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Old 12-21-2009, 09:13 PM   #11
Gemme
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Quote:
Originally Posted by evolveme View Post
I once took a womens' studies class that began with an exercise in privilege. Our professor passed out an equal number of tootsie rolls to every student in the room. We were asked to remove a piece of candy from our privilege pile if we could not answer in the affirmative for each question she posed, such as:

I grew up with more than 20 books in my home.

My family never worried about where meals would come from.

Questions around race and education and class were all asked, although I distinctly recall that no questions of size were addressed. When the exercise was complete, and as white as I am, I was still among a group in the room with the fewest tootsie rolls on her desk.

It occurs to me now that had the questions been inclusive of size, I would have had a larger share of 'privilege' at the end of that lesson. It also occurs to me now how much it meant to me to have so few pieces of candy.

We tend to hold our oppression close to us, like a kind of prize. I want to keep in mind of this - that even while I am the daughter of poor, white Southern uneducated people - that holding to my lack of power will not gain me anything, and certainly will not bring me any closer to netting a wider share of power for everyone I believe deserves a more fair share.

While it's true that I pass to the unsuspecting as a straight woman, it's also and equally true that I am not one. I need to be cognizant of the ways in which this can both harm my community and however, if ever, it can serve us. Being read as straight sometimes has the unintended affect of meaning that I am allowed entrance into spaces that would not otherwise permit Queer. And once inside, I have more power to do and change what more visible others might not have.

I have to hold this kind of power carefully, recognizing that backlash is ever immanent and always dangerous. I cannot go incognito. It's their lack of perception that is at issue; not my lack of forthrightness.

I relate to this post very much. Thank you.
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