I have several problems with the concept of privilege. I actually surprised some audiences when I say that I don’t actually accept the discourse of white privilege. I actually offer a different discourse, and let me explain why.
Firstly, look at the things that are called privileges. The things that are called privileges are actually rights to things such as healthcare, being treated fairly if you’re pulled over by a police officer, being treated fairly in a criminal justice system, to have access to employment, housing. As you go down the list, you begin to realize, it’s something weird about calling privileges something that every human being would like to have on the planet. Neoliberalism wants to call them privileges exactly because neoliberalism wants to take them away from everybody, Black and white. And so if you can get enough people feeling guilty for what they should actually have, then it’s easier to take things away from everybody and give more to those who are wealthy.
The second reason I have a problem with the privilege discourse, it’s a distortion of the concept of privilege. We’ve often heard the expression, for instance, “it’s an honor and a privilege to work with you.” When you hear something like that, the thing about privileges that people often don’t understand, is that privileges are good. It’s a privilege, for instance, to serve if you’re patriotic. It’s privilege to be in the company of people you respect. Privileges are actually good things, so the idea of telling you that you’re supposed to feel bad about good things is, as Fanon would argue, sick.
The third problem with the white privilege discourse is exactly what we’ve seen play out historically. Then it just gave an opportunity for whites to simply talk about their privilege and still not do a damn thing about the system of injustices that are around them and the rest of us. So it bleeds into a form of narcissism, and of course the thing about narcissism is that it puts whites back into control because they can control their cathartic emotional life in terms of how they respond to to the charge of privilege. But they go home to a system that remains intact.
What I actually argue is a more constructive way to deal with this issue is the concept of license. Now people may say what do you mean? If you think about the basic thing of what a license is, when you get a license, it means whatever you’re doing is protected by law. So what happens is in mundane examples for instance if you have a license to drive a car, and you’re pulled over, it is established that you have the license to drive a car. Whether you’ve done other things while driving the car is another matter. The thing about license is that a license is legitimate right to use a certain power.
So if we think of the most extreme example of how a license works, try to imagine a license to kill. If a person has a license to kill, and in many contexts, many people when they’re designated soldiers or mercenaries have a license to kill within that context. Now let’s just say that you’re born with a license to kill say, all except other people who have a license to kill. If you’re in a framework like that, so long as you’re killing anybody outside of that category, then you don’t have to give a reason for the killing you’ve done, you just have to show a license. If you think about it historically, and I’m using that because it’s the most extreme example, if you look at the history of white supremacy, it’s a history of large communities of white people who can pack a picnic basket, get together, drag predominantly Black men and women, there are other contexts in which large groups of Native populations were wiped out, but the main thing was that they could drag these people, they could eviscerate them, lynch them, and throughout the entire process pose for pictures that are put in newspapers with them committing those acts. So when you think of that example, it means that the legal authorities will not act upon that precisely because the perpetrators, and the license here becomes the designation white.
Now I give you one more example that’s really crucial because of contemporary debates. One of the ways that there has been a form of fascist attack, particularly on Black people and on women, is this phony defense of free speech in a war against political correctness. But they’re not defending free speech and what they call political correctness. Political correctness is a term developed by the American right. It’s a right wing concept just like white privilege was developed by whites. This was a way in which the right wanted to undermine the efficacy of political institutions. But if you look carefully at what they call political correctness, it’s not actually political, it’s moral. In other words, the examples they would use is if people are going to judge certain people as immoral for the things they say. That is very different than politics.
What’s striking if you look for what they’re fighting for, it’s for an assertion of legal apparatuses and structures that will give them not free speech, but licensed speech. In other words, licensed speech is to be able to hurl your words in an action of harm. The way I usually formulate it, free speech doesn’t mean the right to be a schmuck, it’s an adult responsibility in a world that actually expands the capacity of other people in terms of human flourishing. However, the childlike adolescent licensed speech comes down to a thesis: I just wanna do or say what I want. It’s defended to the point where saying or doing what you want can lead in very real ways not just to harm but to the death of others. As we know in the case of Emmett Till for instance, the words of the woman who gave the testimony were used for the lynching of this 14 year old boy. And there are many other examples. If you look at Trump, Trump is not about free speech, he is the manifestation of the adolescent fantasy of many whites to return to a world in which they had the license for liberty without responsibility.
And this comes back to Fanon, because he understood the distinction between liberty and and freedom. As a therapist, a patient would come to him precisely because although the patient may have liberty, if the patient has insufficient control or understanding and her or his own life, and the relationship that person has with the social world, that person’s freedom will be impaired, although there are no formal shackles over her or his hands and feet. This is the crucial thing that is missing from Anglophone discourses around issues of freedom and around the excursion of racism. There is in freedom always a responsibility and a demand for one to take on the task of bearing the burdens but they’re not burdens in the negative sense. they’re burdens in the elective sense, in the good sense or what’s called election in the Bible. There are certain burdens that are a function of responsibility that make us into better human beings.
