Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Dealing with Privileged People

This link was shared with me by a wonderful friend of mine in response to my last post. It educates the Privileged Person on how to derail any conversation with a Marginalised Person in the most arrogant, ignorant way possible. It includes tactical gems like:

You're Taking Things Too Personally

Similar to You’re Being Overemotional and yet with particular uses of its own. You see, when you say “you’re taking things too personally” you demonstrate your ignorance that these issues ARE personal for them!

That’s highly insulting and is sure to rub anyone up the wrong way. That you're already refusing to consider their reality is giving them a pretty good indication of how the conversation is going to degress, yet the natural human need for understanding will probably compel them to try and reason with you, or at least to point you in the direction of some educational resources that will help you gain insight into their experiences.

By denying the conversation is personal for them, you also reveal your own detachment: there’s really nothing at stake for you in getting into this argument, you’re just doing it for kicks. They will be all too aware of this, and it will begin to work on their emotions, preparing them nicely for the next steps you will take them through.

You're Arguing With Opinions Not Fact

If you really want to excel as a Privileged Person® you need to learn to value data, statistics, research studies and empirical evidence above all things, but especially above Lived Experience©. You can pretend you are oblivious to the fact most studies have been carried out by Privileged People® and therefore carry inherent biases, and insist that the Marginalised Person™ produce “Evidence” of what they‘re claiming.

Their Lived Experience© does not count as evidence, for it is subjective and therefore worthless.

This is very important because it works in two ways: 1) it communicates to the Marginalised Person™ that their personal testament is disbelieved and of no value, causing them great hurt; and 2) it once again reinforces your privilege.

You see, the very capacity to conduct studies, collect data and write detached “fact-based” reports on it, is an inherently privileged activity. The ability to widely access this material and research it exhaustively is also inherently privileged. Privileged People® find it easier to pursue these avenues than Marginalised People™ and so once again you are reminding them you possess this privilege and reinforcing that the world at large values a system of analysis that excludes them, and values it over what their actual personal experience has been.

The process of valuing “fact” over “opinion” is one very much rooted in preserving privilege. Through this methodology, the continued pain and othering of millions of people can be ignored because it’s supported by “opinion” (emotion) and not “fact” (rationality).

It is also important because it calls on the Marginalised Person™ to do something that is simply impossible, and that is summate the entirety of their group’s experiences into a definitive example. It is important that you establish this precedent for the next couple of steps.

Believe it or not, people--my peers, no less--actually do use these kinds of tactics whenever I bring up topics related to sexual assault and PTSD (that is, if they even deign to listen to me in the first place).

Way to go, Privileged People!

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