Professor of Mathematics Izabella Laba's "A Response to … " Scott Aaronson's "Words Will Do". An exchange between a mathematician and a computer scientist, on the use of terms including: privilege, hegemony, false consciousness, mansplaining, etc., and the general problem of clear communication, when the social sciences are applied towards political causes. [more inside]
"That’s all chivalry is: basic guidelines for how not to be a sack of shit. And as long as a sack of shit is not a good thing to be, chivalry will never die." Myths Retold (previously) clears up a few errors about chivalry. It's a handy guide to privilege, human decency, history, and Arthurian legend ("It turns out you’re not even allowed to see the grail if you thought about a boob once"). [more inside]
Male engineering student Jared Mauldin, a senior at Eastern Washington University, wrote a letter to the editor of The Easterner expounding on the differences between him and the women entering his program. [more inside]
"I've collected the suffering that men so recklessly visited on myself and other women and fashioned it into a livelihood. It is not a fortune but it is a tasteful empire of pain. I might be unlovable but I am not unsellable. I know some women who drink from mugs labeled 'Male Tears.' That's what I've labeled my checking account." Alana Massey for Medium: The Monetized Man.
Jews in America struggled for decades to become white. Now we must give up whiteness to fight racism.
Advantaged people with high levels of self-control and resilience age slower. Disadvantaged people with high levels of self-control and resilience age faster.
I, Racist "Here’s what I want to say to you: Racism is so deeply embedded in this country not because of the racist right-wing radicals who practice it openly, it exists because of the silence and hurt feelings of liberal America."
via NYT: "Each year, we put out a call for college application essays about money, work and social class. This year, we picked seven -- about pizza, parental sacrifice, prep school students, discrimination and deprivation."
"To all these ends, the third- , fourth- , and fifth-graders at Lower were to be divided once a week for five weeks into small groups according to their race. In 45-minute sessions, children would talk about what it was like to be a member of that race; they would discuss what they had in common with each other and how they were different, how other people perceived them, rightly or wrongly, based on appearance. Disinhibited by the company of racially different peers, the children would, the school hoped, feel free to raise questions and make observations that in mixed company might be considered impolite. The bigger goal was to initiate a cultural upheaval, one that would finally give students of color a sense of equal ownership in the community. Once the smaller race groups had broken up, the children would gather in a mixed-race setting to share, and discuss, the insights they had gained."
The story of one private school's attempt to teach children about race and the reactions of the parents and children involved in the pilot year.
The story of one private school's attempt to teach children about race and the reactions of the parents and children involved in the pilot year.
"For my mother and women like her, now in the final chapters of their lives, people crave a narrative that forces adoption as the only possible solution." "Overwhelmingly then, adoptive parents, like myself, decide how the mothers who birthed our children should be perceived." [more inside]
"Negrotown" In the last forty-eight hours, American television comedy may have just delivered the greatest one-two punch of satire ever. First, we had Amy Shumer's brilliant sketch, "I2 Angry Men Inside Amy Shumer" on Tuesday night (previously, on Metafilter). And now, Key and Peele bring "Negrotown". [more inside]
The one percent isn’t some amorphous boogeyman inside all of us... It’s a very real class. And we don’t need a list of cultural “symptoms” of one-percent-style privilege to figure out who they are. Just run the numbers. If your household — or to be generous, the one you grew up in — makes an adjusted gross income of at least $343,000, you are, in fact, the one percent. Even if you smoke meth, went to boot camp, and are on your third marriage. Yes, even if most of your friends didn’t finish college and live kinda far from a Whole Foods. Now, if you or the household you grew up in make an adjusted gross income of less than $340,000, you are, technically, the 99 percent.Let Them Eat Privilege
Je ne suis pas liberal: Entering the quagmire of online leftism "Classifying leftist ideology in a framework of agency and trust, I find a buried contradiction at the heart of anti-oppressive activism, one in which practitioners pathologically self-position themselves in a space of chronic moral jeopardy."
