“Having privilege isn’t something you can usually change, but that’s okay, because it’s not something you should be ashamed of, or feel bad about. Being told you have privilege, or that you’re privileged, isn’t an insult. It’s a reminder! The key to privilege isn’t worrying about having it, or trying to deny it, or apologize for it, or get rid of it. It’s just paying attention to it, and knowing what it means for you and the people around you. Having privilege is like having big feet. No one hates you for having big feet! They just want you to remember to be careful where you walk.”
I hate the current discourse around ‘privilege’. It is a lazy, thoughtless way of examining and identifying ‘power’. Did Foucault use the word privilege all the time? NO.
Saying that telling someone they are privileged ‘isn’t an insult’ is a bare-faced lie.
I have seen so many feminists, gay and queer and trans activists use the single word ‘privilege’ to dismiss an individual and their arguments I have lost count.
No one hates you for having big feet! Until you step on someone’s toes? Then they really hate you.
‘Privilege’ seems to be a way of at once blaming individuals for complex situations, and then also maintaining a ‘group’ identity of those who are not privileged.
Take trans politics for example. I am continually labelled as ‘privileged’ as a ‘cis’ woman. And this enables trans people to always be the victim in discussions, the victim of my privileged viewpoint. But I don’t think I have any ‘privilege’ in terms of gender identity. I fail at being a ‘woman’. My sexuality is closest to that of homos, with no access to the physical experiences of homo-men. I have no gender ‘advantages’ I can think of at all, except that I am not going through the pain of transition. Just the pain of a lifetime of ‘not fitting’ to my supposed gender identity.But in conversation with trans people, they can always claim the ‘privileged’ position of the powerless.
I think privilege is used as a weapon in identity politics.
And just because a statement is ‘reblogged’ nearly 600 times on tumblr, does not make it true.