Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Audacity of Whiteness

The audacity of whiteness never ceases to amaze me.  Some make the most obvious racial statements and then say, gee I'm sorry is my privilege showing. Well duh, of course it is and you damn well know it.  If it were not so tragic I could be amused by the constant apologizing for racial commentary, when the clear intent was to be racial in the first place.  Do yourself a favour and stop with the false apologies it only compounds upon the issue.

As a child most people are taught to think before they speak, but somehow, for some reason, when it comes to discussing bodies of colour, white people regularly experience temporary amnesia.   Of course it is assumed that POC will magnanimously turn the other cheek eagerly awaiting the next slap.  Why else do we exist but to take the sharp barbs and daily humiliations.

If you can't get a job some Latino immigrant stole it from you.  If you cannot get into the college you want, some African American stole your spot due to affirmative action; or some "super smart" Asian who has no life but to study unfairly outworked you.  Are you falsely reporting a crime? Of course blame the black man, everyone knows they're all criminals anyway.  Want some land to pollute, find the nearest Native American, break yet another treaty and wrap it in small pox blankets smothered in their blood. Despite all of the privileges that white bodies are able to marshal if the slightest problem occurs it is always the fault of the body of colour.  We're all equal until a white person feels disenfranchised. I know the drill all to well.

That POC exist without power relative to whites in western society is certainly not something that is worthy of serious consideration.  Privilege must be maintained at all cost.  If at any point a white person has found said privilege to be mitigated by class, gender, sexuality, or ability the problem is not the system which creates a hierarchy of bodies it is the uppity brown bodies of the world.

Of course I can certainly see how fuelling wars in Africa could be beneficial to a small group of people and since no white people are generally harmed in the process no foul right?  Here is another thought...why should western governments be blamed for neo-colonialism.  Is it the fault of white run western governments that there are no people left to conquer?  How about those hot tamales?  South America makes an excellent playground and if Latina women are permanently damaged from the rape tourism that regularly occurs at least it is a way to halt our dangerous trend of Malthusian living.

In the generous post racial world in which we live whites continues to feel entitled to their anger at the minimal loss of privilege that they have experienced, yet when a WOC rightly speaks out about issues effecting our lives our anger is somehow overly aggressive or uncalled for. How dare we express even the slightest angst that we continue to remain at the bottom of the social and economic pyramid when white people have so generously given a few of us the opportunity to rise above poverty. See look at that one referential black over there, she isn't angry, you just have a chip on your shoulder. I swear I know why black people live shorter lives...we are literally stressed to death.

Daily living within the social delusion of whiteness, refusing to sip the kool aid and internalize racism has made me a problematic body.  It may be gauche to publicly say nigger bitch but really it is not necessary when every action reifies the label.  I read body language just like anyone else and the defensiveness and the hatred are obvious.  Excuses are made and explanations are proffered but essentially nothing changes because white people cannot move beyond saying, oh I didn't know that was racism, or that really was not my intent.  For a group of people who want to run the world you really do fuck up a lot. 


39 comments:

OIMS said...

Yikes! All my life I have "judged" other people by their goodness, their heart, and their willingness to be kind to each other. Skin color has nothing to do with it, bad attitudes and preset opinions - black to white, white to black, purple to blue - sorry, but I think it's all an excuse for anyone to cry "poor me." Yes, I'm white. No I'm not a bigot a racist or anything other "ist." I'm just me. What bothers me is when someone "lumps everyone together" and sorry, but this post does just that... Got me to comment though LOL!

Villager said...

White privilege is a phenomenom that is not discussed enough. I appreciate your post and the links you provided. I can see why your blog is exploding up the Black Blog Rankings this month. Keep doing what you do sista!

peace, Villager

Jane Addams said...

I'm a queer, white woman in her 50s who teaches social work. What is sad is the internalization of these ractict attitudes by people of colour. For example, in a small group discussion made up of students of colour (self-selected, as usual -- who else is interested in anti-racist practice?), several asked, "but why do they have to be so angry?" They felt it reflected badly on the rest of them.

The older I get, the more I see the significant impact of class privilege. It fools people of colour into thinking they have the same privileges as their white peers... until... This is especially true of young university students who have been raised with privilege. I'm concerned about my young nieces and nephews of colour, whose affluent parents both refuse to consider that their children may one day encounter racism and be completely unprepared. (They are both "colour-blind").

