Confronting Your Own Privilege

“Is ‘heterosexual’ a slur? No. It describes an identity and experience. Because straight folks don’t typically experience their heterosexuality as an identity, many don’t identify as heterosexual — they don’t need to, because culture has already done that for them. Similarly, cisgender people don’t generally identify as cisgender because societal expectations already presume that they are. […]It’s an incredible and invisible power to not need to name yourself because the norms have already done that for you. You don’t need to come out as heterosexual or cisgender because it is already expected. Since it isn’t a derogatory term, those who take exception to it may be uncomfortable with trans issues, or perhaps they are unwilling to confront their own privilege.”
K.J. Rawson, interview via the Advocate

One of the greatest acts of advocacy you can partake of…confronting your own privilege.
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We Are Come At Last

Marshal your forces, you protectors of the crown,
send your dogs running, your dogs of dreams,
your dogs howling, full noses of my fur, my pelt!

Bring on your hunt, your horses in full gallop
and chase for all you’re worth, your lust and fear
of free blood running red, and full, liberty’s blood!

Your coats, scarlet!  Your smirks, affixed with tax,
and become terrible twisted rictus in your sweaty efforts
to hunt this free fox leaping, yipping, dancing on the dawn!

They shall come to me, your dogs, and wriggle ‘neath my touch!
They shall hear my dog-whistle words, too high for your dull ears
but so keenly attuned and pitched to their own straining hearts!

And they shall call to their comrades, your horses, who will alert and thrill
and leap into the air to gallop freely there…and you unhorsed…you laying there
upon the blood-stained grass of yesteryear…

Your time is up, for we are come to hunt you down
and tear that red coat straight away right off your back
and tossed into the sky, our banner free unfurled and our war cry…

No Longer!  Not Anymore!

Here Are the Real Reasons Why We White People Struggle to Admit That Racism Still Exists — Everyday Feminism

Constance:  there is a lot of this sort of talk running around these days…WASP types complaining about racism.  This article addresses that sort of thinking and does it very well.

If you think that anyone can be a racist, you are likely missing the point being driven at regarding a system in which racism is endemic and deeply rooted so badly as to be like a cancer riddling an entire body.

But what troubles me most in all of this is that we are so invested in proving that people of Color are “more racist” than we are or that we’re not racist, we are more upset by allegations that we might be racist than about the very real ways that racism plays out in the society around us.

I see my fellow White people so wrapped up in defending the idea that systemic racism doesn’t exist that we are unable to empathize with the real pain caused to people of Color by racism, both interpersonal and systemic.

For goodness sake, even the McKinney police admitted Eric Casebolt was out of line in assaulting a young Black girl for legally observing his actions, yet White people in my life were trying so hard to explain how the officer was in the right and how this “isn’t racial.”

All of this leaves me wondering about the roots of our defensiveness to admitting that racism is alive and well.

Why are we so resistant to acknowledging the countless examples of our racial privilege?

via Here Are the Real Reasons Why We White People Struggle to Admit That Racism Still Exists — Everyday Feminism.

The Mean Streets of Baltimore Look Like Human Hearts

I haven’t said much about Baltimore…others do it far better than I.

Clearly, something is very very wrong…and all the things I have been speaking about related to privilege and patriarchy pretty much determine whether you see this or not.

And let me (once again) be clear:  my own eye-opening is a matter of about the last 5 years, and it has been accompanied by plenty of mourning and sorrow for the many lost years…just had to say that since there are those who think I merely ape the views of others and have a free pass from consequences…consequences I have been paying longer than these accusers have lived on this planet…but I digress.

Baltimore:  what is there that the likes of I can say?  So instead, I will post pics of the thing that makes the most sense as a response to what is taking place…and vicariously post this as my own cleansing ritual over my own soul and heart in order to be divested of the pollution and defilement of the past month.

Here is a novel idea…it would actually resolve Baltimore…and other matters as well:

Do Justice.  Love Mercy.  Walk Humbly.
Love, Charissa

 

A woman burns sage on the streets of Baltimore – 

Shameeka Dream walks along a line of Maryland State Troopers stationed on North Avenue while burning sage in the wake of protests for the death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore, Maryland on April 28, 2015.19

A Thoughtful Implication In Favor of Relationship…

Constance, this lil essay below illustrates a similar experience that I have virtually everyday, except from the other end of the spectrum and working back.

I liked it, for it did a great job of revealing the underlying obligations that the paradigm encumbers all of us with.

