Posted by: mzbitca | April 18, 2009

Breaking My Privilege: Who has the right to ask what questions?

Disclaimer:  Most of my idea for this post came from the boycott of feministing and feministe  and the frustrations of the trans bloggers who feel like their voices/issues are not heard in the blogosphere and that when ever they try to have a dialog it is constantly derailed by privilege blind cis feminists.  It has had me thinking a lot about privilege and how I got to where I am now and all the different lessons I had to learn to try not to spew privilege all over posts that had nothing to do with me. I am hoping this post, and others in the same vein can be used to explain why certain behaviors are insulting and demeaning to the women that feminism still routinely oppresses. I don’t have a big following but if even a few people come across this post and it affects the way they engage I feel it is worth it.

I’m a liberal, open-minded person.  I believe everyone should have equal rights and that racism, sexism, homophobia & tranmisogyny is wrong.  I am an ally to all of those that are underprivileged.  Therefore it is perfectly acceptable for me to ask any type of intrusive or or non-intrusive question about another person’s experience, identity, culture, transitioning etc.  My intent is pure and I just want to better  understand their experience and identity so that I can be the best ally EVER.  Anyone who is gay, trans,  asian, etc should have no problem explaining their life experience to me.  They should be grateful and appreciative that I WANT to learn about their experience.  They constantly complain about people not “understanding” shouldn’t they want to help me understand.   

The above paragraph is nothing more than a gigantic FAIL but I didn’t see why at first.  I was blinded by my privilege and believed positive intent and didn’t understand why it would be insulting to make someone explain basic concepts to me.

In any conversation like that I was treating an individual like an object.  I was investigating their experience and making them relay information that could have been painful or annoying.  Instead of realizing that I was making an individual a mascot for what I perceived as their “issue”, I believed I was being open-minded and giving myself an cognitive pat on the back for being a “good person.”  My actions were not showing support but another form of othering and a way to take someone’s personal issue and make myself feel better about caring and being “informed”.  I reduced a person to one part of their identity instead of seeing them as a whole and letting them tell me their story in the way they wanted.  I could have easily went on the internet and searched for the basic info I needed but in my world it was easier to make another human being be my own personal encyclopedia.  

I took personal questions and revelations and made them nuggets of information to place in my congratulatory image of myself.  It never came into my head that what I was doing was insulting, I was just asking questions.  I wanted credit for caring without ever realizing that what I was showing over and over again was that I didn’t care.  I didn’t care enough to find basic information, I didn’t care enough to consider the other person’s feelings and life experience and I didn’t care enough to check to see if my assumptions about my behavior were actually true.  I have privilege and privilege means I don’t have to care.  I can be offensive and claim other people don’t “want me to learn” when they get irritated or yell about derailing.  Because in my little world, people were supposed to want me on their side and they had to earn it by providing me with the information I needed.  They had to submit to a quasi national geographic interview based on my desire to intrude upon their real world when I had no respect for the life they actually have to live.

It took me awhile but eventually I learned.  Now I am embarrassed by the times where I took for granted that people wanted to tell me everything I wanted to know.  I am embarrassed for all the times I felt that others were obligated to explain their situation if they wanted support. I am embarrassed for others who don’t realize that privilege and are a reflection of me when I see them demand that people use language they understand if they want their support.  I am embarrassed that even in feminism where we realize we shouldn’t have to explain basic terms to a man that comes on and demands statistics and definitions for sexual assault we haven’t realized that an explanation of a term cis-identified does not belong on a thread focused on how we can do better when dealing with trans-related issues.


Responses

  1. Damn girl, this must have been hard to write. I’m right with you there, I wish I could just forget the times I acted out my privilege. :(

    • Me too. I still get Douche Chills just thinking about it. I still have a long way to go and I’m sure a couple of years from now I’ll look back at myself in this moment and time and shudder.

      You can call it growing pains.

  2. Yeah it was pretty rough at first but I feel like it might be necessary. There are millions of little ways that I needed to and still need to identify my privilege. I think breaking it down like this helps me and may also help others. I think it also prevents me from getting into the whole “maybe they ARE overreacting” mindset that can slip into my head on occasion when I just want to walk away from blog drama or dealing with the reality of the world

  3. Yes, the resistance to the “maybe they ARE overreacting” temptation is one I had to work on a lot, especially at first, and sometimes still.

