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Background Reading/Viewing

July 14, 2011

There’s been some discussions lately in the book blogosphere about both racial and gender issues. I’ve already written once about why I seek out POC authors, and I plan to do another long post on all of this soon. But today, since my arms aren’t interested in typing, I thought I’d share a few videos and articles on the concept of privilege. Because until one understands and accepts the existence of various forms of privilege, it’s difficult to see the systemic injustices that exist today. And until one sees those injustices, it seems absurd to take into account an author’s gender, race, or sexual orientation when choosing reading. So in order to have a discussion about how privilege affects reading/book blogging/etc., first I need to know my readers are on the same page!

So, curious to know what privilege is and how it actually plays out in day-to-day life? I’ve got some resources, depending on how much time you have. ;) (Also, note that every one of these people is white, and the lecturer I’m linking to on gender is a man. There’s a reason for this: privilege means that a white man is assumed to be less biased when talking about any issue, including gender and race, than a person of colour or woman. So anyone skeptical of the existence/importance of privilege is more likely to change their mind if they hear about it from the advantaged majority speaker rather than the disadvantaged minority. This is also specific to the US, but that’s because I know most of my readers are Americans or from a similar white majority, developed country.)

The classic is “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” by Peggy Mackintosh. Read it in html or pdf.

And for an article about how male privilege works (and its harmful effects on men and women): see “A Black woman took my job” by Michael Kimmel.

If you’re more of a video person, here’s the first part of a longer lecture by Kimmel:

Going back to white privilege, here’s the first part a documentary on it:

And here’s an hour-long lecture on it:

These are just the tip of the iceberg, and I encourage you to explore further. I’m turning off the comments, since I want this to be a (tiny) resource post rather than the discussion post. Plus, since I can’t type much today, I wouldn’t be able to reply! But never fear, there shall be a post coming up shortly with the comments wiiiide open. ;)

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