Who Farts? And Who Cares? "Sociologists Martin Weinberg and Colin Williams wanted to know. They and their team interviewed 172 college students about their habits and concerns about farting and pooping. They published their results in an article called Fecal Matters. They discovered that everybody farts and everybody cares, but not everyone cares all the time or equally." [more inside]
"I am the gay community that many people think of, that gets to have its voice heard, who considers the prospect of marriage. But it certainly doesn’t end with me." (SL Atlantic)
"A longtime feminist, Kimmel maintains a delicate balance when handling his sources. He wants to be sympathetic to the people he interviews and yet loyal to his academic principles. After a series of humbling recessions and other economic shifts, men like Rick feel emasculated and humiliated, he writes, 'betrayed by the country they love, discarded like trash on the side of the information superhighway.' Their sin, according to Kimmel, is a failure to adjust. These guys refuse to admit they’ve been handed privilege all these years by a world that puts white men on top. White men, he writes, 'have been running with the wind at our backs all these years,' and 'what we think of as ‘fairness’ to us has been built on the backs of others.' The New York Times reviews sociologist Michael Kimmel's 2013 book Angry White Men: American Masculinity at the End of an Era. [more inside]
"For them it was an amazing feminist experience, but it didn’t last." Feminist blogger Jessica Valenti questions the attempt to turn "slut" into something positive:
Tanenbaum told me that, when women are in closed circle or close-knit community – like a protest with like-minded people, or among friends who understand the cheeky appropriation of the word – identifying as a “slut” can be empowering. But what inevitably happens, especially in today’s digital culture where revenge porn, stolen pictures and cyber harassment is the norm, is that “it always spills outwards.”[more inside]
"I want first to thank you, watching/reading you advocate is an inspiration. I hope to one day be as articulate and hard-working as you. If you're able, could you point me to some favorite writings on privilege/intersectionality/feminism? I'm interested to see what's inspired/informed you. Thank you!" Writer, feminist (and crafter) Ijeoma Oluo provides ten solid links to educational resources online (caveat: she does state, though, that these links barely scratch the surface.) [more inside]
White Fragility is a state in which even a minimum amount of racial stress becomes intolerable. A 2011 paper by Robin DiAngelo, author, Associate Professor of Multicultural Education, and workplace diversity trainer, explores the challenges of confronting racism which result from the inability of white people to accept that they are beneficiaries of a racist system. (PDF)
On Nerd Entitlement: an essay by Laurie Penny in the New Statesman, responding to a discussion on Scott Aaronson's blog about sexism in STEM fields and nerd culture.
It's a white industry, writes Chris Rock on show biz, from the lowliest focus-group testing gig to being a film executive. [more inside]
"In my experience, the reminder that the sexual fantasy isn’t real, that the women who perform availability aren’t ACTUALLY available, that we aren’t ACTUALLY clamouring to be sexualized by men, that we control when the fantasy starts and stops, and that our performance is just that, a performance that requires compensation… well, some men find that hard to swallow." [more inside]
"What happens, exactly, when a white family that wants a white sperm donor gets a half-black child instead? In the case of a lesbian couple from Ohio, it means a "wrongful birth" lawsuit against the sperm bank — two years after the fact. " [more inside]
Privilege and oppression explained through math - specifically, matrices and Venn diagrams.
"The cost of becoming white is hard to measure. It is ethical rather than material. By passively accepting the privileges of whiteness, Asian-Americans become complicit in America’s present system of hierarchy, a system in which the nation’s institutions inflict ongoing injustices on a racial underclass. Highly paid Asian-American Google employees do not bear more responsibility to combat racial injustice than similarly positioned white people, but they don’t bear less either. Silence and inaction on the part of those receiving privilege only makes it harder for those who are not so lucky to change the status quo." The Complicity Cost of Racial Inclusion.
Matt Zoller Seitz writes about his personal experience with coming to understand his own white privilege, in particular with interactions with police. [more inside]
Balls to the Wall: Inside New York City's Thriving Lacrosse Culture
In Anti-Surveillance Camouflage for Your Face, technology reporter Robinson Meyer details an experiment in which he tried actually going about his day to day life in downtown Washington DC while wearing CV Dazzle, (previously on MeFi) makeup and hairstyles to confuse facial recognition software. The technique is inspired by the old naval technique of dazzle camouflage, which sought not to conceal a ship, but to confuse viewers as to its size and heading. Similarly, CV Dazzle aims to confuse software by making your face look less like a face and more like a confusing collection of shapes. This proves to have unanticipated effects on how Robinson is perceived by humans as well, leading to insights about how our appearance signals our privilege and place in the social hierarchy, and how that can overlap or conflict with the digital wakes we leave.
