Author Topic: Privilege Meter  (Read 9417 times)

BlueHouse

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Privilege Meter
« on: February 27, 2016, 06:38:21 PM »
Iíve been wondering if thereís a simple way to measure privilege.  I donít expect it to be perfect, but possibly a way to score ourselves with a bit of objectivity.

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Any thoughts on this concept and on adding to it?

MonkeyJenga

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Re: Privilege Meter
« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2016, 06:51:45 PM »

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Privilege Meter
« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2016, 06:52:56 PM »
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JZinCO

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Re: Privilege Meter
« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2016, 07:03:07 PM »
Iíve been wondering if thereís a simple way to measure privilege.  I donít expect it to be perfect, but possibly a way to score ourselves with a bit of objectivity.

Question+30-3
Race:WhiteAsian Black or Hispanic
Born in:N. America or Western EuropeAsiaAnywhere else in the world
Assistance from familyTrust fundHelped when they couldno financial assistance
Family:Close-knitFamily with problemsno family at all
Any thoughts on this concept and on adding to it?
Wow, this looks like the bigoted stuff we hear from the regressive wing of the political left. Reminds me of a 'friend' who wouldn't date "white" guys because of their privilege. In a devil's advocate argument, she upheld her claim to native ancestry while saying I was totally white because I was only 1/64th native; I wasn't minority enough to negate my privilege...anyway..

edit: I know you are well meaning but would this index of your lead to any actions that aren't discriminatory? Wouldn't it be used as an ingroup/outgroup tool for social justice warriors to rally around in their crusade against the other?
Just my musings, the privilege meter is scoring high on my bullshit meter.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2016, 07:12:56 PM by JZinCO »

mozar

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Re: Privilege Meter
« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2016, 07:13:36 PM »
The regressive left is "an inherent hesitation to challenge some of the bigotry that can occur within minority communities"

Bigotry happens within minority communities because we all live in a racist oppressive patriarchy. Of course minorities can be bigoted. Of course black men can be sexist. Of course some Japanase Americans look down on Thai people. I could go on, but the we all live in a bigoted society, and bigotry towards each other is the default. Many people would like to move away from bigotry, but it's hard.

Anyways, I was actually coming here to say the opposite, that checking your privilege is passe. Individuals are more nuanced then that. I'm black and was raised by a single mom, but my black father paid for my private school and all our living expenses when I was a kid. I had a trust fund too (only 8k though).

ETA:
Quote
Wouldn't it be used as an ingroup/outgroup tool for social justice warriors to rally around in their crusade against the other?
Yup, I used to have friends like that. They were always asking everyone to check their privilege. They weren't hurting anyone, but it did get annoying after awhile.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2016, 07:18:39 PM by mozar »

JZinCO

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Re: Privilege Meter
« Reply #5 on: February 27, 2016, 07:25:01 PM »
The regressive left is "an inherent hesitation to challenge some of the bigotry that can occur within minority communities"

Bigotry happens within minority communities because we all live in a racist oppressive patriarchy. Of course minorities can be bigoted. Of course black men can be sexist. Of course some Japanase Americans look down on Thai people. I could go on, but the we all live in a bigoted society, and bigotry towards each other is the default. Many people would like to move away from bigotry, but it's hard.

Anyways, I was actually coming here to say the opposite, that checking your privilege is passe. Individuals are more nuanced then that. I'm black and was raised by a single mom, but my black father paid for my private school and all our living expenses when I was a kid. I had a trust fund too (only 8k though).
eh, I use it more broadly than that.
I think Majid Nawaz was specifically focused on the inability for the left to criticize  muslim societies for fear of being perceived as nativist, imperial, paternalistic, etc. In my view, the regressive left's trademark is the support of illiberal policies by those who hold a liberal ideology, such as curtailing freedom of speech in support of an advocated freedom from offense (banning halloween costumes, Jerry Seinfeld on campus, cartoons of Mohammed), using racial slurs against those who do not advocate racial justice, shutting down free thought and open discussion against those who do not fit in with one's view of progressivism, setting the bar lower for non-privileged folks ("The soft bigotry of low expectations"), etc.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2016, 07:30:55 PM by JZinCO »

BlueHouse

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Re: Privilege Meter
« Reply #6 on: February 27, 2016, 08:00:39 PM »
http://www.checkmyprivilege.com/

That's exactly what I was thinking of.  Thanks for saving me from trying this myself.   

