White Liberals Have White Privilege Too!

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martin dufresne

To be aware of it and not lumber through discussions as if it weren't there on our back and the problem/enemy was merely out there for us prototypical good guys to discourse about from an allegedly universal POV?

CMOT Dibbler

Good question. I don't think you can, or at least, judging from the responses I got in the "how do we set ourselves free" thread, you can't without suffering torment and social isolation. It takes a much braver person then me to truly change the world. [img]redface.gif" border="0[/img]

quote:

That's what I thought.
So, to get back to my question, what exactly does it mean to check your privilege at the door?

[ 28 December 2007: Message edited by: CMOT Dibbler ]

[ 28 December 2007: Message edited by: CMOT Dibbler ]

CMOT Dibbler

Actually, it would probably easier for me to cast off what privilage I have then it would be for a lot of of people on this board. But still, the path of th activist can be a lonely one, for while anger is a powerful weapon, it can also poison relationships.

[ 28 December 2007: Message edited by: CMOT Dibbler ]

bliter

Cringe-inducing, contrived silliness. Some would even say [i]trolling.[/i]:

[url=http://www.blackpeopleloveus.com/]http://www.blackpeopleloveus.com/[/url]

Why then did I post it? Because it was in the opening post.

We do not control where we are born, or with what. My white skin was not a passport to Paradise and I'm sure I would have preferred the climate of many of my brethren and sistren of color.

Regardless of skin pigmentation there is the daily struggle. Look at the food banks.

I have no reason to feel guilt and will not obsess on the matter.

martin dufresne

quote:


I'm sure I would have preferred the climate of many of my brethren and sistren of color

Please, of please, can I send that line about the Halifax climate to Sally and Johnny. It's a gem, Bliter!!!

martin dufresne

UNABASHED PLUG FOR A NECESSARY TOOL
A new documentary from Aimee Sands, [i]What Makes Me White?[/i], is now available. Designed as a gentle tool for both the classroom and diversity training workshops, this 15-minute DVD is a personal and poetic exploration of whiteness as a learned racial identity.

David Roediger, University of Illinois
Author, The Wages of Whiteness writes:
This brave film gets personal in tackling the brutalities, silences, and sadnesses that attend becoming white. In doing so, it also takes us to the structures of inequality that make people live with the inhumanities of whiteness. [i]What Makes Me White?[/i] is terrific, a knockout.

Nell Irvin Painter, Princeton University
Author, The History of White People writes:
[i]What Makes Me White?[/i] opens with the everyday assumption of skin color as race. Then this beautiful film moves quickly to the equally everyday shocks and silences of whiteness. [i]What Makes Me White?[/i] challenges us to ask the questions and break the silences.

Peggy McIntosh, Wellesley College
Author, White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack writes:
Speaking as a teacher, I see this 15-minute film as the perfect lead-in to a 30 minute discussion, whether in class or workplace, boardroom or library, on how the combination of white privilege and wealth - unless seen and acted on reflectively - works against human wholeness.

For more information:
Aimee Sands Production. 1 Paul Gore Ter Jamaica Plain, MA 02130, USA
617-522-1463

Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Aimйe Sands has won 17 other awards for her many television and radio productions, all of them made for WGBH, PBS, and NPR. Most recently, she helped to produce [i]Africans in America[/i], the first PBS series on the history of U.S. slavery.

[ 28 December 2007: Message edited by: martin dufresne ]

Erik Redburn

"No, not by definition. I clearly wrote: "in our present denial of the problem" and "It doesn't have to be that way, but it will as long as we diss them."
The historical group has privilege, oppresses, denies the problem, blames the victim but each individual can break ranks, forsake the privilege, stop oppressing, accept awareness, share the load of double consciousness, become accountable, prove himself without asking the othered to renege on the analysis. Whether he does or not is the mark of whether he ceases or goes on being the enemy. What's post-modernist about that? It's just a matter of divestment or not, as traditional as the Rich Young Man Bible story (Mark 10, 17-31)..."

