metagnat: (Racism)
[personal profile] metagnat
Hi all,

This will be a rare post that's in the clear, because I want to cast a wide net, here.

I am in the middle of trying to change someone's mind. Namely, my father. He doesn't believe that privilege exists. Specifically, because there are poor white men, he does not believe that whiteness or maleness gives anyone inherent advantages in our society.

This made me very angry and, after a long ramping-up period, I finally told him so. Last night. Amongst other things that have nothing to do with political debating, but that is neither here nor there. Please send me your best links on any kind of privilege at all or any kind of inequality. Anything is great - essays, videos, maps, etc. Bonus points for anything that shows real hard data.

What I have sent him so far:
Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack
Things I Don't Have To Think About Today
The Extent of White Class Advantage

I want the best and most convincing stuff I can get a hold of. I can (and will) seek out links, myself, but I know if I go through all the stuff I would have to go through to get the best ones, I will be reduced to a gibbering pile of lefty rage.

My dad is a late-middle-aged person who is almost completely out of touch with current pop culture, so please keep that in mind when sifting your favorites. And please, if you're inclined, pass this request on to interested parties.

Date: 2010-10-20 11:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I think Cos posted something remarkably clear on the subject a few months ago. I'll check.

Date: 2010-10-21 12:47 am (UTC)

Date: 2010-10-21 04:00 am (UTC)
ext_35702: (Default)
From: [identity profile]
Check out the videos at the bottom of this page:

I also love the Tim Wise book Colorblind...

Date: 2010-10-21 09:18 am (UTC)
pastwatcher: (Default)
From: [personal profile] pastwatcher
Hi! Directed here by lowellboyslash, I didn't realize you had LJ. I had a page up of links like this for a while, but it needs editing. Here are some of my best:

Firstly, A list of privilege lists.

Advertising tells us how to be normal, and this is bad. Also, a study about how men's objectification affects women's behavior and feelings, but not vice versa.

A video on freedom of gender

I don't have any "best" links for white privilege, though I can recommend a book I read while learning in real life about it: Courageous Conversations about Race. It's really a guide for public-school educators, but for all that it's pretty good. I also just found a series of five videos by white people who learned something about their privileges. I think some of the "related" features would be from the perspectives of some people of color, though.

Finally, it sounds like your dad might benefit from a couple of Derailing for Dummies hits: Arguing with opinions or anecdotes and the next two; unfortunately there doesn't seem to be one for the most basic "But I don't see it, so it must not exist."

Oh, and if you can, get him to look up what a "silencing tactic" is.

Date: 2010-10-22 03:48 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]

Those are my top links (42!) though maybe half are focused on scifi genre fandom.

And Tim Wise ( is pretty much the go to white guy on this subject.

Date: 2010-10-22 02:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Also watching Jay Smooth on the Youtube will fill you with joy

Elon James White will not help you talk wtih your dad, but he is flipping hilarious

Date: 2010-11-06 12:51 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I think that if you want to talk to someone about privilege, you should have some sort of actual goal in mind. To be poor is a form of anti-privilege. To be white is usually form of privilege (if you're a white person in Zimbabwe, being white might get you murdered). Few people are entirely privileged or entirely unprivileged. Even a poor black person has more privilege than a starving quadriplegic black person, for example.

People focus on their privilege relative to the people around them, and someone who feels they have less power than others is going to feel unprivileged, regardless of how shitty things are for other people. If your goal is just to say, "it's better to be a poor white person than a poor black person," he probably already knows that. If your goal is something beyond that, you might try starting from a different angle closer to your goal.

Date: 2010-11-10 12:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
My goal is to get him to acknowledge that privilege exists and to understand how it works.

Well, my larger goal involves seeing if I can repair my relationship with him after years of problems of which the politics are only a part (but an important part, to me).

Date: 2010-11-10 06:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I have met very few people who did not acknowledge that on average, white people have it better than black people. If he already believes this, he will probably not see the point of your privilege argument, because it seems just be rehashing the obvious. If he doesn't believe this, if he thinks for example that black people have it better because of AA or something, then he's not going to believe in privilege.

People of our parents' ages are not doing so well in the logic departments, you know. (brainpower begins degenerating shortly after its final peak around 24, after all.) They work more on memory (what worked before) and emotion. If they seem irrational, that's probably because they are. Your chances of convincing them with a logical argument to attest to believing in some sweeping general social ideas that they may find pointless (or explicitly disagree with) seem pretty low.

Recognizing that my mother is not a rational being and not capable of using logic the way I can (or the way she used to,) has helped me not feel quite so frustrated at some of the idiotic things she says. I try to focus on and appreciate the things she can still do, like read to the kids or take them to the park.

Obviously I don't know your dad or if he's someone worth having a relationship with. But if he's basically a decent person who thinks that discrimination exists, what's the point of making your relationship hang on whether or not he understands and acknowledges privilege? Likewise, if he doesn't believe that discrimination exists, you're completely wasting your time trying to change his mind at this point.

Or in other words, my parents may be annoying (and occasionally offensive) as hell, but they used to wipe shit off my butt every day, and I'm grateful for that.
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