On Privilege and Responsibility: Natasha Sky wrote a great post in response to last week’s discussions of privilege here on ARP.
I do not want my kids to grow up thinking they are simply ‘lucky’ and other kids are ‘unlucky’. It’s definitely not that simple. There are individual and institutional daily choices being made (as they have been for hundreds of years) that consistently privilege certain groups of people above others. People are privileged based on race (both perceived and actual), skin tone, gender, sexuality, religion, income, education, marital status, and physical ability, to name some of the most common factors.
I believe those of us who find ourselves more privileged in this world do owe something to those who are less privileged. I often wonder what would happen if we each did all we could for those who–for whatever reasons–have less privilege today than we do. What does true activism look like? Is it enough to speak out against offensive jokes and comments, to be an anti-racist parent, and to purchase a cartful of groceries for the food-shelf once a month? Can I expect the world to change if I am not working towards that change myself? Can I expect someone else to step up and do something I myself am unwilling to do?
(Belatedly) In Honor of Father’s Day: Last week, dads took over the Mocha Moms segment on NPR’s “Tell Me More.” Listen to Jeff Steele, Jason Sperber and Keith Morton weigh in on parenting from father’s perspective.
Persons of White Privilege: Professor What If suggests adding a new label to the anti-racist lexicon as step toward acknowleging racial privilege.
Now, in terms of linguistic equality, it doesn’t seem fair that some identities are (assumed to be) summed up in one word, while others require a whole string of complex descriptions. Let’s call it being ‘linguistically oppressed.’ In order to counter this oppression, I suggest a first move would be to begin calling ‘white people’ ‘people of white privilege’ instead. Just as the phrase ‘people of color’ nods to the system of racism that works against all of those without white privilege, the term ‘people of white privilege’ (or POWP), would own up to the fact that white skin, to borrow a phrase from the famous “Got Milk” add campaign, ‘does a body good.’ White privilege, as Peggy McIntosh and many others have so thoroughly elucidated, bestows one with all sorts of perks. The closing points of her widely anthologized piece, “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack,” are well worth considering more closely: