Something has been bothering me about education and privilege and how we teach students about divisive concepts.
I believe that the conversation about privilege is extremely unproductive. We’re doing it wrong. It’s not the fault of anyone in particular, but it has become circular and it isn’t accomplishing anything.
The first and biggest problem, in my opinion, is that information is not being shared in a productive way. Voices are being silenced rather than corrected. When someone makes a mistake, they are showered in hate, rather than being told what they did wrong and how to prevent making the same mistake in the future. When this problem is pointed out, the conversation turns into an argument about how privileged individuals are trying to invalidate the feelings of those who do not share their privilege.
The second problem is about that. Privilege is ABOUT feelings and experiences. You can’t pretend that it’s not because it is. The feelings and experiences of oppressed individuals are valid and important. No one has the right to tell them that they are wrong to feel the way they do unless they are expressing their feelings in a way that is hurting other people. However, when we make the discussion totally about feelings and get caught up in chastising people for accidentally invalidating the feelings of disenfranchised individuals, we cannot solve the problem.
Last but not least, the unavailability of information on a lot of these topics has lead the vast majority of the population to remain totally unaware that there even is a problem. This means that when you attack the average person for saying something offensive, they have no idea what you’re talking about. They don’t know they made a mistake. It is the job of people who know to inform those who don’t. But imagine for a moment you’re in math class and your teacher asks you to find the integral of the cosine of y squared and you have no idea what any of those things even are. You tell your teacher that you can’t do it. Your teacher responds by screaming at you for being stupid and lazy and never doing anything right, etc. That could very easily turn you off of math. If we’re going to teach people about these things, especially students, we have to do it in a calm manner. You can’t yell at them, you can’t make it about emotions.
There is a reason for this. When you teach through emotions, it makes it very personal. And yeah, these are extremely personal topics, but teaching is different from every day life. You are introducing people to a new concept. That in itself is tricky work. Teaching is a hard job.
When you introduce a student to an idea by telling them that they are the bad guy you risk alienating them. They will not want to participate in the global discussion about these problems if they feel alienated.
However, telling those who are oppressed that they cannot express their feelings on the matter is wrong and will serve to intensify the problem.
So, my question to you is, how can we open the discussion, how can we make the sharing of information easy without alienating individuals or shutting out voices? How can we improve the quality of our discourse about privilege in a way that will allow us to find solutions?
Ok so there’s something that confuses me but it’s about labels so it’s kind of arbitrary anyway but yeah here goes:
Those damn homosexuals, running around ruining the sanctity of marriage, perverting our good nation’s values, encouraging abortion, raping small children, making animal sacrifices and summoning Satan.
So I know I’m probably going to get punched in the face for this, but there is something that bugs me about liberals (I guess that’s the only correct generalization I can use here.)
So I understand that no one likes being discriminated against, and I don’t condone discrimination of any kind. But there seems to be this collective attitude that change must be instantaneous. Homosexual youths seem to be under the general impression that when they come out to their conservative parents, their parents should immediately be ok and not have any reservations. Now, to an extent, this is true. In an ideal world, there would be no problem, no need at all to “come out” in the first place. But the fact is that this is not a perfect world. If you decide to get a gender change or if you identify yourself differently or become open about the fact that you are homosexual or anything like that, you need to be prepared for a period of transition while your parents/friends/loved ones come to terms with this.
Chances are, you struggled with the idea yourself for a long time. Ideally, they shouldn’t need to struggle at all, but more than likely they will. And I personally don’t believe that they should be hated for it. Imagine the first time you were introduced to an abstract math concept. To people who had been working with the concept for a long time, it is simple. But it wasn’t for you. Just because you didn’t get it at first doesn’t mean you’re stupid, you just need time. It’s similar to what your family might be struggling with. They themselves have probably never dealt with having a gender identity that is different from what they were born, or have never questioned their sexuality, so it might take a little while for them to get their heads around the idea.
I’m not saying it would be ok for them to be dicks to you or anything, but I think until society has changed enough that this stuff isn’t taboo, we have to be a little patient. You can’t always change your ideology overnight. It takes some transitioning.
I get that purple is the color for bullying due to sexual orientation but I felt that this needed to happen
I’m heterosexual but panamorous
While walking in the Mission yesterday, I came across this poster inside Good Vibes, with links added for your convenience:
ANTI-GAY COMPANIES TO BOYCOTT
(Let’s show them that hate doesn’t pay)
- Salvation Army (“practicing homosexuals” are not welcome to work here. Nuff said, don’t support them.) Instead, give your junk to Community Thrift on Valencia & 17th so that you can pick which org. you want the money to go to.
- Gold’s Gym! (owner and CEO gave millions to American Crossroads, a political organization run by Karl Rove that funds many anti-gay politicians)
- Domino’s Pizza (founder Tom Monaghan is a co-founder of the Thomas More Law Center, which advocates in court to restrict access to domestic partner benefits. He also financed a ballot proposal to remove sexual orientation from the non-discrimination ordinance in MI.)
- Cracker Barrel Restaurants (fired 17 people for being “inconsistent with…normal heterosexual values”)
- A1 Self-Storage (owner Terry Caster is the 2nd largest individual contributor to the infamous Prop 8 campaign)
- Cinemark/Century Theaters (CEO gave $10,000 to prop 8)
I was really glad to see The Salvation Army listed first. They’ve long been getting lots of heat for being anti-gay, but The Salvation Army is a sinister organization for many more reasons than that—and I speak from personal experience.
- PinkPanthers: Boycott these anti-gay companies
- San Francisco Chronicle’s Proposition 8 Contributors Database and LA Times: Tracking the money: Final Numbers (for Prop 8)
- Cinemark/Century Theaters CEO Anti-gay Donor
- Gay Homophobe, by Jonathan Mann
- Gay marriage proponent who urged halt to Prop. 8 enforcement dies
- Same-Sex Marriage Foes Seek Reversal of Ruling by Gay Judge
Chik-fil-a needs to be on this list.
Everyone, you know what to do.