Guess what? Black men are better at basketball, on average. Did I just blow your mind? Don't make me drop science on Latinos and soccer, you couldn't handle it.
Guess what? Black men are better at basketball, on average. Did I just blow your mind? Don't make me drop science on Latinos and soccer, you couldn't handle it.
The unexplained wage gap between men and women is around 5% (in Canada). Does anyone believe that 5% is the difference between normal and privileged?
Also that article sucked.
Way to burn that strawman, Murbella. Maybe when you come back down to earth, where the people who are actually talking in this thread live, you might tone down the overbearing rhetoric and hyperbole?
Not getting pulled over for "driving while black" is a pretty big deal. Not a huge deal, not a case of "super privileged and [your] life is easy mode", but that in and of itself is a non-trivial thing.
And there's a lot of non-trivial things, and they add up.
Most people here would agree with the general statement that "People in the America are privileged compared to people in Zimbabwe." Hell, part of being an American is constantly being exposed to patriotic sentiment, often in the form of a song, about how lucky we are to be born in America, where we've got all sorts of great rights and privileges.
No one freaks out when people talk about how great America is. No one starts complaining about how much less rich they personally are than a Saudi prince, so therefore beign American must not be all that big a deal.
Why can't we adopt a similarly reasonable approach to the discussion of other forms of privilege? I'm privileged for many reasons. One of the reasons I'm privileged is because the police won't shake me down for bribes because I am lucky enough to live in a non-corrupt state. Another reason I'm privileged is because the police won't stop me randomly because I'm lucky enough to be white.
Originally Posted by HuonganThere's quite a bit of data that disagrees.Originally Posted by Huongan
Studies disagree, yadda yadda, but it's not just money, and it's not just "culture."After responding to 1,300 classified ads with dummy resumes, the authors found black-sounding names were 50 percent less likely to get a callback than white-sounding names with comparable resumes.
Well in the United States you can't smoke hash in the streets or play Diablo 3. So it's not that easy mode.
And just so I don't get accused of the same thing:Two recent papers from the Cambridge-based National Bureau of Economic Research draw somewhat different conclusions about whether a black name is a burden. One, an analysis of the 16 million births in California between 1960 and 2000, claims it has no significant effect on how someone's life turns out.
The other, however, suggests a black-sounding name remains an impediment to getting a job. After responding to 1,300 classified ads with dummy resumes, the authors found black-sounding names were 50 percent less likely to get a callback than white-sounding names with comparable resumes.
Bottom line: The data is complicated.Both studies have their shortcomings; the California records give only broad indicators of economic achievement, and studying whose resumes elicit callbacks doesn't show who ultimately gets the jobs or what they do once employed.
Last edited by mdowdle; 05-15-2012 at 11:23 PM.
I can link to others if you like.Studies disagree, yadda yadda, but it's not just money, and it's not just "culture."
Bah, if you don't live in a shithole in a Third World country, you are in Easy mode!
There's this weird duality going on with privilege. On the one hand it's doing to white men what the western world has done to everyone else. But on the other hand what the western world has done to the everyone else category is pretty shitty.
The default position for white men is that they're an individual, and are treated as individuals. They don't have to live up to what some other dude is doing because it's not going to affect them or what people think of them. Then here comes along this privilege thing and all of a sudden one entire group of people is being branded the same, and it makes fuck all difference what the individual circumstances are. Because it is technically correct, but so is saying crime is most prevalent amongst black men, technically true, but not very helpful when put in such simple terms.
So, maybe there's a better way of using the term privilege. If you're pissed off of it being used about you, well that's how everyone else feels all the time.
Then there were the real success stories, kids whose parents couldn't read or write but worked themselves to the bone for minimum wage and somehow passed on both that work ethic and a belief that they could do more; those kids make me realize just how shit I've been most of my life when they went on to get advanced degrees (without the benefit of racially targeted grants.) They're also the reason I don't like it when people start telling me about how all *people of category* are privileged because it's infantile and meaningless. You're taking an average and applying it to the entire cohort as a property and it just doesn't work that way. It's like saying that no poverty exists in the U.S. because the average wage is $56,000. Hey homeless veteran with PTSD, you're privileged to be making so much more money than the rest of the world!
So, reading discussions about race on QT3 kind of makes me understand how Angie must have felt when reading discussions of gender.
On the one hand, it's technically correct but on the other hand is it useful or beneficial? And I don't mean in a marketing way, where any attention is good attention in the resistance/revolution.
