I’m concerned about the proliferation of articles on privilege being used as a sort of social currency. What is often left out in all this privilege talk, is that the advantage given by privilege is given by a neurotic and hypocritical hierarchal society. So, by all means, if I am seeking advantage in this society, I shouldn’t be blind to that which helped me here. However, it seems like if the privilege dialogues are successful, and we all try real hard, the most we can hope for is to grant everyone equal access to participate in the “status quo.”
It is a fact that there is a full fledged attack on human consciousness in the form of mass media. A lot of us take this media far too seriously. It is an insult to our most basic human sensibilities and seeks to make us feel marginal and less than whole. The divide and conquer strategy runs deep, and will leave us all fighting over the largest crumbs, while the cake is hoarded by the instruments of a psychotic control matrix. I don’t want more access to advantage in this culture. I want each of us to take responsibility for our own consciousness, which may in some small or large measure involve taking stock of those things that give us advantage, how we seek to exploit that advantage, and our deep rooted fear of losing a secure position on the social ladder. Additionally, we need to reconcile what society projects onto us, in our appearance and station in life, and where we choose to place our identity, for ourselves. It’s basic self awareness, and I expect it from all of my people (my people being anyone who is ready to share from the heart, care for fellow humans and the earth, and rigorously apply themselves to the work of taking responsibility for their consciousness and how that consciousness effects others).
Those at the top of the pyramid are only too happy that we squabble over the minutia of privilege. It seems like authors of such articles are trying to get out in front of the guilt ball by pointing out and codifying ever new areas where some have privilege and others lack. It is a great way to distract and not get much done in the work of saving our species from extinction. Voices like James Baldwin and Steve Locke are not saying, “stop oppressing me, person of privilege,” they are saying, “Stop whining. Don’t pity me. You, like the rest of us, have been sold an empty bill of goods. Why do you accept it?” Stop seeking advancement in a profoundly sick society, and join the rest of us out here. Let’s not be defensive or guilty, let’s grow in strength by sharing our vulnerabilities.
The history we learn in school is bunk. A lot of us learn that later on. But in our formative years, when exploring our identities, personally, familialy , and culturally, we are severed from our roots, all of the human’s in America (and probably other places, too). Hundreds of years before the monarchs, clergy, financiers, and great pirates of europe colonized the rest of the world, they conquered europe, and ruled it under a reign of terror known as feudalism. During the European Renaissance the great expansionist mythologies came into action. Under the banner of divine right to conquest, a small handful of psychotic families conquered a lot of the world with brutality, various forms of slavery, religion, and the divide and conquer psyop that continues to the day.
Our modern racial constructs were created to give lighter skinned people an upper hand and therefore split the slave classes. This included white slaves from europe, or “indentured servants.” The construction of “whiteness” occurred around the time “divine right” was no longer a tenable justification for conquest. This required a major white-washing of history to hide the deep intermingling of all people of the earth, genealogically and in the spread of knowledge and wisdom. To accomplish this, it was necessary to establish “Western” culture as being at forefront of evolution, and the appearance of an unbroken religious and intellectual supremacy going back into greek antiquity. So, the “white man’s burden” was used to “civilize” “backwards” indigenous cultures.
It is often over looked that during the “dark-ages” in Europe, the Moorish culture was flourishing in the Middle East, North Africa, and Spain. The Moors in Spain were not religious fundamentalists, the land lords took what was fair, in food, for payment for the use of land, and cross-disciplinary education was encouraged from the ground up, as opposed to being guarded by a few elite. Further, they were open to many systems of knowledge and translated libraries of greek, egyptian, chinese, and indian treatises on topics ranging from astrology, to alchemy, mathematics, architecture, and so on. The Renaissance was made possible by the work a civilization far in advance of European society, a civilization comprised largely of brown-skinned people.
Our differences were further codified by the development of the middle-class, which was the missing link to the lie of meritocracy: the middle rung of upward mobility. Sure, many have climbed that ladder from the bottom rung to the top, but the lie of meritocracy is that this is a valid option for everyone if they try hard enough. Our society relies on there being poor people in our country and in the world. It’s built that way. Looking through the internet often makes me feel hopeless. What gives me hope is my interactions with humans on the day to day. But let’s forget hope. Enjoy the inspiration of hope while it is there, but it is not required to show up everyday, and take the high ground and be in our truth, as Morrison suggests.