The Concept of Privilege - A Rant.

Amen BP

BG: Feel free to use the vocab that appeals most to you. Truth is, I was working on a better response but my girlfriend came in to kiss and snuggle me and I said to myself, "Yeah, that'll do," and proceeded to kiss and snuggle her, while my husband walked the dogs, LOL. Say what you feel; live your life bro, it's all good.

Annabel: I fully agree that all of us have the responsibility to co-create a better world, especially within our personal and community wide sphere. Giving of my time is something that I do every week, month after month on a community wide level; I am committed to, and feel like I make a difference in the world around me. Even just being on this site and speaking up when I feel that someone is being bullied is dang important to me; I have a voice, and I am not afraid to use it.

And so I'm left with some nearly conclusive thoughts, and more questions...

Conclusions: Couple privilege.... Is recognition necessary? Yes. Should people be pre-judged for having it? No.

Now we have the question... Should it be eradicated? What does that look like in your mind? I've been thrilled to see my gay friends marrying their partners and claiming those 'privileges' for themselves as well - medical benefits, tax breaks and all of those goodies. Levelling the playing field as it were. So what would the goal be around changing couple privilege?

Seeds grow in fertile soil with sunshine and nourishment, and I feel like the same is true about positive growth in human beings and the world at large. Prejudging someone seems to thwart growth, rather than encourage it.


To be honest, I didn't much difference between what you said
BP said:
Originally Posted by BaggagePatrol
It's as hard to eradicate the privilege of being in a couple as it is to... say... eradicate the privileges of being caucasian. Impossible, actually. So the concept of, and the realities of 'couple privilege' exist, and I'm white... and I don't intend to use either as justification for behaving like a jerk. More questions?

and Annabel's reply
AnnabelMore said:
Actually, I'd say that we CAN all work towards a world where 1) we're all aware of our privileges, which feeds into 2) we're mindful of helping to create a more even playing field, which leads into 3) building communities around us that don't privilege certain people over others in the way the greater culture as a whole does, which, if we're REALLY lucky and persistent and brave, MIGHT some day lead into 4) eradicating many of the more problematic and unfair manifestations of privilege in our society overall.

So, for instance, I can never stop being caucasian. But if I ally myself with anti-racist causes, speak up about inclusion, etcetcetc, maybe, just maybe, I can help in some small way to eradicate the privilege that comes with being caucasian in America.

Quixotic, yeah, but important, I think.

Sounds like she went into a lot more detail and specifically mentioned working towards equality, which I think not being a jerk does in fact entail. So to me it reads the same, but in much greater detail.

TGIG seems to mention the exact same thing with
TGIG said:
To the first question I'd say we've established that yes, it's a thing, but I'm confused about the second question. Why are those the only two options? Why can't "It exists, we should recognize it so we don't abuse it, and work on not using it as a pejorative" be an option?

I don't know about the top position in the executive branch of the universe's govt. BG, would you settle for your own empire?=D
 

AnnabelMore

New member
It's as hard to eradicate the privilege of being in a couple as it is to... say... eradicate the privileges of being caucasian. Impossible, actually.

To be honest, I didn't much difference between what you said and Annabel's reply

My point was that it's not necessarily impossible to eradicate privilege. Not being a jerk is a great first step, but there's a lot more one can do.
 
I know what you meant

and thank you for coming back and clarifying. I shouldn't have even posted that comment as it was just me being a jerk and snarky towards Boring Guy. I have a bad habit of taking things out of context, taking them personal when I shouldn't, or giving them negative context unfairly. With written word I often fail to grasp the obvious, the things that are only subtlety mentioned because they are obvious typically go right over my head and it has taken me many years to find a balance of what is appropriate to write, and many days I am still off balance. That comment is only one of the ones I should not have posted yesterday. But I do hear you.

Thank you
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
Re (from BoringGuy):
"Although, if you want to nominate me for President of the Universe, I'll seriously consider accepting if someone will second the nomination. Nutbuster might."

