The Case for discussing Thin Privilege
Cross posted from the comments at WATRD. (I know, I should not go back there. I fail.)
Look, you simply cannot talk about how one group is discriminated against without talking about how another group receives inherent privilege. You can’t unpack the nature of the discrimination without it sometimes coming up. It would be like trying to paint a painting with only shadows, never highlighting the bright points. Privilege is what happens when one group is discriminated against, it means that another group receives inherent benefits from NOT being discriminated against. It is a yin yang thing.
I totally get that being told to check your privilege feels like an attack. I feel wounded every time I have to check my white privilege or my cis gendered privilege or even my Tall well educated upper middle class privilege. It’s hard to acknowledge these inherent benefits you have because you feel GUILTY AS HELL. (Or at least I do)
But to just say we can’t talk about it because it is “Othering”? ORLY? Is it as “Othering” as say, people not sitting next to you on the bus? Or not getting jobs/ Or being called lazy? Being told you smell even when you dont? Being told to go to the gym? Not getting adequate medical care?
The fact is, it is othering, it is supposed to be, the point is for people who have privilege, for whatever reason, to take that opportunity and realize how while what they are saying may be valid in their experience, it comes from a place where they haven’t had to deal with the same damaging behaviors (See above) as the group they are discussing.
That is not to say that they don’t deal with ANY damaging behaviors. Just not the SAME ones.
If you find yourself reading this just trying to come up with more ways of proving that you’re right, then you aren’t learning. You are trying to find a way to defend your own ideas that you’re always right, or that you know a lot and other people don’t, or that you should never have to feel bad or guilty ever, or for whatever reason. It’s okay to be wrong sometimes, it is NOT okay to refuse to admit it. (Does that sound as patronizing as point #7?)
Updated: Spell Check FTW.