I can agree with all of this, if in fact that's all that's being implied. That unfortunately isn't always clear to me. Since you were more polite about this than I was in my last I'll leave you the last word. Until the next potential misunderstanding anyhow. [img]smile.gif" border="0[/img]

lagatta

The entire Leonard Cohen quote (wonderful in its anti-struggle-years context) started out "there is a war between the rich and the poor". And calls to return to the war. God knows it was written in a time of defections, against class, feminist, anti-racist struggle.

I gave up because I saw people twisting my words into something I'd never said. God knows I'd been involved in a lot of feminist struggles and struggles around immigrant-worker issues within the Quйbec trade union movement. But no, they were not based on a discourse of privilege imported from the US.

I'm mostly white (look white, the nap in my hair could be simply Mediterranean) but no, I don't see a lot of people like me in the mass media. They are taller and slicker, better-dressed, rather slimmer (I'm not horribly fat, but the media images are extremely svelte) and in general look more affluent, even when they are supposed to be middle-aged. And I don't get treated like a privileged person would. He (or sometimes she) is indeed usually white except for a select group inducted into privilege, has the proper expressions, "breeding", and above all $$$ that allows even a few boors access to their beer tent.

Erik Redburn

OTOH, maybe there's no point in going over this again.

[ 29 December 2007: Message edited by: Erik Redburn ]

Left Turn Left Turn's picture

quote:


Originally posted by M. Spector:
[b]Several people have said this before. What does it mean, exactly, to "check your privilege at the door"?[/b]

Here's what it means to me (and it's a lot more than just "shut the fuck up and listen").

It means ensuring that poc/women get to be in positions of power within progressive organizations. It means that White people arn't ignoring every suggestion that poc make, that men arn't ignoring every suggestion that women make. It means women/poc getting to speak at rallies. It means that when people put up their hands to speak, the poc/women arn't left t'ill the end (as in having some sort of affirmative action plan that allows every other speaker to be a woman/poc if these people want to speak). It means allowing poc/women to take the lead in fighting for their issues (as in how the protest that blocked the deportation of Laibar Singh was entirely planned and executed by the south asian community). It means that when progressive organizations host a meal, the food of the non-western people in the organization is as available as western food. It means that a substantial portion of any music at events hosted by progressive organizations is either non-western, or is by poc.

[ 29 December 2007: Message edited by: Left Turn ]

Left Turn Left Turn's picture

quote:


Originally posted by martin dufresne:
[b]To be aware of it and not lumber through discussions as if it weren't there on our back and the problem/enemy was merely out there for us prototypical good guys to discourse about from an allegedly universal POV?[/b]

Exactly. That we recognize that poc/women may not experience events in the same way that we as white people/men do, but that their experiences are equally as valid as those of men/white people. In some cases the experiences of poc/women are in fact more valid than the experiences of white men. And recognizing that our analysis of events needs to include the experiences and viewpoints of poc/women.

[ 29 December 2007: Message edited by: Left Turn ]

martin dufresne

That is the basis of standpoint feminism. A few resources were alluded to yesterday on a women's studies listserv:

Allow me to pass on the key writings mentioned:

* Nancy Hartsock, [b]Money, Sex, and Power: Toward a Feminist Historical Materialism[/b]
* Sandra Harding:, [b]Whose Science, Whose Knowledge[/b] and "Feminist Standpoint Epistemology"
* Alison Jagger, [b]Feminist Politics and Human Nature[/b]
* Patricia Hill Collins, [b]Black Feminist Thought, Knowledge, Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment[/b]
and
* Rosemary Hennessey, [b]Materialist Feminism and the Politics of Discourse[/b], especially Chapter 4 on "The Feminist Standpoint: Discourse and Authority: From Women's Lives to Ideology Critique."

