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tgstonebutch
Dec. 29th, 2010 01:36 pm (UTC)
definitions?
I'm wondering what definition of *privilege* is being used here?

The OP has not given much context, so the only place I can draw from are comments.

It seems that some folks who are commenting are using the word privilege to mean something akin to the folks who get (some) goodies in individual relationships/situations.

And a few folks who are commenting seem to be using a definition of privilege that I am much more familiar with--where institutionalized oppression sets things up so that certain groups of folks automatically get and are expected to have(often unquestioned, unexamined, and not chosen or even sought) rights/favors/advantages/goodies/immunities due to membership in that group, including simply not being targeted by that form of oppression. (e.g. male privilege is connected to sexism and misogyny as insitutions and the goodies that men get because of those insitutions, and is not wholly about individual feelings and expressions between people, which of course vary considerably).

Similarly, I'm wondering what definition of *entitlement* is being used here?
agent139
Dec. 29th, 2010 04:39 pm (UTC)
Re: definitions?
I agree. When most people use the terms entitlement & privilege, they are both perjurative terms-- as I explored a little with my kind of tongue-in-cheek comments elsewhere in this thread. Now, the perspective that it is "simply something to be aware of" is a valid one, but I wonder at it being used in such judgmentally loaded words which, as I've seen them used most commonly, are like weapons to level an unlevel playing field. Moral high-ground when no other high-ground can be won, that kind of thing.

This remains an ongoing issue for the discussion of ideas like this-- or race and gender relations for that matter-- because so long as people are put on the offensive and defensive through the use of terms (whatever their supposed "neutral" definition may be), you'll just see a recapitulation of power struggle in the form of language. I have generally tossed out these words as useful for that reason, though it seems some can actually engage with them with it being an insightful rather than accusatory thing. And that's great.
trinker
Dec. 29th, 2010 05:40 pm (UTC)
Re: definitions?
Undermining the ability to *have* the discussion by tossing out the language serves to reinforce the existing inequities of the status quo.
ashbet
Dec. 29th, 2010 06:18 pm (UTC)
Re: definitions?
Agreed -- even though breaking out the word "privilege" makes me twitch a little (because I have seen it used in an accusatory fashion), it's a word with a defined meaning and it enables all of us to have a discussion while using commonly-recognized terms. If I called it *foo* instead of "privilege", the people I'm engaging with aren't necessarily going to have any idea what I'm talking about.

Privilege exists, intersectionality exists, and the kyriarchy exists, and we have to acknowledge that.

But, yes -- while I believe that you didn't mean it that way, agent139, complaining about the language used is a REALLY common derailing tactic when people want to change the subject and turn the discussion away from something they're uncomfortable with, usually examining/unpacking/acknowledging the areas in which they have privilege.

It doesn't have to be accusatory at all -- but it is something that is important to be aware of, and there's no shame in admitting that you have certain kinds of societal privileges which may advantage you in some ways over others.

F'rex, here are a few that describe me -- the first word is the category that applies to me:

Female < Male > Transgender
Invisibly Disabled > Disabled < Able-bodied
Caucasian-appearing > People of Color
Native English Speaker > ESL

So, as you can see, I have some advantages and some disadvantages, but there's nothing for me to apologize for -- however, I do need to be aware of these things and mindfully tailor my behavior so that my actions don't result in being crappy towards other people I share this world with.

Make sense?

-- A <3
agent139
Dec. 29th, 2010 06:31 pm (UTC)
Re: definitions?
Or demands the use of a term that doesn't have the same emotional baggage.

Which is what would be suggested in any philosophical investigation, certainly. And if you think the use of the word "entitlement" is without such connotations, take a survey of a couple thousand people at random in terms of what they think the word means, and what their reaction to it is.

But whatever, we could all stand to lighten up a bit too. As, at the same time, the insistence on an air of "high seriousness" in many discussions of topics like this tend to make me want to start squirting people with water pistols. (An act I was kicked out of Quaker church for at age 4- permanently. Why So Serious? ;p)
trinker
Dec. 29th, 2010 07:09 pm (UTC)
Re: definitions?
You're right, *YOU* should get to decide for others that they should be laughing.

Not privileged at all.
agent139
Dec. 29th, 2010 07:14 pm (UTC)
Re: definitions?
See? This is EXACTLY what I'm talking about. :P
trinker
Dec. 29th, 2010 07:15 pm (UTC)
Re: definitions?
How is "why so serious?" not dismissive?
agent139
Dec. 29th, 2010 07:19 pm (UTC)
Re: definitions?
I was including myself in the "we," saying I, too, might be trying to explore this in such abstract terms that a dose if grounding might be called for. Before I launch into the rant on signified & signifier I had ready to go, yknow?

Laughter is good for banishment, and when that doesn't work, it usually shows the underlying elements at play.

trinker
Dec. 29th, 2010 07:22 pm (UTC)
Re: definitions?
Whether you include yourself in the *we* or not, *I* don't want to be included in the *we* that you're exhorting to "not take this privilege stuff seriously".

Shrugging it off is not equivalent to the issue not existing.
agent139
Dec. 29th, 2010 07:31 pm (UTC)
Re: definitions?
Thats not quite what I am saying, anyhow.

I'm saying that I think the terms being used are problematic to create the type of open discourse they are trying to engender, and this discussion is an example of that.

But I'm also saying, rather than take THAT so seriously that we both waste an afternoon arguing about it on the Internet, maybe we could all use to not take ourselves so seriously. And if that offends you, well I guess you can chalk it up to whatever form of privilege you like. But just consider for a moment that writing me or anyone off with that takes away from an actual encounter with a complete person who happens to have beliefs slightly different from your own. I think the term is problematic; if you want to write me off with it you've just proven my point. (Which is what in meant by "this is exactly what I meant.")

There's a rule about arguing on the Internet. I'm going to try to follow that so we don't both sign up for the special olympics. I'm just procrastinating from working on a scene in this boon that's been giving me trouble anyhow. ;)

Best--
trinker
Dec. 29th, 2010 07:44 pm (UTC)
Re: definitions?
I'd be happy to use other terms, but I have found over time that it usually is just another form of the tone argument.

Willingness to discuss usually surmounts issues of terminology, IME.

Best of luck with the scene.
tgstonebutch
Dec. 29th, 2010 06:14 pm (UTC)
Re: definitions?
What do you agree with that I've said?

Your comment seems to assume that I'm against using the language or that the language itself is problematic. That was not at all my intended point--I was pointing out that there are two main definitions being used, and I wanted a sense of which was intended by the OP, and which was generally accepted by the community.

I don't find it useful to toss out the concept/language of privilege--I have found the concept/language of privilege to be very useful to me and my activist communities, particularly with a shared definition. (Of course I have only experienced a shared definition of the second sort that I laid out (rooted in insitutional oppression), not the first, so I cannot speak to that one being personally useful to me.)
agent139
Dec. 29th, 2010 06:32 pm (UTC)
Re: definitions?
I am agreeing that there are more than one set of definitions and connotations at play here even if it's just one (or two) words being used.
(Anonymous)
Dec. 29th, 2010 09:35 pm (UTC)
Tossed out
I'm not sure that I understand that everyone who has used "tossed out" or treated on comments where it appears, in this thread, is using th phrase in the same way. Tabled or tabled? Tossed out as in with the bathwater or as in onto the playing field to find out whether it is useful?