Please chew on it awhile…and then think about how you can take people for who they are as the inside soul reveals, rather than how the outside accoutrements imply…one involves assumption, and one involves relationship…

“swanjolras:

okay, i have been trying to say this in a way that makes sense for ages, so here goes:

a lot of hatred of dresses, pink, stereotypically “feminine” stuff is based on internalized misogyny. and that’s definitely something we all need to look at within ourselves and address and work on.

but: a lot of hatred of dresses, pink, stereotypically “feminine” stuff is based on the fact that femininity is compulsory for people who are assigned female at birth.

like, this is a fact. this isn’t something i’m making up. femininity is compulsory. i have to wear dresses and makeup to be taken seriously when i go to job interviews, when i go to social occasions, when i present myself in any formal setting. when i don’t do that, people notice. they’re rude to me.

when i shop in the men’s section, store employees and customers glare at me! my relatives press feminine clothes on me during the holiday season because they think i should dress in a more feminine way! when i go to get my hair cut and ask for it to be cut in a certain style, the woman cutting my hair literally ignores that explicit instruction because it’s “too butch”. femininity is compulsory! i am not allowed to present my gender the way i would like to present my gender!

it’s not the fault of femininity that it’s being forced on me. and the patriarchy does devalue femininity. and the current rhetoric of “you can wear pink and skirts and still be a feminist and still be queer and it’s other people’s fault for not taking you seriously, not yours for dressing that way” is great.

but i’ve heard people say to me, “you can wear lipstick and dresses and still be a feminist” about a thousand times, and i have never, ever,ever heard someone say to me, “you can refuse to wear lipstick and dresses and you are no less of a woman than someone who does wear them.” i had to figure that out all on my own.

i’m allowed to be angry at the cis women who force me to present myself in a way that i don’t want to present myself. i am allowed to do that.

I will scream the bolded from the rooftops for you if you want. <3″

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Why Indeed?

 

 

Similarities between Blake Brockington and Leelah Alcorn

1. They wore both Transgender.

2, They were both rejected by their families. (Blake was in fostercare because his family kicked him out)

3.  Their ages. (Blake had just turned 18, and Leelah was 17 turning 18)

4. They both commited suicide.

So explain to me why this well known Transgender activist, Blake Brockington, who raised thousands for charity and became the first black transgender homecoming king is getting almost no media attention. Leelah Alcorn trended across Twitter and Tumblr—even got her own Wikipedia page and article in People magazine. 

This is by no means a comparison or a contest for opression. But Blake Brockington deserves the same memorial Leelah Alcorn was given— if not more.  Three thousand to three hundred and sixty four( and that is including articles about him winning @ HOCO) .

The only clear difference between them is his race. Preserve this young man’s life.

REST IN POWER KING, BLAKE BROCKINGTON.

Constance, the above is a quoted passage that I found today…I think it is worth noting the first four points as the only important thing…and then it is worth noting that race was a huge significant factor in this disparaging difference as the only factor!  Both and.  Not either or!

Fight off issue fatigue, and keep passionate about freedom and life.
Charissa

Remind me again how the patriarchy does not oppress women and children?

“message to all you privileged white american girls saying “we don’t need feminism” because you don’t “feel oppressed” here’s an example of why we DO still need feminism and a friendly reminder that the rest of the f**kn world exists too”

IMPORTANT!!!

Why Reverse Oppression Simply Cannot Exist (No Matter What Merriam-Webster Says) — Everyday Feminism

Why Reverse Oppression Simply Cannot Exist (No Matter What Merriam-Webster Says) — Everyday Feminism.

What a great article, one that plays directly into the post I just made about Side-B and the ex-gay movement.

The point here?  When you are in power it is by definition impossible to be oppressed…and what most people who have privilege do not realize??

Being treated mean does NOT equal being oppressed.

Period…period.  Oppression is a systematic squelching of all hope, light and life…and yeah, it is indeed mean…but meanness is not oppression in and of itself.

Thoughtfully consider the points here…and then go out, and give up some power!

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If Privilege Was Visual, It Would Look Like This

Constance, I am reposting this here…not written by me but definitely endorsed.

November 22, 2014 by

Originally published on Lefty Cartoons and cross-posted here.

Privilege can be near-invisible to those who have it. Without a conscious, deliberate effort to be aware of it, it’s almost never on our radars.

And because of this, being told that you benefit from systematic social favoritism can be hard to accept at first. It’s not uncommon to feel that people are telling you that your life is simple and that you don’t work for what you have.