I'm uncomfortable having BoringGuy preside over the entire Universe. I'm afraid the Universe would get boring. However, I nominate BoringGuy for President of the Milky Way Galaxy, and will third the President-of-the-Universe nomination if Nutbuster seconds it. My reasons are my own.
 

AnnabelMore

New member
and thank you for coming back and clarifying. I shouldn't have even posted that comment as it was just me being a jerk and snarky towards Boring Guy. I have a bad habit of taking things out of context, taking them personal when I shouldn't, or giving them negative context unfairly. With written word I often fail to grasp the obvious, the things that are only subtlety mentioned because they are obvious typically go right over my head and it has taken me many years to find a balance of what is appropriate to write, and many days I am still off balance. That comment is only one of the ones I should not have posted yesterday. But I do hear you.

Thank you

It's all good, seriously not a big deal. :)
 
Centuries of Work.

I can see how as a theory, you could look at the eradication of prejudice as being reachable. I guess it all comes down to my reality/practical philosophies about What Can I Do? Changing the world is an overwhelming prospect, but not being a jerk creates ripples, giving of time and space creates change in your community, and that can travel outwards. In some ways the philosophies are similar, they are just on a different scale.

Do I think I can make a difference? Yes. Do I think that I can change the world? Maybe a small part of it, but on a global scale it's unlikely that any of us will live to see a time where there are not privileges attached to being caucasian, or coupled, or English speaking, or...... There's been lots of movement on all fronts, but I feel like that boils down to smaller communities making a different first, and I tend to start there when I think of change.

So I am super curious Annabel: What does that world look like? I'd love to hear your thoughts; you're such a thoughtful and conscientious person in general.
 

AnnabelMore

New member
I can see how as a theory, you could look at the eradication of prejudice as being reachable. I guess it all comes down to my reality/practical philosophies about What Can I Do? Changing the world is an overwhelming prospect, but not being a jerk creates ripples, giving of time and space creates change in your community, and that can travel outwards. In some ways the philosophies are similar, they are just on a different scale.

Do I think I can make a difference? Yes. Do I think that I can change the world? Maybe a small part of it, but on a global scale it's unlikely that any of us will live to see a time where there are not privileges attached to being caucasian, or coupled, or English speaking, or...... There's been lots of movement on all fronts, but I feel like that boils down to smaller communities making a different first, and I tend to start there when I think of change.

So I am super curious Annabel: What does that world look like? I'd love to hear your thoughts; you're such a thoughtful and conscientious person in general.

Aw, well, thanks! I'm by no means an expert. And I want to be very clear that I'm not trying, in any way, to say that what you do, on any front of fighting the kyriarchy (I know this word isn't in common usage, thus the link, but it sums up the whole of what we're really trying to discuss better than anything else) and/or fighting for a better world in general, isn't enough, or that I'm doing more. In fact, I may well be doing less, I haven't done much volunteering at all lately for example (been, er, a bit busy :D).

I recognize that one must ask one's self "what can I realistically do?" in order to stay sane, and that, therefore, keeping the thought "we must dismantle all systems of oppression post-haste or else we're failures!!!" in the forefront of one's mind is gonna be a losing proposition. Nevertheless, I think that "well, it's an impossible problem to fix" isn't the most useful attitude either, for one's self or for society at large. Rather, I would go with "we must fight these problems when and how we can, that they may one day be behind us" is a good middle ground -- firm, but also somewhat zen-like.

How to approach this on a practical level? As I said above, I think that not being a jerk is a great first step. That entails knowledge, first of all. You can't stop hurting someone until you realize that you need to look down in order to see if you're stepping on their foot, so to speak. Reading about the experiences of others, paying attention to stories that are different from one's own rather than dismissing them, and even actively seeking out responses to oppression from the oppressed are good starting points for acquiring this knowledge.