    The other thing with that for me though is that at some point we want to be able to find a balance right? We can’t just agree with everything non-white people say, because they don’t even agree amongst each other. So we can’t just parrot and agree, we’ve got to be able to analyze the issues for ourselves and that risks the privilege re-asserting itself or coming out from it’s more hidden depths.

  4. The other thing with that for me though is that at some point we want to be able to find a balance right? We can’t just agree with everything non-white people say, because they don’t even agree amongst each other. So we can’t just parrot and agree, we’ve got to be able to analyze the issues for ourselves and that risks the privilege re-asserting itself or coming out from it’s more hidden depths.

    Exactly. It’s the different between analyzing appropriately and also realizing when it is your place to say something. Also there is the whole. I saw a blog somewhere that doesn’t agree with this which is just the online version of “I have a black/gay/trans gender friend”

  5. Apart from not tokenizing, it’s also great to just recognize that there are some things about other people’s experiences that you will never fully understand. I would hope white women would understand this about people of color, just as I try my best to do this for women (I am a man) and also try to do so for gays and lesbians.

    • I think one of the reasons why white folks want to know about the experiences of POCs or just anyone unlike themselves is not just because they want to understand to help the situation, I think they want to understand so they don’t feel left out of something. Privileged classes are so used to being apart of everything and “allowed” to do anything they want that when they find out something exists that they don’t have access to it bothers them deeply. They want to understand so they can be a part of it to. They don’t want to be left out of anything and they feel it is their right to be a part of everything.

      • I think there is a LOT of truth to what you’re saying here.

  6. Also there is the whole. I saw a blog somewhere that doesn’t agree with this which is just the online version of “I have a black/gay/trans gender friend”

    LOL! Yes, I have definitely seen that.

    But shit I might have done that too… hmmm… I’ll have to watch out for that trap.

  7. I learnt this the hard way, not in the feminist realm but in the racism realm. I moved to a country where I dont speak the language fluently (much at all to be honest) and am now a minorty amoung the minorities. Albeit a pretty outspoken minority.

    Random strangers believe they have the right to just walk right up and ask me any damn thing they please. In the beginning you feel like – well at least they are trying – but after the umpteenth time of being asked if we have cheese ‘over there’ or do we have doctors or dentists. You get to the point where you just want to slap some sense into them. Come on!

    It’s very hard for me to give polite answers to anyone these days, even those who are truly interested. Because after years of people using me as their “own personal encyclopedia” I find that almost all of them still use their cultural norms to judge my answers. So that they taint everything I say with negativity as our cultures are so different.

    So I have to explain basic concepts and then defend them as well. Or if they like what they hear and express desire to live like that – they don’t understand the basic premiss and turn around and do the exact opposite in a slightly different situation to the example giving. Leaving me wondering why 1) they asked at all and 2) I took all the time and effort to explain something they they clearly don’t want to understand fully.

    In a couple of months I finally get to go home! What I really need to do when I get there is remember how it feels. I see it all the time at home, and I feel sure I must have done it a million times myself before…hopefully this experience will make me better at fostering caring and open relationship with people different to me.

    The old saying of walking a mile in someones shoes feels so true for me in this situation.

    Sorry this is a bit long, it’s just your post really struck a cord. Thanks!

    • God, how self-righteous…

      Wait, I take that back. Clearly, you are in the right.

      How *dare* anyone have a cultural perspective different than your own! Even worse, how *dare* those bastards interpret the world through their own cultural lens! Don’t they know that they are supposed to see the world the way YOU do, mamesmumma??? Because, as we all know, you don’t have any biases or skews in your perspectives. You see things as they should be seen! Why can’t other people be like you? Why can’t other people just know everything that you know and see everything the way you see things? How dare these absolute *idiots* out there be different than you? It’s terrible.

  8. You know one of things that bothers me is the big disclaimer… I don’t agree with everything you say bu… It’s like apologizing for even having anything in common with me at all. No one on the planet is in complete agreement with anyone on all of the issues so why is it necessary to continually make this disclaimer.

