Thursday, April 30, 2015

A tricky thing?

A friendly reminder.

Posted by The Blue Street Journal on Tuesday, April 28, 2015

"Privilege is when you think something is not a problem because it is not a problem to you personally." (Seen in a Facebook image post, unattributed)

Not sure what I think of this. The way it is worded, I think it can remove people from seeing themselves in it. Most people who don't have to deal with something would probably not likely see themselves as privileged, and defenses may go up. There are some people I personally know who would likely never see themselves that way. But are they "privileged?" I think many would think so. 

I think part of any potential issue is also the fact that there are periphery conversations around the idea of privilege that aren't exactly positive, making some not necessarily desirous of claiming such a label. 

As with many things, it can be a knotted mess, tethered by the meanings that those who use it bring to the table. I tend to also think a sign like this is quite possibly intended to "put" someone in their place. I could be wrong (it does happen, lol :p), but if it is what I suspect, and if that is accurate, who likes to ever have that done, or attempted?

Words. They can be so troublesome at times. They can also be such incredible allies. But it is so hard to say anything without it having some baggage, or without it being received without another person's baggage.

The other day I said something to someone that I would never perceive as a "bad" thing, but it was picked up/received that way. It turned out what she was picking up on was more feelings that I was having about myself and circumstance, and it had nothing to do with her. But she took it personally. Thank goodness she told me what she felt; I would never have known otherwise, and now we are all clear.

When we do not talk about what we feel, we have no way to make sure we are on the same page as another person. So much these days is in sound bites. It would be nice to have something so brief and succinct speak volumes about something, but the likelihood of that happening is much slimmer than we ever think it is. And, even if we understand where another person is, just to keep it interesting, we can find ourselves lacking in agreement. 

Maybe we will never all be in accord, and maybe we are never meant to be. But maybe we are not meant to be in so much discord, either. How many times do you think you know something with certainty only to find out you really have no clue? 

It would be pretty great if we could "just" give each other the benefit of doubt before going off on a tangent that might be wasting gas and other precious resources. But the first thing in that process is to recognize that there is a reality, or a perception of one, that varies from what we immediately think we know. The more wrapped up we are in any emotions regarding the situation, the more difficult any other possibilities might be. Emotions can certainly be blinding.

But the more we can do it, the better the chance we have of having an interactive, cooperative world, rather than a disparate, and potentially destructive one. I do not mean to imply that disparate equals destructive, so that may not be the best combination of words. After all, great harm has been done in the name of agreement.  

Hmm. I just walked into something, and I am not clear where "out" is. Good is not inherent in agreement, and bad is not inherent in a lack of agreement. Although, on some level, I think we have been taught this idea.

When it comes to stuff like this, I think it is difficult to latch onto absolutes, although it comes with no lack of trying. It would seem one of the trickiest parts of life is to live in the most absolute way possible with respect - and awareness - for the fact that there is very little that could actually be defined that way. I wonder just how often we think we have something "right," but we are no where even remotely close.

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