A participant mentioned that:

quote:

Marxist scholar Lukбcs' "History and Class Consciousness" offers a clear theoretical articulation of situated knowledge and of the oppressed as a priveleged 'knower' (= epistemic advantage, although he doesn't call it that). Lukбcs even has a section directly titled 'standpoint of the proletariat' within his chapter "reification and the consciousness of the proletariat", in which he argues that the proletariat's knowledge of society is the accurate one.

You can catch an excerpt of Aimee Sands' new film, mentioned earlier at
[url=http://whatmakesmewhite.com/film.htm]What Makes Me White?[/url]
also
[url=http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/feminism-epistemology/]Great entry-level discussion of standpoint theory[/url]

Thanks to all for the insights shared so far. Makes me think the anti-oppression struggle days are far from behind us.

[ 02 January 2008: Message edited by: martin dufresne ]

CMOT Dibbler

I would like to expand on some my comments above.

I relize I'm going over old ground, but I feel that it is a point that needs to be hammered home. People with disabilities, regardless of how white or brown they are, are not really privilaged. The lives of people with physical and mental are challenges are governed by politicians who want us to disappear. They don't want us to work, they don't want us to learn life skills, they don't want us to us to have sex lives. In short they don't want us to lead meaningful existances. I'm privilaged, but that is only because I have a supportive family. My parents saw fit to put me through the public school system, allow me to have range of motion exercises, have my shots etc. There are people from my class and ethnic background who lead lives frought with difficulty because of disability. For an able bodied person, regardless of how much race based oppression she may have experienced, to insist that the average white gimp(who may have been beaten, sexually assaulted, institutionalized, denied vital services etc.) has suffered less then she has is heinously stupid, and shows a stunning lack of empathy.

CMOT Dibbler

Oh fuck! Now I've started an oppresion contest. My apologies. [img]redface.gif" border="0[/img] [img]frown.gif" border="0[/img]

martin dufresne

Straw man arguments are always so easy to bat down, aren't they? To pretend to not understand that a Caucasian handicapped person has privilege as White and as male [b]relative to[/b] an Aboriginal/Black/Oriental and/or female handicapped person is insulting our collective intelligence.

Stargazer

quote:


or stop pretending that regurgitating this stuff back on other "whites" somehow makes you any less responsible for dealing with this mess.

Ha!! I love this Erik. I'll have to remember this the next time some sanctimonious male tells me what feminism is, or takes over every feminist thread.

CMOT - good point and I think you are right in many ways.

CMOT Dibbler

At a certain point any decent left leaning person must put aside theory, and deal with what is in front them.

For instance, if a wealthy white female rape victim comes to me for help, it is not apropriate for me to list her privalges and dismiss her as a class enemy. It's my job to do what I can help her. Empathy is a pillar of leftist thought.
To avoid it for the sake of identity is dumb.

martin dufresne

I see you are open to evolution. A straw [b]woman[/b] argument is somehat of a development. Nice try, but no cigar...

Left Turn Left Turn's picture

quote:


Originally posted by CMOT Dibbler:
[b]At a certain point any decent left leaning person must put aside theory, and deal with what is in front them.

For instance, if a wealthy white female rape victim comes to me for help, it is not apropriate for me to list her privalges and dismiss her as a class enemy. It's my job to do what I can help her. Empathy is a pillar of leftist thought.
To avoid it for the sake of identity is dumb.[/b]


You also need to recognize that you can't empathize with her, because you are not also a female rape victim. And also, that because you are not female, your help may be rejected.

CMOT Dibbler

Maybe. The point is that all people who suffer need to be offered a helping hand, and should not have their suffering minimized. wheather they accept the help offered or not is another matter entirely.

[ 03 January 2008: Message edited by: CMOT Dibbler ]

[ 03 January 2008: Message edited by: CMOT Dibbler ]

remind remind's picture

quote:


Originally posted by CMOT Dibbler:
[b]I relize I'm going over old ground, but I feel that it is a point that needs to be hammered home.