    Also in terms of the expecting someone to continually teach rather than seeking out knowledge for yourself it is a problem for all of the reasons you stated and because it means that conversations get stunted. So many times I have tried to move conversations on my blog beyond the 101 level and get into some serious theory and it gets shut down by some troll who does not know the basics and demands to be spoon fed. In this way the conversation invariably once again becomes about the oppressor and not about the issues that needs to be addressed. It so effectively stops forward movement that I believe that there are those that do it intentionally.

    • i also believe there are those that do it intentionally. I don’t see anything wrong with say “explaining” basic 101 but the problem is it often turns into a discussion on basic 101 stuff such as the definition of racism. if the average person that asked what cisgender was accepted the simple answer it would be different then when they consistently argue and try to make it into their own personal study section.

      The ‘I dont agree…..but…” statement is something I never thought of. It’s like they are afraid that by saying you were right they are claiming you are then always right or that you might get big ideas in your head like your opinions and theories matter. It’s a way of throwing a bone to an oppressed person while still maintaining your position as the opressor who controls how the opressed voices are viewed

  9. i also believe there are those that do it intentionally. I don’t see anything wrong with say “explaining” basic 101 but the problem is it often turns into a discussion on basic 101 stuff such as the definition of racism. if the average person that asked what cisgender was accepted the simple answer it would be different then when they consistently argue and try to make it into their own personal study section.

    Exactly. then the oppressed group is not to show irritation for having to repeatedly go over the same basic definitions and or concepts. It is like beating a damn dead horse. What more the fact that they have the nerve to contest after you have taken the time to explain is even further irritating. I just loose it when you see a response based in good theory and research and then the invading troll starts off with, well in my opinion. I just want to scream dude no one gives a damn about your no experience opinion, seriously the height ot arrogance to take that position is disgusting.

    • “Exactly. then the oppressed group is not to show irritation for having to repeatedly go over the same basic definitions and or concepts. It is like beating a damn dead horse.”

      Just because you take for granted all the precepts of feminist ‘theory’, critical race ‘theory’, etc. etc. etc. doesn’t mean everyone else must. Those types of ‘theory’ are nothing but statements of radical political opinion and are not even close to being actual facts. If it enrages you to have your basic dogmas challenged then maybe that’s a sign that you’re not too secure in the foundations of your beliefs to begin with. You sound very much like an angry cult member furious that outsiders would have the audacity to continually question your ‘obviously’ true divine revelations.

      “I just loose it when you see a response based in good theory and research and then the invading troll starts off with, well in my opinion. I just want to scream dude no one gives a damn about your no experience opinion, seriously the height ot arrogance to take that position is disgusting.”

      You know, you’d be a lot less filled with rage if you had enough perspective to realize that all of your cherished critical theory ‘grounded’ beliefs are not even close to being facts. Rather, they’re political opinions – and yours are no more valid than those of anyone else. I *know* a self-righteous absolutist such as yourself you won’t understand that, but I had to say it regardless.

      • If a person asked me “why are you a feminist” or “what is this feminist theory about” in a casual setting or in earnest interest I would have no problem answering them. What I & Renee are talking about is people coming into a conversation and demanding it be all about explaining things to them and then arguing with us. If it was on a post discussing a specific theory that’s one thing. If it’s not it’s derailing and disrespectful because the post becomes a lot of arguing instead of positive discussion.

        Also, if you don’t agree with a theory that’s fine but if you don’t know anything about a theory and still argue it you’re being an obstructionist

        • “Also, if you don’t agree with a theory that’s fine but if you don’t know anything about a theory and still argue it you’re being an obstructionist”

          I honestly think one of your core problems is, at least what I perceive to be, the implicit assumption that those who disagree with you *must* not understand your point of view. I really do see from you an attitude that your beliefs are simply ‘facts’ that people must accept as truth. It goes back to what I was saying about your beliefs simply being political *opinions*, even if they draw from other opinions and ideologies that have been labeled as ‘theories’.