ETA:
Quote
Wouldn't it be used as an ingroup/outgroup tool for social justice warriors to rally around in their crusade against the other?
Yup, I used to have friends like that. They were always asking everyone to check their privilege. They weren't hurting anyone, but it did get annoying after awhile.
I was actually thinking that I would prefer to start a post here on the forums by admitting I score a +75 on the privilege meter, rather than having to endure another lecture accusing people of not understanding how privileged they are.  On some threads, the privilege arguments and justifications are longer than the commentary on-topic.  So that's what I've found annoying.  Just trying to take a shortcut to get there faster. 

mozar

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Re: Privilege Meter
« Reply #7 on: February 27, 2016, 09:00:03 PM »
Quote
On some threads, the privilege arguments and justifications are longer than the commentary on-topic

Well, I find it entertaining, but hey, some people might like your plan.

Quote
such as curtailing freedom of speech in support of an advocated freedom from offense (banning halloween costumes, Jerry Seinfeld on campus, cartoons of Mohammed), using racial slurs against those who do not advocate racial justice, shutting down free thought and open discussion against those who do not fit in with one's view of progressivism, setting the bar lower for non-privileged folks ("The soft bigotry of low expectations"), etc.

These examples are interesting. Those who want to ban halloween costumes can be on the left (costumes are sexist) or on the right (costumes are too sexy). For Jerry, I think that's an interesting question, the line between distasteful, and bigoted. I think people always have the right to be offended. Have you heard of any colleges that banned Jerry Seinfeld? In his interview he says that he doesn't do college tours anymore, because people don't laugh at his jokes. That's his right. But colleges banning him would be a whole different thing. I couldn't find any ones that banned him in my cursory google search.

I'm confused about the cartoons of Mohammed that you brought up. As a liberal I support the cartoons, and I'm against banning them. Is it supposed to be the opposite?

Using racial slurs and shutting down open discussion is terrible no matter what. I do understand though, as conservatives can come off as angry, which makes the liberal who is trying to explain something upset, and doesn't want to talk anymore. I see this happen VERY often.

For setting the bar lower for non-privileged folks. That goes pretty deep, and goes to what kind of society do you want to live in. Anecdotaly my ex-girlfriend, who was white, was held to a lower standard to get into college. Affirmative action for poor people. I can see that a rich person could be upset that she didn't deserve her spot and that rich person had to go to another school. But I can also see from the university's side, wanted to give someone a leg up in life as well as wanted the school to be 99% rich kids, instead of 100% rich kids. But if you don't think that privilege exists, I can see how that would be confusing/ unfair.

Looks like I hijacked your thread BlueHouse...

boy_bye

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Re: Privilege Meter
« Reply #8 on: February 27, 2016, 09:41:02 PM »
The point of thinking about privilege is not so a person can wear it like a badge ... It's so that each of us, when we start thinking about how lazy / stupid / undisciplined / misguided other people are, we can check our own selves and try to put ourselves in their shoes. So that we don't assume we are all starting from the same starting line. So we can stop patting our own selves on the back for how awesome we are in comparison to others, when really we had a lot of support and helpful circumstances that others might not have had.

Really, your level of privilege doesn't matter to anyone else, unless you are making some harsh / unwarranted / myopic points about what other people should be doing with their lives.

JZinCO

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Re: Privilege Meter
« Reply #9 on: February 27, 2016, 10:02:05 PM »
Quote
On some threads, the privilege arguments and justifications are longer than the commentary on-topic

Well, I find it entertaining, but hey, some people might like your plan.

Quote
such as curtailing freedom of speech in support of an advocated freedom from offense (banning halloween costumes, Jerry Seinfeld on campus, cartoons of Mohammed), using racial slurs against those who do not advocate racial justice, shutting down free thought and open discussion against those who do not fit in with one's view of progressivism, setting the bar lower for non-privileged folks ("The soft bigotry of low expectations"), etc.