[/b] Why do you feel this way, that it has to be "hammered" home?

quote:

[b]People with disabilities, regardless of how white or brown they are, are not really privilaged. [/b]

That is not accurate, nor is it untrue.

Those who are disabled, and who come from a position that is already less privileged, experience greater oppresion and victimization, because they experience disabled oppression and the oppression of their class/gender/race.

Conversly, those who are disabled, and who come from a position of privilege, in /class/gender/race experience less oppression than those who are the less privileged disabled

But both, the disabled privileged, and the less privileged, experience disabled oppression. though it could be said that those disabled from privilege experience less oppression of rights and freedoms, as a result of being disabled, than do the disabled from less privilege.

quote:

[b] The lives of people with physical and mental are challenges are governed by politicians who want us to disappear.[/b]

I do not believe this to be accurate. Yes, in many ways the disabled lives are governed by policies, but perhaps no more so than able peoples lives, it is just in differing areas.

Politicians just want all people to disappear, less hassle that way, it is not a disabled/able thing. [img]wink.gif" border="0[/img] *I make light of that because I do not believe that all politicians should be depicted that way, as then one is in danger of being what they are accusing others of.

quote:

[b] They don't want us to work, they don't want us to learn life skills, they don't want us to us to have sex lives. [/b]

This is absolutely not accurate, particularily not here in BC.

quote:

[b]In short they don't want us to lead meaningful existances. [/b]

People give meaning to their own existence, able or disabled, it is not confurred by others.

quote:

[b]I'm privilaged, but that is only because I have a supportive family. My parents saw fit to put me through the public school system, allow me to have range of motion exercises, have my shots etc. [/b]

Disabled children, who have the capacity to learn must attend public schools just as all other children do.

Community/Independant living progranms here in BC provide, disabled people with their in home physio and medical needs, and they are either direct functions of the government, or funded by government monies.

Again shots, are funded and provided by the government, and it would be the disabled persons choice to have them, if they have the intellectual capacity to decide, if not, it is their Drs choice for what they may or may not need.

quote:

[b]There are people from my class and ethnic background who lead lives frought with difficulty because of disability. [/b]

There are people with disabilities from every class and ethnic background who are frought with difficulities because of their disability, but you are correct, having a support network being an advocate for your rights make the difficulties much less.

quote:

[b]For an able bodied person, regardless of how much race based oppression she may have experienced, to insist that the average white gimp(who may have been beaten, sexually assaulted, institutionalized, denied vital services etc.) has suffered less then she has is heinously stupid, and shows a stunning lack of empathy.[/b]

Perhaps she is not saying they have suffered less, perhaps what was being said was that oppression is oppression, suffering is suffering, measuring the degrees, or having an oppression contest, serves no useful purpose.

Having said that, I was exhibiting a stunning lack of empathy, nor should I have been so all sweeping in my commentary, and for that I apologize CMOT.

CMOT Dibbler

quote:


Why do you feel this way, that it has to be "hammered" home?


I just felt that she was minimizing the suffering of the disabled people by insisting that we had more privilage then an able bodied person of color.

I'm also moving into my own apartment, but still don't have a meaningful job, haven't achieved orgasm while awake etc.

Plus, I like to pontificate. However, given the white bread bourgois cacoon I've been raised in, I can't really talk about suffering, at least not in the physical sense. [img]biggrin.gif" border="0[/img] [img]redface.gif" border="0[/img]

quote:

Disabled children, who have the capacity to learn must attend public schools just as all other children do.
Community/Independant living progranms here in BC provide, disabled people with their in home physio and medical needs, and they are either direct functions of the government, or funded by government monies.

Again shots, are funded and provided by the government, and it would be the disabled persons choice to have them, if they have the intellectual capacity to decide, if not, it is their Drs choice for what they may or may not need.


I guess my parents didn't do as much as I originally thought...

Alright, the shots and public education are a no brainer, but as for the rest, The Campbell liberals are doing their very best to provide as little service to people with disabilities as humanly possible.

