CN: In-depth discussion of the usage and purpose of slurs and the common defenses for using slurs; discussion of racism, sexism, anti-gay bias, and classism.
Warning: There will be a couple of slurs written out in full in this article. They are written this way to maintain clarity in a purely educational piece. I made a point to limit how many slurs I used and to avoid using any slurs that would be particularly egregious for a person with my set of privileges to use.
“You shouldn’t say that word.”
At some point in our lives, we have all had the experience of someone telling us that a word...
CN: sexual assault, racism, chattel slavery, ableism, trans-antagonism, mention of suicide and murder rate statistics.
When discussing oppressed and privileged groups, you’ll frequently hear me talk about who in the interaction has the most power. But why is identifying the power in an interaction so important and what do I mean when I say a group has power?
For a person or a group to have power refers to the ability to make certain choices that affect you individually or other people. The more power you have, the more choices available to you. If a person who wants to affect your behavior...
CN: sexism, racism, trans-antagonism, Caitlyn Jenner, use of “phobia” terms to mean bigotry.
In the fight for social justice, it’s not just sexism and racism you need to worry about. There are new isms and phobias popping up every day: transphobia, ableism, homophobia, classism, fat-phobia, and Islamophobia.
Each of these terms refers to a different form of institutional bias. Unlike individual instances of everyday rudeness or disrespect, institutional bias is different in that it is reinforced by institutions like schools, corporations, the legal system, and the government.
Once you know that privilege exists and that you have blindspots, it seems like it should be simple to just stop participating in that system and fix it, right? But even people who’ve been involved in social activism for years wrestle with being aware of the places they have privilege and the gap...
Let’s talk about “privilege.” It’s a big concept and a word that’s used so frequently, to many people it’s meaningless. It’s often misinterpreted to mean “out of touch,” “your life is perfect,” or sometimes, just “you suck.”
But it actually means none of those things.
Privilege is the ability to receive social, financial, and institutional benefits based on a trait you have that society considers desireable. But unlike benefits received in response to merit, skill, or dedication, these traits are almost always something outside your control such...