Tag: Privilege

Now, as ever, we must commit ourselves to the responsibility of our inheritance. This requires study, humility, attention to history. Learn to hold unknowing in your gut, to sit with complexity, to not be sure. It is a beguiling aspect of the present era that more and more people like me are starting to see ourselves as white, that we are starting to reckon with the remnants of our inheritance, to see the thread connecting black and white images of racist violence to Facebook streams of police shootings. This is a welcome development, but there is no manual for this, only best practices. Choose restraint over excessive enthusiasm, listening over talking, presence over comfort, maturity over innocence. You will fail at this, as I and many other white people concerned with racial justice have inevitably failed. But you cannot bow out. The tension between silence and protest, between taking up space and ceding it to others, is one that must be constantly negotiated. Mistakes will be made. Acknowledge them, repair the damage, move forward.

From White innocence is a fantasy. Here’s how I’m confronting it by Mason Bryan

“But what city leaders have been trying to reckon with recently,” writes Andrew Small, “is how representative that audience sample is of the community they represent.”

The audience sample in question here being those who show up for things like local neighborhood planning meetings and whether or not they “represent the moderate opinion of everyone who’s just okay [on] a decision but don’t have the time between work, school, and play to show up to a meeting”.

I’ve deep reservations about the use of the word “recently” there, as this was a perennial question back when I was covering local planning matters on Portland Communique back in the early-to-mid aughts, and even then it wasn’t a new issue.

This level of overt segregation no longer exists, of course, but its legacy lives on through the discomfort many people of color feel trying to navigate these foreign landscapes where people of color have never felt welcome. After all, people of color are concentrated in urban areas where they’re largely kept out of green spaces by default. Parks are often too far from their homes for them to enjoy, and those parks that are nearby may be riddled with toxic pollutants from local industrial facilities or gang violence, its own form of environmental hazard.

From ‘We Belong Here’: Racist Central Park Video Shows Why We Need Diversity Outdoors by Yessenia Funes

Those kinds of observations must be tempered by the day-to-day realities of those who don’t have the cheat codes of whiteness to help them avoid racial harassment, especially from police. The Jane Jacobian idea of “eyes on the street” very easily becomes “eyes on the black people” — which is why some African Americans disengage from public spaces like parks altogether. These peaceful green spaces just as easily induce anxiety and trauma for black and brown people, especially when they know the cops can be unleashed at any moment.

From The Toxic Intersection of Racism and Public Space by Brentin Mock

“I believe that character includes who we are in the heat of the moment,” says Alexandra Erin. At the risk of reinforcing Twitter threads over blog posts, start at the beginning for Erin’s discussion of Amy Cooper’s bias crime from The Ramble in New York City’s Central Park — while Cooper herself is in the stage of complaining that her “life is being destroyed”.

The presumptive Democratic nominee for President apparently got up yesterday and thought to himself, “I’m going to tell a black person they aren’t black.”

The vague irony of a 1500-word piece for Curbed making what are very important points about urbanism and privilege and exhorting people “to center the voices of their black, Latino, Asian-American, and immigrant neighbors” being written by a white woman.

As I said already on Twitter, my first three thoughts this morning were, “Another god damned day to get through.” As I typed for the previous blog post the words “I remain confused as to how people manage workaday lives” I thought mostly about one thing I know at this point for certain: I’m unable to provide any employer with predictability of presence. The last time I tried, I was under such severe stress within the first three months that I was having depressive episodes in the men’s room, and because I didn’t want anyone to think I was being irresponsible or non-responsive to the job attempt, I stuck it out for three months more despite that toll. The reality is that I can’t even tell myself on any given night what the next day is going to look like in terms of my capacities and my resources, but I’m supposed to be able to commute to and perform a job in a day-in, day-out manner? All I have is unanswered questions: where are the other autistic people who are low-support needs when it comes to the daily tasks of living on one’s own yet apparently cannot work? How can state and federal authorities not consider this to be disabled? Should I feel guilty for fearing that I’m going to be allowed to fall through the cracks, when there are plenty of other people out there who don’t even have the societal advantages of being straight, cisgender, white men with family support? Is it a bad idea to just go ahead and have today’s total existential breakdown out loud and in public here on the blog?

Link Log Roundup for May 14, 2020

In this edition: autism and actual masking, dining with mannequins, genetic drift, ousting Burr, cats and coronavirus, a new giraffe, black churches, reopening Oregon, COVID-19 and the brain, Oregon restaurants, the post-pandemic commute, bicycles, disability claims, the sage grouse, lockdowns and history, “Obamagate”, walking a trail, test failures, the privilege of escape, Multnomah County, the last Blockbuster, public shaming, and an invasion of goats.

“What I do is this,” writes David Iscoe: “I let myself fail, and I forget it and eat dinner and relax and shut down for part of the day.” More importantly, he adds this: “This is not something we grant to everyone, but it should be.”

J. E. LaCaze has some curious musings on privilege in the context of the social distancing measures enacted during the ongoing SARS-CoV-2 pandemic that challenge my notions of privilege; perhaps “complicate” is a better word.

Before the order for social distancing, I saw routine as a necessity. But now I see that in some ways routine is a privilege. After all, to establish a routine is to assume that catastrophe will not come along and disrupt said routine. It is to assume at least a semblance of stability, something we now see none of us can take for granted.

I can’t speak for LaCaze or anyone else but my routines generally are a necessity; my brain needs them in order to remain properly functional. In fact, my routines do not “assume that catastrophe will not come along” they assume the very opposite — and that’s before we ever gert to the fact that some events which others might view as (excuse me) routine everyday crises could strike my autistic brain in fact as a catastrophe.

That “semblance of stability” to which LaCaze refers is a quasi-fiction required in order for me to be able to function on a day-to-day basis. To think that routine somehow stands revealed as a dispoable thing, that’s the real privilege.

The “hilarious” thing about performative nihilism is not just that it almost always comes from a position of privilege but that its performer always seems to think they somehow are unique in their display.