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  #76  
Old 12-30-2011, 10:53 PM
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Default Re: Return to Gender 101

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Originally Posted by livius drusus View Post
I'll split the privilege discussion into a thread of its own. :plzhold:
Should I continue to hold or keep responding and let you suffer?
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  #77  
Old 12-30-2011, 11:10 PM
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Go ahead and respond. I'll do it after dinner.
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  #78  
Old 12-30-2011, 11:15 PM
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Default Re: Return to Gender 101

Thinking about this more: I tend to try to identify the edges of a thing to know what it's like. When the edges are fuzzy, it's hard for me to get a sense of the thing.
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  #79  
Old 12-31-2011, 12:11 AM
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Default Re: Return to Gender 101

When I say "moving about society" I mean things like:

Acquiring and maintaining basic life stuff like food, clothing, and housing (shopping, paying bills, applying for a lease or mortgage)

Partaking of entertainment or educational stuff like attending a sports event or concert, going to a movie, utilizing the library, park, or school

Socializing with other people at parties, in clubs or hobby/interest groups, cafes, or pubs

Employment related activities including getting a job, doing your work, interacting with coworkers

All forms of getting from A to B
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  #80  
Old 12-31-2011, 01:03 AM
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Default Re: Return to Gender 101

Okay. I think I probably understand "moving about society".

What I don't understand is the boundary between traits where being unable to move about society while having that trait is being "other" and traits where it's perfectly normal and no one expects otherwise.

Imagine a sort of continuum. At one end, we have things like "having dark skin" or "being female". We are quite sure these ought not to be barriers to moving about in society without it being a big deal. Then we have things like "being sick" or "not having the use of your legs", where it's obvious that these things will be barriers, no matter what anyone does, but the degree of barrier can be reduced. And so far as I can tell, people mostly view these as examples of privilege/other dichotomies. Especially with long-term illnesses or disabilities. And then we get to stuff like "on fire", and it's clearly not expected that you'd be able to move about in society while in this state.

I can't figure out whether there's a solid line, or a sort of fuzzy transformation from "this is a privilege/other thing" to "this is maybe sort of" to "this is not", or whether there's a handful of rules that have to be looked at all together, or what.

How about "allergic to cats"? This definitely impacts peoples' social lives -- I have a friend who's never come over to our house because he's pretty severely allergic to cats, and we have cats.

I guess that's the thing. My way of thinking about things is mostly to establish where their borders are. It seems to me that this is a thing which doesn't have clearly-defined borders, but rather, a kind of characteristic trait which things can have in varying degrees.
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  #81  
Old 12-31-2011, 01:32 AM
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Default Re: Privilege

Split from gender discussion here.
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  #82  
Old 12-31-2011, 02:30 AM
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Default Re: Privilege

So, a thing has occurred to me.

The pattern I'm seeing when I try to find out the rules and definitions here is a pattern I have encountered before. In other cases, the answer has been that people are seeing a thing and trying to infer the definition from the experience.

So the reason the definitions keep having obvious exceptions is that they're not definitions, they're descriptions of a thing which is itself primary experience. The primary thing is looking at a thing and discerning that there are people who are being othered; the attempt to describe what makes or doesn't make privilege comes from that experience, rather than creating that experience.

This would fit the observed pattern a lot better, and the reason for which when I look at boundaries, I get conflicting explanations which seem to yield the same net outcome. The conclusion is mostly agreed on, the analysis leading to it isn't.
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  #83  
Old 12-31-2011, 02:30 AM
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Default Re: Privilege

So, a thing has occurred to me.

THIS FORUM SOFTWARE LOVES TO DUPLICATE POSTS.

I am the first (and second) person ever to notice this.
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  #84  
Old 12-31-2011, 02:32 AM
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  #85  
Old 12-31-2011, 03:46 AM
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Default Re: Privilege

Allergies of all kinds absolutely limit moving about freely in society, and I would categorize that in the broad "medically othered" category.
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Old 12-31-2011, 04:04 AM
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Default Re: Privilege

Thinking about it, "medically othered" does a good job of explaining some of the ways in which people habitually avoid sick people, even when the sickness is clearly non-contagious.