I'd like to hear what Aaron and Hugin have to say about this. If I accept that white men averaged out are better off than pretty much everyone, then what next? Do I then have the right to say privilege doesn't really mean much when there are: disabled white men, gay white men, trans white men, poor white men, ill-educated white men, white men with no familial support, white men whose family died, white men with etc. And the same goes for women. So if you accept that these are just useful categories, you need to accept that "straight white woman" is a subcategory who have it better off than "disabled white man" you get into this weird utilitarian thing about who deserves my limited time.
It doesn't work that way if you continue to ignore what people are actually saying and mix in a ton of other factors, which isn't the point of the argument.You're taking an average and applying it to the entire cohort as a property and it just doesn't work that way.
All other things being equal. All other things being equal. All other things being equal. You cannot be this stupid. Yes. A homeless veteran with PTSD is in a rough position. A homeless black veteran with PTSD is almost certainly in a rougher one. And yet, this still isn't really what privilege is about, which is why I was critical of the OP article in my first post.It's like saying that no poverty exists in the U.S. because the average wage is $56,000. Hey homeless veteran with PTSD, you're privileged to be making so much more money than the rest of the world!
I'll try to restate, although I'm sure this will be ignored too:
Privilege isn't some lazy way of saying "inequality exists" or "racism or sexism or homophobia or ableism or whatever exists". Privilege is about taking a step back and saying "because racism (or sexism or homophobia or whatever) exists, some groups of people are put into positions of advantage, and often don't even know it, because it's baked into society, into the air we all breathe.
Again, going back to my first point, on the (relatively speaking) minor subject of video game leads. From time to time, someone will bemoan the relative lack of minority leads/heroes in video games. And then someone else (usually a non-minority) will say some version of "Who cares what color the hero is/who appears on the cover of the box/I never think about that kind of stuff when I'm playing, I'm just having fun, shooting aliens, whatever, I can't believe we're wasting time on this."
Well, yeah. You never have to think about it, because you get the heroes you can identify with. Because the game industry caters to your tastes. The heroes look the way you expect them to look, the women dress the way which is pleasing to your eye, it's all for you, and it's not even a matter of "expectations", because it's the default. It's so automatic, you don't even think of it as the result of a series of deliberate choices, and in fact, it may not even have been a conscious choice on the part of the developers, because they too never think about this kind of stuff, because they aren't minorities either.
Not having to hope the hero might look like you or come from your cultural background is privilege. Not worrying that the car you drive is "too nice" and thus might arouse suspicions is privilege.
It isn't "Oh hey, you're privileged, and by that I mean you're rich and happy and everything goes your way, always!".
I was interviewing for a roommate a while back. And one woman asked me if the neighborhood was safe, because she worked late nights and would be walking home alone a lot. And I had to take a step back and really think about my answer, because by knee jerk response was to say "Sure it's totally safe." But I'm a large guy, not a small woman. "Safe out alone at night" is a totally different thing for her than it is for me. And that's not my fault, I'm not oppressing her with my large maleness, I'm not discriminating against her, I'm not even impervious to all harm. But I do have an advantage over her baked into the fabric of reality, that I had to factor in when I was talking to her about the subject, which made my answer maybe more accurate and nuanced. That's the usefulness of being aware of privilege, even in circumstances that aren't created by you or controlled by you or "your fault".
Talking about privilege is not saying "Oh man, stop being so racist!" or whatever. It's just saying "Be aware that the world doesn't necessarily work the same for some of the people around you, even people you think share pretty much the same circumstances or even better circumstances than you, and if you can remember that, maybe certain kinds of arguments or conflicts or political debates or decisions you make in life will be informed by that awareness, and the default outcomes, which maybe aren't so fair or so great, won't just be the norm because you never thought otherwise. It's the "never having to think otherwise", that blind spot (or hopefully, training yourself to think about the world in a way so that you have fewer blind spots,) that privilege is all about.
One of the first steps in stopping "Driving while black" stops by the police is that the people who aren't getting stopped must recognize that it is oppressive, unfair, and more adjectives that I'm too lazy to think of this early in the morning.If I accept that white men averaged out are better off than pretty much everyone, then what next?
One of the first steps in stopping the casual sexual harassment of women in urban environments is that those doing the harassing (overwhelmingly men) must recognize that it is sexist, offensive, and makes the woman in question feel unsafe in every way.
The reason why people don't recognize those things is that when something doesn't happen to us, we tend to not recognize the validity of the event as experienced by other people. The very existence of "DWB" stops and casual, omnipresent sexual harassment on the streets and public transit of cities is questioned, ridiculed; people who assert that it's a problem are dismissed and filed away in the "clearly too much of a radical feminist to use her brain" category, or for men the "clearly white-knighting to get laid" category.