These examples are interesting. Those who want to ban halloween costumes can be on the left (costumes are sexist) or on the right (costumes are too sexy). For Jerry, I think that's an interesting question, the line between distasteful, and bigoted. I think people always have the right to be offended. Have you heard of any colleges that banned Jerry Seinfeld? In his interview he says that he doesn't do college tours anymore, because people don't laugh at his jokes. That's his right. But colleges banning him would be a whole different thing. I couldn't find any ones that banned him in my cursory google search.

I'm confused about the cartoons of Mohammed that you brought up. As a liberal I support the cartoons, and I'm against banning them. Is it supposed to be the opposite?

Using racial slurs and shutting down open discussion is terrible no matter what. I do understand though, as conservatives can come off as angry, which makes the liberal who is trying to explain something upset, and doesn't want to talk anymore. I see this happen VERY often.

For setting the bar lower for non-privileged folks. That goes pretty deep, and goes to what kind of society do you want to live in. Anecdotaly my ex-girlfriend, who was white, was held to a lower standard to get into college. Affirmative action for poor people. I can see that a rich person could be upset that she didn't deserve her spot and that rich person had to go to another school. But I can also see from the university's side, wanted to give someone a leg up in life as well as wanted the school to be 99% rich kids, instead of 100% rich kids. But if you don't think that privilege exists, I can see how that would be confusing/ unfair.

Looks like I hijacked your thread BlueHouse...
I think we can have this discussion because it hits on the broader theme on why someone would be compelled to group people by "privilege-ness". I wasn't looking to go point for point, because these are just illustrations for the broader meme which is liberal regressives. Looks like we have agreement on that first point and third point so going onto Seinfeld. Yeah,  he feels he cannot make jokes because the atmosphere is PC-on-steroids and that is his choice. So, sure let's just swap him out for Bill Maher's disinvitation, or anyone in this list: https://d28htnjz2elwuj.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Disinvitation-Report-2014-Infographic.png
And about shutting down discussions, I can only think of Ben Affleck shutting down Sam Harris on a discussion on pew polls of the muslim world saying "That's gross. That's racist", and all of a sudden, now the conversation turns to "Is Sam racist?! Let's see the attacks on him and then let's see his defense!"
But the biggest one of all is allowing the bar to be set low: "Look X society has their own ways. They might be intolerant of gays, women, athiests, etc but it is bigoted to challenge them on that and to think we know what's right." OR more specifically, the soft bigotry of low expectations was said in response to inner city schools dumbing down material to let minorities slide. That is, in my view, horrible because it only reinforces an uneven playing field which will negatively affect those schools' graduates opportunities.

This is all part of a larger meme of otherizing in terms of identity politics, such as classifying oneself, or another, by privilege as if such generalizations can meaningfully describe the attributes of a person.

edit: Also this, because it is hilarious https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qqOM4mfLhds
« Last Edit: February 27, 2016, 10:09:23 PM by JZinCO »

Tami1982

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Metric Mouse

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Re: Privilege Meter
« Reply #11 on: February 28, 2016, 01:57:32 AM »
Iíve been wondering if thereís a simple way to measure privilege.  I donít expect it to be perfect, but possibly a way to score ourselves with a bit of objectivity.

Question+30-3
Race:WhiteAsian Black or Hispanic
Born in:N. America or Western EuropeAsiaAnywhere else in the world
Assistance from familyTrust fundHelped when they couldno financial assistance
Family:Close-knitFamily with problemsno family at all
Any thoughts on this concept and on adding to it?
Wow, this looks like the bigoted stuff we hear from the regressive wing of the political left. Reminds me of a 'friend' who wouldn't date "white" guys because of their privilege. In a devil's advocate argument, she upheld her claim to native ancestry while saying I was totally white because I was only 1/64th native; I wasn't minority enough to negate my privilege...anyway..

edit: I know you are well meaning but would this index of your lead to any actions that aren't discriminatory? Wouldn't it be used as an ingroup/outgroup tool for social justice warriors to rally around in their crusade against the other?
Just my musings, the privilege meter is scoring high on my bullshit meter.

