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  #51  
Old 12-30-2011, 08:29 AM
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Default Re: Return to Gender 101

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Originally Posted by Qingdai View Post
Living in a foreign culture is not comparable to in privileges with in the culture.

You are "other" when you are in a foreign culture, you are literally outside of the culture, so your privileges are a moot point in this case.
Are they?

It seems to me that if there is one ethnic group that enjoys confidence that they won't be harassed by cops for no reason, and another that doesn't, that seems like it is "privilege". Or, say, if I know that I'm allowed to buy meat without ration coupons, but other people need ration coupons. Or whatever.

Also, consider examples like, say, colonial states, where a small power structure armed with guns gets all sorts of "privilege"... Surely that counts?
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  #52  
Old 12-30-2011, 08:37 AM
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Default Re: Return to Gender 101

Colonialization is a whole different thing than visiting a foreign culture.
It's not a cultural privilege if it's being forced by the barrel of a gun.
Political and cultural privilege are different animals with a whole different set of rules, or lack of rules and enforcements.
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  #53  
Old 12-30-2011, 08:45 AM
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Default Re: Return to Gender 101

So let's say we start with "colonization". And then the folks who were doing that sort of abandon power, but they leave a local expectation that one color of people get preferential treatment. Does that count?

I guess I'm not understanding the distinction, or why it changes whether or not something is an example of "privilege". I've just been told that if I can expect that the cops won't harass me because of my skin color, that's privilege... here. If I were somewhere else, it wouldn't be anymore.

Keep in mind, there are native-born native speakers of Chinese who are white, and they also enjoy this same privilege. There's a set of Cultural Revolution memoirs from a Chinese guy whose fellow inmates slipped him extra food because he had blue eyes, and as such they thought he might live to tell the tale...

I am not able to perceive a clear line between "part of a culture" and "just visiting". Are Chinese tourists part of our culture? How about Chinese people who are here on a year-long sabbatical or exchange student program? How about if they're here for a full 4-year degree? What if they get a green card?

Clearly, at some point, they've become part of the culture, but I don't see a clear line, and I'm not sure one exists.
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  #54  
Old 12-30-2011, 08:50 AM
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Default Re: Return to Gender 101

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.

:shiftgoalpost:
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  #55  
Old 12-30-2011, 09:00 AM
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Default Re: Return to Gender 101

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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.

:shiftgoalpost:
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?
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  #56  
Old 12-30-2011, 09:06 AM
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Default Re: Return to Gender 101

Okay, thinking about this more.

I'm in MN. We have a very noticeable racial bias in this state. So a white guy has some of those "white privilege" things going -- say, he can walk down the street at night in a small town and the cops won't try to stop him or interrogate him, where they might well stop a black guy in case he is Dealing Drugs. (They do that, you know. Well-known fact.)

That's white privilege.

But this, apparently, applies only for members of the culture. So if a Swedish tourist walks down the street at night, he's not enjoying white privilege, and if a Somali tourist walks down the street at night and gets hassled, it's somehow different?

But that makes no sense.

Obviously, "identified-as-foreign" is a kind of Other. At least, it certainly seems like it would count; most places have very significant differences in how they treat natives and foreigners. But it seems to me that, in cases where it is not known whether someone is foreign or not, they can fall into existing local privilege/other categorizations based on appearance.
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  #57  
Old 12-30-2011, 03:47 PM
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Default Re: Return to Gender 101

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That's white privilege.

But this, apparently, applies only for members of the culture. So if a Swedish tourist walks down the street at night, he's not enjoying white privilege, and if a Somali tourist walks down the street at night and gets hassled, it's somehow different?
Quote:
Obviously, "identified-as-foreign" is a kind of Other. At least, it certainly seems like it would count; most places have very significant differences in how they treat natives and foreigners. But it seems to me that, in cases where it is not known whether someone is foreign or not, they can fall into existing local privilege/other categorizations based on appearance.
White privilege extends to white people, even tourists, if it allows them to walk down the street unharassed whereas a black person would more likely be stopped (say in a wealthy white neighborhood or something)

Local privilege would be denied to that same tourist should he walk into a bar with a distinct "Locals only" culture, and proceeded to ask for directions in broken or heavily accented English. He has become visible as an other.

