8 Bit Philosophy: Does Privilege Matter?

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Does Privilege Matter?

Does privilege matter?

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Should we really look to a rich white man person to be an authority on privilege?
No & that's the closest this video got toward having anything worth saying.

If your social standing is low just lower your expectations. Jeez oppressed people just be happy you have options. Like f'ing suicide.

The video was better than I thought it would be with the terribly flame bait headline :P Really, Sartre's argument is more existential than that, it's more or less "Is there really such a thing as privilege at all?"

I'm going to have to rather staunchly disagree with the video, to paraphrase a metaphor I heard once:

"If you take 5 locked-up starving people, hold up a can of food, and tell them the last one left alive gets the food, sure it's accurate to say whoever wins 'wanted it more then the others' but that doesn't change the fact only one can win in the first place, and that the person arranging the situation is the one deciding how many can win."
And I somehow doubt even Sartre would consider 'person involuntarily starving to death' a valid reconstruction of one's life mission.

Last scentence nails Sartre!
He probably looked outside his mansion walls at the people working on his garden and said: "They can totes quit when they want and become Master Prison Sand Castle builders of world class!".

Maybe if he was in the sub-Saharan desert for a bit would he... check his damn mouth a little?

First time I've watched one of these.

Interesting.

I'm sure it's been said before, but I get a real "Hitchhikers Guide" vibe off the narration and presentation.


Saying that a Sartre has nothing of value to say about privilege because of the socioeconomic position he was born to is the same as saying that Marx and Engels had nothing of value to add to communism because of their's.

youdont12know:
If your social standing is low just lower your expectations. Jeez oppressed people just be happy you have options. Like f'ing suicide.

That is not what he is saying, he was a Marxist and a humanist, he believed that everyone should be given the same opportunities is life. But he also believed that being in a disadvantaged socioeconomic position didn't make you less of a person or less able to find meaning in your life and there for there is no privilege.
Sartre would be more likely to tell the oppressed to find meaning in overthrowing their oppressors, not to settle for a less meaningful life.

Kenjitsuka:
He probably looked outside his mansion walls at the people working on his garden and said: "They can totes quit when they want and become Master Prison Sand Castle builders of world class!".

Yeah that sound like something a revolutionary Marxist would say.

The freedom to imagine a life-story for yourself is self-evident from having a brain. It's also not very useful. The prison example is kinda the best argument I've ever heard that privilege does matter.

One is free to adjust his perceptions to levels of self-delusion.

But one will never be free as long has he exists in society. Society dictates how we live, what is just, and what is permissible. There are staunch limits to actions if Society doesn't deem it to be acceptable.

If you found a girl under 17 who truly can understand what love is and chose you to love, no matter how well thought out she can make that statement... if you choose to express your love, you will go to jail.

Unless you are rich and privileged. Then you can be found guilty and not go to jail because you might get hurt.

If you are an intoxicated person and you took a life, no judge will try to understand. No pleads of mercy will be heard. We all learned of the dangers of drinking and driving young. And the fact that you chose to do that shows a disregard of life. you deserve all the jail time and more.

Unless you are rich and privileged. Then you can kill four people and not get any time because '"I think he can be rehabilitated given intensive therapy and I hope that he gets it," Wynn said about the teen. "The juvenile system is about rehabilitation and if it's going to be about rehabilitation, she (Boyd) absolutely made the right decision."'

Oh, he never apologized.

If you are a minority in Ohio (an open carry state), and you have what looks to be a toy gun in your hand, you can and probably will be shot dead if you're not with white people who are carrying as well. John Crawford showed that. He didn't do anything even legal in his state, but since he was apart of the 'scary race', he was gunned down.

Because he wasn't of the privileged set.

The danger is getting the freedom to 'alter your perception of how you view the world' and the freedom of 'not having your social or ecomonic status affect your world around you' mixed up. Yes, you are free to look at every obstacle as a life enriching experience. But you simply can't stand up to any government in the world and say "I matter as much as those people who donated to you, and deserve as much sway as they have". Because the only thing you'll receive is laughter.

If you frame things in this way then yes, the whole thing seems meaningless.

But in terms of what you can viably choose to try and accomplish in life, 'privilege' clearly shows up in terms of the variety of choices you can make.

A rich man can trivially choose to become a poor one if they desire it, because the actions they would need to take to accomplish that are not at all difficult.

The reverse is however not true.

Yes, both are 'free', to choose things. But what can we say of a situation where one person by virtue of random chance alone has far more options about what they can meaningfully choose than another?

People do not exist in a vacuum. And this is creating a definition of freedom which, largely seems to be opposite to what I would consider freedom.

But I guess that's the nature of philosophy sometimes.

Choosing to accept the constraints on your life is quite a different thing from not having any in the first place. (Which is how I would define freedom)

Of course, from my definition, nobody is ever free. (For one thing, no matter how well you do in social terms, you are still bound by the laws of physics, and have to suffer the consequences of those laws whether you want to or not)

True freedom is unobtainable, but there are variations on how 'free' someone can be, and these can arise for many reasons.

