave her at a restaurant with 25 other people around.

        OTOH, it *was* good training for the motherhood gig, at least I knew what babies were about.

  2. Celia says:

    Everyone has privileges. It doesn’t mean they don’t ever have any problems, just that they don’t have that problem as compared to others. Being born and raised in a comparatively wealthy country could be said to be a privilege. Having family who love you gives you something not everyone is able to have. I am cisgendered, so I don’t face the abuse and disrespect that the transgendered community do. Heterosexual people can hold hands with their lover in public without risking the unpleasantness that gay people can get – still, yes, in this day and age – for the same harmless act.

    I suppose it is harder for one to see what it is one has when one is right in the middle of it. Still, it’s possible to get a picture from the little one can see, and from people outside – in the same way that one can see pictures of their own country from space thanks to satellite cameras and the world’s media. People who refuse to see their own privileges are the ones saying “well, we can’t trust that the Earth isn’t flat just because there are some pictures of it!”

    • Ren says:

      celia-

      true enough, however, what is blistering my ass these days is people who sit around and scream (whilst knowing jack shit) about how privileged other folk are when They Do Not Know those other folk at all…and continue to scream privilege because (gasp), someone fails to agree with them or does not buckle under.

      Its a stupid and cheap tactic….especially when the screamers generally have no fucking idea what they are talking about.

      • Lisa Harney says:

        Yeah, I think some of these people like to use privilege as a silencing tool – like they tell you that you have all this privilege over other sex workers to shut down your voice, or they talk about trans women having male privilege when one has the audacity and nerve to open her mouth near them.

        And at the same time, they will refuse to even acknowledge privilege they have, even if it’s the same privilege they’re trying to use against you.

        • Celia says:

          That’s sort of what I was trying to say, in my rambling inarticulate way. Everyone has privileges, therefore people should take care of their own rather than ignoring their own and then giving out a lecture on why everyone else is stupid and it’s only them who can truly understand the troubles in the world. Because that’s pretty patronising and, like the flat-earthers, generally denying of reality.

        • hexy says:

          THIS objection I find extremely valid.

  3. hexy says:

    The kicker for me remains Heart, of all people, telling me to STFU on the issue of sex work because I was “too privileged” to… something.

    Yeah, Heart. Straight, white, land-owning, non-sex working, neurotypical, currently abled Heart. 0_o

    • Ren says:

      Hexy-

      yah, i do so love when folk can call you privileged on the net and all…

      i thought of three more I have though:
      cis
      currently able bodied
      het

      see, i can examine and everything

      • rootietoot says:

        Terry complains often about his privilege: white male over 6′ tall college educated hetero with all male children and drives a truck. bless his heart. plus he’s got 20/20 vision and big hands. he’s doomed.

    • Lisa Harney says:

      Oh Heart.

      And then she turns around and appropriates the experiences of women of color as if they apply to her.

      • Celia says:

        Was it her who made a huge long list of “the female experience” (ie, terrible things suffered by women in history) that included things like Chinese foot-binding and rape of slaves, or something? Because while those things certainly happened to a large number of women at some point, I don’t think they happened to Heart, or any of her internet friends.

  4. Eli says:

    There was an influential article somewhere about “unpacking your invisible knapsack” the main point of which was that your own privilege is invisible to you and it takes major effort to unpack it, but you need to do it yourself.

    Somewhat predictably perhaps, it inspired many to start unpacking *other people’s* privilege…

  5. Ernest Greene says:

    Yeah, I have to admit as a HS drop-out who has been working since he was fifteen that being heckeld over all the privilege I’ve enjoyed by grad students at major universities is just a bit annoying.

    Just a bit …

    • rootietoot says:

      but see, you’re a man. You lose.

      • Ernest Greene says:

        Good point. Problem is, most other men don’t see me as one of the boys, so I haven’t had much benefit out of that either. Oh, I forgot, it’s invisible to me so how would I know if I have privilege?

        Of course, if it’s invisible to me and everyone I know, as opposed to a handfu of people I don’t know, why exactly should I care?

