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Jun. 16th, 2008 @ 11:07 am
I had a thought today about privilege, and why it is so hard to acknowledge sometimes. Like so many others I have a big problem explaining to people how it works, and the only two things that seems to help a bit are these:

1. Be of the privileged group myself. I have had a lot more luck with explaining white privilege than I have explaining male.
2. Have plenty of examples, have plenty of ways of explaining it, based on trying to understand the way the person I am talking to thinks.

In attempting the last one, here is one thing I see happening in many heads...

We are taught to see the privileged ones as being the ones with ALL the privilege. The rich white straight good-looking able-bodied married man (and more). So we think if we are discriminated against, then we can't have privilege. If I am discriminated against as a disabled woman, then of course I am not privileged - after all, privilege is the opposite of discrimination, right? And so all that white privilege stuff can not really apply to me, can it?

Well, of course it does apply.

But how to explain it to other people? Sometimes the checklists work for this purpose, other times not. What have you tried? What works? What doesn't?

Teaching Apr. 4th, 2006 @ 07:37 pm
Does anyone here have any experience with teaching privilege theory? I've half prepared a short talk on it, and I've still got a couple of days to prepare, but I am afriad of missing something important, and I wonder what kind of questions is likely to come up too.


One more thing - I've been looking for information on the american white man who dressed as black and wrote a book on it later - I figured he'd make a nice example when it came to white privilege. But I can't remember his name or the name of his book. So let me know if you know!
Current Music: Joni Mitchell - Come In From The Cold

Mar. 31st, 2006 @ 03:05 am
Where do you draw the line between appreciation and appropriation.

For example...I have a friend, oh fuck it, it's me, --ahem-- and i am thinking about my room next year and how to decorate it, because i dorm and this year my room was kinda, bland. and by bland i mean i don't have much up in the way of posters nor do i have many items really in it for decoration. so point being, i would definetely like to include some things that represent africa, carribbean, or black america. but so many doubts come into my mind...how are people going to react (should i care?), am i exoticsizing a culture that isn't mine, or just take the tings about the cultures i like and forget the rest. obviously i'm NOT forgetting the rest, i am a pretty socially concious person ...i mean, i'm not going to prove it or anything, but just for the sake of arguement here assume that i am a person who does know about white priviledge, appropriation, racism, and all that and is someone who does try to stop racism where i can.

maybe i'm thinking too much into this. but i'd rather think too much than not think about it at all and just be really stupid. if we all didn't appreciate things that weren't in our own culture then we'd all be mono-cultural and things would be boring, non-diverse etc. etc. i don't THINK that appreciating these things, placing them in my room, really is appropriation in my case, but that maybe special snowflake syndrome, who knows?? i dont feel like the culture is mine, i don't think i'm black, but i like multi-culturalness. i just wanted some opinions on it i guess!

take care! and thanks!

and feel free to ask questions if needed to clarify :)

Reverse discrimination? Mar. 21st, 2006 @ 04:08 pm
This is my take on reverse discrimination. Let me know what you think.

When you consider so many different types of privileges, how they overlap, and work with/against each other, it's easy to understand why individuals in a victimized group will have negative reactions towards the people with privilege, regardless of an individual's specific circumstances. This often gets called "reverse discrimination" because those who experience that reaction, feel they've done nothing wrong. But what if they have and just don't realize it?

Public Assistance is a good example and one that's popped up most frequently during earlier versions of this discussion. The racist believes all POC are living off of the government, abusing public assistance to avoid working. While many of us know that it's impossible to live off the government using public assistance, unless one commits to living in absolute squalor (at which point, that's not a choice, but another oppression of white and high-class privileges), the myth remains to perpetuate racist hatred against POC in low-income situations who need the extra help. All POC suffer from this myth, even the people not on any PA. As a result, when a WP walks into a PA office needing assistance, the obstacles they face in getting the same assistance is unbelievably more difficult than that of a POC, especially if the case managers are POC. Is this that infamous Reverse Racism? No. This is reactionary. A WP finally facing some kind of difficulty in doing something, like POC face with everything else. But the PA office isn't a place for race, it's a place for class. So, while the WP applying for PA may have some white privilege, they do not have the class privilege. All the white privilege in the world doesn't buy food for the family or pay medical bills. White men have the hardest time gaining any PA, even those on disability with undeniable documentation that they really need it.

Employment is another interesting situation. A white friend was recently promoted into a position and had to hire a few new employees. His boss (African-American) told him to hire a black person. After clarifying if he was under a legal responsibility to affirmative action to do so (he wasn't), he stated firmly that he would hire the person most qualified for the position, black/white man/woman. While it may seem so wrong for a boss to tell someone to hire a person of a particular race, it must be considered that affirmative action has become an inadequate method of forcing equality because racism has not been banished from our society, so additional compensations have to be made. If a white man can make an unbiased decision to hire the appropriate person, that's great, but it's so commonly not the case.

Poor white people? Poor victimized white men? Not quite. The buck still stops at the people who accept the advantages of their privilege and continue the cycle. Even WP who have no apparent racist traits still accept their privileges. Men who feel that women are equal in every way to them will still feast on the spoils of The Good Ol' Boys Club. So the cycle continues.

So-called "reverse discrimination" pops up when people neglect to consider how they're benefitting from discrimination and, as a result, are part of the problem. Because of this, every person who feels a victim of "reverse discrimination" and wrongly held accountable to the actions of bigots, has, very directly, contributed to the discrimination by accepting their privilege and deserves the feedback they receive from that.

English contries privilege Mar. 4th, 2006 @ 01:46 pm
"Hello, I'm new to this community..."

Well, I was looking for a page on privileges of people living in English speaking countries - and I could find none. So someone suggested I try to write one myself.

I hoped this would be a good place to find help compiling it.
So far I have:
  • All computer systems were built around my language, and hence work easily in my language even at the most basic level
  • I can expect any new software/hardware that comes out to immediately work flawlessly with my language, and to interact with other software/hardware without messing up any text I might have.
  • When updating software I can assume it was thoroughly tested and will not mess up any data I might have.
  • I can consider only forums / chats in my language as worth joining.
  • I can assume that the level of a persons language on such forums to be a good gage to their intelligence.
  • I can go about my whole life, if I so choose, without learning a second language. I certainly don't have to be fluent in one.
  • When doing international business I can assume all parties will speak my language.
  • If not - I can assume they will make any necessary arrangements so I can understand them.
  • When traveling abroad I can assume I'll get by speaking only my language.
  • I can consider as rude or even arrogant if people in other countries refuse to speak to me in my language, or at least make an effort to do so.
  • I can assume that anything worth reading is available in my language.
  • I can assume anything which doesn't translate well to my language as not worth reading.
  • I can assume the difference between languages is just a cosmetic one - that there is a simple translation for each word one just needs to learn.

That's it for now. Any thoughts? Any comments? Any additions?
This is actually kind of important to me...
Other entries
» Hello,
welcome to this brand new community to discuss and challenge privilege. I created this comm because there are privilege-relevant questions that aren't relevant to the more specified communities that deals with this, such as feminist and debunkingwhite (two of my favorite communities).

What I need to get things started around here:

- A co-moderator. Well, I don't -need- one, but I want one.
- Ideas for the user info.
- Ideas for the interests list.

the moderator
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