Some are obvious constraints - Like the freedom to murder someone without consequence, while perhaps making you more free, makes whoever you are choosing to kill less so.

Others are less obvious. Does giving more money to the poor come at a cost to others? And if so, to what extent?

Does allowing people to wear whatever clothes they feel like have a downside?

Anyway... Freedom. All rather odd.

On the topic of privilege, I have this to say:
Far too often, privilege based on sex or race is treated as though it's the end all be all or even remotely close.
When in truth, as seen here:

ObsidianJones:

If you found a girl under 17 who truly can understand what love is and chose you to love, no matter how well thought out she can make that statement... if you choose to express your love, you will go to jail.

Unless you are rich and privileged. Then you can be found guilty and not go to jail because you might get hurt.

Class privilege has a far greater effect, as it can show up in someone regardless of race, sex, or any other factor and overshadow any other disadvantage that individual might have from privilege.

There are certainly issues faced by minorities, but the advantage the rich and well-off have over the rest is far greater than any other.

Sure, you don't choose your race or place in society or any other inherent privileges. But you sure as hell benefit from them.

The problem mostly comes from the fact that people rarely reflect upon the parts of themselves that they haven't chosen as long as they are considered 'normal'. And 'being white' is an example of something that's a normal in western society, and if you deviate from that norm you are automatically an other. Thus, when you don't reflect on your individual attributes and heritage (or, "check your privilege") it becomes impossible to realize that there are other, perfectly accurate worldviews separated from the societal structures you take for granted.

For example, Native Americans weren't 'Indians' before America was colonized. They were Apaches, Mohaves and Potawatomi.
Black people weren't black before Africa was colonized, they were Zulu, Maasai and Oromo.

How we choose to categorize and identify people shows what traits are valued in the society we inhibit. And some of those categories usually carry a lot of prejudice, and very little actual/valuable/relevant information, regarding the person they are describing. The simple fact that white men can move throughout most of the western world without having their ethnicity or gender questioned is an enormous advantage, simply because that's what's considered to be the norm.

chikusho:
Sure, you don't choose your race or place in society or any other inherent privileges. But you sure as hell benefit from them.

This is dependent on context and the details of any given situation. To make such a sweeping generalization is correct but not useful for assessing individual situations. Being white or a man may carry privilege in one situation and disadvantage in another. The benefits or disadvantages any one person faces depends on many factors some of which can change rapidly and some of which are essentially static.

The problem mostly comes from the fact that people rarely reflect upon the parts of themselves that they haven't chosen as long as they are considered 'normal'. And 'being white' is an example of something that's a normal in western society, and if you deviate from that norm you are automatically an other. Thus, when you don't reflect on your individual attributes and heritage (or, "check your privilege") it becomes impossible to realize that there are other, perfectly accurate worldviews separated from the societal structures you take for granted.

But people don't just live in "western society" they live in specific neighborhoods with different socio-economic, racial, religious makeups. When people pay attention only to the macro and try to apply it to the micro it is very easy to lose the justice they may be fighting for. This seems an extraordinarily common trend in today's social justice movements.

For example, Native Americans weren't 'Indians' before America was colonized. They were Apaches, Mohaves and Potawatomi.
Black people weren't black before Africa was colonized, they were Zulu, Maasai and Oromo.

How we choose to categorize and identify people shows what traits are valued in the society we inhibit. And some of those categories usually carry a lot of prejudice, and very little actual/valuable/relevant information, regarding the person they are describing. The simple fact that white men can move throughout most of the western world without having their ethnicity or gender questioned is an enormous advantage, simply because that's what's considered to be the norm.

You are correct that it is the category itself that tends to carry the prejudice. Many people make the mistake of assuming it is specific categorizations within the broader categories that carry the prejudice and not the category itself. In other words, people will often make the mistake of assuming that "being black" is what carries the prejudice when it is race in general that carries it. Racial prejudice affects groups of people and individuals differently depending on where they live within the western world and a slew of other factors.

Being able to move throughout "most of the western world without having their ethnicity or gender questioned," is only an advantage for someone who can actually "move throughout most of the western world." For those who's movement is restricted to an area where they are a minority, being white and a man can serve as an enormous disadvantage. Sure, it's fair to say that he would be affected by this less if he simply moved but that's akin to telling black people who rightly complain of racism to go back to Africa.

Broad categorizations and the meta discussion of justice is fine and even useful but when people try and apply broad categorizations and the meta to the individual, justice can be lost. We have built the theory of our justice systems on this understanding, that each person is their own case and each case should be assessed on its own merits. And yet with social justice we are so keen on ignoring the individual and the specific merits of their personal experiences that justice and privilege become feeble concepts.

I agree with the video. When all is said and done, the only person to blame for your actions and lack there of is yourself. Privilege may open the door to more methods of completing those actions, but it never restricts completely. Just remember:

"If your happiness depends on what somebody else does, I guess you do have a problem."
-Richard Bach

Gorrath:
Broad categorizations and the meta discussion of justice is fine and even useful but when people try and apply broad categorizations and the meta to the individual, justice can be lost. We have built the theory of our justice systems on this understanding, that each person is their own case and each case should be assessed on its own merits. And yet with social justice we are so keen on ignoring the individual and the specific merits of their personal experiences that justice and privilege become feeble concepts.

