I write a blog. So, like, d'oh! To write a blog, I need:
- to be literate (in English)
- Internet access
- free time
Then again, you needed these same things to read this blog. So I guess we're even on that one.
I received an email that called me out on a few things. Some were valid, some were not. (Please, people, remember what happens when you make ASSumptions.) I want to address the valid ones.
The lovely profile you see to the right, over there --> (um, under the BlogHer ads. So sue me, I'm trying to make a dime off y'all) was written a long, long time ago. Before I knew what privilege was, and how much of it I had. And I hadn't thought about the way I'd described myself, until this person pointed out some things in this email.
My first reaction was the rage, partly because of the incorrect assumptions and partly because of the cranky, due to [thing I'm going to tell you about tomorrow]. So I asked for help on this, and asked if the things person said were true according to other people. Like my good friends on Twitter.
Turns out some of the things were true. So I changed my profile.
I had a line in there that I thought was a clever reference to Charleton Heston's "Get your paws off me, you damned, dirty ape!" line. I kind of forgot that, um, Planet of the Apes (the original) was a long time ago. And maybe I'm not as clever as I think.
And my "joke" used the word "ape," which is a highly charged word even when you're making a clever reference to an old movie. Kind of like how even if you put a lower-case "i" in front of the word "pad" it still means something you use five days out of every 28 when your VAGINA is bleeding. (Who knew Apple and I had so much in common!)
Then there's the having a laptop and good grammar thing... my class and education privilege. The fact that I blog regularly (and practically live on Twitter) pretty much tells you about my class privilege, and makes it highly likely that I have a home computer/laptop anyway... right? The "better grammar" thing was supposed to be another clever joke, but meh. It's not really funny, is it?
So, yeah, I have lots of privilege. I am aware of some of it, and I try to stay aware of it.
Having privilege doesn't make me evil, though, nor does it mean my opinions are not valid. It means I have a limited view of things, and I need to watch it to make sure I don't stick my privileged foot in my privileged mouth.
It doesn't mean I don't have a right to speak about certain things, even if, egads, you disagree with me. The fact that I have not lived that particular situation my own very self does not mean I am wholly ignorant of it; I may not be an expert, I may not be able to speak from personal experience, but I may have taken the time to listen to someone who has lived through that experience. And if that person isn't there at that particular point in time, and that point of view needs to be shared, then I have a right -- and many would say a responsibility -- to speak up.
Having all this privilege means I get to speak in places where others do not. And in those situations, I try to speak up for those not welcome or included in those spaces. No, I'm not going to do it perfectly; I can almost guarantee you I'll screw up at some point. I'm going to say the wrong things sometimes, and I'm going to say incomplete things pretty much all the time (since these are not my first-hand experiences), but I'm going to do my best to call out oppression and discrimination when I see it, and to bring up the points of view and experiences that are usually silenced in those privileged spaces.
And so ends yet another rant.
I edited my profile. If you have comments or suggestions, feel free to leave them. I'll listen. (Even if I don't agree with your "tone.")