I'm not here to give you the full academic background on the concept of kyriarchy, though. That would take me hours of typing, you hours of reading, pages of us going back and forth; it would be inappropriate given the existence of Diablo III as a just-released game.
But this is basically the heart of the concept; that we grow up steeped in our own contexts, and it blinds us to the problems that others experience. Fixing those problems - somehow changing society so that men don't feel justified harassing women on the bus, so that frat boys don't high-five each other for fucking a woman too drunk to say "no" - requires raising awareness; that much is agreed upon by just about every school of feminist thought I've had even the slightest agreement with.
What you do after people are aware of the problem depends on who you ask. Me, I think that raising awareness and understanding - true awareness, not this "I understand that you think it's a problem and we'll have to agree to disagree because you're just a silly person for feeling unsafe when people get in your personal space and scream at you for not blowing them a kiss when they wolf-whistle at you" bullshit - will mostly fix the problem.
I mentioned intersectionality before, but it doesn't appear to have sunk in. So. Intersectionality. It's why I don't like the term "patriarchy", but I do like the term "kyriarchy".Do I then have the right to say privilege doesn't really mean much when there are: disabled white men, gay white men, trans white men, poor white men, ill-educated white men, white men with no familial support, white men whose family died, white men with etc.
Mind you, all three of those terms - patriarchy, kyriarchy, intersectionality - are academic words. I mean that in the most literal of senses; they presume an understanding of an academic discipline in order to discuss what amounts to sociology and philosophy. It's inconsistent to use, for example, the vernacular definitions patriarchy while discussing academic arguments of feminism just as it would be inconsistent to use vernacular definitions of medical jargon-words.
I'm going to blow your mind here.And the same goes for women. So if you accept that these are just useful categories, you need to accept that "straight white woman" is a subcategory who have it better off than "disabled white man" you get into this weird utilitarian thing about who deserves my limited time.
There are three categories of organizations which I volunteer or work for on a regular basis due to the societal need for their agenda to succeed (combined with their general competence as an individual organization).
1 - Male rape crisis centers and related issues.
2 - Centers which deal with trans*, gender, queer, etc issues.
3 - Sexual health and education centers, whether dealing with men, women, those who identify as neither, sex workers, "normal" people, etc.
Every single organization, every single organization, has been run by people who identify actively as feminist, is affiliated with numerous explicitly feminist organizations, and bills itself as feminist. Why? Because the philosophy of feminism has moved on from "There are these sets of issues which pertain to the status of women, which we must fight" to "There are these sets of issues which pertain to the status of people, which we must fight; we believe this subset to be of highest priority."
The subsets in question differ strongly from organization to organization, of course, and from person to person. But it's remarkable that there's this perception of feminists as narrowly concerned with exclusively female rights and the tearing-down of men in the name of "down with the Patriarchy" (with the implication that only someone truly silly could think that such a thing exists), when feminist groups seem to be doing all of the good works in getting (as an example) men some parental leave, or non-judgmental help for when they get raped, or STD prevention and care.
Good post, Hugin.
My point is that when we boil it down to race, then we ignore the actual problems like poverty, education, and culture. If you think that the first step in improving those problems is to point out that white people are privileged, then by all means feel free. You're going to disenfranchise all the poor, uneducated white people in the process but you can't make an omelet etc. etc.
I just think it's more useful to say that white people are enjoying privilege because of higher salaries, then go on to examine why they get higher salaries, then figure out why they are better educated, then figure out if it is a characteristic of their environment before they enter the workforce or a deficit in the environment of the non-white person before they enter the workforce or something that occurs after they leave the home or bias in the workplace. Of course it's a mixture of all those things but we need to understand the relative weighting before we can make intelligent decisions to fix the problem.
If you think it's important to point it out, fine. My problem is that the conversation usually stops at that point, "White people are privileged." "Yes, they (we) are." "I'm glad we worked that out." Mission accomplished? Maybe if you don't front-load racism and knee-jerk defensiveness you could sneak up on it and actually solve a problem or two.
In what way does higher salaries relate to the existence or lack thereof of "Driving While Black" stops? In the context of male privilege, what does higher salaries for men have to do with omnipresent sexual harassment in urban areas?I just think it's more useful to say that white people are enjoying privilege because of higher salaries,
All of these are very good things to do. Consider, though, that it is worthwhile to examine exactly what the elements are. Yes, higher salaries are a thing, and that's something whose causes we need to look at. So are differences in the justice system, in how people are treated by the police, in how people are treated by other people on the street.then go on to examine why they get higher salaries, then figure out why they are better educated, then figure out if it is a characteristic of their environment before they enter the workforce or a deficit in the environment of the non-white person before they enter the workforce or something that occurs after they leave the home or bias in the workplace. Of course it's a mixture of all those things but we need to understand the relative weighting before we can make intelligent decisions to fix the problem.