Excuse me for butting in, but you've mentioned 'social justice' a few times. Do you think the Social Justice contingent are the only ones who are ignoring the individual? I merely ask because I don't want to go and assume before raising some points.

Bocaj2000:
I agree with the video. When all is said and done, the only person to blame for your actions and lack there of is yourself. Privilege may open the door to more methods of completing those actions, but it never restricts completely. Just remember:

"If your happiness depends on what somebody else does, I guess you do have a problem."
-Richard Bach

Lack of privilege can get you gunned down at 12 years old by a cop who hasn't even fully gotten out of his vehicle for carrying a toy gun in an open carry state. I take it Richard Bach didn't ever have to contend with anything like that.

OMG, guys, this 'priviledge' fighting shite is so funny =) The poorest black gay female junkie in US has more 'priviledges' then average person in, say, Syria or Iraq, or, by the way, in Ukraine. Maybe you all will start with sending all your money but 40 or 50 dollars a month to charity? This will make you all much more equal and, I suppose, will oddly enough put an end to all 'priviledge' discussions =)

ObsidianJones:

Gorrath:
Broad categorizations and the meta discussion of justice is fine and even useful but when people try and apply broad categorizations and the meta to the individual, justice can be lost. We have built the theory of our justice systems on this understanding, that each person is their own case and each case should be assessed on its own merits. And yet with social justice we are so keen on ignoring the individual and the specific merits of their personal experiences that justice and privilege become feeble concepts.

Excuse me for butting in, but you've mentioned 'social justice' a few times. Do you think the Social Justice contingent are the only ones who are ignoring the individual? I merely ask because I don't want to go and assume before raising some points.

Oh not at all. The specific reason I am picking on that here is because contemporary social justice seems to be riddled with presumptive thinking that overshadows its own goals. I understand the reflexive desire to defend social justice since its goals can be seen as righteous and I am very glad you asked me to clarify instead of assuming a meaning I did not intend. Sincerely, thank you for that.

I attack social justice here for the same reason I oft attack various means progressives want to use to fight racism or other issues. It's not that I disagree with the premise but often the practice. Employing racism to fight racism is a bad idea. Employing injustice to fight against injustice is the same. Seeing individuals only as an over or under privileged class because they belong to a certain race or religion makes a mockery of justice, especially when it's done by those who are claiming to champion it.

I don't think I would be rightly categorized as being pro or anti social justice but someone who does care about the way people are harmed by injustice, regardless of who they are, their supposed level of privilege, or any other factor over which they have no control. "And justice for all," is what I believe.

Rastrelly:
OMG, guys, this 'priviledge' fighting shite is so funny =) The poorest black gay female junkie in US has more 'priviledges' then average person in, say, Syria or Iraq, or, by the way, in Ukraine. Maybe you all will start with sending all your money but 40 or 50 dollars a month to charity? This will make you all much more equal and, I suppose, will oddly enough put an end to all 'priviledge' discussions =)

The "appeal to bigger problems" is a bit a of fallacy, yes? Just because Jane is suffering more injustice than Bob isn't a good reason to ignore the injustice against Bob. He's a person who deserves justice too. Just because you may find a country where they kill homosexuals for being open about it does not mean we shouldn't strive for equality of opportunity and fairness here, right?

Gorrath:

chikusho:
Sure, you don't choose your race or place in society or any other inherent privileges. But you sure as hell benefit from them.

This is dependent on context and the details of any given situation. To make such a sweeping generalization is correct but not useful for assessing individual situations. Being white or a man may carry privilege in one situation and disadvantage in another. The benefits or disadvantages any one person faces depends on many factors some of which can change rapidly and some of which are essentially static.

I don't see how anything you said here counters my point. Privilege in this case is defined by the avenues of opportunity that are more or less open to you based literally on where and to whom you were born.

But people don't just live in "western society" they live in specific neighborhoods with different socio-economic, racial, religious makeups. When people pay attention only to the macro and try to apply it to the micro it is very easy to lose the justice they may be fighting for. This seems an extraordinarily common trend in today's social justice movements.

Even in specific neighborhoods they are still largely a part of both inherited and national culture and values; things taken for granted without being reflected upon since what deviates from that norm is simply constructed as abnormal. Information is still gained, reproduced and reinforced through many of the same channels, and the lack of reflection leads to cognitive bias which leads anecdotal experience being overemphasized in peoples world-view.

Being able to move throughout "most of the western world without having their ethnicity or gender questioned," is only an advantage for someone who can actually "move throughout most of the western world."

But being able to 'move throughout most of the western world' is equally to applicable geographic location as it is to being able to move in the workforce, having access to education and housing, and not having people be automatically suspicious of you simply by seeing you.

For those who's movement is restricted to an area where they are a minority, being white and a man can serve as an enormous disadvantage.

