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Tue, May. 15th, 2012, 06:07 pm
annwfyn: Privilege for beginners

http://whatever.scalzi.com/2012/05/15/straight-white-male-the-lowest-difficulty-setting-there-is/

A friend of mine posted this on G+ and it was good enough that I wanted to share it. It is a really nice geek friendly way of trying to get the concept of privilege across without provoking the rabid cheetah on steroids response.

It does have failings - for some reason it does mention race, gender and sexuality, but doesn't mention class - and it is very geek centric, but I thought it was definitely worth passing around.

Tue, May. 15th, 2012 05:39 pm (UTC)
nicoli_dominn

I guess the reason they don't delve too much into intersectionality is because the intended audience's brains would probably be overloaded with that information...

It would have been helpful for the author to give them more metaphors relating to the specific privileges/disadvantages. It leaves too much to the imagination, and some people really are too dense and/or ignorant to not only understand privilege, but what privileges they have.

Other than that, a good introductory article.

Tue, May. 15th, 2012 06:25 pm (UTC)
romp

thanks for posting this

Tue, May. 15th, 2012 06:58 pm (UTC)
the_living_end

I agree completely. If you ever watch a bunch of geek dudes get called out on any ism, prepare for the avalanche of defense. The mention of classism would definitely have exploded some brains.

I'm glad to see someone as prominent as Scalzi talking about it at all. The current "brogrammer" culture could use a serious privilege check right now. I think we may be entering the most severe backlash since Backlash was published.

Tue, May. 15th, 2012 10:26 pm (UTC)
jsl32

what is the endgame of privilege discussion? what is the ultimate, long-term, concrete, definable goal?

Tue, May. 15th, 2012 10:45 pm (UTC)
annwfyn

To get understanding and acceptance that it exists as without that, nothing can be done to address the inequality it perpetrates.

Wed, May. 16th, 2012 12:08 am (UTC)
jsl32

that's not concrete or a goal, really. understanding and acceptance doesn't equal any actual solutions. people know they don't earn all they get. they have defense mechanisms about it. so why even have the privilege discussion? they already have the information. poking at them to get them to cop to it in language you prefer isn't, to my way of thinking, a means of getting stuff done.

is any of this going to result in people who don't look like john scalzi being mentored in the specific key positions that would lead to a scalzi-level career? probably not, these discussions have been going on for years now and the people who make publishing decisions haven't really changed who they want in those slots.

discussion is fine if it's going to lead to concrete goals and clear paths. it's not so great if it just leads to people saying 'i haz white privilege'. ok, now what? how does that change anything? it doesn't.

Wed, May. 16th, 2012 08:11 am (UTC)
annwfyn

I disagree with your statement that people know they don't earn what they get. I think in many cases they genuinely don't. And that's the problem. I also think that without a basic agreement and understanding of certain ideas, there is no chance of anyone else moving forward - that's why education matters. You can't have an election until people understand the concept of democracy, for example.

Wed, May. 16th, 2012 05:28 pm (UTC)
jsl32

shrug, my experience is that they totally know and just dissemble about it. you give (white) people way too much credit by pretending they're ignorant when they're just protecting ego turf.

and no, you can totally have an election without an understanding of democracy. people do all manner of things without full comprehension of concepts underlying those things. that's a red herring argument.

plus, with the explosion of types of privilege, it seems to me that it isn't about getting to a clear endpoint, but just standing still talking about permutations all the livelong day.

as a Christian black woman who mostly lives and spends time with very conservative Christian white people, i don't waste time talking about privilege if they bring a stupid white person moment. i speak to them in our shared language of Christian faith, without using privilege vocabulary at all and i have found that this gets me less defensiveness and also less of the stupid behavior. i get a clear result with my method and the long term outcome is white people who see black people as equally imago dei, made in the image of Christ. and in so doing, act less stupidly and meanly.

i don't have advice for how the non-Christian should play it, beyond me not seeing the privilege stuff pan out with irl reactions.

Sun, May. 20th, 2012 08:26 pm (UTC)
mhnicholson

Credit for the metaphor relating privilege to difficulty level goes to Luke McKinney
"Being a straight male is tremendous fun and sexuality's lowest difficulty setting: You know what you want and everyone else in your demographic will praise you for being able to do it. No one else on the spectrum of sexual orientation can say that."
Be warned that the source is a Cracked Magazine(tm) article, so don't expect it to be more than it is.

Edited at 2012-05-20 08:30 pm (UTC)