Let's talk about race, since it's such an obvious and familiar marker of oppression in our society. Once you begin to understand racism, you can work on not being a jerk, which is to say not being actively racist. Not telling racist jokes, not making racist assumptions, etc. This is actually much harder than one might think, of course, especially when it comes to the assumptions and thought patterns that we may never have thought to challenge because they were instilled in us from such a young age by the culture at large. However, it's so very, very important. This is the minimum standard for being a decent human being in a fucked up world, imho. It is the starting place, not the ending place.

What comes next, then? Being actively anti-racist. How does one do that? Again, I'm definitely not an expert, but I'd say it comes down to not just not causing problems, but working to solve them. For instance, not being racist would mean giving a person of color an equal chance of being hired, if you were in charge of hiring at your job. Being anti-racist would mean looking around and asking "Are there people of color in positions of power in this place of work? If not, why not? And how could it be changed?" Maybe it would mean re-thinking how you reach out to potential employees, and using new avenues that would be more likely to reach a more diverse audience. Maybe it would mean advertising that you are seeking to create a more diverse workforce and would therefore especially welcome applications from minorities. Maybe it would mean springing for an anti-racist training for the various recruitment staff at your organization. Yikes, that all sounds like a lot of work, and maybe even some money! But it doesn't have to be that intense. It could just mean finding a person of color who works in your field and asking if they would be willing to talk to you about the issue of race in your job market -- "Did you encounter barriers to entry? If so, what were they? Do you have any ideas for how we could do a better job of reaching out to people of color?"

Talking in a serious way about the touchy problems of oppression in our society -- race relations in particular, but also gender relations, class relations, etc. -- can in and of itself be a radical, anti-oppressive act. It can be scary to talk about these things, especially "across the aisle" as it were, and it requires a ton of humility on the part of the more-privileged actor if they're doing the initiating of the conversation. But by talking to each other, we can uncover solutions that might stay buried otherwise. Simply openly discussing these things is probably the #1 way to help begin to dismantle them.

Idk, was that all even coherent?

As for how all of this might relate to the original topic, I honestly don't know if all "couple privilege" is something that SHOULD be eradicated -- like, I'm not opposed to tax breaks for married couples, for example, nor do I think that we should abolish "+1s" from event invitations. I just think that folks in primary partnerships ought to be aware of the privileges that society grants them so that they can examine critically whether they're acting at the expense of others in order to maintain that privilege, such as with the example that I believe someone (Tonberry?) referred to above of requiring a third partner to stay in the closet to maintain a married couple's image as socially acceptable, without considering the hardships that that requirement places on the third partner.

With privilege tends to come a sense of entitlement -- and "couple entitlement" is what I might term the classic "unicorn hunter"-style face-palm-inducing actions of too many primary-partnered-folks in relation to their secondary partners. At this point it begins to morph into a different issue entirely (though arguably a related one), and a much more complicated one.
 

BoringGuy

Banned
Re (from BoringGuy):


I'm uncomfortable having BoringGuy preside over the entire Universe. I'm afraid the Universe would get boring. However, I nominate BoringGuy for President of the Milky Way Galaxy, and will third the President-of-the-Universe nomination if Nutbuster seconds it. My reasons are my own.



When i was a little kid, i wanted to be President of SOMETHING. I should be careful what i wish for, lol.
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
Yes you should. Look what happened to your avatar? ;)
 

BoringGuy

Banned
Yes you should. Look what happened to your avatar? ;)

Nancy and i love to exchange old family recipes, and other things. Don't believe everything that Fox News puts out. They do not know what goes on behind closed doors. ;)
 

LovingRadiance

Active member
I think some of the defensive ess comes from people who are percieved as being in dynamics with primary and secondary partners, have couple privilege tossed out in their face when in fact their lives aren't that simplified.

For example: people assume Maca is my primary because we are married. But I was with GG 20 yrs, Maca 14. I have a child with each. We all live together, finances are completely joint, custody of ALL children is joint to ALL of us....

GG and I have a different relationship than Maca and I. But one is not less primary than the other. They simply differ because preferences in each couple differ. I have couple privilege, twice over. I'm "double couple privileged" I guess.
 
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