Don't forget that it would also be useful to negate any positive actions by anyone on the positive side of the privilege scale. Clearly a white, straight woman becoming a doctor is less of an accomplishment than a minority becoming a successful mugger. It's only owing to her skin color and address that she's successful and not out doing drive-bys in the South Side. Jesus titty-fuckin' Christ

RonMcCord

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Re: Privilege Meter
« Reply #12 on: February 28, 2016, 06:51:51 AM »
The point of thinking about privilege is not so a person can wear it like a badge ... It's so that each of us, when we start thinking about how lazy / stupid / undisciplined / misguided other people are, we can check our own selves and try to put ourselves in their shoes. So that we don't assume we are all starting from the same starting line. So we can stop patting our own selves on the back for how awesome we are in comparison to others, when really we had a lot of support and helpful circumstances that others might not have had.

That's not really objectionable IMO and from what I gather, was how it was originally intended.  But my personal problems with it as a concept are that it should only be applied in a macro sort of way.  White people in general are more likely to earn more money than people of other races, or not be hassled by cops, or what have you.  But that's not true of every individual.  Even accounting for every single factor you can think of, it still wouldn't account for individual actions and behaviors, to the point you could have two people living in the same household going to the same schools but still having them have wildly different outcomes in life. 

The other thing that bothers me about all this privilege checking stuff is it's all mostly written by upper middle class Americans, who apply their perspectives on social issues in America and assume it's the same for every country across the board.  So according to the table BlueHouse was starting, being an Asian living in Asia gives you no privilege points, but being White in Asia gives you points.  But the way people in Asia view race is way different than how Americans view race.  We lump together people from tons of different countries together as Asian, but tell a Korean that they won't experience any xenophobia in Japan because they're both Asian and see how that goes. 


 

kamille

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Re: Privilege Meter
« Reply #13 on: February 28, 2016, 09:37:09 AM »
My view of privilege is that it is only seen as an "advantage," not a definite determinate of success. Privileges also intersect with each other in ways that optimize or hinder one's opportunities in life. I think of it in terms of playing a video game called "life" and given the chance to create your own character to win the game as best you can. If I wanted to win the game of life as easily as I could, I would probably create a character that is born wealthy, attractive, able-bodied, educated, great family, nice and safe location, white, and heterosexual. That doesn't mean I would automatically win the game, but I would probably have a higher difficulty level coming from a character born poor, ugly, disabled, low IQ, broken-family, violent location, minority race, and homosexual.

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Re: Privilege Meter
« Reply #14 on: February 28, 2016, 10:26:09 AM »

SwordGuy

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Re: Privilege Meter
« Reply #15 on: February 28, 2016, 10:43:55 AM »
The point of thinking about privilege is not so a person can wear it like a badge ... It's so that each of us, when we start thinking about how lazy / stupid / undisciplined / misguided other people are, we can check our own selves and try to put ourselves in their shoes. So that we don't assume we are all starting from the same starting line. So we can stop patting our own selves on the back for how awesome we are in comparison to others, when really we had a lot of support and helpful circumstances that others might not have had.

Really, your level of privilege doesn't matter to anyone else, unless you are making some harsh / unwarranted / myopic points about what other people should be doing with their lives.

Here's the problem I have with this whole concept as I see it applied in action.   Once someone is given a "free pass due to lack of privilege" on any ONE topic they are not expected to be able to succeed in ALL endeavors.   I find this mindset maddening.   

In contrast:

MMM has proposed a way of personal living and finances that works.   It not only works, it allows people who follow it to be both happy and thrive financially.

If someone does not know about MMM's ideas (or any of a number of other ways of living that work), I can't fault them for making bad choices.

But, once they know, they know.   If they then choose not to be successful, that's their choice.

