Polite racists in denial

Been watching the news lately (I know, I know, I should find another hobby) …

If you’re white, you benefit from racist power structures and racist forms of social organization. And you’ve most likely internalized the underlying racist assumptions to the point where you feel threatened or defensive whenever anyone questions them or makes them explicit. That’s what #WhitePrivilege is. It doesn’t necessarily make you a sheet-wearing, cross-burning caricature, but to the extent that you don’t question or work to dislodge those power structures, you’re helping to perpetuate systemic racism. And that, whether you like it or not, makes you guilty of racism yourself. It’s not surprising at all that a lot of white folks react to this so viscerally, and want to project their discomfort onto others by complaining about activists stirring up racial conflict. But part of being a committed anti-racist is owning your own racism — and doing what you can to overcome it.

The war on ‘microaggressions:’ Has it created a ‘victimhood culture’ on campuses? – The Washington Post

One much-discussed paper says a “victimhood culture” is rising at elite American colleges.

Source: The war on ‘microaggressions:’ Has it created a ‘victimhood culture’ on campuses? – The Washington Post

Thoughtful piece, crappy headline.

Why? Because casting it in terms of ‘victimhood culture’ implies that complainants want to be seen as victims, with the attendant connotations of ‘speech police,’ ‘political correctness,’ ‘oversensitivity,’ and ‘censorship.’ Moreover, putting air quotes around both microaggressions and victimhood culture suggests a false equivalence whereby the writer is raising doubts about both notions.

Once again, it’s important to distinguish intent from impact. Microaggressions may not be intended to be hurtful, but they do come from a place of privilege. In their broadest sense, they imply that being white, straight, cis, and male is the default setting, and anything else is a departure from the norm. When people call you out on that, they’re not attacking you – they’re drawing attention to that structure of privilege. And when you sneeringly dismiss the notion of microaggression, you’re reinforcing that structure.

Owning your privilege: Saturday morning on the Tweeter

[View the story “Owning your privilege – a teachable moment with @neville_park, @madhatressTO, and @c_9” on Storify]

[View the story “Owning your privilege – a teachable moment with @neville_park, @madhatressTO, and @c_9” on Storify]via Owning your privilege – a teachable moment with @neville_park, @madhatressTO, and @c_9 (with tweets) · sol_chrom · Storify.

http://storify.com/sol_chrom/owning-your-privilege-a-teachable-moment-with-nevi

Sometimes it happens right in front of you in real time. Not saying I’m always the quickest learner, but even a clueless old white guy can occasionally recognize a worthwhile lesson. Especially when the cybersphere is roiled by questions of privilege, sexism and condescension.

pileofmonkeys: Do you need to get on the bus?

pileofmonkeys:

This is the Clueless White Person Bus. We use it to come get our people. How do you know if you should get on the bus? Here are some easy ways to tell:

  • You deny that there is a thing called “white privilege” that exists.
  • You think dressing up in Halloween costumes that represent cultures…

pileofmonkeys: Do you need to get on the bus?