But privilege is more complicated than that. This cartoon provides a useful visualization.

The Straight, Ablebodied, Rich, White Man’s Burden

For more information on this topic, check out the following:

Barry Deutsch is the Portland-based author and cartoonist of Ampersand, a political comic with a generally progressive sensibility. A new Ampersand comic appears in every issue of Dollars and Sense Magazine. Barry attended Oberlin College in Ohio in the late 1980s, the School of Visual Arts in New York City in the 1990s (where he took classes from comics legend Will Eisner), and graduated from Portland State University several years ago. While at PSU, his political cartoons won the Charles M. Schulz Award. His current comics project is my comic book Hereville, a fantasy adventure comic about an 11-year-old Jewish girl. Check out his blogand follow him on Twitter @barrydeutsch.

Speaking up for Gender Equality: “If not me, who? If not now, when?”

I don’t know why I didn’t think of reblogging this immediately!! But I dreamed about it last night, so here it is Constance.

Here is the deal with Dani…writing technique is precise and on point, intelligence and awareness informs that technique and keeps it quickened and living, topical selection is relevant and current, but more than anything else is that living throbbing sticky HEART that keeps every single one of us coming back for more.

I have been accused of being a fawning sycophant for Dani (giggle…first time in my life for that one!!)…but that is not true.  The fact is she is a writer of true talent and dedicated application of that talent.  Don’t believe me?  Just browse back thru her posts…you’ll see.  She will get you with one of her arrows, for sure.

🙂

You go, Girl, you go…and Constance, you go too over the BloomingSpiders and push “Follow”.

Love to my Sis…Charissa

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All that is needed for the forces of evil to triumph is for good men and women to do nothing. –Edmund Burke (1729-1797)

Image courtesy of www.imaginepeace.com Image courtesy of http://www.imaginepeace.com

I turn 35 in nine days and, as is customary for this time of year, I take some heart notes on where I am and, more importantly, who I am.  I’d like to say that I have it together.  That I know every scar and tear in my soul’s heart, but that would be a lie.  And I don’t lie.  Not anymore.

This past year my thoughts have drifted over the length of who I am.  I have chosen my emotional metric to be strides taken, words spoken and moments of self shared.  I have looked beyond my shell to the soft center of my personhood.  And there…I have found pearls.  Among them sits this:

I am a woman.

And blessed to…

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Andrea Gibson Performs ‘Privilege Is Never Having to Think About It’ — Everyday Feminism

Andrea Gibson Performs ‘Privilege Is Never Having to Think About It’ — Everyday Feminism.

Constance…this is a great post, and should make you think.  The link takes you to a performance…I am posting the poem here in transcript form, and the decisions about line breaks are mine…if it is good, credit to Andrea Gibson and if it is bad blame to me.

Give some thinking about privilege, cus chances are, all of us who have WordPress Blogs likely do indeed have some privilege as well…but I will let you figure out how that works!

Charissa Grace

 

This poem has two working titles. It might end up having five working titles.
The first one is “Privilege Is Never Having to Think About It.”
And the second one is “Touring with a Black Poet: For Sonya Renee.”

She steps out
of the hotel bathroom dressed to the nines —
stilettos sharp in her glossy, glossy,
elegant, tailored, boom glittering,
a bold burgundy neckline —
locks her shining eyes on the worn t-shirt
I haven’t changed in days and says,
“Are you going to wear that on stage?”

I smile,
gloating in the cool of my gritty apathy,
the oh-so-thrift-store of my dirty grunge.

She says, “honey, do you have any idea
how much privilege it takes
to think it is cool to dress poor?
You wear that dirty shirt;
you are a radical saving the world.
I wear that dirty shirt,
and I am a broke junkie thief
getting followed around every store.”

That conversation happened years ago.
On the same tour where Sonya watched
me pay 75 bucks to have my hair
cut in a way that would make me look
like — quote — like
“I couldn’t afford a haircut.”

The same tour that began
the day after I was the feature performer
at a university’s women of color symposium.
No, I did not ask whether or not
featuring a woman of color instead.
Yes, I got paid. I’m pretty sure it was a good paycheck.

Just like
I’m pretty sure someone licked the paycheck
when Trayvon Martin’s gun range targets
got sold out in two days.

I know those things are not exactly the same

I know I wanted to burn
every noose white seam of our cotton flag
when Trayvon Martin’s mother
was on the witness stand
trying to convince a jury
of mostly white mothers that
she could actually recognize
the sound of her own son’s scream.

