Posted by: aediculaantinoi | February 14, 2014

It’s a Privilege To Be Posting Now…

I am in Sea-Tac Airport just south of the city of Seattle at present.

I have a laptop, which I have never had before when traveling–it was a gift from my father for my birthday last year. (And I do not own a smartphone either, because I can’t afford a data plan.)

I have time that is not otherwise dedicated now while I wait for my plane to attend PantheaCon, and have not yet made my own final preparations of using the family restroom (the one most appropriate for my gender and my medical needs–and thank all the gods and especially the Tetrad++ there is one nearby in this airport!) and such before being herded on to the cattle-car.

And, every bit of the above is, I realize, a privilege–and one which many of my colleagues in modern polytheism don’t have.

When I go to PantheaCon, I will have many of them in mind who are not present with me (which is most of them).

At no moment during that time, however, will I be presuming to speak on their behalf simply because I have the privilege of being present at the occasion.

Having privilege isn’t necessarily a “bad” thing, so long as one doesn’t use it to oppress or bully others.

Not realizing that one has privilege initially also isn’t a “bad” thing: there’s any number of things that humans simply aren’t aware of until they are made aware of them.

Not acknowledging that one has privilege, and denying that one has privilege, and trying to make every argument from “But look how much good I do for many of the other (read: “real“) underprivileged folks (so therefore I get a pass on my insensitivity at the moment!)” to “I don’t really think what you’re talking about is a valid example (which I feel I can point out because I actually have the privilege of being able to ignore you, and while I can do that anyway without your permission or notifying you of such, I’m doing it specifically in this case because I don’t want to hear anything that might cause me to reevaluate my methods or my motivations!),” is not only rude and insensitive, it is a blatant illustration of the fact that one has privilege.

I do not need to “name names” here, not because people know who I might be referring to, but because ALL OF US do these things on occasion, or have done them in the past. That matters far less than trying not to do them in the future. No matter what kind of privilege it is–white privilege, male privilege, cisgender privilege, heterosexual privilege, class privilege, able-bodied privilege, age privilege, size privilege, looks privilege, or majority-religious privilege (even when that “majority” is only a majority within a minority or subculture or it has over one billion members worldwide)…and that list is in the rough order of their severity and inexcusableness (with the caveat on the last listed item that Christian and Muslim privilege has been especially dangerous to anyone who isn’t of those religions historically), although every variety on that list hurts like hell when it is used against someone to demean or dismiss them–we need to be aware that these things exist, to acknowledge the elephant in the room, and then do every gods-blessed thing possible to make sure that the elephant in the room doesn’t crowd out all of the wonderful zebras, gazelles, giraffes, hippopotamuses, rhinoceroses, ostriches, newts, armadillos, octopuses, catfish, venus fly traps, and euglenas (and so forth!), and that the elephant also tries to be nice to all of those others, rather than trampling upon them or even just stepping on their toes and insisting that it hasn’t. That applies if you’re white, male, cisgendered, straight, middle-class-or-higher, healthy and not disabled, between the ages of 35 and 50, of a scientifically- (but still arbitrarily) determined “ideal weight” for your height, at-least-average looking, or a Christian, Muslim, vedantic Hindu, Orthodox or Conservative Jew, Mahayana-derived Buddhist, or–indeed!–a Wiccan within the wider umbrella of modern paganism.


Responses

  1. Reblogged this on Pippakins Other News. Or something and commented:
    So true…

  2. You have made me aware of a certain amount of privilege which I currently have. Have definitely not always had it – not even a year and a half ago – but I do now. Hmmm.

    • If you’d feel comfortable sharing more, I’d be intrigued to hear it. We can all learn about these things together, and support one another in doing so…

  3. Well said. Also, I wonder if we could all use a discussion about the complexities of the “vanguard” notion from 20th century Marxism.

    Also, congratulations on your first laptop! I just got one two months ago–a huge deal for me, but (as you’ll know) an assumed given for an awfully large segment of society, particularly in the northwest!

    Also, tea next week! : )

    • You’ll have to educate me on that particular matter, as I know next-to-nothing about Marxism. (All that Greek, Roman, and Irish I have to research makes me painfully inadequate in knowledge on many other matters, alas.)

      I had a laptop many years ago (also a gift) that got me through my Ph.D….and then it blew up, and I’ve not had one since because I can’t afford one myself on my salary. At last, they got me one in May of last year for my birthday once again, and while it’s been indispensable since, still, I have also not traveled in an airport with one when wireless was commonly (and freely) available.

      In any case…yes, tea next week! When are you available, and where will you be?

  4. Is there a way for me to contact you via e-mail? I’ll leave my contact information here:

    luis.valadez@rocketmail.com

    There is something important I wanted to correspond with you about if that’s alright. :)

    Eirene kai Hugieia!
    (Peace and Health!)
    ~Oracle~

    • I will contact you tomorrow, most likely. Sorry for the delay…

  5. I left you some comments back on the Don Frew article. But in case of TL;DR: I’d like to hear what you think, particularly about my suggestion that the privileges granted to Wiccans due to visibility are somewhat balanced by the vulnerabilities and dangers created by that visibility (especially since a significant minority of the US population still believes witchcraft is equivalent to Satanism).

    Additionally, you asked for my suggestions around language, and my thought is that talking about specific “privileges” is a great deal more helpful and less divisive than speaking of groups as “privileged” or as having “[label] privilege.” My perception is that several of the specific examples that have been labelled “Wiccan privilege” in various discussions actually stem from privileges associated with race, class, and education, all of which create access far more effectively than the religious affiliation. This is not to say I can’t think of some examples where being Wiccan gives more access than being a non-Wiccan Pagan — I definitely can. Nevertheless I think the situation is overall pretty complex, and there are definitely some circumstances under which being a non-Wiccan Pagan might actually be more advantageous, or neutral (especially in the presence of race, class, education and gender privileges).

    Also, if you’re calling me out in your statements above, let’s talk more privately. I see us as peers in this discussion, and I’m listening.

    • It’s a complex set of issues, and one that I don’t quite feel aware enough at present (due to sleeplessness) to properly address…so, I shall respond further later/tomorrow.

      But no, I’m not calling you out, so don’t worry. ;)

      The panel at PantheaCon was useful (though only a first step, as there are still some major issues to sort out and there is a great deal of lack of admission of any possibility of guilt on the part of some people at this stage…though HUGE steps were made with others, and collaborations shall follow), and brought out many important points. I’ll probably do a write-up of just that event in the near future, as I think it deserves it at this point.

  6. […] take too long, all things considered), and then had some food before heading to the gate and making this post while I waited. I made a few further notes, both physical and mental, for my first presentation […]

  7. […] In the Airport On The Way There […]


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