I believe that pretty much anyone (barring mental or physical disability, or some catastrophic incident) can succeed if they have a good plan to follow and they follow it.  People with more resources or who learn it sooner will have an easier time of it.  Those who learn later or who have fewer resources will have a harder time of it, but they can still succeed.

I'm perfectly happy paying taxes to help people on their path to success.   Give them a leg up as they do the work to succeed?  All for it.   

I am totally unwilling to pay taxes to help people stay on a path to failure, and to raise more children to fail in the same way.


Cathy

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Re: Privilege Meter
« Reply #16 on: February 28, 2016, 11:18:26 AM »
Scalzi has an interesting POV: http://whatever.scalzi.com/2012/05/15/straight-white-male-the-lowest-difficulty-setting-there-is/
If I wanted to win the game of life as easily as I could, I would probably create a character that is born wealthy, attractive, able-bodied, educated, great family, nice and safe location, white, and heterosexual. ...

The problem I have with this "difficulty setting" model (and to some extent the privilege concept in general) is that it portrays various personal attributes as being strict "disadvantages", while ignoring that these attributes are part of what make us who we are and shape our life experiences.

When you say that if you had omniscient powers, you would choose to be born as a person with a certain set of privileged characteristics, what you are missing is that that person wouldn't be you at all. You ended up the way you did as a result of the sum of everything you went through in life, as influenced by certain innate characteristics. A different version of "you", born into different circumstances and facing different challenges, is not just a version of you with an easier difficulty setting -- it's a different person entirely. When you say you would rather be that other person, what you are really saying is that you wish that you had never existed.

Even if a person is facing a hard time in life, do you really think that they would better off if they never existed? Most people wouldn't choose to erase themselves from existence just because they have some of the attributes in your list.

The narrative shouldn't be that it's better to be a man than a woman, or to be neurotypical rather than autistic, or to be thin rather than fat, or any variety of other attributes. These diverse characteristics lead to differing and intersectional life experiences that make people different from each other (or in some cases, actually not that different), but not worse. Any disadvantages come from societal structures, not from the characteristics.

The advocacy should be directed at making society more egalitarian for everybody, not at saying that some characteristics are worse than others.
« Last Edit: February 28, 2016, 11:28:00 AM by Cathy »

boy_bye

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Re: Privilege Meter
« Reply #17 on: February 28, 2016, 11:42:11 AM »
The point of thinking about privilege is not so a person can wear it like a badge ... It's so that each of us, when we start thinking about how lazy / stupid / undisciplined / misguided other people are, we can check our own selves and try to put ourselves in their shoes. So that we don't assume we are all starting from the same starting line. So we can stop patting our own selves on the back for how awesome we are in comparison to others, when really we had a lot of support and helpful circumstances that others might not have had.

Really, your level of privilege doesn't matter to anyone else, unless you are making some harsh / unwarranted / myopic points about what other people should be doing with their lives.

Here's the problem I have with this whole concept as I see it applied in action.   Once someone is given a "free pass due to lack of privilege" on any ONE topic they are not expected to be able to succeed in ALL endeavors.   I find this mindset maddening.   

...

I'm perfectly happy paying taxes to help people on their path to success.   Give them a leg up as they do the work to succeed?  All for it.   

I am totally unwilling to pay taxes to help people stay on a path to failure, and to raise more children to fail in the same way.

Okay, but a couple things here:

- No one gets a free pass because of lack of privileges. It's not about free passes -- its not that just because someone grew up in a bad situation, we all say "ok, it's totally cool then if you are a drug dealer." It's more about understanding. What would drive someone who grew up in a certain world to want to deal drugs instead of getting legal employment? And what can we do as a society to give that person other options? And what can we do to encourage that person to exercise legal options instead of turning to crime?

People always want to boil it down to either societal structures OR personal responsibility when really it is both. Why is it so hard to hold both ideas in our heads at the same time? The way people are is a complex mix of outside forces and internal choices. The really tricky thing is that outside forces really can impact a person's ability or tendency to make good choices ... And that's where all the drama comes in, because people only see and respond to the external circumstances and they miss the whole internal part (aka the Fundamental Attribution Error).

