How Liberal is Defined These Days|
"For the multiculturalist, white Anglo-Saxon Protestants are prohibited, Italians and Irish get a little respect, blacks are good, native Americans are even better. The further away we go, the more they deserve respect. This is a kind of inverted, patronising respect that puts everyone at a distance.”
― Slavoj Žižek
I'll be honest that I find this quote whiny and defensive, but it does resonate with some of my frustration regarding my participation in privileged groups. I have been compiling an essay in my head that I likely won't write because I haven't been finding a lot of time to write these essays at the moment. But I call it "Socially Aware Privileged Group Burden," irony intended.
The thrust is that being aware of my privilege of being, for example, white Protestant doesn't make me less white or Protestant. It doesn't make me uncomfortable with these parts of myself. It doesn't make me value them less or even feel ashamed of them. I am aware that these groups can smother other less populous/powerful groups, and I don't WANT that, but the point of privilege is that the smothering happens if you do nothing, just by inertia. Helping to empower underprivileged groups takes WORK, and it involves finding the sometimes complicated line between empowering others and being self deprecating toward your own identity.
Being aware of the magnitude of the problem makes one feel like one should be doing something to help ALL THE TIME, and that just takes more effort than one has. Sometimes you have to just be yourself, accept that the world is imperfect, and not feel guilty about it.
Edited at 2013-12-21 07:09 pm (UTC)