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Xiphias Gladius

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By the way, I DO divide the world into "good guys" and "bad guys". [Aug. 19th, 2010|05:52 pm]
Xiphias Gladius
Just so you know: if you're against the building of an Islamic community center in Downtown Manhattan, you're one of the bad guys.

If you are saying, "well, sure, they have the LEGAL right to do it, but by putting it there, they're just being provocative," then you may not be particularly evil yourself, but you're intimidated by the evil people into being one of their henchmen. People doing completely normal things like building community centers aren't being provocative. The people who you are afraid they will provoke? Those are the bad guys. And if you are saying that they should modify their behaviors to do what the bad guys want, then you are saying that you support the bad guys.

And that means that you're one of the bad guys.

And THAT means that I find you a danger to me, personally. I'm Jewish. Right now, Jews are mostly considered more or less white. But that could change. And the second it does, people will start saying things like, "Well, sure, they COULD build a synagogue there, but wouldn't that just be asking for trouble?"

Everything that people are saying about the downtown Manhattan community center, I just automatically hear people saying that about something that I might want to do someday. If you're against them, then you're against me, and you're also against justice, freedom, and every ideal that this country stands for.

Just so we're clear on that.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: xiphias
2010-08-20 10:40 am (UTC)
The meanings are all related. "White" means, in the United States, "part of the majority culture". If you're not white, you're reliant on the legal system to protect your rights as a minority. If you're white, it just happens -- your rights aren't in question in the first place.

"White privilege" is simply the "privilege" of being treated with a baseline of respect and decency. It's NOT, actually, a level of respect ABOVE what people ought to be able to expect -- rather, it's the "privilege" of being treated the way that people ought to be treated in general. It means the "privilege" of NOT being subject to persecution.
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[User Picture]From: dichroic
2010-08-20 10:52 am (UTC)
I agree that they're related, but I don't think they're identical, and I do think it's interesting watching them drift. I agree entirely with your definition of "white privilege" (and "male privilege", "het privilege", etc). But privilege covers a myriad of things - there's a reason it's "unpacking the invisible knapsack" and not, say, "unpacking the invisible box", where a box often contains one item but a knapsack can be assumed to have a bunch of stuff in it.

In this case, you used the term "white" in reference to the one aspect of safety from persecution, and it's a good usage because it was vivid and immediately intelligible. But even though it's really just a sharpening of a concept in one particular direction it was new enough to me that I found it interesting. I expect I'll be seeing it used that way more often in future.
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[User Picture]From: ailbhe
2010-08-20 01:35 pm (UTC)
Huh, I always thought that was because you can carry a knapsack around without noticing it much, fairly often.
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[User Picture]From: dichroic
2010-08-20 01:51 pm (UTC)
Both?
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