- I think that what you say you're willing to pay taxes for sounds great, but even if our programs were perfectly designed to unlock the inner competent badass of poor people (which they are  not), there are still differences in what people are capable of doing individually.

Put another way, there will always be some number of people who are not going to be the kind of person or do the kinds of things that you approve of. Should they starve? Should their children starve? Especially in an era of unprecedented wealth concentrated in a very small number of hands?

boy_bye

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Re: Privilege Meter
« Reply #18 on: February 28, 2016, 11:51:18 AM »
Also the truly maddening thing is that anyone looks at lack of privilege as a form of privilege in and of itself (i.e., 'they get a free pass,' 'affirmative action is racist,' etc.) when even a cursory glance at the statistics show that people who lack privilege are actually fucked with in so many more ways, and so much more frequently than people who have privilege. It's like, wow, okay. I guess it's not enough that millions of black dudes are locked up for shit that white people regularly get away with -- we need to also avoid giving them a free pass.

Seriously? This is what makes me go WTF more than anything else. It's like when you hear rich white people making jokes about crackheads -- I guess it's not enough that this poor soul ended up being a crackhead ... We should also make a lot of jokes at their expense.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying we should outlaw crackhead jokes or white people being pissed off at being called on their privilege. It just makes me go WTF.

As for me, as a privileged upper middle class white lady, I know for a fact that I have gotten away with tons of shit in my life that would have had much worse consequences if I wasn't white and educated. Like, stealing, doing drugs, things like that. When you are white and middle class, it's much more likely that such youthful indiscretions remain funny youthful indiscretions, and don't become mistakes that you pay for the rest of your life.

I don't see any down side to me understanding this about my position in the world, and trying to use that position to extend that understanding to others in a similar place.

kamille

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Re: Privilege Meter
« Reply #19 on: February 28, 2016, 12:37:10 PM »
Scalzi has an interesting POV: http://whatever.scalzi.com/2012/05/15/straight-white-male-the-lowest-difficulty-setting-there-is/
If I wanted to win the game of life as easily as I could, I would probably create a character that is born wealthy, attractive, able-bodied, educated, great family, nice and safe location, white, and heterosexual. ...

The problem I have with this "difficulty setting" model (and to some extent the privilege concept in general) is that it portrays various personal attributes as being strict "disadvantages", while ignoring that these attributes are part of what make us who we are and shape our life experiences.

When you say that if you had omniscient powers, you would choose to be born as a person with a certain set of privileged characteristics, what you are missing is that that person wouldn't be you at all. You ended up the way you did as a result of the sum of everything you went through in life, as influenced by certain innate characteristics. A different version of "you", born into different circumstances and facing different challenges, is not just a version of you with an easier difficulty setting -- it's a different person entirely. When you say you would rather be that other person, what you are really saying is that you wish that you had never existed.

Even if a person is facing a hard time in life, do you really think that they would better off if they never existed? Most people wouldn't choose to erase themselves from existence just because they have some of the attributes in your list.

The narrative shouldn't be that it's better to be a man than a woman, or to be neurotypical rather than autistic, or to be thin rather than fat, or any variety of other attributes. These diverse characteristics lead to differing and intersectional life experiences that make people different from each other (or in some cases, actually not that different), but not worse. Any disadvantages come from societal structures, not from the characteristics.

The advocacy should be directed at making society more egalitarian for everybody, not at saying that some characteristics are worse than others.

The concept of privilege is not about what makes individuals unique, it is about what makes life easier. A poor person is going to say life would be easier if they had money, not that they are better off if they didn't exist. I think not having privilege is seen as a disadvantage only because society and the culture view it as such, not because it is inherently a disadvantage. Society once admired fat women as more beautiful over thin, but now there is more privilege being thin because of changing views. Privilege depends on what our society and culture value at the time.

Cathy

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Re: Privilege Meter
« Reply #20 on: February 28, 2016, 12:59:40 PM »
A poor person is going to say life would be easier if they had money, not that they are better off if they didn't exist.

