Something about privilege

I’ve noticed this dynamic:

  • People will learn about privilege
  • And realize they’re doing a lot of bad things
  • And then think this means they should never interact with or listen to anyone with less privilege than they do
  • Like it’s somehow appropriative or invasive
  • And that they should just keep to people who are just as privileged as they are

Some examples:

  • White English teachers who only teach books written by white people, because they think it would be appropriative to teach books written by people of color.
  • People who think it’s appropriative to read this blog or think about what I’m saying because I write from an autistic perspective and they’re not autistic
  • Folks who avoid people with disabilities because they’re worried about staring or using the wrong words
  • Men who won’t hire women because they’re worried that they will be offended by the current culture that has a lot of sexist jokes and pinups on the walls

These kinds of things are functionally identically to the way that people who are intentionally upholding privilege hierarchies behave. Continuing to act that way, but giving different reasons for it, doesn’t actually make anything better.