Saturday, 8 February 2014

Don't do "privileged"

I have been thinking a bit about the business of "calling out" people as "privileged". I don't feel comfortable about it, and I keep finding out new reasons why. Of course, it can be extremely annoying having people make the same tedious ignorant points again and again, but there is a good reaction to that, which is to tell such people that you just don't want to engage with them, or that your conversation is a "safe space" only for those who are involved in the particular issue. I don't like the calling of people "privileged" because it is just saying "you are wrong" and then refusing to say why, which is rude and lazy. Sure, the privileged person may well be being rude and lazy, but that's no excuse to do the same. Saying "privilege" is also question-begging, as it assumes that the person you are calling out will recognise that they have privilege and react to that. It's making an argument which assumes that the argument has already been partly won. Saying "privilege" also denies the possibility of valid shared experience.

To change society there needs to be conversations, and education. If you aren't in the mood for such interactions, that's fine - say so. Don't give your opponent a verbal kick in the form of a "privilege" accusation and run away - that's lazy and achieves nothing when it comes to making society better.

No comments: