October 2017
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discussing privilege with my bioparent / effects of pinnacle privilege / prebuilding social justice


Last week my bioparent M came in town and we spent an evening together. I don't remember how I got on the subject but I started talking about privilege, and trying to explain how it worked. At first M just straight up denied it, then moved sideways with the "but I don't discriminate" bit and then agreed that it existed and that ze benefited unfairly but said that ze didn't think there was anything wrong with it, that God gave people power and riches and those things were signs of God's favor. I then said, "well God is really bad at picking 'stewards' then." We went on for a while and eventually M asked why bother? I couldn't remember the start of the topic by that point so I said that I don't know why I started, but I continued because I can't just leave it be when someone is saying things that are wrong, that hurt people. We talked for probably about an hour and a half on this. M later commented that ze enjoyed talking with me. I didn't say anything because I did not enjoy chipping away at a mountain of privilege with a spoon. I already spend every day in critical thought -- it was not refreshing for me, it was the same old thing, with extra logic loops in that ze kept trying to use God to back up zir thought. Jesus wouldn't have stood for this bullshit. Things that pissed Jesus off: religious bullies, religious profiteers, and the selfish rich. People that Jesus enjoyed the company of: the poor, the socially-shunned (modern equivalents would be queers and convicts), the generous-spirited non-religious folk. If only so-called Christians would actually try to be like zir. I know WWJD is cliched at this point but that's pretty much the entire point. If you act like Jesus, you'll be a real Christian -- a pretty awesome person. If you act like the Pharisees, you're the average fundamentalist churchian.

Other things I mentioned were the wage gap (which ze disbelieved) the rape rate of women (ditto) false convictions of people of color proven false by DNA (ditto). I said that the US government admitted these things, asked if ze thought that they would have some reason to lie and ze said ze doesn't know, but it can't be true. That's one thing that infuriates me about privilege-pinnacle people: they feel that by sheer fact that they believe it, it's true. They don't hear a shocking statistic and think "well I should look into this" they think, "that contradicts my opinion therefore it cannot possibly be true (because I am The Authority)."

JUST ONCE I'd like to talk to a privilege-pinnacle person who actually responds with, "people MIGHT be hurting? I must look into this and see how I can help." Seriously, how hard is that? This massive, destructive selfishness is what happens when you train a group of people to equate adult behavior with a sociopathic (that's ableist) an inhuman (that's rude to animals!) a ??super-wrong??? lack of empathy. I don't even know. Many, many non-human animals show empathy and instinct to be helpful. This unlove training is horrific. Privilege-pinnacle people might not experience structural oppression but the kyriarchy wounds them psychologically -- having society train your empathy out is deeply abusive. Remembering that people are TRAINED to be this kind of evil is what keeps me trying, even with people like M.

Which reminds me, I was thinking of ways to pre-build social justice consciousness. You can't take most people from their ruts straight into the good stuff, so what are some rut-reducers? I think creativity is one, and genuinely serving people is another -- but they only work if you do them genuinely; if you get any kind of kickback (money, accolades) they are just as rutty as the rest of life. And being asked questions and pushed to think also works, but only if it's fairly constant and done by someone you respect.

Worlds Within Worlds
Worlds Within Worlds
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Comments
jupitercornwall ══╣╠══
I hate how fear of what you don't understand rules so much of(in this instance) American society. "If you fear the outsider, you must destroy the outsider." We still base things on appearance and gender roles as outdated and outmoded as our existence on the planet. It's so infuriating that physical females don't get paid equally, simply because of a different set of sex organs, and cultural assumptions.

It's also frustrating how people are taught to not be confident and happy in their own skins, confident in their own body/orientation/emotional choices, but to fit within a mold. I do like how the mold has gained a lot of cracks, and doesn't look as attractive as it used to, and people are making smarter choices for themselves, but FUCK, it takes so long...
dputiger ══╣╠══
Tricky question.
I think it can sometimes help to encourage people to see the similarities between themselves and the other group. Trying to break down someone's sense of privilege is difficult because we humans naturally defend "What's ours" psychologically. This is what frustrates me in the health care debates. Regardless of what you think should be done about health care, the people discussing it have no idea what the reality of life is for the people who don't have it.

If you can build bridges between accepted commonalities "She's like me, but look, I'm rich, she's poor, and these things I take for granted are things she doesn't have" then you can start to build comparisons between not-so-accepted commonalities. At least, that's my theory.
kmiotutsie ══╣╠══
I think community is a good rut-reducer; providing everyone opportunities to exist together removes a lot of the we/they dichotomy that so many of us think in.

When everyone is constantly EXPOSED to people other than their own "we" I think it opens up our ways of thinking. It's simplistic to think this is as easily done as said, but I definitely think it's key. FINDING communities where this is easy is the hard part for me, particularly given city planning with all these creepy suburbs and gated communities; I can tell you there's not a lot of community round here.

sorry incoherent; tired :-/
on communication, social justice, intimacy, consent, friendship & other relationships, spirituality, gender, queerness, & dreams. Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.
Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.