There's just some kind of boundary which I am pretty sure must exist between medical things where that makes sense and medical things where it doesn't. "Not bleeding out from knife wounds" doesn't feel like privilege, even though it matches any definition I can come up with.
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  #87  
Old 12-31-2011, 10:40 AM
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Default Re: Return to Gender 101

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Originally Posted by Anastasia Beaverhausen View Post
:mutter: Stupid clipboard.. Here is the privilege list.
lol what's the difference between jokey avoidance of responsibility for a mistake and avoidance of responsibility for a mistake? :chin:
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  #88  
Old 12-31-2011, 01:33 PM
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Default Re: Privilege

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Originally Posted by seebs View Post
There's just some kind of boundary which I am pretty sure must exist between medical things where that makes sense and medical things where it doesn't. "Not bleeding out from knife wounds" doesn't feel like privilege, even though it matches any definition I can come up with.
Acute vs. chronic. Urgent emergency vs. long term or permanent limitation

Someone with the flu will usually recover with rest, someone with a deadly nut allergy has to be constantly vigilant aout everything they eat and carry an EPI pen around.

In fact injury/illness has been known to help people to recognize their privilege. My mom broke her leg, severely, just before Christmas one year, and was in a cast for almost a year. She started in a wheelchair, moved to crutches, then had a walking cast. The complete PITA every task turned into, like peeing and bathing, cooking, running errands, really opened all of our eyes to the things we take for granted.

Same thing with her heart attack. She has to live with limitations now, that she never had to before. Only now that they're gone does she recognize the freedoms she previously enjoyed and barely noticed.

So go back to my moving about society list: If you can go to a movie or run errands without making special preparations, or requiring accessibility/transportation aids, assistance, or devices, and don't have to worry about dying if you eat something because it contains an allergen, you are probably medically privileged.
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  #89  
Old 12-31-2011, 01:52 PM
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Default Re: Privilege

Let's try some personal examples, seebs. I think you've said you've been mistaken for a woman on occasion? Does that mean if you wish to present unmistakeably as a man you have to carefully consider your dress and grooming and maybe mannerisms or tone of voice?

I have never been mistaken for a man. It doesn't matter what I wear, if my hair is up in a baseball cap, if I don't wear makeup, if I wear baggie clothes that hide my figure. I am privileged that I always present as my gender. I am glad I am not trans, because I would have a very hard time passing as male.
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  #90  
Old 12-31-2011, 05:13 PM
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Default Re: Return to Gender 101

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Originally Posted by seebs View Post
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Originally Posted by LadyShea View Post
I mean, do I need to define "move about in society" in a way that excludes doing so while aflame, or while holding ones guts in from a knife attack, or having an open head wound?
Okay, imagine that someone has Some Condition which prevents them from moving about in society.

How do I know whether that is privilege/other, or an "obvious" exception?

Like I said, I'm pretty sure that "on fire" doesn't count, but I don't have a rule I can articulate for why.
If you were on fire, would you expect yourself to be able to go grocery shopping, or cook dinner, or go to work? Use these kinds of questions to find the "obvious" exceptions

Quote:
And I've seen people in sincere disagreement about whether some specific other traits count. I've had people say that physical inabilities don't count, because that's not a result of societal rules, and I've had other people say that they do.
Well, you have to use your own judgement, seebs. I use my moving about society, doing everyday things, because it is inclusive and illuminating for me. I can go buy a t-shirt without any thought about possible negative consequences of a social sort or limitation. I am privileged compared to someone who cannot do this mundane task without thought about possible social consequences or limitation....regardless of what those limitations or negative consequences might be. It is a handy comparative for me.

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So I am pretty sure there's a rule here, but I don't know what that rule is, or whether it's even a consistent rule between people.
No, it's not consistent between people and there is no specific rule, as is common when dealing with psychological and societal issues. I am not sure what you need to do to find your own lines and edges.
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  #91  
Old 12-31-2011, 06:46 PM
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Default Re: Privilege

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Originally Posted by LadyShea View Post
Let's try some personal examples, seebs. I think you've said you've been mistaken for a woman on occasion? Does that mean if you wish to present unmistakeably as a man you have to carefully consider your dress and grooming and maybe mannerisms or tone of voice?
Hmm. This particular one doesn't quite click for me personally, because I am totally mystified by people caring what gender they present as. I just think it's funny that sometimes people guess wrong.

I was out at dinner once with a MTF friend who hasn't even started transitioning yet, and the waitress called us "ladies", and was then mortified. It was not possible to explain "well, actually, one of us doesn't care and one is flattered" in a useful way.
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  #92  
Old 12-31-2011, 07:01 PM
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Originally Posted by LadyShea View Post
If you were on fire, would you expect yourself to be able to go grocery shopping, or cook dinner, or go to work? Use these kinds of questions to find the "obvious" exceptions
Well, hang on.

If I were in a culture a little different from ours, and I were female, I wouldn't expect myself to be able to vote.

If I were in a culture without the tradition of wheelchairs and accessibility, and I had a broken leg, I wouldn't expect myself to be able to leave my house, possibly even my bed.