        • hexy says:

          I sincerely doubt that those people are the only ones who have ever noticed your privilege. And “my friends don’t think I have privilege” is just… a very strange argument to make.

          • Ernest Greene says:

            It would be indeed, had I made such an argument. You have an interesting way of restating my original language to suit your intentions rather than mine.

            Doesn’t change either what I actually say or actually think.

  6. Roy Kay says:

    I don’t know. I’m inclined to turn it back on them and proclaim that their lack of privilege has left them in such an abject state of ignorance that they are not worth talking to. Then let THEM have to advance that they are unprivileged, “but….”

  7. H says:

    In the end that is the problem of “privilege”. As a sociological construct for academically deconstructing societal relationships, it has a place. But, by and large, is it mostly used as a club to knock down the arguments of others by invalidating their right to speak on a subject. People divide and subdivide themselves into groups excluding the “others” as if ethnicity, class and sex weren’t enough we can now use privilege to to invalidate the voices of so many more people we disagree with. Just my two cents, though I would finally comment in the new space.

    • Lisa Harney says:

      The thing is that these privileges do have a real world impact beyond the academic.

      Another problem is that people frequently do use their privileged voices to override marginalized voices and assert that marginalized experiences are not real.

      There are ways that people try to use privilege as a silencing tactic that is extremely problematic, but marginalized people calling out people who have a privilege they don’t for speaking over and for them (rather than, say, in support of or with them) isn’t one of them.

      I mean, take white people – in general, white people believe white people over people of color. Say a white person with minimal knowledge about the kind of anti-racist activism going on decides to start writing articles critiquing anti-racist activism based on their own ignorant assumptions, and without referencing any actual anti-racist activists (or perhaps cherry picking quotes by a few that appear to support what they’re saying). How is this helpful?

      That’s not a hypothetical example – i’ve seen it happen more than once.

      • You’ve just described one of the things that drives me crazy about the way the concept of privilege is used these days. There’s an implication that a person who isn’t the direct subject of something doesn’t have the right to have an opinion about it.

        This idea seems to have been rejected by many radfems online, who are quite willing to say various things about the experiences of sex workers even if they themselves have never been sex workers. But it’s a pretty common approach in all sorts of other communities. I think I prefer this arrangement, as it’s far more suited to the realities of online discourse. I don’t really have proof of the sex, gender, skin color, employment history, or much of anything else about the people whose words I read online. I don’t need them. If someone is saying something stupid, the word will get out.

        Though my original dislike of privilege theory was based on seeing it as obscuring the end goal – that many of these things should be rights that everyone has, not something undeserved that needs to be taken away.

        • hexy says:

          There’s an implication that a person who isn’t the direct subject of something doesn’t have the right to have an opinion about it.

          I have NEVER seen this implication. What I see a lot more of is people who are asked to step back and let marginalised people specifically affected by the issue be heard, and who respond to that by throwing a tanty about how they’re “not allowed to have an opinion”.

          Though my original dislike of privilege theory was based on seeing it as obscuring the end goal – that many of these things should be rights that everyone has, not something undeserved that needs to be taken away.

          The point of a privilege is that it’s something not everyone can have, as by definition it’s something that only exists by placing you above others somehow. If it’s something that should be a right for everyone, then it’s not a privilege. Marginalisation prevents people from accessing their full rights quite often, but it’s vital to recognise that privilege has to be dismantled. That’s not “taking something away” from the privilege person, unless you count things that they either didn’t deserve to have in the first place, or if you think that they should retain the capacity to achieve things on other people’s backs.

          • “I have NEVER seen this implication.”

            I don’t claim it as a universal behavior. But it’s something I’ve seen often enough in the past to be disgusted by. Maybe not so much recently, but I’m not sure if that’s a difference in communities or something else.

            “What I see a lot more of is people who are asked to step back and let marginalised people specifically affected by the issue be heard”

            How does that work online though? It’s not like a physical conversation where people can just shout over each other. Barring material being removed by the person controlling the site, everything anyone says stays around forever. (There’s also the problem of telling who is affected by what in an anonymous medium.)