I know I wanted to
split the fucking sky
when I heard
the whip of the verdict
and Sonya had posted online,
“How many different ways
can this country tell me
I am worthless?”

I know it was right then
that I walked upstairs and started counting
the hoodies in my closet. I have fourteen hoodies
that tell me I will never be forced
to dress a wound as deep as my mother’s heart.
She will never be woken in her sleep
to peel my body off gated grass,
to beg God to sew the hole in my chest.

I know my family will never
have to hear justice, say it wasn’t
until I was lying in my casket
that I was wearing the right clothes.

I know a woman
who once knew a woman
who collected the metal collars
they used to lock around
the necks of black children
to chain them to the auction block.
I was told
she hung them
on the walls of her home
for decoration.

I remember when I used to believe
that was the entire definition of racism.

Believed there was no one
hanging in my wardrobe.
Believed my style
had nothing in common
with king Leopold’s.
Thought I am not
outfitting the Congo
in spilled blood.

I am just buttoning up my shirt here.
I am just rolling up my sleeves.
I am not unstitching the face of Emmett Till.
I am not unzippering the wail of his mother’s grief.

The laces of my shoes are just the laces of my shoes.
They could not tie a body to a tree.
I am not fashioning a noose here.

Sonya, do you hear me?

My compassion is not a costume.
My passivity is not hate.
My privilege is not genocide.
This is just how I cut my hair.
That was just how they cut the check.
This is just how I dress.

Your wound.

I don’t even think about
what I wear.

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Privilege 101: A Quick and Dirty Guide

So Constance…I was wracking my lil pea brain, trying to find a way to begin to teach others around me about privilege.

The man that I interacted with last week was so steeped in privilege that he was like a fish in water, who would be befuddled if you tried to explain privilege to him…

…and I am going to have to become erudite on this topic, beginning today.  So when I found the article below, I decided to just post the whole thing here…I hyperlinked the title so you can go to the website itself, Everyday Feminism (which I highly recommend as a good source of information).

Join me on the journey?  Let us resolve to live like this: giving to others the privilege we want for ourselves, for if we all of us did that…

…yeah, that would mean that we

did justly
loved mercy
walked humbly.

Love, Charissa

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Privilege 101: A Quick and Dirty Guide

Source: No Greater Joy

“Privilege” is a word you’ll hear often in social justice spaces, both offline and online.

Some people understand the concept easily. Others – and I was like this – find the concept confusing and need a little more help.

If you’re willing to learn about privilege, but you don’t know where to start, you’ve come to the right place!

Before we get started, I want to clarify that this article is not entirely comprehensive. That is to say, it’s not going to explain everything there is to know about privilege. But it’ll give you a good foundation on the basics.

Think of privilege not as a single lesson, but as a field of study. To truly understand privilege, we must keep reading, learning, and thinking critically.

Defining Privilege

The origins of the term “privilege” can be traced back to the 1930s, when WEB DuBois wrote about the “psychological wage” that allowed whites to feel superior to black people. In 1988, Peggy McIntosh fleshed out the idea of privilege in a paper called “White Privilege and Male Privilege: A Personal Account of Coming to See Correspondences through Work in Women’s Studies.”

We can define privilege as a set of unearned benefits given to people who fit into a specific social group.

Society grants privilege to people because of certain aspects of their identity. Aspects of a person’s identity can include race, class, gender, sexual orientation, language, geographical location, ability, and religion, to name a few.

But big concepts like privilege are so much more than their basic definitions! For many, this definition on its own raises more questions than it answers. So here are a few things about privilege that everyone should know.

1. Privilege is the other side of oppression.

It’s often easier to notice oppression than privilege.

It’s definitely easier to notice the oppression you personally experience than the privileges you experience since being mistreated is likely to leave a bigger impression on you than being treated fairly.

So consider the ways in which you are oppressed: How are you disadvantaged because of the way society treats aspects of your identity? Are you a woman? Are you disabled? Does your sexuality fall under the queer umbrella? Are you poor? Do you have a mental illness or a learning disability? Are you a person of color? Are you gender non-conforming?

All of these things could make life difficult because society disenfranchises people who fit into those social groups. We call this oppression.

But what about the people society doesn’t disenfranchise? What about the people society empowers at our expense? We call that privilege.

Privilege is simply the opposite of oppression.