This might be an issue, were it not for the fact that most predominantly black and hispanic neighborhoods are usually low-income, segregated areas, and that the way out of these areas are usually guarded by people adhering to the (white) norm. In any case, both of these situations and perceptions are constructed and reconstructed daily in part because people (in general, and those who hold the power to change things) lack the ability to reflect upon their on situation (or, to put it crudely, check their privilege). Especially before judging people, AND their individual situations.

Broad categorizations and the meta discussion of justice is fine and even useful but when people try and apply broad categorizations and the meta to the individual, justice can be lost.

And what I'm arguing is that a huge part of the problem lies within people who are a part of the norm fail to reflect on their own part in the societal structure.

We have built the theory of our justice systems on this understanding, that each person is their own case and each case should be assessed on its own merits.

Right, and in a perfect world, that might actually be true in practice one day.

chikusho:

Gorrath:

chikusho:
Sure, you don't choose your race or place in society or any other inherent privileges. But you sure as hell benefit from them.

This is dependent on context and the details of any given situation. To make such a sweeping generalization is correct but not useful for assessing individual situations. Being white or a man may carry privilege in one situation and disadvantage in another. The benefits or disadvantages any one person faces depends on many factors some of which can change rapidly and some of which are essentially static.

I don't see how anything you said here counters my point. Privilege in this case is defined by the avenues of opportunity that are more or less open to you based literally on where and to whom you were born.

Which is why I said you are correct in a broad sense but one should not assume anyone born in a specific area to any specific parents automatically has any particular avenue of opportunity, which is precisely what a lot of people do assume and that assumption is made to the detriment of justice by viewing individuals as a collective instead of as individuals.

But people don't just live in "western society" they live in specific neighborhoods with different socio-economic, racial, religious makeups. When people pay attention only to the macro and try to apply it to the micro it is very easy to lose the justice they may be fighting for. This seems an extraordinarily common trend in today's social justice movements.

Even in specific neighborhoods they are still largely a part of both inherited and national culture and values; things taken for granted without being reflected upon since what deviates from that norm is simply constructed as abnormal. Information is still gained, reproduced and reinforced through many of the same channels, and the lack of reflection leads to cognitive bias which leads anecdotal experience being overemphasized in peoples world-view.

This seems to presume that a nation in question has a single set of national cultural values. Those individual neighborhoods can and do often have distinctly different cultural values. Anecdotal evidence is supremely important to the individual. You are right in saying that it can and often is overemphasized in people's world view but it is also too quickly disregarded when we go about lumping people together in broad-reaching groups and drawing conclusions about them. reflection on our own privileges is a good thing but assuming we understand how others are affected by privilege just because they share some of the traits that inform our own privilege is bad and this is a mistake often made in modern social justice.

Being able to move throughout "most of the western world without having their ethnicity or gender questioned," is only an advantage for someone who can actually "move throughout most of the western world."

But being able to 'move throughout most of the western world' is equally to applicable geographic location as it is to being able to move in the workforce, having access to education and housing, and not having people be automatically suspicious of you simply by seeing you.

And being able to move geographic location, through the workforce and having access to education and housing is not merely controlled through being part of, or apart from, the national majority. The poor white kid living in a minority-dominated neighborhood still goes to the same bad school, still lives in the same slum and still suffers from the same or similar economic problems as his minority counterparts. The national "normal" as you call it may very well not be the local "normal" and thus a person of the national normal can suffer the same sorts of injustice that comes from "othering" as those who don't belong to the national normal.

For those who's movement is restricted to an area where they are a minority, being white and a man can serve as an enormous disadvantage.

This might be an issue, were it not for the fact that most predominantly black and hispanic neighborhoods are usually low-income, segregated areas, and that the way out of these areas are usually guarded by people adhering to the (white) norm. In any case, both of these situations and perceptions are constructed and reconstructed daily in part because people (in general, and those who hold the power to change things) lack the ability to reflect upon their on situation (or, to put it crudely, check their privilege). Especially before judging people, AND their individual situations.

It's not that this might be an issue. It is an issue. The great gatekeeper out of these areas is money, which does not care what color your skin is. My path out of the poverty situation of my youth was the military, a path that was open to anyone who was physically capable of serving regardless of the color of their skin. I had no special path out of poverty that was not available to anyone else who lived where I grew up. No one was standing just on the other side of the projects offering to help you out if you happen to be white. I shared more in common with the culture of my neighbors and parents than I ever did with the people who owned two SUVs, a pretty house and wore suits to work and they cared no more for me than they did for anyone else in the hood. White is not the path to the national norm, green is.

Broad categorizations and the meta discussion of justice is fine and even useful but when people try and apply broad categorizations and the meta to the individual, justice can be lost.

And what I'm arguing is that a huge part of the problem lies within people who are a part of the norm fail to reflect on their own part in the societal structure.