My mom visited her cousin in Japan, and was struck by how the locals at the market went out of their way to touch her or follow her a bit(the cousin). Apparently her snow white hair made her blessed or lucky somehow. She was used to this, and said it was just a part of her life in Japan. My mom, though a white American, was not othered or noticed at all, because the town was near a US military base and many white people lived there and visited the market, and my mom didn't have any distinguishing features like snow white hair.

Someone wearing a turban is totally commonplace in London, not so commonplace in, say, Lincoln Nebraska. He is othered in Lincoln, not in London.

I still think my visible/invisible example works in most situations. If you can be identified as other, you are other and therefor not enjoying whatever privilege is afforded not others in that group.

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  #58  
Old 12-30-2011, 04:24 PM
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Default Re: Return to Gender 101

You may have heard the term "Can/Can't pass for X". What that means is that the person who is other in whatever way cannot be easily identified as other, and therefore remain invisible.

A trans-woman built like a linebacker looking for size 12 shoes is going to be othered while shopping, while another trans woman who is petite and fine boned in the size 8 aisle might remain invisible.
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  #59  
Old 12-30-2011, 05:46 PM
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Okay, that makes sense to me.

Hmm. This implies a sort of meta-privilege: A distinction between people who are essentially guaranteed to pass, and people who have to work at it. Being able to take being invisible for granted is a separate question from whether or not you are currently being invisible.

I read a book called Black Like Me about a white guy who, with skin dye and the like, went around in the South for a while Looking Black. What was really interesting was that, when the dye had started to fade, and he looked interracial, he could switch dress and mannerisms and go into the same building twice in one day, and get treated totally differently depending on whether they read him as black or white.

So, next up: Does it have to be a social construct that's creating the privilege? Do I have "sighted" privilege? Does sighted privilege, if it exists, cover all aspects of being able to see, or only the cases where our society assumes that you can see and builds things that could be accessible to the blind, but aren't because no one thought of it?

It seems to me that the intended boundary is mostly in terms of social constructs and responses. Thus, there's no such thing as "can do complex math in your head" privilege. It may be an advantage, it may let you take success at some things for granted, but it's not a social construct. But if you had a culture where nearly everyone could do that, and tended to assume that other people could, it could become one.

Come to think of it, $dayjob's culture almost certainly has a "programmer" privilege, because in addition to the people who are paid to program, we have a handful of managers who have the ability, and the people who don't understand computers as well tend to get viewed-as-other.
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  #60  
Old 12-30-2011, 06:06 PM
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Default Re: Return to Gender 101

Um, I thought it was very clear that privilege is a societal phenomena (which moves within the context of the subset of the society you might find yourself in)? Advantages like complex mental math abilities are not apparent walking around in society.

And yes, privilege extends to the healthy and able bodied, in that we can, once again, move about in relative freedom while a blind person, or one in a wheel chair, cannot take that for granted.
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  #61  
Old 12-30-2011, 06:14 PM
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Originally Posted by LadyShea View Post
Um, I thought it was very clear that privilege is a social phenomena?
Well, I had thought so. But people have used handicaps as examples in other discussions, and insisted that people who can use stairs have privilege and need to be conscious of it. And having run errands with my mom, who needs a walker, I'm even sort of inclined to think there may be something to this.

And the math thing... If most people could do it, our culture likely would take it for granted. Consider the thing a lot of grocery stores do where they label items with price-per-ounce. That's an accommodation for people who can't do the math in their heads... Which happens to be nearly everyone. If it weren't, though, the ability to buy the most cost-effective thing could be a kind of privilege, if not a very exciting one.

The conclusion I am drawing:

* It is clear that there is a Real Thing Happening.
* In fact, it is clear that there are several Real Things.
* Determining whether a given kind of othering or taking-for-granted is "privilege" is not a clearly-defined thing with unambiguous rules.
* Many of the people who use this language, however, *act* as though it has unambiguous rules.
* But they use different, and sometimes conflicting, unambiguous rules.

The problem is that if I dispute a given specific conclusion, people tend to assume that I am attacking the entire concept.

The problem, I think, is... This is by nature a thing about more subtle things. Everyone seems to be able to understand that "well, of COURSE a mob beat him up. He's black" is bad. It's obvious, it's easy to spot. But stuff like "there seems to be a disproportionate number of traffic stops for blacks" is harder to spot. Stuff like "skin colored" bandages is obvious if you know about it but people don't tend to think of it.