I once conducted a small survey among the students in my department on an unrelated topic. Instead of having predetermined categories for race/ethnicity, I asked them to self-identify their cultural identity. Quite a few came back with "no cultural identity." I figured that they must be white.

Great post! I love your blog.

Jennifer said...

As a white woman who has read about white privilege and tries to be aware (sometimes I'm less successful than other times), I just wanted to thank you for another great post.

It takes an active thinking about white privilege to try and overcome it, and it goes beyond a vague (and misguided) sense of being colorblind -- a sense that only a white person has the ... privilege ... to maintain.

Scott said...

@OIMS

As a white man myself, I had no idea what white privilege was. But over the years, I've realized I had it all along and didn't even know it. I suspect that this is the same for most. I grew up not poor, not rich, but somewhere in between, but I look back now and found that even if I was on skid row, as a white person I still had it better then a black person on skid row. 9 times out of 10 I probably got something before a black person did.

OMIS, I tend to believe you when you say you judge people as people, but we have to remember that we do have privilege and some of us don't even know it. If more and more white people start to own it, perhaps the world would be a better place.

wrymuse said...

I understand that white people have white privilege. And I understand that there are ignorant whites who blame POC for whatever problem may arise, and don't care if POC are harmed or inconvenienced as long as the whites aren't. However, not all white people feel that way. Not all white people acknowledge their privilege and then disregard it. Some of us actively try to ensure we're keeping ourselves under control and stop acting so asinine. So, it really bothers me to get lumped in together with some stereotypical white person.

Jenn said...

Don't you know that white (especially white maleness) is the default human condition? If you're going to talk about anything that doesn't apply to people that are white, well, people will say that you're not talking about human rights.

Of course, the logical assumption from comments as asinine about that is that people that aren't white aren't human, and that their experiences don't matter.

I mean, holy crap. I'm white and European as shit, but I accepted long ago that there's a bunch of things that were probably handed to me when they would have been, or were, denied to a POC. Hell, half the reason I even had the opportunity to seek those things, and know to seek them, is because of a legacy of disenfranchisement that excluded most of the human population and continues to do so.

And the anger is totally justified. What I feel is just the kind of horror and shame you might get from reading a textbook. The emotional involvement I have in this system of oppression is nothing to those that are disadvantaged every day. All I can do is understand as much as I am able to, shut up and listen, and check my priviledge when someone points it out.

I don't understand why that kind of awareness and respect is so hard to find in other privileged populations.

pnkrokhockeymom said...

Hey there.

First, as I stated over at Feministe, I think this is a great post.

Second, I hope that comments are not closed over there now because you are suddenly inundated with hateful and asinine comments that sort of embody the point of the essay. The ick that surfaces in the online feminist community every time anyone starts posting anything really thoughtful regarding race and feminism is appalling and makes me very angry.

Third, I just want to say that I always, always find it very tiring and annoying every time I post a piece of feminist analysis about misogyny, or male privilege and their blindness to it, or whatever else, and three to four comments in some guy says, "Well, sure, but I'm not like that, and not all guys are like that, and you should know that."

And look! It's here, too. Apparently people don't like being told they are privileged. Please, commenters inclined to behave in that manner, could you just get over yourself? No one has lumped you anywhere you're not. It is not any brown woman's job to make sure you feel comfortable reading her posts on racism and white privilege in the feminist community by qualifying her writing to make sure that everyone reading is aware that she knows there are some non-racist white people. The post wasn't about non-racist white people, and it isn't about white people's feelings. It's Not About You. Unless, of course, you think it might be about you. In which case, maybe you should examine where those defensive feelings are coming from.

(Again, there are behaviors that white women wouldn't put up with from men on a feminist blog, but they are quite happy to obliviously parrot those behaviors themselves when it comes to white privilege, and I am embarrassed when they do it. It's almost like they are a caricature of a person blind to her privilege).

I really like your writing, Renee, and I'd like to add you to my "blogroll" (erm, the links on my lame-ass livejournal), if you don't mind.

