So the post on privilege has given us a lot more traffic than normal and ten whole comments on one post. The latest comment (at the time I’m writing this), is the one you see below.
I’ll start this out by saying that I believe acknowledging privilege is unnecessary. We have all had it shoved down our throats (especially those who spent a great deal of time in the deep south) that, in being white, we are privileged. By having disposable income, we are privileged. Being male is another privilege. Being heterosexual is yet another.
Honestly, there is nothing I can do about my privilege. I sure as hell won’t be ashamed of who I am and where I came from. Someone who screams “But you’re PRIVILEGED!” intends to make me feel that way.
There were always ‘power imbalances’ in society. There always will be. There will always be oppressed people. It’s the ‘You VS. Me’ dynamic. It is a human trait – a survival mechanism, to protect the ‘tribe’.
Not to say that we shouldn’t try to change things. But first we have to acknowledge human nature. Societal Homogenization will do no one any good…it’s just a Communism of a different color.
Poor, poor put-upon white people. Always having to be reminded of their whiteness. Always having to be reminded of our shady, imperialist, genocidal past by
the people we oppressed/conquered/enslaved/killed people who just want to make us feel bad about our skin color. Why do they have to remind us of these things that happened in the past? We’re white (male, straight, cis, able bodied). We know we have it better than everyone else.
Except that we don’t. Anyone who has spent any time in the deep South should know that. Anyone who has had to sit through a movie or television show or hell, even a commercial that insults, demeans, minimizes, or makes into a “funny” joke hir experience, appearance, ability, or sexuality should know that. But we don’t. If we did know this, if we were aware of our privilege subconsciously, without any kind of philosophical consideration, we wouldn’t diminish rape to something as banal as a stereo being too loud and hurting our ears. We wouldn’t tell sufferers of depression to just “cheer up” or to tell POC to “relax, it was just a joke.”
A lot of people don’t get it or don’t want to get it or think it’s too PC or any number of other things, and that is fucking harmful. To not want to acknowledge your privilege is to not want to consider another’s experience. It opens a doorway into all kind of abuse of power. Abuse of privilege.
By asking someone to acknowledge hir privilege, we’re not asking them to be homogeneous. We’re asking them to consider the fact that in certain situations, they are going to say or do something that is offensive or racist or sexist and that when someone calls them on it, they will be able to take a step back, see where their privilege blinded them to another person’s situation, and learn not to do it again.
And as far as oppressing other people being part of human nature, survival and tribal protection, what say you of communities and tribes that are in mutually beneficial relationships? Are you really suggesting that the oppressed shouldn’t fight for freedom?
(And Indie Goddess would like to say, “What the fuck is that evo-psych bullshit?”)
I started doing this thing on my LJ and it’s actually something better suited for Illegal Jesus, so I’m shifting the entries here. I’m condensing all the ones I’ve done so far (three or four) into one post.
March 4, 2009
BREAKING NEWS OMGWTF: An arrest warrant has been issued for Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir. The good news is that the ICC takes his actions seriously. The bad news is that a) they’re not even going near the word ‘genocide’, and b) he won’t ever be arrested unless he is physically ousted. If only he had weapons of mass destruction…
March 6, 2009
In the wake of the arrest warrant for Omar al-Bashir, the Sudanese government has expelled 13 relief organizations, including Doctors Without Borders, CARE, Oxfam, and the International Rescue Committee. The groups have 30 days to contest the decision. I don’t think you have to be a rocket scientist to understand what will happen to the hundreds of thousands (millions?) of people in the camps along the border if all the aid agencies are denied the appeal and forced out of the country.
Two human rights activists were assassinated in Kenya.
March 7, 2009
Susan Rice is an kick-ass UN ambassador. She condemned Sudan’s expulsion of 13 aid agencies. Not surprisingly, after a meeting of the UN Security Council, China, Russia, and the African countries opposed demanding Sudan reverse the action. I agree that it’s a delicate, tenuous situation, but I think Bashir was just waiting for something like this so he’d have an excuse to remove the groups from the country.
In case you haven’t heard, the wife of Zimbabwe’s Prime Minister died in a car accident that only left him injured. And in case you REALLY haven’t heard, Zimbabwe’s in crisis, so the Prime Minister not only has a country to look after but a wife to mourn and six children to comfort.
March 9, 2009
Owen Bennett-Jones goes to Khartoum and realizes that colonialism has lasting effects. Basically, he goes to film something about the history of Sudan/Khartoum and realizes that a lot of Africans don’t like Westerners, and that they haven’t forgotten about colonialism. This story caught my eye because my class focuses on colonialism, postcolonialism, and globalization quite a bit. It’s really interesting, when you sit down and really think these things through, how many African countries have independence with limitations and how little the continent receives in relation to how much they’ve given to the world’s history.
If Sudanese history is at all of interest to you, I’d highly recommend Emma’s War by Deborah Scroggins. It’s a biography, of sorts, about Emma McCune, who married a Sudanese guerrilla in the late 1980s. If I remember correctly (I read the book a few years ago), it tells a little about Sudanese history, especially in the Darfur region.
End development aid in Africa. It’s going to take me days to dissect this entire article and figure out what exactly I agree with and what I disagree with, but it runs along the veins of colonialism, postcolonialism, and globalization. She has a lot of interesting ideas and makes some compelling arguments.
I just don’t understand why the 101st Airborne Division was like, EVERYWHERE during World War II and did like EVERYTHING in that fucking war. There were like 1,000 deaths in the division, right? And they were at EVERYTHING. And they won like, EVERYTHING.
So, explain to me why we needed to have like, 72 million deaths in that war when we could have just had those people like, do everything. I mean, I will say that Nix and Winters could have just handled all of Nazi Germany BY THEMSELVES. Especially since it is obvs that they could kill everyone with their eyes closed and both hands tied behind their backs.
I mean with Jimi Hendrix up in that shit, everyone else could just sit down and like, eat some watermelon and set off fireworks and set the fuckers who PLAYED Nix and Winters in Band of Brothers out on the fucking Nazis and BAM NO MORE NAZIS.
It could happen. It should have happened. Clearly I am the best military strategist and I should be president now. K, thanks.