The problem is that once you get into the fuzzier areas, it gets harder for people to agree on whether a given thing is a good example. But the entire point is the assertion that the less obvious things are real and significant. So it's hard to risk saying "well, maybe that one's not a big deal" when that might lead people to dismiss the whole concept.

Also, honestly, most of the time when I've run into this previously, it's been teenage social justice advocates on tumblr or something like that, who are primarily acting with intent to promote their reputation as strident speakers against social injustice, which means that they're almost certainly going to overclaim and show unjustified certainty. I had gotten as far as figuring out that there was something real behind this, but not found a good venue for discussing it and figuring out what the idea was before it got flanderized.
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  #62  
Old 12-30-2011, 06:42 PM
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Well, I have been as clear as I can. Would a real life example help?

I can guarantee that the following would be true if I walked out of the house right now (no preparation required) with the goal of buying a T-Shirt:

I can get the store easily and with no fuss in my own car that has gas in it. I can park anywhere in the lot and get out of the car and into the store comfortably without assistance and without obstacles thwarting my progress. I can walk right to the ladies clothing department without arousing curiosity, revulsion, surprise or suspicion in anyone I pass. I can find my size right on the rack. I can access the fitting room without trouble of any kind. I can communicate with the personnel and be understood. I can handle the monetary transaction required for purchasing with ease. I can then bring my purchase home and put it on myself.

Every single sentence in the above represents some level of privilege. If one of those failed to be guaranteed (ie: couldn't be taken for granted), that would indicate an area that I don't enjoy privilege which indicates that there are many categories of other/~not other.
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  #63  
Old 12-30-2011, 07:02 PM
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Well, now I'm re-confused.

On the one hand, privilege is a social construct. On the other hand, there are ways in which some of those could be denied that aren't social constructs.

Being able to walk through a store without arousing revulsion is clearly at least moderately socially dependent. Being able to put clothes on yourself depends at least in part on physical characteristics. If someone has certain physical limitations, it becomes impossible no matter what anyone or any society thinks.

So there's a sort of fuzzy boundary here where a thing that some people can do and some can't doesn't seem to be affected by society's choices at all, but still seems to be privilege. Except sometimes it's not, and I can't tell what the distinction is.

Okay, I have a tentative notion. What if the rule there is a question of how you can or can't react to a circumstance, and the fuzziness comes from distinctions between "things you are" and "things that are true of the environment you're in". So for instance, a store that's not wheelchair-accessible rings bells because there are people who always need a wheelchair.

And "normal" is the dividing line. "People who can't do exceptional math" aren't "other" in general because most people can't. "People who can't see color" are "other" because most people can. "People who can't see color because they are wearing colored sunglasses" don't count because that's a changeable state.

Hmm.
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  #64  
Old 12-30-2011, 07:15 PM
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I edited my previous post to say that privilege is a societal phenomena, rather than a social construct. Societal phenomena is the more precise term, I think, because it includes things like accessibility (I can park anywhere and fit in dressing rooms) and economic situations (I can afford gas and a t-shirt and have a home) as well as the more social constructs (I am not viewed with suspicion, I am able to be understood).
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  #65  
Old 12-30-2011, 07:42 PM
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That makes sense.

I think what's probably biting me is that I don't have the Common Sense filter. I can't reliably tell when people will think something is reasonable or obvious or whatever.

Basically, somewhere between "people who can climb stairs" and "people who are not falling to their deaths", there seems to be some kind of boundary, although I think it's sort of fuzzy. In some cases, it's really not a societal phenomenon, it's just physics/biology. But at the same time, things can follow from those and become societal phenomena.

So "can't walk" isn't necessarily a privilege/other thing, but how people react to it, and whether they adjust building designs to accommodate wheelchairs, and so on, could be.
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  #66  
Old 12-30-2011, 08:58 PM
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That makes sense.

I think what's probably biting me is that I don't have the Common Sense filter. I can't reliably tell when people will think something is reasonable or obvious or whatever.
Does it matter what "people" think on this issue? Why is it biting you?

Look at it from a simple statistical POV. Take any activity or experience and go through a quick checklist of people you know to see if any would be othered.