I agree with you on this so long as it is understood that race isn't what makes you part of, or apart from, that norm. That norm encompasses all sorts of factors, which is something people who advocate for social justice often seem to not understand. Whether you understand that or not I don't know, so this is not an accusation I am leveling against you. This is why I agreed with what you've said but only as a broad generalization. The real circumstances are far more difficult and nuanced than what those generalizations present.

We have built the theory of our justice systems on this understanding, that each person is their own case and each case should be assessed on its own merits.

Right, and in a perfect world, that might actually be true in practice one day.

Knowing that the ideal perfection of justice is impossible should not justify one in compromising that ideal. Those of us that seek justice should not employ injustice in pursuit of it. Embracing the meta and ignoring the injustice done to the individual is exactly that. It is precisely this that troubles me about modern social justice. I am not fighting against the idea of social justice, I am fighting to temper it. I want to see a social justice movement that is a scalpel instead of a sledge hammer. I'd hardly disagree with any point you've made but the way you describe these issues is very reminiscent of the usual brand of social justice that is the latter, not the former.

Gorrath:

Which is why I said you are correct in a broad sense but one should not assume anyone born in a specific area to any specific parents automatically has any particular avenue of opportunity, which is precisely what a lot of people do assume and that assumption is made to the detriment of justice by viewing individuals as a collective instead of as individuals.

My point is really that the meta, as you call it, is so prevalent, and informs so much of our worldly perceptions, that it becomes basically invisible to people on an individual level. Which is why such reflection as I've described is necessary, especially from people who are not part of a marginalized group.
A great example is brought up on the You Are Not So Smart podcast, on how western societies basically takes for granted that a high self-esteem is a good thing and a great motivator, while just over the pacific, in japan, it's the polar opposite. They say in the podcast that the Japanese didn't even have a word for self-esteem until it was borrowed from English.
http://youarenotsosmart.com/2015/08/04/yanss-055-psychologys-long-obsession-with-the-weirdest-people-in-the-world/

The lack of such insight, or even the willful ignorance of the validity of differing but equally correct perspectives, is what makes it possible for people to deny both racism and sexism as a concept. Basically "this has never happened to me, so it can't be a real problem", or "why didn't they just do this thing, that I would do, and then there would be no problem".

snipping a bit for brevity, let's just say I agree on your stance

I agree with you on this so long as it is understood that race isn't what makes you part of, or apart from, that norm. [...] The real circumstances are far more difficult and nuanced than what those generalizations present.

Naturally, people are not ever one solitary thing. Humans are intersectional, and everyone has numerous parts to their identity. However, it's impossible to take all things all people are into account when studying structural phenomena; you have to focus in on specific commonalities to ever get a sense of larger societal mechanics. And once you identify a thread of, say, injustice, it would be down-right irresponsible to reinvent the wheel for every individual situation. Nothing would ever get done, and nothing would ever get learned.

Gorrath:

Rastrelly:
OMG, guys, this 'priviledge' fighting shite is so funny =) The poorest black gay female junkie in US has more 'priviledges' then average person in, say, Syria or Iraq, or, by the way, in Ukraine. Maybe you all will start with sending all your money but 40 or 50 dollars a month to charity? This will make you all much more equal and, I suppose, will oddly enough put an end to all 'priviledge' discussions =)

The "appeal to bigger problems" is a bit a of fallacy, yes? Just because Jane is suffering more injustice than Bob isn't a good reason to ignore the injustice against Bob. He's a person who deserves justice too. Just because you may find a country where they kill homosexuals for being open about it does not mean we shouldn't strive for equality of opportunity and fairness here, right?

By this 'privilege' logic, Bob is not in injustice - he's a privileged fuck who wants to become even more privileged.

chikusho:

Gorrath:

Which is why I said you are correct in a broad sense but one should not assume anyone born in a specific area to any specific parents automatically has any particular avenue of opportunity, which is precisely what a lot of people do assume and that assumption is made to the detriment of justice by viewing individuals as a collective instead of as individuals.

My point is really that the meta, as you call it, is so prevalent, and informs so much of our worldly perceptions, that it becomes basically invisible to people on an individual level. Which is why such reflection as I've described is necessary, especially from people who are not part of a marginalized group.
A great example is brought up on the You Are Not So Smart podcast, on how western societies basically takes for granted that a high self-esteem is a good thing and a great motivator, while just over the pacific, in japan, it's the polar opposite. They say in the podcast that the Japanese didn't even have a word for self-esteem until it was borrowed from English.
http://youarenotsosmart.com/2015/08/04/yanss-055-psychologys-long-obsession-with-the-weirdest-people-in-the-world/

The lack of such insight, or even the willful ignorance of the validity of differing but equally correct perspectives, is what makes it possible for people to deny both racism and sexism as a concept. Basically "this has never happened to me, so it can't be a real problem", or "why didn't they just do this thing, that I would do, and then there would be no problem".