          You do understand, don’t you, that ideologies rooted in critical theory/cultural criticism and such are fundamentally different than scientific theories such as the theory of gravity or the theory of relativity, yes? You do understand that your beliefs and the ‘theories’ they’re grounded in represent very *subjective* points of view, yes? You do understand that the ‘interpretations’ on society that you have formed are not facts, but are merely your opinions, yes? You do understand that it is entirely possible – and entirely legitimate – to interpret society in a completely different way than you do, yes?

          If you answered ‘yes’ to those questions, then I really don’t understand your frustration. If you answered ‘no’ to any of them, then the source of your frustration becomes both obvious and – I would say – inescapable.

          • Hurf,

            you are missing the entire point of the post and are very sure of your assessment of me and “one of my core problems”. The point of this post is me being honest about times when I expected other people to consistently jump through hoops to explain their experience to me because I felt I had a right to “know” about it because I viewed myself as an ally. My beliefs are based on human decency and knowing how to not treat another human being as if they are required to bend to your every whim should not need hard research but empathy and understanding of others positions in the world.

            Once again on arguing Ideologies: At a blog such as mine I am coming from a specific set of Ideology that I believe is very truthful in the world today. If you don’t believe that, feel free to go to blogs that support your belief. However, unless the post is: This is what I believe, what do you think. Any arguing with my point is a waste of time and designed to “one-up” me or prove that you are right which is not what this post is about.

            This is the last response to anything that does not have a direct basis on what it was like to recognize and break down your privilege as that is what the post is about and what the discussion is supposed to be focused on

            • “you are missing the entire point of the post and are very sure of your assessment of me and “one of my core problems”. The point of this post is me being honest about times when I expected other people to consistently jump through hoops to explain their experience to me because I felt I had a right to “know” about it because I viewed myself as an ally. My beliefs are based on human decency and knowing how to not treat another human being as if they are required to bend to your every whim should not need hard research but empathy and understanding of others positions in the world.”

              I guess you and I fundamentally disagree. I would say that if a person expected you to be supportive of them and/or their cause, that they would indeed owe you an explanation of their point of view. Not only would they owe you that explanation, but they would owe you an explanation that was sufficient to *your* satisfaction. I would never support anyone who wasn’t willing to do what was necessary to convince me that they and their cause were both worthy of my support. I would immediately reject anyone who simply asserted that they were right, that they had no duty to show me how they were right, but yet still expected my support regardless. Maybe you are different from me in this regard, and there is ultimately nothing wrong with that.

              “Once again on arguing Ideologies: At a blog such as mine I am coming from a specific set of Ideology that I believe is very truthful in the world today. If you don’t believe that, feel free to go to blogs that support your belief. However, unless the post is: This is what I believe, what do you think. Any arguing with my point is a waste of time and designed to “one-up” me or prove that you are right which is not what this post is about.”

              I understand this. I am not trying to argue you out of your point of view, nor am I asking you to defend it. I merely wanted to make sure you understood that your point of view is just that – a point of view – and not a set of hard facts. I wanted to make sure of this because it seems to me that there would have to be some confusion in this area for someone to simply assert that they didn’t owe explanations of their views to others from whom they expected support or understanding.

              “This is the last response to anything that does not have a direct basis on what it was like to recognize and break down your privilege as that is what the post is about and what the discussion is supposed to be focused on”

              Alright, fine. I guess what I’m saying here is that the whole premise of this discussion is wrong headed in my opinion from the start. As far as I’m concerned, people do owe other people explanations and answers if they expect support and understanding. I guess we just fundamentally disagree.

      • It’s not about “taking for granted” anything, it’s about people not doing their fucking homework before engaging and not just disagreeing with theory but making us explain it to them and then disagreeing with us.

        • “It’s not about “taking for granted” anything, it’s about people not doing their fucking homework before engaging and not just disagreeing with theory but making us explain it to them and then disagreeing with us.”

          Again, we’ve come back to the position of “If you disagree with me, you must not understand what I am saying.” You presume that these people who are disagreeing with you don’t already understand your position, so you then ‘explain’ it to them over and over again, wondering all the while why they just don’t seem to ‘get it.’ You know, people can understand this stuff *and* think it’s profoundly unreasonable.

