The Problem with “Privilege”

“I am so and so, and I have x privilege.” It was never quite clear what the point of these confessions were. It was not as if other participants did not know the confessor in question had her/his proclaimed privilege. It did not appear that these individual confessions actually led to any political projects to dismantle the structures of domination that enabled their privilege. Rather, the confessions became the political project themselves.

andrea smith's blog

The Problem with Privilege

by Andrea Smith

For a much longer and detailed version, see  my essay in the book Geographies of Privilege  

In my experience working with a multitude of anti-racist organizing projects over the years, I frequently found myself participating in various workshops in which participants were asked to reflect on their gender/race/sexuality/class/etc. privilege.  These workshops had a bit of a self-help orientation to them: “I am so and so, and I have x privilege.”  It was never quite clear what the point of these confessions were.  It was not as if other participants did not know the confessor in question had her/his proclaimed privilege.   It did not appear that these individual confessions actually led to any political projects to dismantle the structures of domination that enabled their privilege.  Rather, the confessions became the political project themselves.    The benefits of these confessions seemed to be ephemeral.  For…

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About Classyasfemme

"Those of us with the power to speak must speak" -Staceyann Chin College student doing some reflecting and soul-searching. Will occasionally write about the immigrant diaspora, sexuality, religion, social justice, loss, and offer advice. Most of the time it will be scrambling for answers to questions I don't know the answers to. I write as a way to express what otherwise might be forgotten in passing. I write to heal, I write to forgive, and I write for equality. Thanks for reading about bits and bobs of my little life. Keep on smiling. Profile picture is a series of body art photos done by Chinese artist Huang Yan by the way. Feel free to look him up if you're curious. View all posts by Classyasfemme

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