Feedback: Explaining Privilege

Privilege is privilege. Wether you are the default or not, you may or may not have privileges.

If you decide to have a discussion about privileges of the default, it’s a very onesided discussion, which does not do the default justice.

Wearing cornrows is a privilege I will never have, while being a POC is not the default in society, it is their privilege to do so.

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Once again, you’re talking about two separate concepts.

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How are there 2 different concepts of privilege ?

Ok. Honest question. This didn’t happen but say it did. For shits and giggles.

Marisol and I work at the same company. We’re the same age. I’m a white woman and she’s Puerto Rican. And she wasn’t someone who could pass for Caucasian like has been mentioned in stories. Everything is equal except the color of our skin.

Marisol yells and curses at the boss. Calls him a donkey butt, a Richard head, and says his parents were never married.

I yell and curse at my boss. Use the same names.

I get called into the office and written up.

Marisol doesn’t. She goes on with her day.

What would you call it in that situation?

I’m just curious.

You’re using the common definition of the word. Someone being able to do something. I used the example before of a kid being able to watch TV. If one child is able to watch TV and their sibling is not, that does not mean the kid with TV privileges has privilege over the other.

I’m using the sociological meaning of the word. In sociology, privilege is when someone has an advantage over another person due to being the default of society. For example, disability. Buildings are almost always set up so that an able-bodied person can easily and safely navigate them. However, not all of them are set up so that a wheelchair-user or a blind person can easily and safely navigate them. This is not set up specifically to screw over disabled people, but because the standard for being able to navigate buildings is based on able-bodied people.

You being unable to wear cornrows is not sociological privilege, it’s common privilege. White people got their TV privileges revoked because they were being jerks about it. Basically, discriminating against Black people because they had cornrows (e.g. firing them because it was “unprofessional”, grabbing hair without permission) and then taking on cornrows themselves and going on about how it was exotic and edgy and made them look like organized criminals. While still discriminating against Black people in the exact same ways. So now Black hair is a closed cultural practice. Is it discrimination to not allow white people to have hairstyles they were misusing? Maybe (though this goes into discussions of open vs. closed cultural practices). Is it sociological privilege? No.

Assuming no other mitigating factors, discrimination. But not privilege in the sociological sense.

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Words don’t work like that. They can have multiple definitions and they always have had multiple definitions.

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Of course all the men are coming in to try to conflate privilege with discrimination, because it’s sooooo hard to actually read and reflect.

I’m a white woman - I have the privilege in the fact cops won’t automatically assume I’m a criminal if I breathe in the same zip code as them, but I don’t have the same privilege as a white male in careers and academics because of the systemic assumption that women will have children and be less available or even will leave their jobs entirely.

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Especially in different contexts. Like prejudice. It comes from pre-judis (pre-judgement). As a common term, it means judging someone before having enough information to do so, often in the context of bigotry. As a legal term, it means that the case can’t be tried a second time because a judgement has already been made. Most cases are dismissed with prejudice (can’t be tried again), and some without prejudice (it can be).

This argument is like saying that because the judge dismissed the case with prejudice, it means the judge is a bigot.

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You never said anything about sociological privilege until this post. It’s like changing the rules midgame.

I still stand by what I said earlier:

Let’s take race out of it for a second. Let’s take the situation of people working in retail. There are two workers. Both of them are the same age, both men, both in good shape. The difference is one is a smoker and one isn’t. The non smoker has to beg for bathroom, lunch, etc breaks. The smoker gets to take all the smoke breaks they want.

What’s your opinion on that? Before you say that I’m dissing smokers, my husband smokes.

And here we have the full on generalization against men. Thanks for that.

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Because I assumed you were capable of understanding the difference in concepts by looking at examples of the concept (though admittedly, I may have failed to get my point across, which is entirely why I was looking for feedback). And then by telling you that the concepts were different and stating the differences. Multiple times. And then I mentioned that it was from sociology. Because nothing else worked.

And since you want to, let’s talk about privileges of the default. How about straight privilege?