          • Again you miss the point. I don’t presume people disagreeing with us don’t understand.

            I’m saying the people who come into threads and say “what the hell does this mean?!” when they can easily Google it are acting out their privilege and it gets incredibly frustrating.

  10. “It took me awhile but eventually I learned. Now I am embarrassed by the times where I took for granted that people wanted to tell me everything I wanted to know. I am embarrassed for all the times I felt that others were obligated to explain their situation if they wanted support. I am embarrassed for others who don’t realize that privilege and are a reflection of me when I see them demand that people use language they understand if they want their support. I am embarrassed that even in feminism where we realize we shouldn’t have to explain basic terms to a man that comes on and demands statistics and definitions for sexual assault we haven’t realized that an explanation of a term cis-identified does not belong on a thread focused on how we can do better when dealing with trans-related issues.”

    If you don’t think you owe people even so much as an explanation of your beliefs before you can expect their support of some cause important to you, then you’re out of your mind. What, are people just supposed to accept your every word on blind faith? You want to talk about privilege? You want to talk about entitlement? You want to talk about just plain arrogance? Your post exemplifies all of these things. Enjoy having people write you off and ignore you – because that’s exactly what your attitude will inspire people to do.

    • ” You want to talk about entitlement? You want to talk about just plain arrogance? Your post exemplifies all of these things. Enjoy having people write you off and ignore you – because that’s exactly what your attitude will inspire people to do.’

      my previous attitude did a lot to give people a reason to write me off and ignore me. I was not showing that I cared truly about them, just what information they could give me. Also, they do NOT have to tell me about their life. If we’re having an equal conversation that’s one thing, what I am referring to is just asking questions about someone’s race/identity/experience because I just want to know, not because we are haivng a conversation with equal respect and disclosure. it is akin to asking a teacher a quesiton only this person is NOT getting paid to keep me informed.

      • “what I am referring to is just asking questions about someone’s race/identity/experience because I just want to know, not because we are haivng a conversation with equal respect and disclosure.”

        Again, I don’t see this as being even remotely problematic. People of different backgrounds ask me questions about myself with some frequency and it doesn’t cause me any stress or anger. I could understand if someone was being rude or intrusive, but this notion that for a person to ask you a question out of mere curiosity is somehow offensive is just not something I can relate to.

        • You don’t see any of this as problematic because you’re missing the point hurf.

          If someone is interested in a topic they NEED to do some homework if they see something they don’t understand. Having to go over and over and over the same fucking basic points doesn’t let any other conversation happen. And the resources are there, for Christ’s sake we have GOOGLE which is like magic and can bring anything there right to our fingertips. It’s not even hard anymore for someone to do their homework. To derail and conversation and demand explanation is the height of arrogance and laziness.

  11. @hurf

    If you don’t think you owe people even so much as an explanation of your beliefs before you can expect their support of some cause important to you, then you’re out of your mind.

    Seriously do you choke on your privilege much. The point is to survive an oppressed body must be fluent in the language of the oppressor. It is a sign of privilege that you remain ignorant because it is purposeful. To continually ask to be taught rather than seeking out knowledge for yourself means that once again you are placing yourself in the center of the debate and turning the oppressor into a Mystical Negro (in may case at least) of sorts.
    As for your idiot distaste of theory it is based in sound scientific research and is far more valid than the average opinion but since you don’t know 101 basics I am not surprised to see you express this opinion.

    • “Seriously do you choke on your privilege much. The point is to survive an oppressed body must be fluent in the language of the oppressor. It is a sign of privilege that you remain ignorant because it is purposeful. To continually ask to be taught rather than seeking out knowledge for yourself means that once again you are placing yourself in the center of the debate and turning the oppressor into a Mystical Negro (in may case at least) of sorts.”

      Do you understand that you’re talking purely in post-structuralist/post-modernist cliches? Do you understand just how many assumptions are implicit in the language you are using (and abusing)? You have appropriated for yourself the privileged role of the victim and are using it to justify making demands on everyone around you. You demand that others recognize your arbitrary and subjective points of view as fact, even if you can’t be bothered to explain them. Your position is not one of a brave, academically knowledgeable warrior in the realm of ideas but, rather, the hiding hole for one who has found their radical positions and beliefs challenged and debunked by others one too many times. You use your self-appointed victim status as a shield to preemptively fend off any notion that your views are anything other than objective facts by simply asserting that you are right and that it is up to everyone else to discover how right you are for themselves. Your attitude is the height of intellectual cowardice *and* intellectual laziness.