Exactly, as you say, people's inability to see past their own lives and into the troubles of others is what informs a lot of racism, sexism and such. It is the reason we need social justice at all, really, because humans tend to be empathetic for the most part. The problem that I see is that those who advocate for social justice are just as blind to the struggles of people they don't see as those who oppose social justice. It's difficult to explain how infuriating it is to have grown up like I did and hear people talk about how white simply cannot be the victims of racism, their privilege makes it impossible. It's such a slap in the face to me; and I imagine every bit as insulting as someone telling a poor black person they're poor because they just don't work hard enough.

snipping a bit for brevity, let's just say I agree on your stance

I agree with you on this so long as it is understood that race isn't what makes you part of, or apart from, that norm. [...] The real circumstances are far more difficult and nuanced than what those generalizations present.

Naturally, people are not ever one solitary thing. Humans are intersectional, and everyone has numerous parts to their identity. However, it's impossible to take all things all people are into account when studying structural phenomena; you have to focus in on specific commonalities to ever get a sense of larger societal mechanics. And once you identify a thread of, say, injustice, it would be down-right irresponsible to reinvent the wheel for every individual situation. Nothing would ever get done, and nothing would ever get learned.[/quote]

Which is why I am fine with studying the structural phenomena. Gaining an academic understanding of social issues by looking at trends is fine and necessary. It's not about reinventing the wheel, it's about understanding that justice is personal, that injustice is too and that forming solutions to unjust practices that are themselves unjust is not a means to the desired end. Racism is unjust, we know this, we have studied the way it harms people and yet many who would fight racism make statements and push for policies that simply perpetuate it. It is exactly as you say, people are often blinded to situations that they have no experience with.

People who tell me that it's impossible for white people to be the victims of racism have no clue what it's like to get beat almost daily just for being white. Or that what hurt far more was to then be told that being beat up merely for being white isn't racism. Those that suppose I was privileged to be white in those situations seem to think that my skin color made the aluminum bat I took to my ribs hurt less or that there was some justice coming my way from the cops who didn't give a shit or a justice system that had no time for someone who was poor. These are all no more than my anecdotes and I know very well that they are not what most people experience. My situation was not common, even rare, but that in no way should have made me less entitled to justice. It isn't the people who scoff at social justice who downplay what happened to me it's people who claim that they really, truly care about justice who do that, and that's what I find so appalling. It's like listening to someone say they hate racists... and white people.

Anywho, you and I seem to not be too far apart on these issues anyway and I do want to reiterate that I don't disagree with what you've said; I simply strive to bring some nuance, some detail, some deeper understanding to these ideas so that more people don't fall into the trap of thinking about these issues like it's white vs. black, poor vs. rich, gay vs. straight or that privilege is a shield or a badge that protects or blinds a person with regard to racism, sexism or anything else.

Thanks for taking the time to talk with me by the way; I always appreciate the eyes and ears of those willing to read and listen. Cheers.

Rastrelly:

Gorrath:

Rastrelly:
OMG, guys, this 'priviledge' fighting shite is so funny =) The poorest black gay female junkie in US has more 'priviledges' then average person in, say, Syria or Iraq, or, by the way, in Ukraine. Maybe you all will start with sending all your money but 40 or 50 dollars a month to charity? This will make you all much more equal and, I suppose, will oddly enough put an end to all 'priviledge' discussions =)

The "appeal to bigger problems" is a bit a of fallacy, yes? Just because Jane is suffering more injustice than Bob isn't a good reason to ignore the injustice against Bob. He's a person who deserves justice too. Just because you may find a country where they kill homosexuals for being open about it does not mean we shouldn't strive for equality of opportunity and fairness here, right?

By this 'privilege' logic, Bob is not in injustice - he's a privileged fuck who wants to become even more privileged.

Some see it that way and I believe they are wrong as hell for it. Jane and Bob should see each other as people worthy of the justice due to each. The most privileged person among us doesn't deserve to have racial slurs flung at them. Privilege should not be an accusation, it should be an understood phenomena that lets us understand the perspectives of others. Poor Jane with her shitty job and slum apartment shouldn't look at Bob and just see some privileged white guy who's just lucky he's white. And well to do Bob who busted his ass to get through law school shouldn't look at Jane and just see some lazy black woman who could have gone to Harvard if she had just worked harder in school. Privilege is a useful concept to describe tribalistic tendencies in human nature and how those tendencies manifest for the benefit of some people and the detriment of others. Using privilege as a divisive slur to shame and "other" people is to ironically miss the whole point.

Gorrath:

Rastrelly:

Gorrath:

The "appeal to bigger problems" is a bit a of fallacy, yes? Just because Jane is suffering more injustice than Bob isn't a good reason to ignore the injustice against Bob. He's a person who deserves justice too. Just because you may find a country where they kill homosexuals for being open about it does not mean we shouldn't strive for equality of opportunity and fairness here, right?

By this 'privilege' logic, Bob is not in injustice - he's a privileged fuck who wants to become even more privileged.