(Bonus points, this paragraph applies to men, women, "out" atheists in the South, and trans* who cannot or choose not to pass.)
I rarely see conversations go like that. Either it starts out as a "No, we're not" rather than a "Yes, we are", or it moves on to "So what now?". And there's a lot of "what now". I tend to disagree with a lot of the "what now" and the ideas people offer, but there are certainly a lot of ideas out there.If you think it's important to point it out, fine. My problem is that the conversation usually stops at that point, "White people are privileged." "Yes, they (we) are." "I'm glad we worked that out." Mission accomplished? Maybe if you don't front-load racism and knee-jerk defensiveness you could sneak up on it and actually solve a problem or two.
Yes we are, and I am doing my best to not take advantage of it. I can't think of anything I intentionally do to take advantage of it but I won't deny that there are situations where it can exist.
Are there not cultures where other races/ethnicities would have that advantage instead of the straight white male?
This is a discussion I hear a lot whenever the issues of "How do we bring about Feminist Utopia"* come up. Specifically, there's a philosophical disagreement between two positions:Well, I'm just suggesting that if we don't start out like that, then all of the ones that start out No/Yes would jump to "what now" and you would have a better chance of getting something done.
1 - Identity is a hindrance to the actual work of changing society. It doesn't matter if someone believes that racism isn't a problem, sexism doesn't exist, or that the concept of patriarchy is an irrelevant lie made up by man-hating feminists; all that matters is what you can get them to do which might hasten the Feminist Utopia's singularity-like formation. As an example, you might stress the primary of someone's right to her personal space over your desire to interact with her.
2 - Identity fundamentally influences behavior. Getting people to change their actions or behaviors in small ways is going to be unravelled by their fundamental disagreement with your position. You might be able to get people to stay out of someone else's personal space as a matter of tangential principle, but that will hardly dent the sexual harassment behaviors of which a disregard to personal space is a small part. Instead, we need to get people to understand that what they're doing is harassment, is morally wrong, and that they need to not only stop doing it but pressure their friends to stop doing it.
(The Singularity bit is me snarking. Just to be clear. I do not take myself seriously because I am very, very tired.)
Both of these positions are valid (I'd even go so far as to say they're sound, but valid is sufficient for the argument at hand). Both of these positions have a large body of arguments and evidence in support of them. Which one of these positions is correct is an open question and one whose answer I don't personally pretend to know. But your statement leads me to believe that you object to the second position's validity.
... of course, if this isn't actually relevant to what you meant, then I totally blame the sleepiness. :)
*What FU is depends on the person you ask, but given that I'm surrounded by college kids, any description of it seems to revolve around the lack of societal stigma around sex**. They even have very strong arguments for it! But heh, college kids and sex, they aren't fooling me.
**The men hold this position somewhat timidly, by and large, but the women are really enthusiastic about it.
You have, yet again, apparently misunderstood or misread what I previously wrote. This may be a failing on my part in communication, I dunno. One, it's not always about race. Two, it's not about making you feel guilty.I've been educated, harangued, and made to feel guilty over race pretty much my entire life even when living in an area that was racially homogeneous. I experienced the joy of being the only "out" atheist at my school. I don't need any more convincing that there is injustice and intolerance in the world.
Yeah, you're definitely still totally ignoring my actual argument.My point is that when we boil it down to race, then we ignore the actual problems like poverty, education, and culture. If you think that the first step in improving those problems is to point out that white people are privileged, then by all means feel free.
All other things being equal. God fucking dammit.You're going to disenfranchise all the poor, uneducated white people in the process but you can't make an omelet etc. etc.
I just give up, seriously.
I seriously think that 90% of the problem people have with [among other things, feminism] boils down to two things (being charitable and assuming some degree of internally-consistent rationalism here).
1 - They have never bothered to consider that academic terms are jargon, and using a literal, vernacular definition of such a term is about as meaningful as berating a mathematician for his use of "enumerate", and
2 - They have never encountered the concept of intersectionality before, and refuse to go read even a wikipedia article before deciding that no, clearly, such a concept does not exist in the field, so we must pontificate ad nauseum about an imagined issue.
Hugin, you're angry because I'm not engaging your point because your point is absurdly reductive. All other things aren't equal, are never equal, and can't even be set to equal as a thought experiment. Mathematically, as you approach setting the environment to equal the relevance of your point nears zero. Quit sputtering. If "all other things being equal" were to exist then there would be no privilege as it must be conferred by an outside source. Go kick someone in the shins.