Quote:
No, it's not consistent between people and there is no specific rule, as is common when dealing with psychological and societal issues. I am not sure what you need to do to find your own lines and edges.
Okay, lemme ramble a bit. I'm totally going somewhere with this.

A lot of the writing about privilege is pretty clear on stating that it is harmful for people not to recognize privilege. I think this is a reasonable evaluation.

But wait! If there's no specific rule and it's not consistent between people, how the heck do you do that? If a state exists which some people view as "privilege" and other people don't, then I can't tell whether harm is actually being done or not.

I can deal with fuzzy boundaries, and I can deal with things which create a moral obligation, but a fuzzy boundary that creates a moral obligation is problematic.

And I think what gets me is that, outside of a couple of people here, every time I've seen people start talking about privilege, they've used absolutist language. No "it seems to me", no "I see it as", just the sort of matter-of-fact language we'd use to make claims like "I haven't had breakfast yet today". And they frequently make these strident proclamations in ways that start getting into the territories that look to me like "not on fire privilege", which is to say, they violate my intuition of what a meaningful privilege looks like.

Thinking it through a bit... It's hard to dispute a specific case without getting into the whole argument over whether you're disputing the underlying concept. And in our culture, in general, if people can't offer a rigorous formal definition, we often assume the thing they're talking about isn't "real" or whatever. So... If I try to get them to commit to a definition, even though I am mostly looking to understand their concept, the net result is that it comes across as trying to invalidate their entire position, when in fact I'm mostly just curious, or trying to dispute one particular special case.

This has a lot of overlap with debates about morals and ethics, which tend to run into a similar problem -- no one I've ever met actually has a logically consistent set of moral and ethical rules, rather, they have a pretty good set of rules which nearly always agree with their unconscious moral intuition. I suppose that's probably because this is really a morals/ethics question; it comes down to the perception of "fairness" or "inclusiveness" or something similar.

I suspect that's why my default intuition has a relatively narrow sense of what looks like "privilege"; I'm inclined to treat things like allergies, broken legs, disease, and so on as the same category as "on fire" in that the problems they create are largely inherent to them and unrelated to social behaviors, while I tend to view things that are clearly a function of societal norms as more significant. So for me, those are coming in under the extra category of "reasonable accommodations" -- it's reasonable to expect society to accommodate some kinds of limitations. Within reason.
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  #93  
Old 12-31-2011, 10:55 PM
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Default Re: Privilege

I suggest you only worry about your own privilege in your own life for the time being, and not whether females in some other country can vote. As a societal phenomena, it varies by society, so stick to the society you move about in. Trying to find a rule that applies all the time everywhere is a snipe hunt, dude.
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  #94  
Old 12-31-2011, 11:13 PM
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Default Re: Privilege

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I suggest you only worry about your own privilege in your own life for the time being, and not whether females in some other country can vote.
I don't understand.

Okay, let me start from the top, because I obviously went off the rails here.

I'm trying to find a definition. I want to have a way of determining whether a given thing is, or is not, an example of privilege.

Definition #1: Privilege is where some people can move about in society freely while other people can't.

Okay. Well, under that definition, "not currently on fire" is a kind of privilege. But no, you say. You wouldn't expect to be able to move about normally in society while on fire. Okay.

Definition #2: Privilege is where some people can move about in society freely, while other people can't, but would expect to be able to.

But under that definition, women who do not expect to be able to vote are not suffering a loss of privilege, because they don't expect to.

... and no, seriously, I'm not fucking with you. I am alert enough to know that the conclusions I'm getting are wrong, and that this is probably because of a hidden premise which I don't have, but I seriously can't see why these conclusions work out this way. This has a characteristic feel which I've learned to associate with "social processing that isn't consciously accessible", but that doesn't let me actually do anything about it.

I'd just say "fuck it, who cares, it is possible to discern and I don't need a definition"... Except that since people disagree, it seems like having some kind of way to tell which of two conflicting claims is correct would be pretty damn useful.

Quote:
As a societal phenomena, it varies by society, so stick to the society you move about in.
This may be an exception, but for other things, I've consistently found that seeing multiple different societal rules helps me understand the underlying pattern that the societal rules are following.

Quote:
Trying to find a rule that applies all the time everywhere is a snipe hunt, dude.
Okay. Well, let me drop the rule question and go to a more specific question:

Imagine that I am in some category X, which many but not all humans are in, and that because I am in category X, there are things I can take for granted which people not in category X cannot take for granted, which affect my ability to go about my life without thinking about it.

Person A tells me that as a member of category X, I enjoy privilege and I should be aware of it.
Person B tells me that of course that's silly, it's not a societal phenomenon, no one would expect to be able to go about their lives normally while ~X.
Person C tells me that actually ~X is the privileged state.