2. We need to understand privilege in the context of power systems.

Society is affected by a number of different power systems: patriarchy, white supremacy,heterosexism, cissexism, and classism — to name a few. These systems interact together in one giant system called the kyriarchy.

Privileged groups have power over oppressed groups.

Privileged people are more likely to be in positions of power – for example, they’re more likely to dominate politics, be economically well-off, have influence over the media, and hold executive positions in companies.

Privileged people can use their positions to benefit people like themselves – in other words, other privileged people.

In a patriarchal society, women do not have institutional power (at least, not based on their gender). In a white supremacist society, people of color don’t have race-based institutional power. And so on.

It’s important to bear this in mind because privilege doesn’t go both ways. Female privilege does not exist because women don’t have institutional power. Similarly, black privilege, trans privilege, and poor privilege don’t exist because those groups do not have institutional power.

It’s also important to remember because people often look at privilege individually rather thansystemically. While individual experiences are important, we have to try to understand privilege in terms of systems and social patterns. We’re looking at the rule, not the exception to the rule.

3. Privileges and oppressions affect each other, but they don’t negate each other.

I experience my queerness in relation to my womanhood. I experience these aspects of my identity in relation to my experience as a mentally ill person, as someone who’s white, as someone who is South African, as someone who is able-bodied, as someone who is cisgender.

All aspects of our identities – whether those aspects are oppressed or privileged by society – interact with one another. We experience the aspects of our identities collectively and simultaneously, not individually.

The interaction between different aspects of our identities is often referred to as anintersection. The term intersectionality was coined by Kimberlé Crenshaw, who used it to describe the experiences of black women – who experience both sexism and racism.

While all women experience sexism, the sexism that black women experience is unique in that it is informed by racism.

To illustrate with another example, mental illness is often stigmatized. As a mentally-ill woman, I have been told that my post-traumatic stress disorder is “just PMS” and a result of me “being an over-sensitive woman.” This is an intersection between ableism and misogyny.

The aspects of our identities that are privileged can also affect the aspects that are oppressed.Yes, privilege and oppression intersect — but they don’t negate one another.

Often, people believe that they can’t experience privilege because they also experience oppression. A common example is the idea that poor white people don’t experience white privilege because they are poor. But this is not the case.

Being poor does not negate the fact that you, as a white person, are less likely to become the victim of police brutality in most countries around the world, for example.

Being poor is an oppression, yes, but this doesn’t cancel out the fact that you can still benefit from white privilege.

As Phoenix Calida wrote:

“Privilege simply means that under the exact same set of circumstances you’re in, life would be harder without your privilege.

Being poor is hard. Being poor and disabled is harder.

Being a woman is hard. Being a trans woman is harder.

Being a white woman is hard, being a woman of color is harder.

Being a black man is hard, being a gay black man is harder.”

Let’s look at the example of people who are both poor and white. Being white means that you have access to resources which could help you survive. You’re more likely to have a support network of relatively well-off people. You can use these networks to look for a job.

If you go to a job interview, you are more likely to be interviewed by a white person, as white people are more likely to be in executive positions. People in positions of power are usually the same race as you, so if they are racially prejudiced, it’s likely that they would be prejudiced in your favor.

A poor black person, on the other hand, will not have access to those resources, is unlikely to be of the same race as people in power, and is more likely to be harmed by racial prejudice.

So once again: Being white and poor is hard, but being black and poor is harder.

4. Privilege describes what everyone should experience.

When we use the word “privilege” in the context of social justice, it means something slightly different to the way it’s used by most people in their everyday environment.

Often we think of privilege as “special advantages.” We frequently hear the phrase, “X is a privilege, not a right,” conveying the idea that X is something special that shouldn’t be expected.

Because of the way we use “privilege” in our day-to-day lives, people often get upset when others point out some of their privileges.

A male acquaintance of mine initially struggled to understand the concept of privilege. He once said to me, “Men don’t often experience gender-based street harassment, but that’s not a privilege. It’s something everyone should expect.”

Correct. Everyone should expect to be treated that way. Everyone has a right to be treated that way. The problem is that certain people aren’t treated that way.

To illustrate: Nobody should be treated as if they are untrustworthy based on their race. But often, people of color – particularly black people – are mistrusted because of prejudice towards their race.

White people, however, don’t experience this systemic, race-based prejudice. We call this “white privilege” because people who are white are free from racial oppression.

We don’t use the term “privilege” because we don’t think everyone deserves this treatment.