      “As for your idiot distaste of theory”

      Insulting me for disagreeing with your dogmas doesn’t make them any more valid.

      “it is based in sound scientific research”

      The plethora of ideologies rooted in critical theory are not based in anything remotely resembling scientific research. The whole ‘field’ is nothing but a self-feeding circle jerk of subjectivity, indignant rage, and scapegoating.

      “and is far more valid than the average opinion but since you don’t know 101 basics I am not surprised to see you express this opinion.”

      Yes, yes, yes. Spoken like a true cult member. Clearly, since I don’t buy into your core dogmas, I am just an ignorant fool. You’re just like a Christian.

      • If you truly believe that “The whole ‘field’ is nothing but a self-feeding circle jerk or subjectivity, indignant rage and scapegoating” Then what is the point of engaging on this thread at all since you do not believe any of our basis has meaning, besides being incredibly insulting to those of us who have persued educations and jobs in this area.

        Also, there have been studies that have come up with statistics finding that there is a basis for even “well-meaning people” to hold stereotypes and prejudices that can come out in their actions, based on surveys and brain scanning technology so there are basis for our theories in hard fact, as much as the study of people and society can be.

        Also, please do not insult Renee by referring to her as a cult member as you called her out for doing the same thing to you..which some of us might say is privilege at work. You feel that she must be polite with you, yet, in the same comment where you criticize her wording you also resort to non-productive assumptions and name calling

        • “If you truly believe that “The whole ‘field’ is nothing but a self-feeding circle jerk or subjectivity, indignant rage and scapegoating” Then what is the point of engaging on this thread at all since you do not believe any of our basis has meaning, besides being incredibly insulting to those of us who have persued educations and jobs in this area.”

          Hey, people have pursued educations and jobs is phrenology, parapsychology, homeopathy and all sorts of other nonsense, but that doesn’t mean I have to cater to them or pretend that their knowledge areas have any validity.

          “Also, there have been studies that have come up with statistics finding that there is a basis for even “well-meaning people” to hold stereotypes and prejudices that can come out in their actions, based on surveys and brain scanning technology so there are basis for our theories in hard fact, as much as the study of people and society can be.”

          It’s a huge leap to go from the idea that people act on their stereotypes to believing anything critical theory puts forth in terms of ‘explanations’ or ‘remedies.’ For instance, this whole thread really comes back to so called ‘standpoint theory’ which, among other things, epistemologically privileges the knowledge claims of ‘victims’ over those of ‘oppressors’. This is clearly ridiculous. Can’t you see the potential for paradox and conflict? What happens when the claims of 2 different ‘victim’ classes conflict? Why can’t the ‘oppressors’ simply label themselves ‘victims’ and then immediately enjoy the same epistemological privilege as the ‘victims’? Who ultimately decides who is ‘victim’ and who is ‘oppressor’ without resorting to the construction of a special, privileged vantage point that exists external to both? It’s ultimately nonsense, and I think anybody can see that who hasn’t been sucked into the ‘critical theory’ cult. I am calling it a cult because that’s exactly what it seems to be to me – and many, many others.

          “Also, please do not insult Renee by referring to her as a cult member as you called her out for doing the same thing to you..which some of us might say is privilege at work. You feel that she must be polite with you, yet, in the same comment where you criticize her wording you also resort to non-productive assumptions and name calling”

          Based on Renee’s commentary, I would say that it would be most unreasonable for me to expect her to be polite with me. I’m not suggesting she must be polite or cordial with me. On the contrary – let her speak her mind! I just wanted to make sure she understood that insults weren’t a substitute for substance. I’ve backed up my positions and await her to do the same.

  12. This is great.

    You have just explained why I think my belief in original sin can be a good thing politically. ;) I am always aware that my motives in MOST things are a little bit tainted and designed to make myself look good, at least partly.

