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Thursday, January 10, 2013

Privilege.

Unstructured, pointless rambling ahead. Just some more thoughts on something that has popped up recently. The points expressed in this are not fully backed up/explained, heads-up.

Right, so privilege has turned into this incredibly controversial concept. From one viewpoint, the oppressed are using it in order to raise awareness of those in better natural circumstances. The "normal" people find that they are simply raising hell for no reason and they need to get the stick out of their behinds. On the other hand, the oppressed are sick and tired of the complaints of those who really shouldn't be complaining, since their lives have been relatively easy.

For both, it seems, the privilege argument has become a way to shut down opinions from those they deem either too privileged (and therefore offensive) or too easily offended.

Let's define oppressed, as according to popular culture today; typically a minority group of people who have no control over that which makes them different from those with ideal characteristics. So basically, if you are a white, able-bodied, cisgendered, heterosexual, educated man, you're favored by society. Those who don't fit into that often face several issues in their daily lives that cause them to feel marginalized. If you express any sort of unhappiness (assuming you fit into these standards), someone may clamp down on you and urge you to "check your privilege". Why? Because, relatively speaking, you have no right to complain, as you are not suffering as much with your natural qualities. That is my current understanding of this topic. This does not mean that I am establishing ties to either side. I, too, am trying to understand this.

Starting with some really tame examples that I've collected through the internet. I'm not going to do race, since I always do race, so let's go with something else. Straight privilege is being able to go around in public and more often than not, assume that the gender you are attracted to is attracted to your gender, generally speaking. (Note that this applies to most public places. Obviously this does not stand in a gay bar. It's okay, click it.) Able-bodied privilege is not having to look for wheelchair ramps everywhere you go because you have fully-functioning legs. Cisgendered privilege is having everyone correctly assume that you believe you are the gender that your biological make-up suggests (there are even a set of pronouns designed for non-cis people, specifically those who do not choose to identify with the two genders most of the world is familiar with).

Now, a lot of people are calling complete bullshit on all of this. Especially the cisgendered one. In my opinion, those types of disagreements are a result of a lack of understanding. Sexual orientation and gender are just really fluid for a lot of people, while...okay able-bodiedness advantages is something that seems to make sense upon first considering it. But a lot of people overreact to the point where it makes others uncomfortable.

There are a few "new" ones, too. More and more people are becoming aware of them because of a very vocal group. They appear to be more extreme in comparison to what most are used to. Otherkin, for instance, are those who identify as a species other then human. Then we have transethnic people, who identify as an ethnicity other than their own. It's even more difficult to try to grasp this. Especially when one comes across a person who claims to be a hermit crab.

A lot of people have just turned against this particular group, namely the otherkin. It's just a mess. I am in no place to really pass judgment on these people who believe one thing or the other. I just... I don't know where this is going to go. I'll be keeping tabs on it.


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