We call privilege “privilege” because we acknowledge that not everyone experiences it.

5. Privilege doesn’t mean you didn’t work hard.

People often get defensive when someone points out that they have privilege. And I totally understand why – before I fully understood privilege, I acted the same way.

Many people think that having privilege means you have had an easy life. As such, they feel personally attacked when people point out their privilege. To them, it feels as if someone is saying that they haven’t worked hard or endured any difficulties.

But this is not what privilege means.

You can be privileged and still have a difficult life. Privilege doesn’t mean that your life is easy, but rather that it’s easier than others.

I saw this brilliant analogy comparing white privilege and bike commuting in a car-friendly city, and it inspired me to broaden the analogy to privilege in general.

So let’s say both you and your friend decide to go cycling. You decide to cycle for the same distance, but you take different routes. You take a route that is a bit bumpy. More often than not, you go down roads that are at a slight decline. It’s very hot, but the wind is at usually at your back. You eventually get to your destination, but you’re sunburnt, your legs are aching, you’re out of breath, and you have a cramp.

When you eventually meet up with your friend, she says that the ride was awful for her. It was also bumpy. The road she took was at an incline the entire time. She was even more sunburnt than you because she had no sunscreen. At one point, a strong gust of wind blew her over and she hurt her foot. She ran out of water halfway through. When she hears about your route, she remarks that your experience seemed easier than hers.

Does that mean that you didn’t cycle to the best of your ability? Does it mean that you didn’t face obstacles? Does it mean that you didn’t work hard? No. What it means is that you didn’t face the obstacles she faced.

Privilege doesn’t mean your life is easy or that you didn’t work hard. It simply means that you don’t have to face the obstacles others have to endure. It means that life is more difficult for those who don’t have the systemic privilege you have.

So What Now?

Often, people think that feminists and social justice activists point out people’s privilege to make them feel guilty. This isn’t the case at all!

We don’t want you to feel guilty. We want you to join us in challenging the systems that privilege some people and oppress others.

Guilt is an unhelpful feeling: It makes us feel ashamed, which prevents us from speaking out and bringing about change. As Jamie Utt notes, “If privilege guilt prevents me from acting against oppression, then it is simply another tool of oppression.

You don’t need to feel guilty for having privilege because having privilege is not your fault: It’s not something you chose. But what you can choose is to push back against your privilege and to use it in a way that challenges oppressive systems instead of perpetuating them.

So what can you – as a person who experiences privilege – do?

Understanding privilege is a start, so you’ve already made the first move! Yay!

There’s a great deal of information out there on the Internet, so I’d firstly recommend that you read more about the concepts of oppression and privilege in order to expand your understanding. The links in this article are a good place to start.

But merely understanding privilege is not enough. We need to take action.

Listen to people who experience oppression. Learn about how you can work in solidarity with oppressed groups. Join feminist and activist communities in order to support those you have privilege over. Focus on teaching other privileged people about their privilege.

Above all else, bear in mind that your privilege exists.

Sian Ferguson is a Contributing Writer at Everyday Feminism. She is a South African feminist currently studying toward a Bachelors of Social Science degree majoring in English Language and Literature and Gender Studies at the University of Cape Town. She has been featured as a guest writer on websites such as Women24 and Foxy Box, while also writing for her personal blog. In her spare time, she tweets excessively @sianfergs, reads about current affairs, and spends time with her gorgeous group of friends. Read her articles here.

Explaining White Privilege to a Broke White Person | Gina Crosley-Corcoran

Explaining White Privilege to a Broke White Person | Gina Crosley-Corcoran.

Another very well written and informative explanation of privilege…please check it out.  If you, as I once was , are blind to the ways your skin color or your gender status or your monetary status give you special access to good things and special protection from bad things, then take it from me in faith who once was as you but now can see…

…the consideration of these persuasive words is essential for anyone who desires to live the best expression of justice, mercy and humility that they can.

And as always, I am grateful and humbled that you come here and spend your time!

Love, Charissa

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White privilege: An insidious virus that’s eating America from within – Salon.com

“But the most insidious power of white privilege, the albatross effect that makes it so oppressive to white people themselves, is the way it renders itself invisible and clouds the collective mind. It’s like a virus that adapts in order to ensure its own survival and perpetuation, in this case by convincing its host it isn’t there.”

via White privilege: An insidious virus that’s eating America from within – Salon.com.

Constance…go.  Read.

But before you do, allow me to comment that there is a direct analogy to cis-gender privilege.