            “The point of a privilege is that it’s something not everyone can have, as by definition it’s something that only exists by placing you above others somehow.”

            That’s kind of my point. Many privilege lists I see contain things that don’t fit that standard. Sometimes very large portions, depending on phrasing and interpretation. But with something like “not likely to be raped”, why couldn’t that be true for everyone? I think it confuses the issue to mix together things that should be universal with things that need to end.

            • hexy says:

              Privilege lists are something frequently misunderstood by those who aren’t actually all that familiar with how the concept works. They aren’t meant to be a complete definition of how that privilege works, with every ticky-box being a pre-requisite for classification in that privileged group, they’re meant to represent the contrast between people who are privileged/marginalised on that axis. Some things are on them as a direct product of privilege, some are on there as a reflection of the marginalisation experienced by people lacking that privilege. Generally, I find them to be not all that useful for communiction outside of the marginalised community.

              How does that work online though? It’s not like a physical conversation where people can just shout over each other. Barring material being removed by the person controlling the site, everything anyone says stays around forever. (There’s also the problem of telling who is affected by what in an anonymous medium.)

              Are you serious?

              It’s entirely possible for the words of the privileged to drown out the words of the marginalised in an online or other text based forum. Language is not a strictly auditory thing, especially these days. One of the simplest helpful things people with particular privilege can do (that somehow also seems to be the most difficult) is to recognise that there are topics they are not the experts on, STFU, and let marginalised voices be the prominent ones in the conversation. People with male privilege, white privilege, etc, are used to their voices on certain topics being heard, and often don’t think twice about how their “contributions” are affecting those that members of affected communities are trying to make.

        • Lisa Harney says:

          I didn’t try to imply that at all, I’m sorry that you got that impression. I did describe how white privilege plays out at the expense of people of color, but I’d be a real hypocrite if I said white people can’t have an opinion on this because I am a white woman.

          I believe that a significant number of online radfems debate in very poor faith, though. I mean, horrible faith. They demonize everyone at every opportunity, and try to position themselves as the most oppressed ever so they don’t have to be held accountable for what they say about people – when they talk about everything from committing violence against “pornographers” up to potential genocide for all male and MAAB people.

          The important thing about privilege (and it’s not a theory, it’s life experience everyone has, on either side), is the ability to identify how oppression and privilege are institutionalized. It shouldn’t imply guilt because people don’t decide to be born white or male or whatever, but such people still receive benefits just for being white, or male, or whatever.

          And not all privileges are things everyone should have. Some are, yes, absolutely. We should all receive equal pay for equal work, and our opinions should be equally valued, and no one should be blamed when they’re the target for a crime, and so on. But some privilege comes at the expense of others. It’s not simply that you have people with privilege and people without, but that privilege itself also enables and propagates oppression against people who don’t have that privilege. It’s not a void on one side and a presence on the other.

      • hexy says:

        Absolutely.

        I admit, I’m kind of revolted to see how this comment thread has so quickly turned into people decrying the use of the concept of privilege, or that they have any at all.

        • Lisa Harney says:

          Yeah, obviously bringing up privilege at all means you’re just trying to shut people up. 😦

          • Ernest Greene says:

            Not necessarily, and I never said I thought so. What I said was: “In fact, I lament the devaluation of the concept by its relentless misuse as a rhetorical bludgeon to be wielded against anyone whose personal experience can be cited to undermine the validity of an argument. This tactical deployment of the privilege accusation has become so common in some cricles it undermines what might otherwise be a useful perspective.”

            You make a very similar point yourself above: “I believe that a significant number of online radfems debate in very poor faith, though. I mean, horrible faith. They demonize everyone at every opportunity, and try to position themselves as the most oppressed ever so they don’t have to be held accountable for what they say about people – when they talk about everything from committing violence against “pornographers” up to potential genocide for all male and MAAB people.”

            The problem I have with privilege arguments is the persistent bad-faith with which they’re employed. Not saying that they can’t be raised in good faith, or that they are necessarily invalid or irrelevant.

