“They still have work to do”

This weekend at WisCon I was explaining to people at the Dollhouse panel that there are many levels to privilege and understanding and such. Down on the bottom level you have the folks who are just racist or sexist or whatever and haven’t ever examined anything and don’t want to for various reasons.

But then up higher is the level where people agree that racism is bad and wrong, we’re all equal, and everyone should just stop being so mean. Na’amen helpfully labeled this the Kumbaya level, because it’s that kind of surface, touchy-feely non-racism that doesn’t actively engage with people of color or any oppressed people.  Nor does it work to change things for the better because, hey, aren’t things just great now?

While the Kumbaya level is much better than just plain racism, people on this level often really frustrate us because they are resistant to acknowledge that they still have work to do. They don’t wear white hoods so they can’t ever say or do things that have a basis in racism. Not that they are racist, but they aren’t helping, which is bad enough.

[Full post.]

I thought that this excerpt succinctly articulates the complexity of privilege and reactions to / acknowledgements of it. Obviously as a hetero white male of Anglo descent living in the UK I’m about as privileged as can be, so it is important to remind myself of this as often as possible. There is always work to do, understanding to reach, attitudes to amend, recognition to achieve.

Comments
2 Responses to ““They still have work to do””
  1. Martin says:

    That link seems to be weirdly truncated, not working for me at any rate.

  2. Shaun CG says:

    Cheers Martin – I do not know what the fuck is going on with my copy-pasting of links lately.