I am in a pretty unique position to make this statement.  Here is why:

Up until last March, when the scales fell from my eyes about my own true nature and the disintegrated state of my being, on a slow boat to death and no better prospect, I was completely blind to all forms of privilege I was granted due to the circumstances of my biological body, my skin color, and my socio-economic strata.

I would have sworn on a stack of bibles that I had no privilege.  Being “male”?  A huge burden! (in my case, this was sublimation, lol, but the point still holds).  Being white?  Big deal, I get no affirmative action…etc. etc. etc.!!

I was totally and completely wrong…cuz I was totally and completely blind to these things.  The oppressive effect of privilege which conceals itself from its host is such a powerful concept.

It wasn’t until my eyes were opened that I had any awareness, let alone interest in affecting lasting change.  But now?  This cannot stand.  I cannot call myself one who seeks justice and loves mercy and walks humbly if I do not eschew privilege and seek to liberate my neighbor as a profound act of love.

This is why I am always exhorting you, Constance, if you are cis, to be continually educating yourself, asking for eyes to see, and then taking the courage of your convictions and putting them into action.

Shine on, eyes steady and heart even steadier!

Charissa Grace

This says it better than I just tried…

Constance, I just read my online newsletter devotional that I get each morning called “A Slice of Infinity”…and this morning’s was an excellent thrust towards the very same ideas I was attempting to convey in my earlier post about foundations and effects.

I hope you enjoy it…and I hope you don’t!

Maybe that good poke that we all need and doesn’t feel that great would be appropriate?

I do believe that our current cultural paradigm, our presupposition of “the way it ought to be” is so easily summed up by the phrase “at ease in Zion”, which means having all things, all advantages, and yet just sitting back and wallowing in self-preoccupation and self-service.

All around us, right here in this very nation, in your state, nay, in your town are humans oppressed and burdened as bad as anyone anywhere.

Are your eyes open?  Is your heart?  Will you step out and share your ease, your station, and make a way for even the least?

From a transgender woman, who is swimming away from privilege and power as fast as she can shinny thru the waters,

Charissa

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Sledgehammers and Other Good News

I found myself sighing with something like relief one day after reading a comment made by C.S. Lewis. He was responding to a statement made by a scholar who noted that he didn’t “care for” the Sermon on the Mount but “preferred” the Pauline ethics.

Lewis was of course bothered at the suggestion of Scripture alternatives between which we may freely pick and choose, and it was this that he addressed first. But his response also included a striking remark about the Sermon on the Mount itself, and this is what caught my attention. Said Lewis, “As to ‘caring for’ the Sermon on the Mount, if ‘caring for’ here means liking or enjoying, I suppose no one cares for it. Who can like being knocked flat on his face by a sledgehammer? I can hardly imagine a more deadly spiritual condition than that of the man who can read that passage with tranquil pleasure. This is indeed to be ‘at ease in Zion.’”(1)

To be “at ease in Zion” was the deplorable state of existence the prophet Amos spoke of in his harsh words to the Israelites.(2) Reeling in false security and erroneous confidence from their economic affluence and self-indulgent lifestyles, the Israelites, Amos warned, would be the first God would send into exile if they failed to heed his words.

The Sermon on the Mount was likely as alarming to those who first heard it as the thought of exile for those whose homeland is far more than an identity. Lewis’s comparison of Christ’s words to a sledgehammer is not far off. Those potent chapters are not unlike the electric paddles used to shock the heart back to life, back to the rhythm it was intended to have all along.

The Sermon on the Mount is like the keynote address for the kingdom Christ came to introduce and to gather us together like a hen gathers her chicks. On that mountainside, Jesus points out many of the mountains that blur vision of this kingdom. He repeatedly notes that we are not quite seeing as he sees, not grasping reality as it really is. “You have heard that it was so…” he says again and again, “but I tell you…”

His words are hard and thorough, and even the simplest of phrases is permeated with the profound glory of a kingdom we far too easily settle for only seeing in part:

Blessed are the poor in spirit…
Blessed are those who mourn…
Blessed are the meek…
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness…
Blessed are the merciful…
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.(3)

Perhaps I have become at ease in Zion if I can read these words without wondering if I am among the blessed, if I am one seeing God or missing it.

When I lose sight of the kingdom behind the haze of selfish ambition, guilt, or fear, Christ’s words become like a foghorn calling me to set my eyes on the one I follow and live up to the hope I embody: “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again?”

