Often well-intentioned cis folks like myself feel kind of overwhelmed by all there is to know and, not wanting to sound ignorant or hurtful, just kind of keep to the sidelines. But it doesn’t take a degree in gender studies to be a trans ally (nor does it require you to have an LGBTQ friend)....more
Posts Tagged: privilege
Two recent novels, The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney and Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty by Ramona Ausubel, explore privilege and entitlement, and what happens when wealth disappears. It can be hard to feel sorry for trust fund kids when you live paycheck to paycheck, but:
From some distance, it’s a parable about the current age, in which an increasingly fraught vision of American prosperity abuts the realities of stagnation and loss.
In a powerful essay at Electric Literature, Nicole Dennis-Benn writes on innocence as a privilege that is not afforded to black children:
Truth is, there is nothing parents can do. There is nothing black parents can do to protect their children and their children’s innocence.
For the New York Times Bookends column, Rivka Galchen walks us through a deceptively simple poem by Zbigniew Herbert to illustrate a philosophy that supports both the abstract and the moral responsibility of art. She posits that “there is a way in which art for art’s sake is the art most open to all comers, and most (potentially) ethical.”...more
Since its publication twenty years ago, Frances Mayes’s memoir Under the Tuscan Sun has transformed its namesake Italian setting into a sort of synonym for a wealthy lifestyle. Travel writer Jason Wilson revisited the work only to discover exactly the charms it so frustratingly popularized:
However I feel about Mayes and her privilege, and the marketing phenomenon that has flourished in her wake, there’s no denying that her prose brings Bramasole to life.
In a nuanced essay at Vela Magazine, Anne P. Beatty discusses what her experiences teaching for the Peace Corps in Nepal and teaching at an impoverished school in LA taught her about privilege and about America:
Nepal seemed full of life and community and hope and culture, whereas America was lonely and sterile, devoid of sounds or smells.
For The Millions, Kate McCahill reflects on illiteracy in the modern world and checks her privilege for growing up “book-rich”:
Books, I realized sharply, suddenly, are too expensive. They’re a luxury item, designated for the rich, for the privileged. Guiltily, I remembered the crammed shelves of my childhood.
…there is a canonical body of literature in which women’s stories are taken away from them, in which all we get are men’s stories. And that these are sometimes not only books that don’t describe the world from a woman’s point of view, but inculcate denigration and degradation of women as cool things to do.
In a lot of senses, this book is as much a critique of the novel as it is a novel. It’s about the assumptions we have about who gets to create, and what has been created, and how stories get told… People have charged me with misandry, which is crazy because I truly, deeply love men… But of course this is a feminist novel, because a feminist is just someone who recognizes power structures that keep people from having the fullest life they can.
But let’s talk about it! What if? What if we changed things or at least considered changing things?
Muggle-born students of Hogwarts are an underprivileged class, while magic-born students enjoy unquantified privilege, argues Sarah Seltzer over at Flavorwire. Rowling creates a world where privilege and power are coupled together, just as wealth and race have allowed certain classes greater access to power in the real world:
Rowling isn’t arguing that a wand is directly comparable to a tennis racket but instead making the point that magic (like certain kinds of privilege) is a form of power, one that can be used for both evil and good.
“I am calling bullshit on the fact that the same people that are stretching red tape across bureaucratic processes such as child-support modifications, and family reunification, and section 8 vouchers, and long-term affordable housing, and health-care benefits, and expungements are the same people that are drawing white chalk marks around young black bodies.
Abigail Fisher, a 22-year old white girl, a graduate of LSU, just pleaded to the Supreme court that the University of Texas rejected her four years ago because of affirmative action.
UT says they’d have rejected her no matter her race; regardless, her suit might lead the Supreme Court to forbid the practice....more