shiraphant: (Default)
[personal profile] shiraphant
This is from a comment I just made over on [ profile] apiphile's LJ, to someone who was having great trouble a) getting the point b) accepting that yes they do fucking well have privilege even if they haven't had a life of strawberries and silk cushions.

"One thing that you're forgetting is this very helpful rule: If it's not about you, don't make it be about you. If you really think all this stuff Del wrote about truly does not apply to you and your family, don't take it personally, just leave it alone.
Also, just because you think it doesn't apply to you and your family doesn't mean it's not true for millions of other people. An important thing to note about privilege is that by its very nature it is invisible most of the time to those who have it, unless they've trained themselves to see it and even then they won't catch it all the time. Another thing is that many people fall into the same trap when the issue of privilege is raised - they think the people pointing it out are saying they ought to feel guilty for it, when that's not the case at all, and they think they're being accused of having lovely swanky lives, which is also not the case. I mean shit, my life's been rather awful but I'd never deny that I have benefited from privilege of various types. This is because of another thing that I try my very best not to do and which I wish more people would try to avoid: Suffering Trumps. It's ok not to be the most hard-done-by. Really, it is. Attention is not a zero-sum game, and just because someone points out that x group of people in general have it worse than the group you're in does not mean that all your personal suffering is invalidated, it just means it's time to talk about someone else for the moment."

I could say more about this, a lot more, but it's nearly half past two and this broadband connection James has managed to magic up is very prone to frequent disconnection.

Date: 2008-11-06 04:38 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]

Date: 2008-11-06 04:46 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'm very grateful that you *did* dive in there and say that because for a moment it looked like my brains were going to EXPLODE out of my nose.

Date: 2008-11-06 12:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Well done for remaining very coherent and not just going ARGH SHUT UP YOU STUPID CVNT!

Date: 2008-11-06 10:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
No, I pretty much just unleashed a hail of "FUCK YOU" until she took her defriending button and went home.

Date: 2008-11-06 07:56 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]

I know i've been guilty of making stuff about me and ignoring my very obvious privilege in the past. Thank god for people like you who put me right!

Date: 2008-11-06 09:16 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Let's face it, we're all privileged on here. Privileged to be happy, to have friends, to have electronic equipment(albeit sometimes old or dodgy),to have working brains, to be able to spit in the face of health problems. Hooray for all the little things that make life worth living every day and do what you can for those less fortunate. I like the bit about "suffering trumps" never thought of that before but its true, we all have our moments at playing that game and taking everything personally. Thanks for the timely reminder!!

Date: 2008-11-06 09:35 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I've also heard it called the Oppression Olympics.
I admit I've fallen into the trap, but then I tend to get defensive very very quickly. It is a habit I'm trying to get out of though. And I do not take the notion of white privilege personally because 1) it is a very real thing and I probably have benefitted from it somewhere down the line, and 2) I know that when people discuss it, it is in general terms.
And you were very patient with that person, I must say.
Edited Date: 2008-11-06 09:53 am (UTC)

Date: 2008-11-06 11:41 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
a) amen!
b) you're back in the interwebnets! hurray! It's good to hear from you.

Date: 2008-11-06 02:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
It strikes me that the person you were arguing with has not understood that everyone on that post is using "privilege" the sociological term and not "privilege" the word as commonly used. Perhaps no one has ever explained to them that the two are different.

The first implies that the privileged person benefits from a series of assumptions by others about their motives, actions and background. The second implies that the privileged person got more-tangible benefits, probably based on the ability of someone to shell out money. Just because you lacked the second doesn't mean that you didn't benefit from the first.

So, for example, two people can have equal levels of (common-term) privilege, but because of (sociological) privilege, only one of them will be regarded with suspicion by passers-by who do not know them, for no reason other than that they have darker skin. See also the comment in Men In Black that the fancy car that drives itself came with a black dude, but it had to be changed because he kept getting pulled over.

I can't face pointing that out, however, so I'll post it here where everyone reading it already knows this shit *sigh*.

Date: 2008-11-06 10:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
TBH I'm not sure the person Shira was arguing with would understand the difference between the two unless you beat it into her with a stick. She's very invested in being hard-done-by and has a bad case of Only Gay In The Village syndrome as well.

Date: 2008-11-08 10:14 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
This is true. I've only read that one exchange and she seemed to be playing the Pythons' Yorkshireman sketch all by herself.

Not worth your time, Shira's or mine, I would say.


Date: 2008-11-08 10:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oops, forgot I wasn't logged in yet.


Date: 2008-11-06 03:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Well said. :)

Miss you, darling. Email me when you get a moment. :) Love you.

Date: 2008-11-06 03:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Well said.

Date: 2008-11-06 11:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Suffering Trumps - those are two words that are entering my vocabulary from right now.
(deleted comment)

Date: 2008-11-07 02:39 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Hello, yes, Anwen has told me about you and your interesting braims :) Let mutual adding ensue!


Date: 2008-11-07 04:50 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
sorry 2 b off-topic here --- but it is a relief to see you have landed safely. I have been off-line because my IP had gone belly up for over a week now with no relief soon... don't get the ranting started. I have had no internet, no phone and no cable and the bunnies are making me yank my hair madly.

Feeling like crrrrap too but oh well... lots to chat about. See you soon I hope, if my current IP signal holds.


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