11 replies, 4 voices Last updated by Dan Mefford 2 years, 2 months ago
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    • #5198

      Michael Porter
      Participant
      @mkporter

      Hello All,

      I became familiar with White Privilege and in turn Male Privilege about a year ago through conversations with my wife.  McIntosh writes about “advantages that men gain from women’s disadvantages” and “white privilege, which puts me at an advantage.”  I have always been equality for all, but have not considered “the white male privilege,” not by my doing, prevents that from happening.  McIntosh’s “Daily effects of white privilege” opens wide my eyes to what I have taken for granted.  The way I have moved through life and the accomplishments I have made have been made easier because I am a white male.

      My wife shares how she feels and the disadvantage she has experienced because she is a white female.  She is a smart woman and knows how to get things done and does them well, but it all comes with a fight.  She has fun for public office – she brings ideas to the table – she has developed programs – and the list goes on.  She has worked very hard only to have her efforts be usurped by discredited by a male counterpart.  She has presented ideas that have been pushed aside only to be slapped in the face when a male counterpart who presented the same idea was praised.  My wife also gets the same treatment from other females.  So ingrained is the “white male privilege” in our society that even some females unknowingly fall into the trap and chose the side of a “incompetent white male over a smart, competent female” (my wife’s words).  I have become more sensitive to the plight of the non-white male people of our society.

      I am frustrated because we are still fighting the black/white, female/male issues that were being fought years ago.  Identifying the “white male privilege” shows me the root cause of why these issues are still issues.  It has been a long time in the making and it is going to be a long time in the undoing.  In the little time I have been aware of it, I have become more aware of what I have for so long taken for granted and am more sensitive to the plight.  McIntosh’s “daily effects” has awakened the complacency that I have lived with my entire life and made me realize I have fallen into this and accepted it without realizing what was happening.  It is time to change that.

      Mike

    • #5213

      Jose Albovias
      Moderator
      @JoseAlbovias

      Michael, I appreciate your honesty and self-reflection.  At least you struggle with the phenomenon, I had one student last year (an older white male) who interrupted me and said, “I don’t believe in that white privilege crap!”

      What about the rest of you.  How did the article and what I wrote strike you?

      ……………..and by the way, has anyone figured out my ethnicity and religion yet?

       

      Jose

    • #5214

      Jose Albovias
      Moderator
      @JoseAlbovias

      Also tomorrow is the last day to reply to the homework exercises for credit.  Remember you must reply a reflection to the exercises and to each other each week.

    • #5215

      I have to admit, I am averse to trying to “guess” someone’s ethnicity and religion! I have been surprised many times, and occasionally gotten into trouble for doing so. So I have intentionally not attempted to respond to the exercise of guessing Jose’s ethnicity and religion. I will say that even putting that on the table is great fodder for conversation, as it raises the assumptions that we all make based on people’s names, skin pigmentation, hair color, eye color, and even facial hair.

    • #5217

      I appreciate Mike’s reflections on white male privilege. I read some of Peggy McIntosh’s writings about six years ago, as a part of my continuing journey of recognizing my own white privilege. I can resonate with Mike’s wife’s experiences as a woman living in a male-dominant culture, and I am aware it is so much easier to talk about my lack of privilege as a female and as a lesbian. But it is a crucial part of my identity to recognize all the ways that my life has been privileged because of my skin color. I remember many years ago I participated in an exercise where a whole group of people lined up horizontally, facing the front of a room. The facilitator calls out a question, and everyone for whom that was true advances forward, while others take a step back. The questions were things like “my parents went to college” and “I’ve never been turned down for a rental lease or a mortgage because of my skin tone.” There were about 25 questions, and by the time the exercise was over, all the people of color were in the very back of the room, or in some cases out the back door, while most of the white individuals were crammed together at the front wall. That was an eye-opening experience for me. It taught me that even though I did work hard, my success is not all about my hard work and my deserving the chances I got. My successes are in great measure a product of my white privilege (which also equates to an economic privilege and an education privilege, among others).

      I do struggle with the continuing racial divide in our country, which has been exacerbated in recent years. Our country has so far to go in resolving these issues. I believe our country would be better able to move forward if we had “truth and reconciliation” committees like in South Africa, and if reparations were made to indigenous groups and African Americans. But beyond these national concerns, I still have to keep myself in check on a daily basis, recognizing that systemic racism has a hold on me and I must constantly work to overcome these uglier parts of myself and the country in which I live.

      As for the other aspects of my culture in our reading assignment for this week, I do recognize that my hyper focus on time and punctuality, strong work ethic, and thinking sequentially are part of the North American culture and not necessarily the best or most appropriate way for one to live life.

