Thread: Privilege
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Old 12-30-2011, 09:00 AM
seebs seebs is offline
God Made Me A Skeptic
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Minnesota
Default Re: Return to Gender 101

Originally Posted by Qingdai View Post
There is no clear line, it's the world of social constructions in anthropological terms. Once you start talking about historical or temporary situations, you merely blur the line even further. Talking about privilege while bringing up those sorts of situations, isn't a useful line of conversation about privilege in that both parties realize that it is a transient situation.

I do agree that this seems rather like goalpost-shifting.

Why did none of the previous definitions of "privilege" include "by the way, it is TOTALLY INCOHERENT to talk about this in a situation that will be transient"? Seems like that'd be worth knowing. It doesn't seem remotely obvious to me that a discussion of membership in a culture should necessarily completely disregard any "transient" participation.

Heck, it seems actively incorrect. Talk to anyone who lives permanently in a place which is heavily reliant on tourism; "tourists" are a social category, and while individual tourists come and go, the relationship between permanent residents and tourists persists. Heck, I live in a college town; there is a clear social division between "townies" and "college people". (With the college staff being shuffled to different sides of the line depending on context.)

I guess what I'm not getting is: We have this description of what "privilege" means, and how the "other" are affected by it. We have a large number of examples in which we see predictable kinds of outcomes, with basically similar properties and effects. And yet some of them don't count, even though nothing in any of the definitions offered so far rules them out. This seems pretty arbitrary. If we have a theory which has explanatory and predictive power, why not use it?
Hear me / and if I close my mind in fear / please pry it open
See me / and if my face becomes sincere / beware
Hold me / and when I start to come undone / stitch me together
Save me / and when you see me strut / remind me of what left this outlaw torn
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