Anna Sterling said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anna Sterling said...

thank you so much for this post. oftentimes when i feel that my radical-ness is slipping away because the system that we live in is set up to brainwash you in that sense.. i read your blog and it reminds me that i must never lose my sense of self in this world and that i must actively engage in self-reflection to remain cognizant of my internalized racism and colonized mind.

thank you thank you thank you for this blog and for being so unafraid to speak the truth. it is an immensely difficult thing to do in this world when society labels all POC as "bitchy" or "overly aggressive" when they DARE to complain about the injustices that SEEMINGLY dont exist in our equal day and age. i have run into this stigmatization all too often ("why are you getting so angry? i have black friends that i can joke about this with all the time!") and sometimes i do feel like i should just shutup already.

but then i run into people that are unafraid to speak up and i discover blogs such as yours that say everything i would want to say and i find strength in that.

Tina said...

Some of us actively try to ensure we're keeping ourselves under control and stop acting so asinine. So, it really bothers me to get lumped in together with some stereotypical white person.

It doesn't bother me and I'm also trying to actively trying to get myself under control and stop acting so asinine. If it's not about you, don't make it about you.

Renee, thanks so much for welcoming lurkers like me who are trying to learn.

Guy Vestal said...

For those without StumbleUpon, I will simply repeat myself here, as my comment would be the same no matter what venue it would be placed in.

I thumbed it up because all voices have a right to be heard, and this voice needs to be heard, so listen carefully folks, this voice is speaking, and your attention is not only required, but needed if we are to survive as humans.

There is a time to speak, and a time to listen, this post is your chance to listen. But in exchange for me wanting your voice to be heard, you must also listen to mine...

Racism exists because posts like this give it the power it must have to survive. Today you did your part faithfully to feed this monster. The monster that is racism thanks you for giving it not only power over you, but more fuel to make it just one more day on its path of destruction. Keep that hate going, spread it whenever possible is the motto of all "ism's"...

Excellent post, thanks for the opinion, maybe tomorrow will be the day racism died, but it certainly was not today.

AR said...

If it's not about you, don't make it about you.

It doesn't have to be made about anyone. The post explicitly specifies "white people" as the group being attacked. What you're expecting of readers is that they take the most charitable possible interpretation of her word choice, instead of any number of other ones. Any privileged person expecting the same thing wouldn't be well received here, and I don't think the relative privilege here is any excuse; the problem is that race-based group attacks are inexcusable per se, so there are no mitigating circumstances.

It also somewhat reminds me of the No True Scotsman fallacy, since it's basically saying, "All x are y." "I'm x, but not y." "Then I wasn't talking about you."

I don't think so.

Renee said...

Alright I was hoping not to have to make any further commentary on this post, trusting it to speak for itself but clearly there are those that refuse to get the point. Here goes, I don't care what kind of ally status, and kumbaya fallacies you live with. As long as you have white privilege you will use it that you may feel guilty or question after the fact is unimportant. You cannot hand back your privilege, it is attached to your body. This is why I can say in a universalizing tone white people do this or that. Being conscious of privilege mean also realizing that you are human and you are going to mess up. No matter how anti-racist a person is they at some point invariable will fall back on racist behaviors or attitudes because it is a part of our society. We are socialized to see color and difference and to pretend otherwise is again racial privilege.

The Fitness Diva said...

"Racism exists because posts like this give it the power it must have to survive. Today you did your part faithfully to feed this monster. The monster that is racism thanks you for giving it not only power over you, but more fuel to make it just one more day on its path of destruction. Keep that hate going, spread it whenever possible is the motto of all "ism's"..."

Really? I didn't know that. So all we have to do is not blog, speak, write about or discuss it at all, put rose colored glasses on and act happy, and all this racism just goes away?
WOW! Where have you been with this priceless info? Is this according to all those out there practicing racist acts and ideologies on a daily basis? We just need to be quiet,ignore it, act like it doesn't exist, and they'll just stop? AMAZING.
Once again, WOW.
It is, of course, OUR OWN fault that racism exists. Why did I not know that?
People act in negative ways because you speak on it, and not the other way around. Damn, did I get it backwards!!

Ok. So who's going to spread the word, now that you've come up with this brilliant solution?
BTW, can we get this in writing? Not from you, but from all the other racists out there?

AR said...

But how can something attached to a person's body be considered audacious? How can something that happens to a person because of their body be considered their fault, or something they should even have to worry about?

If it is true that a given thing is an inseparable part of a persons body, then they have nothing to justify for or own up to. That's kind of a central theme in a lot of your writing. If what you're saying is true, a white person is no more obligated to account for their privilege then you are obligated to straighten your hair.

lee said...

