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Thread: The dangers of "privilege".

  1. #11
    Banned Array
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    It's a meme. So funneh. Straight white males brought the modern world to foot, so everything I don't like must be their fault!

  2. #12
    meh Array Salomé's Avatar
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    I never get tired of posting this: for people who still don't get it.

    Quote Originally Posted by msg_v2 View Post
    For an upper middle class woman who graduated from a top liberal arts college to claim that a black man from North Philly has "privilege" over her is in such shockingly poor taste I'm shocked that anyone think that way and claim to be socially conscious.
    What about if the black guy does it?

    Still "shocked"?

    Actually, this thread hasn't covered "the "dangers" of privilege" at all...
    I'm not sure how I feel about the new wave of male "feminists" constantly bragging about how good they have it. Be aware of the ways in which your life might suck less than someone else's by all means, but just being aware of the problem doesn't make you a better person; doing something about it does.

  3. #13
    Senior Member Array pinkgraffiti's Avatar
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    @Chiharu I have an important question for you, before I offer my thoughts on this: are you a woman, queer, black, disabled, trans? Can you tell us a little bit more about yourself? Have you ever felt on your skin what it is like to feel discrimination?

  4. #14
    trapped in zoobilee zoo Array Osprey's Avatar
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    Be aware of the ways in which your life might suck less than someone else's by all means, but just being aware of the problem doesn't make you a better person; doing something about it does.
    I thought doing something about it was colonialist? Do something about, but don't do anything colonialist? or that "reinforces oppressive structures"? That leaves me with what?

    Meh, can't be bothered. And, yeah, I get it, can't be bothered = privilege.

    I also never called myself a "feminist." I would say I'm sympathetic to a lot of feminists issues, and regard women as people, as diverse and varied as men. The flip side to this is that some women are also full of shit, however.

    Agreeing with people on the internet to try and get laid by them also doesn't count as doing something, in my opinion.

    And yeah, I do think it's in poor taste when an upper middle class woman sees a few black men on the street, and goes all "OMIGOD I'M GONNA GET RAPED." Saying "you can't judge cause you're not a woman" is a cop out that doesn't acknowledge the underlying racism at work. It is racist, and that kind of thinking has a long legacy of being tied to racism.. the perceived threat of black men to white women.

    Your womanness does not cancel out your whiteness. Anyone who thinks so is deluded and sheltered.
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  5. #15
    Senior Member Array Lark's Avatar
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    Jun 2009


    Well for one the introduction to one of the more recent (I think nineties) editions of Eldridge Cleaver's Soul on Ice (the black panthers) did say that some of the radicals from the sixties, I think justifiably so, allowed hipster radicals to ignore real structural inequalities by adopting causes like gay liberations, I mean if a queer millionaire is just as oppressed because of his sexual orientation as people at the bottom of the economic ladder, like the precariat, what the hell is the point or does the whole idea of oppression per se have any meaning at all?

    Also what's the difference between being oppressed and unpopular? I remember someone on a course studying inequality once who produced a thesis about how rural, isolated homosexual men were oppressed by the fact that there were not many other homosexual men around and really should have some clubs, societies and welfare associations all funded by the tax payer for the purpose of networking.

    WTF? I mean I'm a straight single man, that's my lot, its not something I think the state should try and fix, I dont expect it to and I dont expect other people to pay for the privilege.

  6. #16
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    My opinion of 'privilege' (and similar conflict-theory-based ideological movements) is essentially the same as my opinion of Objectivism, or traditional Marxism (from which the ideological basis of conflict theories are ultimately derived); it describes a genuinely important component of aggregate reality, but an exaggerated one, and fixates upon that component to portray a highly skewed vision of social reality, one that in practice tends to promote and reinforce antagonistic and paranoid reactions towards members of defined social groups. It seems difficult for some partisans of any conflict-oriented theory to separate intellectualized conflict between social groups with their actual feelings toward people (especially members of 'socially dominant' groups) who disagree with them (since by definition they contribute to the oppression of groups they belong to or strongly sympathize with, however unwitting such contributions may be).

    The other danger of 'privilege' is that fixating upon it tends to also promote the misallocation of resources (by failing to prioritize much greater problem areas) and the myopic reform of institutions (formal and informal) in such a way that such institutions are handicapped from performing vital utilitarian functions.

  7. #17
    He pronks, too! Array Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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    It seems like this word needs to come up again.


    Quote Originally Posted by Ivy View Post
    And yeah, money kind of trumps everything in our culture. Except then you still get other rich people insinuating that you only have money because you married it or because of affirmative action or whatever, so even then, privilege is in play when all else is equal.
    So true.

    There may be discrimination like that amongst the rich, but if you're rich you're pretty much above the lower classes regardless of race, sex, creed, orientation, etc.. And to further drive that point, consider that one of the main ways discrimination is carried out is by making or keeping minorities poor. If being poor is a punishment for being black, it tells you how significant being poor is.
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  8. #18
    i love Array skylights's Avatar
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    I liked what I read once about privilege just meaning you don't have to ask yourself whether your being [male, straight, affluent] is affecting the way you are treated.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chiharu
    I mean, is it fair for a rich, white, heterosexual woman to say that a poor, black, gay man is benefitting from male-privilege? At what point do your privileges cancel out?
    Sure, because in certain contexts he may well. That doesn't necessarily make the overall experience any easier for him.

    I don't really see it as a matter of tit-for-tat but rather understanding that when you're in a majority or preferred group, you may not be aware of the obstacles that people who aren't in that group face.

  9. #19
    Rainy Day Woman Array MDP2525's Avatar
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    It denotes by race, creed, gender and color that "struggle" - purely based on general descriptives- is given hierarchy.

    These factors play into struggle but this isn't a world where everyone gets a trophy. It's each person's job to utilize their gifts in such a way to overcome obstacles. This is what gives us character and makes us human. We are not special snowflakes. We are in this together. These people who use this type of talk expect the world to give them something. The world doesn't care. It was here first.

    We need to step back and realize this labeling just separates us further.
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  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chiharu View Post
    I read a lot of liberal blogs. I like doing that. They have some rad notions about body image and accepting people.

    That being said, there is no word more odious to me right now that "privilege", i.e. "You're coming from a position of x-privilege so your opinion is invalid."

    There's nothing wrong with pointing out discrimination exists and even calling out people who do not suffer from it but claim it doesn't exist. There's nothing wrong with educating, say, a white woman, about the difficulties faced by many black men in America.

    There is, however, something very wrong with throwing around terms like "x-privilege" or "y-privilege".

    I mean, is it fair for a rich, white, heterosexual woman to say that a poor, black, gay man is benefitting from male-privilege? At what point do your privileges cancel out? Do biracial children of black and white parents have partial white-privilege? If one sibling has lighter skin than another, is that sibling more privileged? If the one with more white-privilege is female and the other is male, are they even now? IT'S RIDICULOUS.

    Let's not even discuss "thin-privilege".

    How is any of this possibly conducive to bringing people together? Gender stereotypes suck. Racism sucks. Discrimination and prejudice suck. FOR EVERYONE of every race, gender, and sexual orientation.
    Why are you wasting your time?

    Do these kind of 70's style pseudo-intellectuals exist anywhere outside of the humanities departments of mediocre universities (called in Britain "ex polytechnics")...?

    Seems to me that you really have to seek them out in order to find them and get irritated by them.

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