Within a 2 mile radius there are 10 of us in the same family. That makes a nice round number to work with. Of the 10, 3 cannot say all the below would hold true for them. Of the three, two have mobility and accessibility issues, one has age related cognitive issues and so can't handle transactions or communication without assistance and can't drive, one cannot find her size just anywhere and two garner curious stares and/or whispered comments (ie: negative attention) for physical attributes. That's 30% of just my immediately located adult relatives. (I did not count the one who is a small child so can't do most of these things)

I can get the store easily and with no fuss in my own car that has gas in it. I can park anywhere in the lot and get out of the car and into the store comfortably without assistance and without obstacles thwarting my progress. I can walk right to the ladies clothing department without arousing curiosity, revulsion, surprise or suspicion in anyone I pass. I can find my size right on the rack. I can access the fitting room without trouble of any kind. I can communicate with the personnel and be understood. I can handle the monetary transaction required for purchasing with ease. I can then bring my purchase home and put it on myself.
Quote:
So "can't walk" isn't necessarily a privilege/other thing, but how people react to it, and whether they adjust building designs to accommodate wheelchairs, and so on, could be.
If "can't walk" leads to the reduced ability or inability to move about society unhindered and unremarkably, which it does, it is a privileged/other issue.
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  #67  
Old 12-30-2011, 09:03 PM
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Quote:
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That makes sense.

I think what's probably biting me is that I don't have the Common Sense filter. I can't reliably tell when people will think something is reasonable or obvious or whatever.
Does it matter what "people" think on this issue? Why is it biting you?
In general (not limited to this case): People frequently offer definitions for things or words, but then react angrily and accuse me of being flippant or silly when I offer examples of things which match those definitions, but which apparently Don't Count.

Quote:
If "can't walk" leads to the inability to move about society unhindered and unremarkably, which it does, it is a privileged/other issue.
Is "on fire" a privileged/other issue?

I mean, clearly it leads to limitations in what you can do, and most people take it for granted that they do not have these limitations.

I'm pretty sure there's a reason for which "on fire" is not a privilege/other thing, but "hermaphrodite" is. But I can't articulate the distinction.
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  #68  
Old 12-30-2011, 09:07 PM
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Default Re: Return to Gender 101

Here is a different thing I like:

Tiger Beatdown › The Ten Objectively Best Songs of 2011
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  #69  
Old 12-30-2011, 09:13 PM
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That's brilliant. I don't read enough music criticism to see it, but...

That really helps, because something that's mystified me for ages is why people who will freely grant that Weird Al is a very talented musician will dismiss Lady Gaga as a "copycat".
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  #70  
Old 12-30-2011, 09:15 PM
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I'm sorry seebs, but I have to wonder if you're not having me on a bit.

I know I have used "move about in society" a number of times. Nobody is expected to move about in society while on fire.
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  #71  
Old 12-30-2011, 09:19 PM
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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?
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  #72  
Old 12-30-2011, 09:27 PM
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Default Re: Return to Gender 101

I know this was originally was about gender, but we've wandered far enough that this seems relevant. While I had this thread open on my computer, my colleague, prompted by a discussion with a patron told me an anecdote from Michael Moore's memoire. One thing you should know is that my coworker grew up in the same town as Michael Moore and is only a little bit older so he knows most of the people and incidents mentioned in the book.

Moore was on the school board in Davison, MI while still a teen. He wanted them to make a resolution saying the school district was dedicated to inclusion of people of all races, creeds and colors. He was told they did that anyway because it was the law, at which he pointed out that there were very few Black families in Davison. A woman on the school board responded, "Michael, people live where they want."

Seems like a sterling example of privilege to me.
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  #73  
Old 12-30-2011, 09:29 PM
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I'll split the privilege discussion into a thread of its own. :plzhold:
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  #74  
Old 12-30-2011, 09:50 PM
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Originally Posted by LadyShea View Post
I'm sorry seebs, but I have to wonder if you're not having me on a bit.
That's what I mean about the common sense filter. I am not having you on; the problem is that there's an implicit rule here that is so obvious you don't see it, and I don't know what it is.

Quote:
I know I have used "move about in society" a number of times. Nobody is expected to move about in society while on fire.
So if a condition makes people not expect you to move about on society, then it doesn't count as othering?

That doesn't sound right.
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Goliath (01-04-2012)
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Old 12-30-2011, 09:55 PM
seebs seebs is offline
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Default Re: Return to Gender 101

Quote:
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. 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.

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. My current guess is that there is a fairly good general heuristic, but that people have slightly different edges on it. Since my way of understanding rules is to try to poke at edge cases to find out where the line goes, I and I get inconsistent answers, I get stuck.
__________________
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
Reply With Quote
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Goliath (01-04-2012)
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