I agree with Renee. White privilege exist and is striving well in society. White people must learn to own up to the advantages their own. There is many examples that privilege exist; most other ethnicities do not react negative to white people instead everyone race; African, East Indian and Asian all have bleaching products available. In fact, Air India and Japan Airlines hire flight attendants based on the color of their skin. Even when shopping one can notice the differences in the reaction of the sale clerk; How many times does a salesperson ask a white if they are putting the product on layaway or direct them to a cheaper product. Even if you are the manager of a business most people will address any concerns to the white person standing beside you. When immigrants come to North America, the first word they learn to use correctly in their vocabulary is "N" word because the need to find something lower that them. Don't you ever wonder why a similar word that will trigger the same reaction does not exist for white people- hence white privilege. Most white people do not feel the sting of racism because the color white does not not have any negative connotation. I am so tired of hearing about that one unqualified minority taking the job from that over achieving white person. In Conclusion, own up to your privilege, wear it as a bandage of honor because it does exist.

Renee said...

AR are you seriously questioning why whites need to own their privilege? They need to own their privilege because they continue to benefit from racism. It can further be considered to be audacious because privilege always requires action to be maintained and on an individual level each white person participates in the systemic privilege that creates POC as other.

Guy Vestal said...

@Fitness Diva...

Did I say that the answer was a simple one?

Or did you read into that, using it as a wonderful excuse to keep the hate flowing. Either way, you have accomplished your purpose. You enjoyed yourself as you typed, you lifted yourself above everyone else because you were chastising me because I did not agree with spreading the hate you have done such a good job of here.

I am just as guilty as WM, and yourself. Look at a post made by WM on fat hate a while back... I ranted up a storm on it. I did MY PART faithfully to feed yet another "ism", that is the primary fault of human beings. We are not perfect, we fall, we stumble, we get up, we move on.

"White Privilege" is just another excuse used to spread hate. "I am this, and others are that, ergo others are wrong because they are not me." Bullsh*t... I am white, and myself and my family and been poor and downtrodden for many generations, that is the way society goes. People are "Privileged" because they step upon the backs of the bruised to get there. I myself, nor any of my family members have ever climbed over the top of bodies to get anywhere, and we never will. I have no need for that, I am no better than anyone else, and I have no need to whine, pi*s, moan, and snivel because I have no self-esteem, and need an excuse, or someone to point a finger at.

You don't like something? Then stop feeding it and it will disintegrate. Feed it, and it will thrive, that is just basic physics.

The name of the post would have been better served if it was called "The Audacity of Humanity".

There. I have also done my part for the day, and fed the ism. Are we all proud of ourselves now? Or do we need to stoop to the level of cracker, nigger, chink, kike, limey, wetback, before everyone is satisfied that "White Apologetics" is not the only answer to hatred? As if hate was any respecter of persons... Puhleese...

Renee said...

@Guy
People are "Privileged" because they step upon the backs of the bruised to get there. I myself, nor any of my family members have ever climbed over the top of bodies to get anywhere, and we never will.

This is not the way privilege works. Just because you feel that you have never exploited your racial advantage does not make it so. I really suggest you check this out and reassess your position.

AR said...

No, I expect that of them myself. I'm questioning how you can expect them to while at the same time asserting that no matter what they do, they will always be guilty of racism merely because they benefit from it, however contrary to their wishes and efforts such windfall may be.

A similar line of reasoning would hold that if someone set my house on fire, I would be automatically guilty of arson for having collected my fire insurance, instead of that merely being grounds for suspicion.

Danny said...

"White Privilege" is just another excuse used to spread hate.

In some cases I agree with that (and the same can be said about any privilege). There are instances in which the concept of privilege is used as tool by some people to incite hatred, invoke guilt on the "privileged" party, and/or to bait people into counter arguing so they can cry foul over being silenced. (Comment 13, like it or not it makes sense.)

However there times in which privilege is properly applied to a situation as an accurate discription. Yes there are privilege people and acts of privilege that go on all day everyday. I don't agree with all the uses of the concept of privilege that I see but most certainly agree that it does exist

Renee said...

@AR
Part of owning privilege is admitting that until the day you die you will benefit from it. I know that my body exists with western privilege because of an accident of birth. I as a single person cannot undo the evil that western governments have done in my name but I can do my best to mitigate the damage by making socially conscious decisions. This will never eliminate my privilege but it is a recognition that it exists. It is also important to note that no matter how many good acts that I do, simply by residing where I do, daily I will take advantage of this privilege. The same applies to race.