            However, if a thing’s primary use in practice is, in fact, telling people to shut up, and almost invariably in the kind of ugly way you describe, those on the recieving end of it are unlikely to get the part that’s relevant because they have a hard time getting past the being told to shut up part.

            And that’s too bad, because those on the receiving end of these tactics might otherwise be open to considering the underlying question, were it not phrased as an insult. The harm to the participants in these exchanges is pretty minimal all around, but the harm done to useful debate is considerable and should no more be dismissed as trivial than the question itself.

            For me, it comes down to the matter of good faith, just as you describe it. Any argument made in good faith deserves a hearing, even if on closer examination it appears to be unsound.

            However, an argument used repeatedly as a way of discrediting a contrary opinion on the basis that the individual holding that opinion belongs to a privileged class from which we’ve heard enough already and who by speaking silences the voices of the marginalised eventually loses the presumption of good faith. When it does become about telling “certain people” to shut up, it doesn’t shut them up, but it does shut down any rational consideration of the topic at hand.

            That’s where I’ve been coming from in this whole conversation. Not saying, to repeat myself one more time, that privilege doesn’t exist or doesn’t matter. Instead, raising an objection to the disingenuous way it’s used to slam contrary opinions by discrediting those holding them that obviously many here have experienced themselves.

  8. Ernest Greene says:

    I don’t deny that privilege exits, or that it needs to be taken into consdieration when evaluating claims or opinions offered by almost anyone.

    Unfortunatley, however, it’s ceased bo be a useful counterweight in critical thinking and degenerated into just another epithet to be fired off at anyone who dares confront this or that orthodoxy.

    • Lisa Harney says:

      No, it’s still useful. Someone misusing it doesn’t make it useless forever and ever.

      • Ernest Greene says:

        If it were a matter of “someone” misusing it, I’d agree. In fact, I lament the devaluation of the concept by its relentless misuse as a rhetorical bludgeon to be wielded against anyone whose personal experience can be cited to undermine the validity of an argument. This tactical deployment of the privilege accusation has become so common in some cricles it undermines what might otherwise be a useful perspective.

        Like the word fascist, which once had a specific meaning but is now simply a generalized description of anyone whose politics the speaker really doesn’t like a whole, whole lot, privileged has degenerated into ad hominem smack for anyone who fails to meet some subjective standard of victimhood.

        As soon as I see it invovked, I’m inclined to dismiss anything that follows as ideological boilerplate.

        • hexy says:

          As soon as I see it invovked, I’m inclined to dismiss anything that follows as ideological boilerplate.

          A shame. It’s a very useful concept for a hell of a lot of marginalised people who get dismissed by people with privilege you share all the time. I’m saddened to see you’re amongst them.

          • Ernest Greene says:

            See, that’s the problem with privilege arguments. They fail to take into account individual differences. You really don’t know enough about me or my history to know who I might or might not be amongst.

            People are marginalized for a variety of reasons and almost everyone enjoys some sort of privilege someplace. Their ideas matter more to me than the classes to which they belong. If I think the ideas are sound, I don’t care much for the details concerning their sources.

            Reasoning based on perceived privilege almost always devolves into ad hominem shots like the one you just took at me, not for the first time. That’s why I tend to be skeptical of it.

            I concede that I might enjoy some privilege of which I’m unaware. But I don’t think you have grounds to presume that you know the extent of that privilege, one way or another.

            • hexy says:

              I don’t need the intersectionalism 101 primer, I’m extremely aware of the nature of the privilege and the mutliple axes on which it operates. I know enough from your postings here (and what little I know of you from other sources) to be aware that you are marginalised on some axes and privileged on others. One doesn’t negate the other. I never said or implied that I know the extent of your privilege OR marginalisation. That doesn’t mean I’m not aware of at least some of it, and that awareness isn’t sourced from somewhere I presume you’d respect, being your own words. Because, you know, I can read.

              There was absolutely no ad hominem anything anywhere in what I said to you. Unless you think “You are a privileged individual on at least one or two axes of oppression” is an ad hominem attack, in which case you’re a giant part of the problem. Despite the “against Ernest” role you’re trying to paint me into, though, I don’t actually think that’s what you meant to say.