    Ugh, you have a troll:

    If you don’t think you owe people even so much as an explanation of your beliefs before you can expect their support of some cause important to you, then you’re out of your mind.

    This is a big blog, have you read any of it? There are lots of explanations-of-belief here. I just clicked at random, and found several.

    Here in the south, they tell the kids “Do your homework, then talk in class, not the other way around.”

    • “This is a big blog, have you read any of it? There are lots of explanations-of-belief here. I just clicked at random, and found several.”

      You took my quote out of context. I was responding to someone who thinks that, because they are privileged ‘victims’, they can simply declare themselves to be correct and then shift the burden of proving the validity of their assertions onto those around them. Try reading the whole thread next time.

  13. You took my quote out of context. I was responding to someone who thinks that, because they are privileged ‘victims’, they can simply declare themselves to be correct and then shift the burden of proving the validity of their assertions onto those around them. Try reading the whole thread next time.

    I read the whole thread, and I haven’t seen anyone call themselves “privileged victims”–so I think you are making up points of contention so you can get your knickers all in a twist and cast yourself as the “common sense conservative” here. Yes?

    If you are not conservative, you sure sound like it.

    If you are, what are you doing here, exactly?

    • “I read the whole thread, and I haven’t seen anyone call themselves “privileged victims”–so I think you are making up points of contention so you can get your knickers all in a twist and cast yourself as the “common sense conservative” here. Yes?”

      Nobody calls themselves a “privileged victim” but they strive to appropriate that role for themselves nonetheless. Once you declare yourself to be the ‘victim’, you can then proceed to make all manner of self-righteous demands on the ‘oppressors’ around you. One of the claims we see being made in this thread is that ‘victims’ don’t owe their ‘oppressors’ any explanations of their beliefs. Rather, ‘oppressors’ should just shut their insensitive mouths and believe what the poor ‘victims’ tell them. I deny that this has any validity at all. As for me being a conservative – just no. I am so far from that label it’s simply sad that you felt the need to resort to reflexively flinging it at me. I can’t say I’m surprised. You probably see ‘conservative’ bogymen in nearly everyone you meet.

      “If you are not conservative, you sure sound like it.”

      My guess is that you haven’t had much exposure to points of view outside of your own. That’s not a good place for you to be. Too much intellectual homogeneity breeds thinking that is unable to see its own biases or its own faults.

  14. Ugh. Ignore the stupid troll! That person is here to derail the thread and it is WORKING, which is the most frustrating thing of all.

    • “Ugh. Ignore the stupid troll! That person is here to derail the thread and it is WORKING, which is the most frustrating thing of all.”

      Clearly, opposing points of view can only be presented by trolls – because no one with any sense could possibly have an opinion different than your own! Oh, by the way, that ‘xenu01′ alias is incredibly appropriate for a student of critical theory – in so many ways.

    • Good point Xenu.

  15. Oh, and by the way, threads like this and comments like mamesmumma’s should be required reading for anyone who has privilege and is newly entering a critical theory safespace. Thank you for writing this.

  16. Alright. hurf, you don’t believe in privilege and what harm it can cause. We here do and believe that mitigating our privilege is something that makes us better people. That has been made evident. I would ask that noone engage in argument as it is doing nothing but making this thread hard to read for someone willing to talk about navigating their period.

    Hurf, I understand your position, you have stated it. Please respect what this post is trying to do by refraining from challenging the concept as it is doing nothing but taking up time and creating stress

  17. My guess is that you haven’t had much exposure to points of view outside of your own.

    Bob Jones University is 6 miles away; I just talked to a whole parcel of em today, as I do every Sunday. When have you talked to them? About what?

    My guess is that YOU haven’t had much exposure to points of view outside YOUR own, so much so that you don’t seem to know what your point of view actually IS. This explains why your posts are filled with what Trotsky would have called ‘intrinsic contradictions’.

    And now, I will stop feeding the troll. Sorry about that! :P

  18. [...] My Privilege: Why I thought Intent mattered By mzbitca In my previous post, I discussed how I used to not understand why it was inappropriate for me to question others about [...]


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