A microaggression is defined as "a question, a comment, even an intended compliment, sometimes, that nevertheless suggests something demeaning." (More from NPR.) The Microaggressions Tumblr publishes experiences with all kinds of microaggressions. [more inside]
In March, Lawrenceville School Student Body President Maya Peterson, the first Black woman to be elected to that position, posted a photo to her Instagram account where she depicted what she described to be a “Lawrenceville boi”: white, Republican, and cockily holding a hockey stick. She used the hashtags “#romney2016,” “#confederate,” and “#peakedinhighschool." In response to the backlash from the photo, Maya, who is headed to Wesleyan in the fall, chose to step down. [more inside]
Fat-Booty Butch Buys A Suit On A Budget.
I’m a brown dyke living in the Bronx, working 40 hours a week at an non-profit arts center. I’m finally with it enough to pay all my bills on time, if at all. I’ve got a roof over my head and some change in my savings account. I’m not complaining. It’s been worse for me but fuck, just having a job feels like a blessing sometimes. Living in this city makes it feel like I’m scraping by with every penny just to live. My play money is tight and I don’t know how to sew. I wear clothes until they’ve given up on life and I’m not ashamed. I often wonder how regular people buy new clothes all the time. Clothes in the hood and at super-low discount shops never seem to last very long. Fancy clothes cost so much, like why isn’t everyone just running around in cloth diapers? What is someone like me supposed to do when they need to look good in real life?[more inside]
In the past month since publishing his essay, "Checking My Privilege: Character as the Basis of Privilege," Princeton freshman Tal Fortgang has become a hero of many in right-wing politics for his refusal to believe that he enjoys privilege. [more inside]
The Problem With Little White Girls (and Boys): Why I Stopped Being a Voluntourist
It turns out that I, a little white girl, am good at a lot of things. I am good at raising money, training volunteers, collecting items, coordinating programs, and telling stories. I am flexible, creative, and able to think on my feet. On paper I am, by most people’s standards, highly qualified to do international aid. But I shouldn’t be.
[...] I don’t want a little girl in Ghana, or Sri Lanka, or Indonesia to think of me when she wakes up each morning. I don’t want her to thank me for her education or medical care or new clothes. Even if I am providing the funds to get the ball rolling, I want her to think about her teacher, community leader, or mother. I want her to have a hero who she can relate to – who looks like her, is part of her culture, speaks her language, and who she might bump into on the way to school one morning.
Silent Technical Privilege. "Even though I didn't grow up in a tech-savvy household and couldn't code my way out of a paper bag, I had one big thing going for me: I looked like I was good at programming."
"I wanted to address the issue of people who associate, either online or in real life, or both with BDSM and their surrounding issues. It is the happy couple who find their sexual tastes intersect. People who lived steeped in the language and the subculture of BDSM often forget that they are, in fact, a subculture. It is a non-normative form of sexuality. And I feel that, in attempting to validate our own desires, we forget that." Remittance Girl writes succinctly about privilege, power dynamics and how sometimes those in to BDSM forget that perhaps it is not for everyone: "Just that while we are all busy congratulating ourselves on our openmindedness and adventurism, our liberating demands to have our ‘needs met,’ it is worth recalling that our current circumstances are born of having immense scope in our choices. And that is not everyone’s reality." NSFW
John Scalzi responds to a troll Cheezburgering "This is what a feminist looks like" on a photo of him in a regency-era gown.
Over the weekend, some dudebro with a history of shitting on women took this picture of me and meme-ized it, with the intent, given his personal history and predilections, of mocking me — both for my views as regards women, and for wearing a dress. Dudebro: Let me detail for you the various ways this picture has utterly failed you as an attempt to ridicule me.[more inside]
"The logics of privilege rest on an individualized self that relies on the raw material of other beings to constitute itself. Although the confessing of privilege is understood to be an anti-racist practice, it is ultimately a project premised on white supremacy."Andrea Smith on The Problem with 'Privilege'.
Metafilter's own Anil Dash defends talking in movies. Metafilter's own Jesse Thorn agrees, and extends the point to the world of menswear blogging.
Why the controversial (and somewhat backfired) Lauren Green interview of Reza Aslan is is about more than just Fox News idiocy.
"Popular privilege is the privileges entitled to those who are considered to be 'popular' or well liked," according to the mission statement of a Tumblr called "This Is Popular Privilege." The site's author says that she is 14, gay, a high school student, and an enthusiast of cats and anime. [more inside]
Mirrors of Privilege: Making Whiteness Visible is an interesting documentary that features the experiences of white women and men who have worked to gain insight into what it means to challenge notions of racism and white supremacy in the United States. [Part 1] [Part 2] [Part 3] [Part 4] [Part 5] [more inside]
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