The "difficulty setting" model works well for wealth, but that's mainly because wealth is sui generis relative to the other things under discussion. Rather than being an innate characteristic itself, it's more along the lines of something that is loosely predicted by certain other characteristics. In other words, wealth is a "second-order" privilege. For first-order privileges, the difficulty setting model really does not work very well, for the reasons I gave in my previous post. From the balance of your post, it seems you actually agree with me, so I won't be belabour the point, other than to say that the "difficulty setting" model is very problematic for the reasons given previously.

boy_bye

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Re: Privilege Meter
« Reply #21 on: February 28, 2016, 01:10:40 PM »
Cathy, no one is saying that it's worse to be born black or a woman or autistic or anything than it is to be born at all.

To me, the privilege model is useful because it helps people understand why we need to make societal changes, and to think about what changes might be useful. I don't think it ignores the fact that these characteristics make us who we are. I for one would not like to be a man, but I would like to change things so that being a woman doesn't carry with it societal disadvantages.

Currently there are a lot of people who think that there are no societal disadvantages associated with being a woman or black or ... The privilege conversation is about that, because without explicit effort it can be hard for people with privilege to see and acknowledge it.

kamille

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Re: Privilege Meter
« Reply #22 on: February 28, 2016, 02:35:53 PM »
A poor person is going to say life would be easier if they had money, not that they are better off if they didn't exist.

The "difficulty setting" model works well for wealth, but that's mainly because wealth is sui generis relative to the other things under discussion. Rather than being an innate characteristic itself, it's more along the lines of something that is loosely predicted by certain other characteristics. In other words, wealth is a "second-order" privilege. For first-order privileges, the difficulty setting model really does not work very well, for the reasons I gave in my previous post. From the balance of your post, it seems you actually agree with me, so I won't be belabour the point, other than to say that the "difficulty setting" model is very problematic for the reasons given previously.

I'm not quite following your categories of innate, first-order privilege vs. second-order privilege and how that doesn't work with the difficulty-setting model. Wealth can change during one's lifetime, but so can attractiveness, disability, and location. I suppose race and sex could be considered innate, but there are examples of people changing their appearance to pass as a different race/and or sex without necessarily changing who they are as a person.

electriceagle

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Re: Privilege Meter
« Reply #23 on: February 29, 2016, 06:46:41 AM »
This is all part of a larger meme of otherizing in terms of identity politics, such as classifying oneself, or another, by privilege as if such generalizations can meaningfully describe the attributes of a person.

At some point, you have to step back and ask yourself whether the tactics that you are using serve some valuable goal, like getting people to talk to and understand each other, or just serve to help you "win".

Privilege makes it easier for people to think in closed ways, but I don't think that telling them to "check their privilege" causes them to think in more open ways. Rather, I think that it encourages them to go and self-segregate with people who are like them. There are some exceptions, but they are mostly among people who are already trying very hard to do the right thing.

/ > 0.5 on the first poster's meter

acroy

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Re: Privilege Meter
« Reply #24 on: February 29, 2016, 08:47:25 AM »
Yeah, this is a great way to divide / separate / segregate people instead of recognizing we're all humans, created by God with inalienable rights and unique souls, and getting on with life.

This is not just a waste of time - this is a negative, destructive use of time.

Please put something good into the universe.

Carry on.

JZinCO

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Re: Privilege Meter
« Reply #25 on: February 29, 2016, 09:00:47 AM »
I just want to say that this ranking of privilege whereby we will judge one, favorably or unfavorably, based on their race, gender, nationality (again this soft bigotry) is an amazing testimony to how far our society has come. Truly, the rising tide has lifted all boats viewed over centennial and multidecadal time scales. For example. we no longer have codified, institutional racism so we look for microaggressions. It's getting harder and harder to find boogeymen. Thankfully that risen tide has empowered each and every one of us and it's all about me, me, me. "Surely I'm important so I must be guilty. Let's index ourselves and see if we are that boogeymen!"



Footnote: Yes, I know that malevolent discrimination is always existent and we should guard against it but that does not mean sicking ourselves on.. ourselves.. firing ourselves because of a joke on their way to africa outside of work hours doesn't fight bigotry.

boy_bye

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Re: Privilege Meter
« Reply #26 on: February 29, 2016, 09:27:35 AM »
For example. we no longer have codified, institutional racism so we look for microaggressions. It's getting harder and harder to find boogeymen.