[ 03 January 2008: Message edited by: CMOT Dibbler ]

[ 03 January 2008: Message edited by: CMOT Dibbler ]

[ 04 January 2008: Message edited by: CMOT Dibbler ]

remind remind's picture

quote:


Originally posted by CMOT Dibbler:
[b]Alright, the shots are a no brainer, but as for the rest, The Campbell liberals are doing their very best to provide as little service to people with disabilities as humanly possible.[/b]

I cannot disagree with that, having worked with people, with both physical and mental disablities over several shades of government. However, some of the funding lacks causing service cuts are because of cuts in federal funding for health care under Chretien/Martin and Harper of course will not infuse more, he is too busy spending it on fighting wars, the military and polling.

CMOT, moving into your own apartment should go a long way to providing yourself with a means to become at least a bit sexually satisfied. many able persons perhaps do not realize how important filling this lack caused by a disability is. I know many parents of disabled do not realize and I understand that many do not realize how they oppress the disabled.

For example, one spinal cord injured person, I was working for assisting her with independant living skills and occupational therapy would have strangers, mainly men, leaning with, one hand or the other, on her wheel chair handle grips as they stood in line at a checkout talking to someone else, then she would arrive at the checkout clerk only to have the clerk either completely ignore her and speak to me, or they would yell at her as if she was hearing impaired.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

In BC the last minister who actually seemed to understand disability issues and was both empathetic and proactive was Grace McCarthy. The dismal record of the Clark administration in particular is one of my pet peeves with that regime. I lived through my party's governement tell me that no new programs were being funded for adults and it was just too bad that my son had turned 19 and his programs were ending because of his age. The letter I got from my NDP MLA read like a Campbell missive explaining to me how much my government had done and really there was no money available in the budget at this time.

RosaL

quote:


Originally posted by remind:
[b]
For example, one spinal cord injured person, I was working for assisting her with independant living skills and occupational therapy would have strangers, mainly men, leaning with, one hand or the other, on her wheel chair handle grips as they stood in line at a checkout talking to someone else, then she would arrive at the checkout clerk only to have the clerk either completely ignore her and speak to me, or they would yell at her as if she was hearing impaired.[/b]

I am very commonly ignored in lineups. For years I was followed by security people in stores. (This was partly a function of my obvious poverty and partly of my inability to "fake normal". See below.) But one of the worst, most soul-destroying things was being treated with contempt by virtually everyone I came in contact with. Apparently being "weird", "different", "not like the rest of us" means you should be treated with contempt.

And other things .... I'm not going to go into all that.

[ 04 January 2008: Message edited by: RosaL ]

remind remind's picture

quote:


Originally posted by RosaL:
[b]I am very commonly ignored in lineups. [/b]

I have observed this time, and time again, which is part of the reasons why I believe that all clerks, in all types of stores should have to have Customer Service Certification. Service industry people have to have food safe certification, Occupational First Aid (not always mandatory), Seving it Right for alcohol serving, as all those things have been deemed necessary for public safety. Public safety of the physical body yes, but the safety of our mental and emotional parts of our being are ignored, but yet it costs the system just as much when broken/disabled, as does health care for physical bodies. Neglect of mental health, or outright ignoring it, is really a manifestation of the stigma that is attached to mental health and well being.

quote:

[b]For years I was followed by security people in stores. (This was partly a function of my obvious poverty and partly of my inability to "fake normal". See below.) [/b]

I never get followed by security when shopping alone, but I sure as hell do if my partner is with me, as he is a visible minority. And the difference in treatment by store clerks when shopping alone or in his company has been something I have had to get used to, and did not expect, though I do not know why I didn't.

quote:

[b] But one of the worst, most soul-destroying things was being treated with contempt by virtually everyone I came in contact with. Apparently being "weird", "different", "not like the rest of us" means you should be treated with contempt.
[/b]

Yes, the mini-murders to self-esteem are destroying, as esteem needs are part of the hierarchy of needs we humans, and one good say animals as well, require to stay alive.

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