              • Ernest Greene says:

                See, here’s that moving the goal posts problem again.

                If you’d initially said: “I know enough from your postings here (and what little I know of you from other sources) to be aware that you are marginalised on some axes and privileged on others” I would have agreed with you completely, and I would not have seen it as an ad hominem attack.

                However, what you actually said was this, in response to my expressed skepticism toward privlege arguments:

                “It’s a very useful concept for a hell of a lot of marginalised people who get dismissed by people with privilege you share all the time. I’m saddened to see you’re amongst them.”

                You’re not the only one here who can read, and while I don’t think that’s a slam on the order of suggesting I should off myself, it’s not exactly a bouquet of roses either.

                I’m not trying to paint you one way or the other. I’m responding to what you say. You consider my posts a credible source for assessing what I’m about, which is a narrow lens through which to view anyone but all we have in this context, and I have to rely on the same kind of evidence regarding your intentions.

                My rejection of the wholesale dismissal of the opinions of Ren on the subject of sex work because she’s a privileged rarity of some kind, for example, arises not out of some insensitivity to the issue of privilege blindness itself, but rather to the deployment of that accusation as a means of discrediting valid ideas.

                There’s a kind of inherency of ad hominem implications in telling anybody to step back so others can have the floor because of something about the person speaking rather than because of what’s being said.

  9. Privilege is a very limited concept; mostly-powerless people are just using it to bludgeon each other over the head in a theoretical fashion (while little in the overall power structure actually gets changed). What does this solve?

    • hexy says:

      It’s not a limited concept at all, it’s quite a complex theoretical construct. We can agree that the bludgeoning is shit, but the theory itself is hardly useless.

  10. rootietoot says:

    I am amused by the whole “less privileged than thou” argument, almost as if not having privilege has been turned into having it. There’s alot of that flying around the Radfem sector.

    I have privilege out the wazoo and am not afraid to own it. It’s how a person uses their privilege that defines them, not how much or how little they have to begin with.

    • hexy says:

      Hrmm. I do think the starting point is relevant and important, but I entirely agree with you that recognition of privilege and what one does with what one has (earned or not) is extremely significant.

      Sometimes, though, one does have to recognise that privilege isn’t something you can just decide you don’t have anymore, and actively cede space to those who don’t.

      • rootietoot says:

        That’s my issue with those folks. You have someone who is white, with property, money and education (I’m thinking Heart) who wails on about being whatever it is she is at the moment Oppression Olympics, instead of taking her property, money and education and quietly doing something about it and working to relieve the oppression of people less privileged (maybe she does, but I’m not hearing about it)

        I reckon my issue is with the noisy people. And this: if you have a computer, and the smarts to use it to blog, and the ability to put together a coherent thesis that people read and agree with, then you probably aren’t as oppressed as you are trying to convince people you are…you have a degree of privilege. I’m not saying there’s NO oppression in your life, but that there IS privilege. Time to own it and move on.

  11. octogalore says:

    I agree with Hexy that the starting point is relevant, but very few people who don’t know someone from birth know what the starting point is.

    And what gets lost in between accusations of “unearned privilege” and not everyone having the ability to earn it, is that often the accuser has a more privileged starting point than the accusee.

    This strikes me as the point being made here. So the comments of “well, privilege is helpful concept!” are strawarguments. Of course it’s helpful. It’s also overused and manipulated to avoid making substantive arguments.

    I also agree that it’s important to “cede space to those who don’t” have as much privilege. But this too is happy medium. If ultimately those perceived to have privilege are asked to cede space up until the point that they are robbed of mattering, they’ll simply stop engaging, being humans as well.

    • Ernest Greene says:

      +1 on all counts.

      Judging another’s privilege, like counting another’s money, is a pretty useless exercise unless you happen to be that person’s accountant, or otherwise know a great deal about them.