If X is "male", person A is right. If X is "not on fire", person B is right. If X is "not severely mentally disabled", I have seen fierce debates, although I tend to think person A's position makes more sense. If X is "female", I've seen three-way debates between A, B, and C. (I am inclined to think that A and C are both raising meaningful points, because in some cases I think two groups can each have some contextual privilege that the other lacks.)

But... In general, I haven't got a mechanism for determining whether A or B is right. If I hold one of those positions, and someone comes to me and says I'm wrong, I can't see how we can have any kind of meaningful discussion on the issue. There's no rule to appeal to.

So what do I do? Person A tells me that I have privilege and should be aware of it. Person B tells me I don't. Now what?

To some extent, that's just the nature of social things; you can't get a definite answer.

But it seems to me that at the very least, if it's really that hard to get a definite answer, there's something unnerving about how fervently people assert their positions. If people are willing to dismiss someone as a worthless bigot for not acknowledging that they have a particular kind of privilege, that seems like it ought to imply a pretty well-defined rule.
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  #95  
Old 12-31-2011, 11:25 PM
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Default Re: Privilege

I can't help you then, seebs, I'm sorry.

I saw a black guy being frisked today during what all evidence indicated to be a routine traffic stop. I was all "OMG my privilege is showing, I have never been frisked in my life!" but my mom said "We don't know that it's a routine traffic stop". I went over the scene with her, the other guy from the car was standing a few feet away uncuffed and not covered by a gun or anything...had there been reasonable suspicion of drugs or weapons in the car, he would have been in the back of the second police car or on his knees with a cop covering him, not just standing there waiting.

So, I think my mom doesn't recognize her own privilege, and instead gives the white Alabama cops the benefit of the doubt.

Harm? Yeah. It makes some white people assume there must be a reason that black motorists are being frisked when there is no indication that is the case. It also means that merely being black is probable cause in my little portion of society.
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  #96  
Old 01-01-2012, 11:46 AM
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Default Re: Privilege

I'm just going to post this link again because it helped me and it may help seebs.

from the link"... just because you personally can’t feel that hurt, doesn’t mean it’s not real. All it means is you have privilege. That’s not a bad thing. [...] Every single one of us has some kind of privilege over somebody. What matters is whether we’re aware of it, and what we choose to do with it, and that we not use it to dismiss the valid and real concerns of the people who don’t share our particular brand."


What's important in the male/~male and able/~able forms of privelege, which is missing in seebs's not-on-fire/~not-on-fire counter-example, is the discourse between the various interested parties. Non-males are beginning to ask questions about male privilege, and the disabled are demanding provisions that the able have till now not felt were necessary or worthwhile. It is difficult to imagine the immolated banding together to campaign for greater awareness of their problems, and more provisions to ease their pain, from the uncombusted.

ETA: This is not least because the urgent need of the on-fire is to have their not-on-fire privileges restored to them. I suppose seebs might argue that women's equality would be similarly achieved by transtioning them all into men, but I'm hoping that he'll have got the point by now.
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  #97  
Old 01-04-2012, 12:56 AM
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Default Re: Privilege

Quote:
But wait! If there's no specific rule and it's not consistent between people, how the heck do you do that? If a state exists which some people view as "privilege" and other people don't, then I can't tell whether harm is actually being done or not.
I think part of the point of privilege is that the people who enjoy the privilege do not believe it exists and the people who do not enjoy it clearly know it exists. Like the example I quoted of the White woman in the White suburb who believed it was primarily White because Black people chose to live elsewhere, when the fact was they had very little choice in the matter.
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  #98  
Old 01-04-2012, 02:03 AM
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I'm more looking at cases where people who are on the same side of a given line disagree as to whether or not it counts as a privilege/othering thing. Obviously, there'll be a fair number of cases where people are not conscious of taking something for granted.
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  #99  
Old 01-04-2012, 01:05 PM
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Default Re: Privilege

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Originally Posted by seebs View Post
I'm more looking at cases where people who are on the same side of a given line disagree as to whether or not it counts as a privilege/othering thing.
Well sure, they're people and will disagree a lot.

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Obviously, there'll be a fair number of cases where people are not conscious of taking something for granted.
Also even if they are conscious some don't consider it privilege. They consider it earned benefits.
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Old 01-04-2012, 06:02 PM
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Default Re: Privilege

It weirds me out when there's a thing which gives every sign of being a real thing with actual effects, but where people can disagree on whether or not it's present, and we have no mechanism for testing it, it's just opinion.
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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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Thanks, from:
Goliath (01-04-2012)
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  Freethought Forum > The Marketplace > Philosophy


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