Guy Vestal said...

@Renee...

Negative.

Your post is titled "The Audacity of Whiteness"...

Ergo you lumped me in even if I stood guilty of no crime.

I have no advantage because one never existed for me, I did not give it the power over me to allow it to be offered to me.

If your post was about "Black Privilege", and how "White Apologists" cast upon them, a self inflicted guilt because they feel they must suffer the punishment of being white because of the white slave owners in the US in the antebellum south, would that be a fair assessment? Would blacks truly have a privilege over whites where one exists whether it is adhered to or not?

It only takes one to debunk the claim of a "corrupt whole"...

Change the word Whiteness to Humanity in your title, and I agree with you 100%. My problem is that the body of your post backpedals away from the claim made in the title.

Humans create the hate, not a layer of skin atop our flesh. If it was our skin color that was the guilty party, then Hitler's "Blonde hair, Blue eyes" theory of racial impurity would be validated by the guilt of the Epidermis alone...

JLPRO said...

I tend to aagree with guy a little on this one. I am not perfect by any means, but it seems to me that racism is only an issue when it benefits that card be played so to speak. I am 54, and have been raised that all are created equal by my mother, Rest her soul. I have seen ALL (at the lack of a better word) sides being guilty of this.

uppitybrownwoman said...

Oh, lord.

The day I stop experiencing institutional racism is the day all white people lose their white privilege.

That day has not come yet.


Great post, Renee. Unfortunate you're being bombarded by people who would prefer to cling to their denial like it's a lifeboat.

mzbitca said...

Last night on 20/20 they had a part about white privilege. They did a couple of half-ass experiments and then had a male POC come on to talk about how white privilege is not a big deal anymore. He then went on to talk about "white guilt" and how POC are just not trying hard enough and using white privilege as an excuse. The whole segment was designed as yes white people you get away with stuff...but dont' worry about cause the POC dont' work hard enough

It seems some people this thread caught that segment an listened to only one part of it...and not the good part

Renee said...

Guy you don't want to own your privilege and this is what your responses come down to. Look it does not matter that you feel that you have not acted in its service, the point is, that it exists and you benefit from it.

KentuckyGal said...

I was at one of the "designated smoking areas" at the facility where I work and was shocked by some of the mouths that spewed racial, ethnic and sexual orientation-based spurious comments.

Macon D said...

Just wanted to let you know that I'm one white person who very much appreciates your post, and your taking the time, care, and energy to write it. I'm not too dismayed by the newbies who've come to condemn what you've said here. At least they read it, or some of it, and you've probably planted a seed in some of them.

abagond said...

That was a great choice of video. I am also impressed by the number of white commenters (and therefore lurkers) you have - even if some of them did not get it. Like Macon D said, at least they read it and that has to have some kind of effect.

DavitaCuttita said...

Hi Renee,

As a young Black woman I want to say thank you for writing this and making our voices heard. I read through the comments and the people who don't want to understand your anger or question it's source but instead tell you how "bad" you are and how race doesn't matter (I found, much like you already have, that all those negative comments came from Whites and not other readers of Colour) should just not come back here and take up this section with anymore backwater commentary and refusal to spark constructive dialogue.

As I plant my feet into young adulthood, sometimes I feel crazy when I experience racism and others tell me the person was just "having a bad day". And being called a nigger or having oppurtunities denied to me due to my skin colour doesn't make my day worse, because...?

I hope you keep writing. Thanks again.

Imhotep said...

Renee, Visiting, and enjoyed your post.

@Guy = "Racism exists because posts like this give it the power it must have to survive. "

Wow!Racism have existed long before this post, and it has survived because "good people" did not do a damn thing to challenge it, choosing instead to look the other way as they reaped their benefits.

Guy, this is quite a unique approach that you suggest. You're asking POC not to challenge white privilege when they see it or experience it, and by doing so, white privilege will automatically correct itself. Can you identify a group in history that successfully used your approach?

Guy= "I am no better than anyone else, and I have no need to whine, pi*s, moan, and snivel because I have no self-esteem, and need an excuse, or someone to point a finger at."

