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  • Thursday, August 28, 2008

    On Privileges Aplenty

    (Jump to comments.)

    Just thought I'd throw out my thoughts on white privilege as a blog post to get off my arse. I originally submitted this to a receptive thread at Resist Racism here. It's several comment posts in the same thread, actually. If anybody ever asks me about white privilege, I want to guarantee a link and summary of my views on it.

    Most white people seem to think white privilege is “having been cognizant of direct, covert instances of racism stealing something from a minority and giving it to me instead unmerited.”

    No. That’s not what it is. That’s not just what it is, anyways.

    White privilege is… I, as a white man, can watch any sci-fi channel show I want, and in some way identify with the main characters and cast. I can easily “fail to notice” that in most science fiction, the blacker characters are, the more violent they are. I can claim, and get credit and approval and recognition as an egalitarian activist, if I claim that Romulans and Cardassians disprove this trend, while ignoring the fact that all Star Trek did was re-double the stereotype so that the blacker species were more likely to love being violent in jungle or desert climates.

    And so on and so forth concerning any genre of any subject.

    Rarely can a non-white person in the United States benefit at all from noting that he or she has been subject to, or noticed, racism between minorities.

    But as a white man, I can readily depend on gaining credibility and an egalitarian if I can put on the affect of empathizing with other ethnicities simply on the basis of being poor or a redhead.

    The mantra of marriage and family in the United States easily shields me from recognizing bigotry as a white man. Nothing forces races into isolation better than an emphasis on family. Tim Wise tells us of the story of how after Katrina, a bunch of white people scrambled back into their town before the black people could, and tried to enact a law that decried only family of the then-present city council could move back in. And that’s only one example.

    That’s overt racism and a bit more than privilege there, but I have privileged pscyhological advantages simply because being poor effects the marriage and family statistics of non-whites more significantly than whites, and I can pretend that my success in family has more to do with my will than ethno-economic factors.

    That is white privilege. The fact is, you don’t have to feel it to have it. Another fact: you can’t get rid of it (that you can is another myth white people cling to). It’s given to me by racists and racist patterns in society, and it takes the conscious effort of an entire society to take it back.

    It doesn’t matter how anti-racist I am. I walk by a car dealership and and a racist dealer looks out the window and thinks he’d rather sell to somebody who looks or dresses like me, and the ethnic persons trying to buy from him have their chances cut. I wasn’t active in this racism, but my privilege was.

    That’s the reality of white privilege.

    Danny could you please proofread that and form more than one long run-on sentence so I can understand what you’re getting at?

    @Crissa (and everyone):

    Yes, it is also a racist trend that not only are the non-white characters portrayed poorly in sci-fi, but the casting is overwhelmingly white in a way that’s blatantly antithetical to any of the alleged near-utopias that they try to illustrate.

    Star Trek: After World War THREE, Earth puts racial bigotries and war behind. Yet somehow 99% of humans in the alpha quadrant are white.

    Battlestar Galactica: same shit, except Earth didn’t survive.

    Stargate: most of the non-goaul’d planets are inhabited by white people. Every black settlement is a form of Jaffa. All the priors of the Ori are white, the goaul’d prefer white hosts, almost everybody in the other two galaxies are white as well (actually can anybody remember a single non-white native of the Ori galaxy?). — and did you see a single black scientist? I didn’t.

    Farscape: never watched more than 2 episodes, but I did notice that once again all the good guys and bad guys were white, and the one ethnic-looking character was again a ‘warrior’.

    sci-fi channel shows: the seinfeld and Friends of the nerd sphere. And like with those shows, it’ll take years after the cancellation of the show and endless syndication until its white fans finally have to have it spelled out to them and then they’ll say “Oh, well I didn’t really notice…”

    Oh, and here’s some shit. The Discovery Channel show Mythbusters has been pissing me off recently.

    Any time they do a show where they need to remark upon the history of a device, and the inventor wasn’t an American, Adam Savage needs to do a horrible accent stereotyping the guy’s country of origin.

    And he always does this amazingly bigoted French pseudo-accent, disney style, when they do food and he gets even close to cooking something. And the producers go ahead and throw in some accordion music to help the xenophobia along.

    The more aware I become of my white, American, male privilege, the more I am noticing that nerds can be just as bigoted, if not moreso, than anybody else.

    I mean fuck, have you ever heard of DragonCon? A scifi/fantasy convention that named itself after the most white-centric mythic creature ever, the dragon (and you damned well know they don’t imaging Chinese dragons). The dragon, which is just an amalgum of raptors, predator cats, and reptiles. An idea anybody could come up with, and everybody did.

    You’d think that something that literally appeals to the lowest common denominator would be surrounded by diversity and acceptance, but no. There’s all this medieval-like bullshit they read and write, where the default race an culture of the character is a white Englishman with an American accent. Yeah, the fucking dark ages or early renaissance, I can’t think of a better place to produce hero archetypes. Damnit.

    Danny wanted to disagree with me that you can't get rid of your own privilege. The reality is, though, that you can't. This is because you are not the only creator of it. It's created and distributed by deliberate racists and other people sharing the same privilege. It is up to them to become anti-racist for you to have any hope that your own privilege will diminish. And it has to be all of them.

    These are just some very quick thoughts of mine on privileges, but here are a some more links that I agree with.

    I bet I can find more later.

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    Monday, August 18, 2008

    Comment Policy

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    Comment Policy

    1. No anonymous comments.
    2. No bigotry against any group, including:

      • Women
      • Races
      • Lesbian / Bisexual / Gay / Transexual / Transgender / Androgynous
      • Obese
      • Minorities of any kind
      • The weaker.
      • The younger.
      • The elderly.
      • Ideology.
    3. Must be on topic! This includes the prohibition of forum threads, even duplicates of blog entries, from any forum whatsoever, if they are not under discussion by my post.
    4. No Suckpuppeting.
    5. No Concern Trolls.
    6. No doc–dropping.
    7. No violence, or jokes about violence. This includes jokes about lynching, assault, murder of all degrees, vandalism, harassment (yes, online does count), and yes, rape.

    A warning: with Haloscan, your IP addresses are fully exposed to me. You get one warning before I IP–ban you. Remember Dan? Yeah. I will publish your IP address if you do anything like he did, or if I suspect you are conspiring to perform first–person wrongdoing of any kind.

    It also means I can recommend IP–banning you to other bloggers using Haloscan or another comment services capable of identifying IP's, if your bigotry reaches a certain level at my discretion.

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    Sunday, August 17, 2008

    Technorati Claim

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    Technorati Profile

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    Test Title

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    Test paragraph.

    Looks like this is my new blog. Keepin it simple, with the url and title. I will now modify the template, may have to revert to old style to keep the 3 column view I liked.

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