"Privilege" is special treatment someone gets because of an elevated status.  "Privilege" is not n…

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"Privilege" is special treatment someone gets because of an elevated status.  "Privilege" is not normal, default, and expected treatment, even in the face of others being mistreated.

If I am judged well because I am "white" and male, that could be called privilege.  But that generally doesn't happen.  What actually happens -- sometimes -- is that people are mistreated because of their gender or race.  There is no privilege conferred in such a situation.

For people to say that I am privileged because I am not mistreated not only misuses the plain meaning of the word "privilege," muddying the language, but it has the negative effect of implying that the treatment I get as "privileged" isn't the normal and expected treatment that everyone should get.  It implies I am getting treatment I don't deserve, just because someone else is not getting treatment they do deserve.

And I think this is intentional.  The people who started using the term, I think, want me to feel guilty for being treated properly.  I don't, and I won't.  I will not feel guilty because someone mistreats someone else ... unless I was able to do something about it, and didn't.

So I will continue to speak out against jerks who mistreat others, and I will continue to point out the fact that those jerks mistreating others doesn't magically make me privileged, and I will continue to feel no guilt or shame about any of it.

The sad thing about all of this is that most of us are on the same side: we are against jerks mistreating others (whether it's unwanted crude comments, criminal harassment or assault, or anything in between).  Not that we're in agreement about everything: for example, some people want to end sexism in video games, whereas many people think it's just fine because that's what many people want, and it's not meant to be taken seriously.  But the main problem is the jerks, and we're largely in agreement about them.

But some folks try to turn the jerks' behavior into some sort of larger cause wrapped in psuedoscience and generalizations in order to alienate people in order to try to win an argument using emotion, rather than simply going after the jerks.  And I don't want to only blame the one side: the folks who are generally on "my" side often respond with unreasonable and unnecessary derision and dismissal, which not only pushes the sides further away, but also can have the effect of enabling the jerks.

So to both sides: stop treating everyone who doesn't agree with you about how to characterize the problem as the enemy, instead of treating the people who are actually causing the problems as the enemy.

(Oh, and stop pretending that I am privileged for not being mistreated.) G+

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<pudge/*> (pronounced "PudgeGlob") is thousands of posts over many years by Pudge.

"It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt."

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This page contains a single entry by pudge published on December 29, 2014 10:04 PM.

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