      I too have observed that many, though by no means all, of those who use the privilege argument as a spitball are often well-educated, comfortably fixed members of the academic community. Presumably because their privilege is individual and circumstantial, it’s negated by their membership in other classes that don’t enjoy privilege. In practical fact, they’re often far safer and more prosperous than those they seek to discredit. Again, I don’t like this argument much going in either direction. I don’t think that the higher status of the individual accusers necessarily undermines all their propositions, or that whatever coollective privilege might be enjoyed by the individual targets of the accusations undermines all rebuttals

      Again, substantive arguments based on facts and evidence are likely to be more effective than arguments based on what may or may not be known or assumed about the person making them. The slippery subjectivity of privilege arguments is their worst failing. A thing doesn’t become true or untrue based on who is saying it. Do individuals use privilege to dominate discussion at the expense of those who lack it? Most certainly and in all kinds of settings. This is absolutely a matter to be addressed, but not in application to the specifics of whatever particular ideas are under discussion, which must ulitmately stand or fall on their own merits if they’re to be judged persuasive or not.

      One of the many unfrortunate side-effects of the general dumbing down of American political culture has been the rise of a mutant strain of populist anti-intellectualism that enables phony “regular folks” like Rush Limbaugh to build vast financial empires by bashing “cultural elites.” This is a largely right-wing application of the privilege argument, but like any other not based on the content of the disputed positions but rather on the situations of the parties to the dispute, it can be misused without regard to ideology. Mr. Limbaugh also appeals to a sense of collective grievance and a belief that certain parties are not being heard because more privileged groups have excluded them from the discussion.

      And bravo on the last point. I’m in favor of all voices getting a hearing, including those critical of beliefs I hold dear, but I don’t think it’s necessary for anyone to shut up for that to happen, and once being told to shut up so others can speak, I’m disinclined to hear what they have to say regardless of its virtues. Attempts to shame people into greater sensitivity toward the ideas of others have a way of producing the opposite effect.

      If any kind of social progress is ever to be achieved, it will be necessary for people to set aside collective resentments, however well-founded, and form alliances toward common goals. The inherently divisive nature of privilege arguments does little to encourage this.

      If the best case anyone can make for enlisting my participation in changing the status quo is that it favors me unfairly and I’m a rat bastard for not feeling sufficiently ashamed about the fact and hiding my face in public accordingly, how will this persuade me to put whatever privilege I might enjoy at risk on behalf of others who clearly feel a sense of entitlement based on past wrongs in which I had no personal part to put me in my place?

      • rootietoot says:

        ” how will this persuade me to put whatever privilege I might enjoy at risk on behalf of others who clearly feel a sense of entitlement based on past wrongs in which I had no personal part to put me in my place?”

        Because shame *always* works better than (y’know, the opposite of shame)…because making someone feel really bad about themselves and their choices is guarenteed to change their minds and make them repent. Haven’t you figured that out yet? Shaming someone else also makes the shamer-criticizer feel morally superior, which is always nice. Relevence is immaterial. Guilt is what matters. Shame on you for not recognizing that.

  12. The indentation is getting a bit much for me…

    On privilege lists… somehow I’m not surprised that the class where the idea was introduced to me left out something important. I still feel the whole idea oversimplifies things in a worrisome way, and that’s before people start using it as a conversational bludgeon.

    Comment by hexy:

    Are you serious?

    I usually am.

    I’ve seen many cases online where people, in the attempt to drown out others, only destroy their own position. (Arguably, shouting over someone in a face to face argument does that too, but in that case it also makes the other person hard to hear.)

    And there’s still the practical problem of how I, the person on the other end of the line who doesn’t know what sex/race/orientation/??? the person whose comments I’m reading should interpret them. If I need to know those things to judge what they’re saying, then I’m in trouble. There’s no way for me to know all the relevant details.

    I’ve also become convinced that most people don’t learn by just listening, so I get nervous when people who are theoretically learning about something are too quiet. I want them doing their reprocessing someplace people can see them so someone will tell them if they’ve missed something.

    Comment by Lisa Harney:
    The important thing about privilege (and it’s not a theory, it’s life experience everyone has, on either side)

    It’s not the experiences I’m calling a theory, it’s this particular system of interpreting them. If there’s a better name for it, I’d be happy to use it… if I knew what it was.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s