Some see it that way and I believe they are wrong as hell for it. Jane and Bob should see each other as people worthy of the justice due to each. The most privileged person among us doesn't deserve to have racial slurs flung at them. Privilege should not be an accusation, it should be an understood phenomena that lets us understand the perspectives of others. Poor Jane with her shitty job and slum apartment shouldn't look at Bob and just see some privileged white guy who's just lucky he's white. And well to do Bob who busted his ass to get through law school shouldn't look at Jane and just see some lazy black woman who could have gone to Harvard if she had just worked harder in school. Privilege is a useful concept to describe tribalistic tendencies in human nature and how those tendencies manifest for the benefit of some people and the detriment of others. Using privilege as a divisive slur to shame and "other" people is to ironically miss the whole point.

Here - I agree. I don't see any reason to use the term 'privilege' the way it used in western culture. Privilege is just an exclusive ability, nothing more, and claiming that any person privileged in any way is at any fault... Well, it would be correct only in case of this person getting this privilege illegally. And statement I was shocked to see - 'privilege is never earned'. What the fuuuu?..

Gorrath:
[...] snip
Thanks for taking the time to talk with me by the way; I always appreciate the eyes and ears of those willing to read and listen. Cheers.

Yes, likewise. Thanks for sharing anyway, good to know you got out from under a shitty situation. It's true that class really is the ultimate decider of shittiness, whatever path it is that leads you to that point.

Yeah. Yes.
It does.
Privilege matters. No amount of zooming out to examine the basis of social constructs devalues their importance in society as a whole. If it didn't, people would happily give it up, but they don't. They hang onto their privilege, because having any advantage you can get is completely crucial.

2012 Wont Happen:

Bocaj2000:
I agree with the video. When all is said and done, the only person to blame for your actions and lack there of is yourself. Privilege may open the door to more methods of completing those actions, but it never restricts completely. Just remember:

"If your happiness depends on what somebody else does, I guess you do have a problem."
-Richard Bach

Lack of privilege can get you gunned down at 12 years old by a cop who hasn't even fully gotten out of his vehicle for carrying a toy gun in an open carry state. I take it Richard Bach didn't ever have to contend with anything like that.

I'm not going to get into a BLM debate because it's an issue about corruption and poor training. "Black problems" tend to be urban problems which once applied to the Chinese, Irish, and Jews. The one specific case you stated is what happens when you break a federal law by removing the orange tip from an airsoft gun.

My point is that there's a myth that poor black people are in their situations because they're black instead of because they're poor. This is because you can fix being poor, but you can't fix being black; if you can't fix your problem, you're always a victim; if you're always a victim, improving your situation is futile. Break the myth and rise above your self imposed limitations like many before you.

Bocaj2000:

2012 Wont Happen:

Bocaj2000:
I agree with the video. When all is said and done, the only person to blame for your actions and lack there of is yourself. Privilege may open the door to more methods of completing those actions, but it never restricts completely. Just remember:

"If your happiness depends on what somebody else does, I guess you do have a problem."
-Richard Bach

Lack of privilege can get you gunned down at 12 years old by a cop who hasn't even fully gotten out of his vehicle for carrying a toy gun in an open carry state. I take it Richard Bach didn't ever have to contend with anything like that.

I'm not going to get into a BLM debate because it's an issue about corruption and poor training. "Black problems" tend to be urban problems which once applied to the Chinese, Irish, and Jews. The one specific case you stated is what happens when you break a federal law by removing the orange tip from an airsoft gun.

My point is that there's a myth that poor black people are in their situations because they're black instead of because they're poor. This is because you can fix being poor, but you can't fix being black; if you can't fix your problem, you're always a victim; if you're always a victim, improving your situation is futile. Break the myth and rise above your self imposed limitations like many before you.

The orange tip was off, but even the random civilian who phoned 9-1-1 recognized it as almost certainly a toy gun. He stated as much on the phone with dispatch. Furthermore, I broke plenty of orange tips off plenty of toy guns when I was a kid, because that's shit children do. I was never murdered over it, and if a little white kid like me had been murdered over it, you can be damn sure there wouldn't be big parts of the population saying it was justified.

Plus, how could a police officer rolling up and killing him on sight be an example of economic profiling? Does the officer has money-vision which scans potential murder victims for economic circumstance? No, he doesn't. What he does have is regular vision, in which he saw a black kid with a maybe-real-maybe-not gun, and decided that was grounds to put several rounds into him without even bothering to issue a command to drop the "weapon".

2012 Wont Happen:

Bocaj2000:

2012 Wont Happen:

Lack of privilege can get you gunned down at 12 years old by a cop who hasn't even fully gotten out of his vehicle for carrying a toy gun in an open carry state. I take it Richard Bach didn't ever have to contend with anything like that.

I'm not going to get into a BLM debate because it's an issue about corruption and poor training. "Black problems" tend to be urban problems which once applied to the Chinese, Irish, and Jews. The one specific case you stated is what happens when you break a federal law by removing the orange tip from an airsoft gun.

My point is that there's a myth that poor black people are in their situations because they're black instead of because they're poor. This is because you can fix being poor, but you can't fix being black; if you can't fix your problem, you're always a victim; if you're always a victim, improving your situation is futile. Break the myth and rise above your self imposed limitations like many before you.

*snip*

I honestly don't think that this outliar invalidates an entire philosophical idea.