Advantages of straight people in my country:

  • Being able to get married in more than a handful of countries
  • Being able to travel to certain countries without being arrested or even executed for the gender of their loved one, or being under threat of such
  • Being able to donate blood without being automatically assumed to be a carrier of a disease
  • Not being accused of pedophilia on a regular basis
  • Being able to talk about loving people without being accused of pedophilia
  • Not being accused of being the main spreaders of monkeypox
  • Not being accused of trying to undermine the fabric of society simply by existing
  • Not currently under threat of having their marriage forcefully dissolved by the highest court in the country
  • Being able to talk about their spouses in school settings in all states
  • Not being murdered and having the murderer legally get away with it because they were so shocked at finding out that they were straight (the “Gay Panic” defense)
  • Not having it assumed that any characters who are straight undermine the artistic merit of the media because clearly they were only there to pander to a minority
  • Not being fired simply for the gender of their loved one, provided the company can find an excuse for it
  • Not being harassed in the workplace for the gender of their loved one

Advantages of being gay:

  • We’re allowed to have parades, I guess. Which are an annual celebration of beating back the police when they tried to arrest people for not bribing them enough.
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Which you started to explain after my example, so still changing the game midway.

I understand I am more privileged, and have way less chance to be discriminated against, but still, or again, when you want to explain privilege to people, you can’t just choose to ignore viable parts of that.

This is not as good an example, because I feel no one should say this, but:
If my gay coworker and I separately have the exact same conversation with a 2nd gay person, and we both call the other one fag, in the exact same fashion, I could lose my job or at least get written up. My gay coworker wouldn’t even be looked at funny.

Same with female coworkers, making comments about their looks in the exact same way, not sexual or anything, and I have a way higher chance to be seen as a creep then my gay coworker.

Yes, being straight has way WAY more advantages, but that doesn’t mean their disadvantages should just be ignored.

When I’m explaining privilege, I can decide not to explain things that are not part of the definition of the concept I am explaining. I have told you the definition multiple times in multiple ways. You are ignoring me in favor of defining the term in a way that suits you and is not the concept I am describing.

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Sorry I missed this. In the context of wider society, discrimination, not privilege. However, if the company culture treats smoking as the default and non-smokers are aberrations, then that could be considered a form of privilege (but only within the context of the company).

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A concept only introduced halfway through when it didn’t suit you that I came up with other examples.

By basically telling me I’m wrong about these examples, you tell me not to talk about them, and are in effect discriminating against the default, for you do not allow to be talked about them.

Why is it so important to you to make this topic about only a selfchosen part of privilege? If you want to explain the hardships of privilege, as you claim in your opening post, why now give privilege towards that what you want in favor of the default?

No, you were told how your examples were wrong.

You are not being silenced or discriminated, you’re rightfully being scorned for trying to sealion and moving the goalposts.

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So this is probably a stupid analogue, but it’s like you were talking about pudding.

Kianna: here’s some examples of puddings, cakes, sweets, chocolate.

Murdocku: black pudding is also a type of pudding.

Kianna: that’s not the type of pudding I was talking about, I was talking about puddings like ice cream or toffee.

Murdocku: but since black pudding is a pudding, your examples shouldn’t exclude it.

Kianna: but I’m talking about sweet puddings, not savory ones.

Murdocku: well you didn’t mention until now that you were talking about sweet puddings only, you only mentioned that now because you don’t want me talking about black pudding or Yorkshire pudding.

I dunno if that makes it clearer where the misunderstanding was here?

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That only works in British (pudding is a much more defined word in American), but it’s basically what’s happening.

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As far as I can tell, Kianna isn’t arguing that the scenarios you’ve provided aren’t examples of priviledge by common definition; they have just explained that they aren’t under the Sociological definition which is the one under discussion.

You make a fair point that the use of a specialised definition wasn’t made clear in the initial post but I really don’t think Kianna is trying to move goalposts here by clarifying that now. Perhaps the need to set definitions at the outset of discussion for non specialised audiences is useful feedback in itself.

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