When I find myself making demands of God, I am shown again just how much God demands of me. “You’ve heard it said, ‘You shall not murder. But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister’ is guilty of the same.

For the crowds that gathered that day on the hillside, Jesus’s words were likely quite troubling. If God’s commandments were difficult to follow before this sermon, they were now entirely terrifying. Who can stand in this kingdom Jesus describes? And how is this good news? How could we ever be gathered into this communion?

And yet, in all of his wisdom, in his unfathomable love, in the middle of his sermon Jesus proclaims gently but confidently: Do not worry. It is as if he says to those rightly awake and trembling with the fear of certain failure, “I am not only the fulfillment of all the law and the prophets, but the embodiment of these good things and the one who makes all things possible for you.” This, he also says repeatedly. In his humanity, Jesus vicariously approaches our own, lifting us to possibilities we can only imagine.

The Sermon on the Mount is a concentrated example of how Jesus came to fulfill in us dynamically everything the law meant to show us. Like a sledgehammer to a frozen heart, his life cries out to all who are at ease in Zion, whether cold from self-indulgence or unaware of God’s life-giving pursuit of our affection. In this, Christ’s role is uncompromisable.

He is both the human Son of God who is embodiment of all we are meant to be in the fellowship of the Father and our mediator who bestows us the very possibility.

Jill Carattini is managing editor of A Slice of Infinity at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia.

(1) C.S. Lewis, God in the Dock (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1970), 181.
(2) Amos 6:1.
(3) Matthew 5:3-9.

When enforcing gender norms turns violent | PBS NewsHour

When enforcing gender norms turns violent | PBS NewsHour.

Constance…re-posting this for your consideration.  I also encourage you to peruse the comment section.  This is rarely a good idea to do with online articles…but this time it is illustrative of the very subject of the article.

Be sure you put on your suit of armour though, and spray yourself with hate/ignorance/harassment repellant, as it is there in quantities of mass-pollution.

One of the hugest eye-openers to me was that of how the privilege I had been socialized into by virtue of being born in a biological male body and forced into that role by all powers from my parents to the church…that very privilege blinded me to the ways that I myself oppressed non-privileged human beings, even in my very attempts to help them!

My desires to help people, to show them the wonders of Divine Love, to assist them into higher ways of being…nearly always this was me policing the behaviour of others without actually entering into their world, bearing their burdens and identifying with them in their station…in other words, I was more a Pharisee than I was a Follower…

In prayers for the opening of the eyes of our hearts,

Charissa Grace

PS:  I do think that there is a way for a trans-person to live with grace and mercy, and assist the clumsy, the ignorant, the rude and the invasive…it takes courage first of all, then self-control, benign indifference to wounds that are minor, refusal to take offense over wrongs small or great, and a genuine welcoming heart for those who genuinely want to approach and reach out, but lack even the beginning tools to know how to put this desire into action.

In these last months, I have found that when I notice others who are uncomfortable or bound up around me, but sense that they wish to interact, if I simply tell them that I am newly transitioning, and I share in their awkwardness myself when I look in the mirror, it brings them a relief and freedom, and births genuine dialogue…they will give me permission to educate them, and actually leave glad, empowered to be kind, and an ally.

Hey…this is the very grace that we can, each and every one of us, extend to one another in all things, all ways and all times…it’s simple, really…but not easy.

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Acceptance

I watched, sideways and slinky,
out of my eye’s teary corner
as the lowbrow boorish bear
raised his word-whip and
his tongue-lash whistled and screamed
down on her, making up in force
what he was denied in volume.

“Stupid fucking bitch!
Why can’t you just accept
that’s the way it is!”
Each word a blow,
each sound flaying her skin,
bashing its way into her soul,
thrusting and tearing…
hell, you could SEE it in her eyes!!
I glanced around,
but in the music-haze and
alcohol buzzy packed room
no one else was watching.
Their eyes bounced
up and over the scene
like little all terrain vehicles
jumping over ravines.

I quivered, thinking
I was afraid and helpless,
caught on that word…

accept!

And I thought about
how fire accepts water or
how light accepts darkness or
how oil accepts water…

and then I realized that
what I thought was fear
was absolute and total rage
scintillating through my soul and
searing my heart
as it burned wild.

Later, I reflected
on steam,
and on snow,
and on the way water moves
over and around.
And other mysteries
of wind and sail
and fruit and press
And I vowed
to redeem that word…
accept…
before I die.

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