Bocaj2000:

2012 Wont Happen:

Bocaj2000:

I'm not going to get into a BLM debate because it's an issue about corruption and poor training. "Black problems" tend to be urban problems which once applied to the Chinese, Irish, and Jews. The one specific case you stated is what happens when you break a federal law by removing the orange tip from an airsoft gun.

My point is that there's a myth that poor black people are in their situations because they're black instead of because they're poor. This is because you can fix being poor, but you can't fix being black; if you can't fix your problem, you're always a victim; if you're always a victim, improving your situation is futile. Break the myth and rise above your self imposed limitations like many before you.

*snip*

I honestly don't think that this outliar invalidates an entire philosophical idea.

Is it an outlier that black people are 21 times more likely to be killed by police than white people? Is it an outlier that somebody with a traditionally white name is 50% more likely to get a call back from a job application than somebody with a traditionally nonwhite name? No. These are statistical facts. Is much, or even most, privilege based in economics? Yes, which can also be demonstrated with statistics. Is all privilege economic? Clearly not when black people are treated significanrly worse by government employees and potential employers at a statistically significant rate.

RatGouf:
Should we really look to a rich white man person to be an authority on privilege?

Should we really let racism wealth dictate who can have opinions?

Jake Martinez:
The video was better than I thought it would be with the terribly flame bait headline :P Really, Sartre's argument is more existential than that, it's more or less "Is there really such a thing as privilege at all?"

8-bit philosophy vidoes are hit or miss but i noticed a trend that the answer is ALWAYS no.

Luminous_Umbra:

Class privilege has a far greater effect, as it can show up in someone regardless of race, sex, or any other factor and overshadow any other disadvantage that individual might have from privilege.

There are certainly issues faced by minorities, but the advantage the rich and well-off have over the rest is far greater than any other.

So Class privilege is having money?

chikusho:
And 'being white' is an example of something that's a normal in western society, and if you deviate from that norm you are automatically an other. Thus, when you don't reflect on your individual attributes and heritage (or, "check your privilege") it becomes impossible to realize that there are other, perfectly accurate worldviews separated from the societal structures you take for granted.

For example, Native Americans weren't 'Indians' before America was colonized. They were Apaches, Mohaves and Potawatomi.
Black people weren't black before Africa was colonized, they were Zulu, Maasai and Oromo.

How we choose to categorize and identify people shows what traits are valued in the society we inhibit. And some of those categories usually carry a lot of prejudice, and very little actual/valuable/relevant information, regarding the person they are describing. The simple fact that white men can move throughout most of the western world without having their ethnicity or gender questioned is an enormous advantage, simply because that's what's considered to be the norm.

the term "normal" merely means that of reflecting majority of people. and in western societies white IS the majority of population, by a large margin. So yes, being white is normal in western societies. and yes, somone not being while is different. that is not to say they are better or worse, just different.

The tribes (that had no united name as far as i know) that were called Indians were called so because silly explorers thought they landed on eastern side of India (the country). And yes, black people were most definately black before africa was colonized. colonization didnt suddenly change their skin colour.

We categorize people in ways that are easiest to spot. It is easy to spot skin colour, so we often use it as a category because it makes it easier to understand what someone is talking about. language is not perfect and we try to be understood as well as we can, so we go for easiest identifiable traits. If i see a black person on the street i dont know whether hes a great mathematician, artists or whatever else you want. I do know his skin color though, so when someone says "look at the black guy" i know where to look but if they said "look at the great artists" i wouldnt.

They are not descriptors, they are identifiers.

Funny you say that considering that white men are currently flooding europe from the south and their ethnicity is most definitely questioned (not sure how you can questions someones gender, in 99% of cases its quite obvious by just looking at a person).

Strazdas:

the term "normal" merely means that of reflecting majority of people. and in western societies white IS the majority of population, by a large margin. So yes, being white is normal in western societies. and yes, somone not being while is different. that is not to say they are better or worse, just different.

You are both missing and confirming my point. It's not abnormal to be black, no matter what the societal makeup looks like. It might be more or less common, but that doesn't address the fact that race is something society thinks is one of the most important personality traits. Also, painting someone up as "different" goes way beyond just pigment, no matter what the intent.

The tribes (that had no united name as far as i know) that were called Indians were called so because silly explorers thought they landed on eastern side of India (the country). And yes, black people were most definately black before africa was colonized. colonization didnt suddenly change their skin colour.

Again, missing the point. I'm not arguing that black people had different skin color before being called black (although, they did and still do, for example, von Luschan's chromatic scale lists 36 main skin color variations). I'm saying that no one had to self-identify as a black person before society 1. made it up as a significant thing, 2. insisted upon its meaning and 3. enforced it (which it still continues to do).

We categorize people in ways that are easiest to spot.

"easiest to spot" is just one possible reason that we can and do categorize people and things, out of a near infinite number. It's never that simple.

not sure how you can questions someones gender, in 99% of cases its quite obvious by just looking at a person).

Again, missing the point. It's not about questioning which gender a person belongs to, it's about evaluating the individual based on their gender.

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