I agree with you on one thing, you are no better than anyone else. Inspite of that you've developed a strong judgmental streak. Did it ever occur to you that maybe the reason you don't snivel or have self-esteem issues or need to point the finger at someone is because you benefit from white privilege?

polerin said...

I've been trying not to post on posts and threads that I should be listening too and learning from, but Guy's arguments are something I must comment on.

I have spoken with cops and security guards who assume that POC under 30 are criminals and proceed from that assumption.

I was fired from a job because I got in an argument with two other white workers who were making various racist comments.

At that same job it was made clear to me by a longtime employee that he was proud of the store's white employees only policy.

Nashville is in the process of implementing a de-facto segregation into it's public schools as an attempt to lure businesses to the area.

I benefited personally from coming from a middle class white background because my dad is networked with a bunch of other people who can assist me. Not all of them are white, but the power structure is primarily white. I don't like to rely on this help, but I've needed it occasionally. It is not racist in nature, but that does not mean it is not privileged

Just little snippits off the top of my head. I did not mean to benefit from the stores policy, but the fact remains that I might not have had that job if they had been willing to hire a POC, and most definitely would not have had it if *I* had been a POC. The white kids who are zoned to better schools (which are primarily white) can't help it. The employees who I was arguing also treated their white customers better than racial minorities who came in the store. I saw it, and it's one of the reasons I got in the argument. There are times you benefit from your body and don't even know.

I know there are times I have, both ones that I can (and probably should) take the time to go back and identify, and those I will likely not ever know about. Knowing this doesn't make my life any easier, or any harder, but being aware of how I interact with people and how I affect the world around me can help others.

Julian said...

To AR.

You've clearly read the fine print in the "The Oppressor's Handbook". Well done: not. One of the sections in that book states: "be sure to obfuscate the discussion as much as possible. Focus in on one branch of one tree, so that you can pretend there is no forest." Step back, AR, and see the forest. And as Pearl Cleage recommends, take "a posture of listening" when in the company of a person of color calling you out on your racism. It obviously isn't a position you're used to taking, but you can learn, right?

The question is: what are you doing to end white supremacy, on the institutional levels, in laws, in customs, in interpersonal practices. Because coming here and writing what you write doesn't count as "anti-racist practice." (In case you didn't know.)

Sit back, and read Yurugu: An African Centered Critique of European Cultural Thought and Behavior, by Marimba Ani. Especially her sections on white "reason" and "logic". And look out: you're likely to find yourself there.

Anonymous said...

If people here actually want to end racism your diatribes of blame against white people will do nothing but create a more viscious sort class/race hatred than we already have.
If you really want to live in countries where white people are not in control I urge each one of you to move to such poc paradises as Haitie, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, Saudi Arabia or North Korea. Interesting when a poc doesn't like white people it's a cultural expression but a white person is automatically a racist.
To all pocs! what my privileges are or are not is none of your business-this whining about privilege is childish-grow up!

flewellyn said...

It's so charming to see white people appear on a post like this and scream about how you, Renee, are perpetuating racism by pointing out that it exists. As if racism was a boogeyman that only had as much power as the imaginer gave it. I'm sure that's how these white people think of it, too.

But it isn't so, folks. Guy and AR and anonymous idiot, you are clearly not understanding the nature of privilege. You object repeatedly about being tarred with the same brush as "ignorant racist people", not noticing that you have invoked white privilege in demanding to be treated as an individual; in our society, the right to be treated as an individual and not tarred with a broad brush is a privilege enjoyed only by white men. That's right, people of color, and women, don't get to be treated as individuals by default.

I am a white male; as a result, I get treated as "the default" by people who encounter me. Those who don't know me personally make assumptions about me based on my race and sex, and I'm accorded a measure of respect and deference that women or people of color do not get. I didn't ask for this special treatment, I don't care for it, and if I find someone giving me preference over a woman or person of color, I call them on it; but I still benefit from the privilege, even if I don't want to.

Guy and AR and others, it's not your fault that you have white privilege, or male privilege, or heterosexual privilege, or whatever other forms you have; these are the result of how other people in society view you, not actions you've taken. But because of this, you (and I!) have a responsibility to recognize what's happening, and to correct the injustice of it when it becomes apparent to us. Above all, we must not hide behind our privilege in order to avoid doing something about it. We can't choose whether or not we have privilege, but we can choose whether or not we conciously take advantage of it, or fight it.

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