You really think there is no longer codified institutional racism?

Wow. I want to live in your world.

boy_bye

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Re: Privilege Meter
« Reply #27 on: February 29, 2016, 09:34:40 AM »
Yeah, this is a great way to divide / separate / segregate people instead of recognizing we're all humans, created by God with inalienable rights and unique souls, and getting on with life.

What you're missing here is that people are already divided / separated / segregated. Black people really do get fucked with by the police more than white people. People really do hire John over Jamal when everything else on the resume is the same. Women really do take an economic hit when they choose to propagate the human race. People who aren't white men aren't just making this shit up. It's just that you don't see it or have to deal with it on a daily basis, that's why you think it doesn't exist.

And that my friend is the crux of the privilege conversation. Just because you don't see it happening doesn't mean it's not happening.

Elliot

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Re: Privilege Meter
« Reply #28 on: February 29, 2016, 10:25:51 AM »
People who aren't white men aren't just making this shit up. It's just that you don't see it or have to deal with it on a daily basis, that's why you think it doesn't exist.

And that my friend is the crux of the privilege conversation. Just because you don't see it happening doesn't mean it's not happening.

Yeah, this.

boy_bye

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Re: Privilege Meter
« Reply #29 on: February 29, 2016, 11:21:25 AM »
For example. we no longer have codified, institutional racism so we look for microaggressions. It's getting harder and harder to find boogeymen.

You really think there is no longer codified institutional racism?

Wow. I want to live in your world.
I'll walk that back. We live in a time where institutions are now seeking to institute discriminatory practices to the detriment of the majority, such as african american only housing or race-based admissions. But as far as discrimination from the majority we have addressed major sources of institutional racism from the Fair Housing Act, Civil Rights Act, 14th amendment, the 19th amendment and so on. I'm not aware of codified institutional practices in the US that say "Thou shalt allow or deny provisions of programs according to race."

In a conversation it is not helpful to shut down discussions the way you have. This is something I decried earlier. If you would like to further the discussion, I have open ears.

Have I shut down the discussion? I just pointed to something you were wrong about. Not sure how that constitutes shutting down the discussion.

I would amend your statement to say that we have addressed many of the racist laws in America, but surely not all of them. We've solved the easy ones -- aka, everyone has to be allowed to vote.

But there are a lot of other ways in which black people are still legally discriminated against. That doesn't mean that the law says "It's cool to discriminate against black people." It does mean that some laws hit people of color harder than white folks. And some laws are applied to people of color more often than white folks. And the punishments that people of color receive are disproportionate compared to white folks.

And then there's the whole gray area around things like police brutality ... sure, there's no law that says "You have the right to kill whatever black people you want" but the implementation of the laws sure lead to a lot more black people getting killed than whites.

Racism is slightly subtler now -- we have fewer lynchings, it's not cool to say the N word in public, and people who have racist ideas now need to code them in other language -- but it's sure as heck still there, lurking in the hearts and minds and actions of millions of people.

The trouble is that hearts and minds cannot be legislated (see the 20% of Trump supporters who believe the Emancipation Proclamation was bad policy). So we need to focus on the actions. And it's long, ugly, messy work.

But if anyone's heart and mind can be opened to where they can see where different people in this world have different starting points, that helps. And that's why the privilege conversation is important. Clearly there are a lot of people in MMM land for whom the concept doesn't resonate, but it does resonate with many others. And every person who gets it is one fewer person who's going to be walking around in a subconsciously racist haze, making racist remarks and decisions without ever even realizing or contemplating it.

Jeremy E.

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Re: Privilege Meter
« Reply #30 on: February 29, 2016, 11:27:33 AM »
Why are Aussies and Kiwis -3?

Fishindude

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Re: Privilege Meter
« Reply #31 on: February 29, 2016, 11:35:33 AM »
This thread was headed into a sh!t storm soon as it was started.