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That’s Thin Bashing! (and other stupid things privileged people say)

September 30, 2013


For those who cannot access this link or don’t have time to read it all (I highly recommend it), basically it boils down to this:

Any person of any identity can be an asshole to any person of any other identity. But that doesn’t make it oppression. It doesn’t even make it racism or sexism or heterosexim or any other -ism. There is a profound danger in watering down our discussion of identity by removing any mention of societal power, oppression, and privilege. Doing so ensures that the conversation remains about interpersonal slights rather than about the larger systems of oppression that are the true problem. [Emphasis not mine]

The Power that was stolen from the People
will return to the People inevitably and unfailingly.

Someone can be a bigot without being a racist/sexist/weightist/etc., mostly because any of the -ists and -isms denote a power over others. Just because I hate thin people, for instance, doesn’t mean I have the power to make thin people pay higher rates for different modes of transportation or exclude them from the majority of mainstream shopping outlets or make them less employable than fat people. Just because I despise men, for example, doesn’t mean I have the power to make them feel that their lives are in danger every time they step outside or make them walk to their cars with their keys in hand in case someone assaults them from behind or make them less likely to be upper management. (Note: I don’t actually hate thin people or men.)

The thing I think is most important is this: the problem is a broken and incompetent system.” We can’t have discussions about privilege without realizing that privilege doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Someone who benefits from white privilege can be hindered by fat discrimination, but not nearly as much as a PoC who is also fat, queer and deaf suffers. A female Asian who was born and raised in the US will have more privilege than a Hispanic male who hails from Latin America. A single dad will have more opportunities afforded to him than a single mom.

The system that makes people suffer on a daily basis needs to be eliminated permanently. Nothing short of a complete overhaul will fix our issues and I am afraid that unless we do something about it now, it may never get done. We have the power, why not use it?

Kitsune Yokai

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Nof permalink
    September 30, 2013 10:36 am

    Excellent link.

    Sometimes I feel like the conversation gets muddled because people are becoming more and more aware of privilege and oppression, but are not using the same definitions for the words. (It doesn’t help that I spend a lot of time on Tumblr, where some people act like a toddler with a new word every time the subject comes up).

    We need to have a societal sit-down and get all of these concepts straight so everyone’s working from the same page.

  2. September 30, 2013 10:57 am

    We don’t use it because people with privilege, and therefore power, don’t like to upset the applecart. Too many like where they’re at and are comfy and dont’ want real change.

  3. JeninCanada permalink
    September 30, 2013 10:58 am

    Because people with privilege, and therefore power, don’t like to upset the applecart. They’re comfortable. Why should THEY do any of the work?

  4. September 30, 2013 11:46 am

    Reblogged this on Sly Fawkes and commented:
    An excellent explanation of what privilege is. Many people don’t understand. This breaks it down nicely.

  5. October 1, 2013 6:27 am

    Well put. Every form of bigotry, including political segmentation and hating those who hate, is a judgment against another being. It’ll take a miracle to change that. And it’s coming right along.

  6. Len permalink
    October 1, 2013 10:47 pm

    A very useful resource, thank you. Sometimes I find it difficult to explain why there is no such thing as ‘reverse bigotry’ and this helps to put words around it.

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