Thursday, April 15, 2010

Explaining it....

What is meant by the idea of "white privilege?"
Here is a nice and brief  article about privilege from a rockin' presentation by Steven Jones at the White Privilege Conference. The author uses the concept of living in a 'right handed world' to illuminate the concept of white privilege (or any privilege, for that matter). 2 pages of clear reading - go and read it!

And here is my tired and worn out look - I'm wearing it daily. Let's just call it a self portrait. I took it while at the WPC - exhausted and working all my parts to dig deeper. As my students might say, "kind of emo!"


Themia said...

"And here is my tired and worn out look - I'm wearing it daily." - please take care of yourself Meghan...sending support your way.

Faroutfan said...

Hey Under...
LOVED this resource. I could not help thinking about all the ways I use my right hand today. WOW what a GREAT way of connecting to White Privilege. Mr. Jones definitely has a gift. I look forward to more of you resource sharing! Thanks for helping me build my library and tools!

Anonymous said...

Here is my take on the concept of white privilege: from a Women and Ethnic Sudies Class/Introduction to Privilege.
The Personal Privilege Paper:

This paper should be 7-8 pages . In this paper, explore your own life from the perspective of privilege. For example, you might examine any of the following issues: how has privilege, in any/all forms, shaped your life? (consider race, class, gender, sexuality, disability, etc.) Have you been aware of privilege in your life as you were growing up? Why or why not? As you learn more about privilege, and examine your life, what do you find most interesting or surprising? How has privilege shaped your life opportunities, life chances, experiences, etc. Will your new understanding of privilege change your life, your actions, your behaviors in the future in any way? How do privilege and oppression interact in your life? Are there certain forms of privilege that have been more visible to you than others?

Compare and Contrast the above with the following from the book (Thought Reform and the psychology of Totalism:" In a Communist Chinese prison camp a group of Westerners were required to denounce the wife of one member of the group. Another prisoner was forced to admit that his family was from the rural ruling class and that he was an exploiter of the people."
I suggest that some of those who wish think whining about white privilege will end racism need to visit such countries as: Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and India..women will especially love the brown male privilege in thos countries.

M and M said...

Anonymous - I'm not sure I follow your thought from start to finish. First, writing and reflecting about the experiences of privilege are common/useful/helpful/illuminating practices and are often part of a womens studies curriculum. So, good stuff. I 'get' the first part of the self reflective exercise and think that all of us can find moments that are described in that essay question (frankly, my adult life is FULL of privilege most notably in terms of class and color).

But that's where you lost me. What is the cultural relevancy of the Chinese prison camp experience (except as a revolt against the privileged that the point?). How does the Chinese example jive with discussing white privilege in the US (or male privilege or heterosexual privilege or class privilege .... of course there is more than one type of privilege; I'm arguing that white privilege trumps them all in the US). Can you help me out with this piece?

Then you said this: "I suggest that some of those who wish think whining about white privilege will end racism need to visit such countries as: Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and India..women will especially love the brown male privilege in thos countries."
Now I am totally lost - I realize it is hard to get a whole discourse going in comments, but can you elaborate? Who is whining about white privilege? I'm certainly not making the argument that white privilege is the majority privilege in Yemen or India or Pakistan. That wouldn't make sense. My "work" regarding social justice is very much global, but the discussion of white privilege, while it has some really potent global contexts (colonialism, imperialism), is really locally mapped in the US.

White privilege in this case is super linked to slavery in the US -and the legacy of slavery in the US.

Anyway, I think your comment is interesting but I lost you pretty quick - and so I'm curious to have a better feel for your context (which I am reading as more global).

Thanks for visiting and leaving a comment.

Anonymous said...

Greetings I will try to clear things up for you and others who may not understand my post.
For starters I would like an end to racism as much as anyone but I think the white privilege movement is the wrong way to go. For instance it focuses on {white} people as inherently racist-not always because of any particular behavior(s) but because they have this ill defined concept of privilege. The word privilege does not have negative meanings for me. One can say I'm privileged to have worked with you or he/she earned that privilege due to a particular service rendered. And why should privilege be conflated with oppression? Two different terms with two different meanings but the melding of those words can be expressed this way: white people + privilege=oppression + evil.
My prison camp analogy is a description the questions asked for the class and of the prisoners. The bottom line is that both play on the human condition of guilt, both play on the notion of confession and both play on the notion of shame. For example at a white privilege conference very few white people would admit that they don't have an un-earned privilege somewhere.
My other countries example is basically simple: if you claim that there is something like white privilege then you should also agree that there is something as brown privilege. Feminists often complain about white Western male patriarchy but they rarely critize the brown male patriarchy in the Middle East or Mexico.
All societies have some forms of privileges-more for some and less for others-fair? not always. But not something that can be erradicated or wished away. Also the past history of imperialism and colonialism does nothing but bring up old hatreds and accussations. Of course history teaches us that imperialism/colonialism were around long before white folks did the same thing. Also this idea of one group has the privilege and we don't has had horrible consequences in Cambodia, Communist China, the USSR and Darfur.
To end racism I prefer the interactions on the Meeting David Wilson documentary which was on PBS 2yrs ago.

Anonymous said...

Hi: I wanted to say that yours is one of the few sites which appears to welcome differences in opinion.