    • #5221

      Michael Porter
      Participant
      @mkporter

      Thank you Melanie for your comments and insights.  Like you, my life has been privileged because of my skin color, much of which I did not recognize or think about until recently.  This is a new awakening for me or at least one I took for granted.  I have become more sensitive to how much harder people of color work to get as far.

      You say “it is a crucial part of my identity to recognize all the ways that my life has been privileged because of my skin color” rather than not focusing on your lack of privilege “as a female and as a lesbian”.  I applaud this.  Does a lack of privilege as  a female and a lesbian inform you to the lack of privilege other people might experience?  McIntosh says, “Since racism, sexism, and heterosexism are not the same, the advantages associated with them should not be the same.”  I struggle a bit with what she means by “the advantages with them should not be the same.”  Maybe what they have in common is that they are at a disadvantage because of race, color etc.  What I find interesting is that people who experience disadvantages due to color, race, etc. may have their own ingrained “privileged” identity.  For instance, I have experienced people of color who express a “privileged” attitude over people who are gay or lesbian.  This seems to me, in a way, they are falling into the trap of what is happening to them because of their color or race.  I would think it would bind them in a similar cause toward eliminating a “privileged” attitude.  Maybe this is what McIntosh is meaning by the difference in advantages????.  I hope you can make sense of this.

      Mike

      • #5227

        I’m glad you brought this up Mike. Like you, I’m not sure what McIntosh means by the comment about “the advantages with them should not be the same.” In a collective way I do affirm that oppression is oppression. But I also have learned very clearly that there is a “hierarchy” of oppressions, so to speak. Oppression due to race and ethnicity is at the top of that hierarchical list. I’m not really in a position to posit all the reasons for this, except to say that the oppression of people of color in this country has a long and horrible systemic as well as individual past (including genocide), that the type of oppression suffered is/was intense (including physical abuse and murder), and that the number of people impacted by this oppression is huge. Also, people of color are not at liberty to “stay in the closet” about their differences like some LGBT individuals. I’m sure others can speak much more authoritatively to this issue than I can. But I learned clearly, years ago, that it is not fair or OK for me to compare my sufferings to the sufferings of people of color. And I agree with that on some deep level, even though my attempts at articulating it are falling far short.

    • #5222

      Jose Albovias
      Moderator
      @JoseAlbovias

      Good question Michael.  Being lesbian is a minority and a culturally different way of seeing the world.

      I really appreciate you both for your honesty and self-reflection.  My advantage is being an American male.  However, most see my name and me as being Latino and Hispanic.  I am actually Filipino/Irish/Cherokee, and instead of being Catholic (like many believe when they see me) I am an ordained Baptist minister chaplain, and I also perform Cherokee ceremonies.  In face to face seminars I have actually seen people drop their mouths open when I inform them.  I do this to bring more to home our own biases, good/bad/indifferent. So I have discovered that my upbringing makes me feel like an outsider at times, with some showing me their prejudice.

    • #5223

      Jose Albovias
      Moderator
      @JoseAlbovias

      Lawhon and Orlow, what are your thoughts?  Need to hear from you both before we go onto the next section.

    • #5226

      Michael Porter
      Participant
      @mkporter

      Jose, I had not gotten around to responding to your profile.  My guess was Hispanic Catholic.  I based this on your facial features and my experience that the majority of Hispanics I  have met are Catholic.  Yes, I played into the stereo type but I figured you did not fit that since you put it before us.  Having said that, when I meet people I go with a blank slate, knowing only that they are as unique as I am and I enjoy getting to know them for who they are.  You have an interesting make up and I would have been one of those who dropped their jaw.  I am interested in hearing more about you and your heritage.  I have always enjoyed talking with people from Native American heritage.  As I have learned about their connection with Mother Earth , my spirituality has grown in seeing God more in all that he has created and the interconnection of everything in God’s creation.  This is a teaching of the Franciscans.  I have been reading Richard Rohr’s material, which has expanded my spirituality greatly.

      Mike

    • #5229

      Michael Porter
      Participant
      @mkporter

      Melanie, I agree race and ethnicity seem to be the most blatant for oppression, but I do put categorize the oppression of anyone experiences.  Of course I say that as a “white male” and cannot walk in another’s shoes.  In any case, it all needs to go away.  I have come to realize that even people of different races and ethnicity have their own “privileged” attitude toward whom ever they chose.  For instance I know people of color who have an attitude toward individuals of the LBGT community as people have toward them.  I think is a a matter of whose perspective one sees it from.  Make sense???

      Mike

    • #5232

      Dan Mefford
      Participant
      @dmefford

      Just read that I needed to have replied by the 18th to get credit. My schedule would not allow me to participate prior to this night. Enjoy the conversation folks, maybe another time.

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