I find it funny when people will tell kids of mixed ethnicity’s to choose one ethnicity over the other but will tell bi/pansexual that it’s ok to like both/all genders and there’s no reason to choose.
How about before you tell that precious mixed baby that they need to choose, instead of celebrating themselves to the fullest, maybe you should a) look at yourself and b) realize that whatever ethnicity a person chooses to be is none of your goddamn business then c) log off and think about your double standards.
Focus on yourself and your culture and sexuality and stop intruding on other people celebrating who they are. Ok?
Wonfes isn’t over yet, but I decided to gather up all the major Vocaloid announcements. Bolded items are new to this summer’s Wonfes and have never been seen before. (All pictures used here are official images except for this Racing Miku Amakuni Prototype)
probably the most interesting thing to me are not the people who dislike malec simply bc they blatantly prefer alec with some other white dude and/or have no interest in magnus as a character; like i always expect these people to exist to some degree in fandom so it’s kind of whatever to me. but there is a small subsection who seem to feel they are doing magnus some kind of justice by ~freeing~ him from his relationship with alec because they firmly believe there is an inherent inequality within this relationship and thus them being together is somehow racist and unfair towards magnus. i have always found this … an odd phenomenon and somewhat bothersome because of the way asian men have always been perceived in fiction: submissive, without agency, and easily taken advantage of.
it reminds me a lot of this article i posted awhile back, where the author suggested that because certain asian characters ticked a few boxes that said this aspect makes a bad character, everything else was ignored and the characters were relegated to bad representation without consideration of anything else. and it definitely feels like when it comes to magnus (and malec), a good chunk of his portrayal is ignored not because people agree that he should fit this submissive box, but because this is what they’ve always been told asian men should be perceived as – and so this is all they can subconsciously see; they can’t seem to look past it when it comes to him. and it fuels a kind of misdirected outrage where they think they’re doing right by magnus when all that’s happening is magnus’ agency is being erased from his own narrative both in and out of his relationship with alec.
(i should add this goes not just for white ppl btw bc this is very much not a general racial issue – magnus specifically is se asian and carries all the baggage that comes with it, and i have seen far too many ppl, white or otherwise, feel they have a right to speak over us in regards to what is/is not racist or good representation for magnus.)
the sound and smell of bonfires at night, being free to race among the trees wherever you want, the sound of a tent zipper being opened or closed
digging up old toys and relics, flipping through photo books and seeing your old face, the sight of the room you used to take lessons in
the smell and sound of your old classroom; glue, children giggling, a teacher's soft voice. The smell of the art room- paint, clay, and something indistinguishable
the smell of a freshly opened box of crayons, untouched and perfect, the sound your drawer makes when it opens and shuts, the feeling of sunshine and a slight breeze as you stand somewhere you do every year
Humans are bizarrely altruistic… to the point where they will work to save another being’s life, even when that being has no concept of what is happening.
“Oh my god, Steve, look out the window!”
The alien designated ‘Steve’ by its human companion slowly looked up from its console at the human known as Jamie.
Letting out a soft, scream-like exclamation, Jamie ran over to the window of their shared office, staring out for a moment before turning to look at Steve.
“It’s stuck! Oh, the poor thing.” Jamie’s posture seemed to stiffen. “Come, Steve, we have to help it.”
“Help– what are you talking about?” Pivoting in its chair, Steve angled its eye stalks to stare out the window. Moments later, Steve’s normally cobolt hide rippled, a pool green suddenly spreading across its head and visible appendages. “Human Jamie, that is the animal the survey team designated a ‘Deathclaw’! It is not-”
But Jamie was gone, the automatic doors sliding smooth shut. A few timeparts later, the human appeared outside and began to slowly approach the creature.
The human survey team that had identified and cataloged the creature had insisted on giving it a common name (apparently its reference identification number was insufficient). A 'Deathclaw’, the head of the team had explained, was a deadly creature from a fantasy story on Earth, something warped and twisted by several human centuries of mutation and radiation poisoning.
Steve thought it ridiculous that the humans felt it was necessary to invent new animal nightmares given how many already existed on that hell-world.
With fervent support from the human on base, the common name had bee approved. And now the human Jamie was stalking cautiously up to a terrifying creating seemingly made up of an alarming number of teeth and claws armed only with a long metal pole.
Steve’s terminal buzzed - Jamie had equipped one of the survey team’s body cameras. As though any would want to view the horror about to unfold.
“What’s wrong, sweetheart,” Jamie cooed, carefully drawing closer to the Deathclaw. “Did you get stuck on the fence?”
Sure enough, one of the Deathclaw’s middle limbs (it had six in total) was trapped between a gap in the barricade, seemingly while attempting to cross through the compound to the forest on the far side. Steve picked up a datapad and started composing a note to have the gap repaired; Jamie’s death would not be in vain.
“Don’t you worry, I’ll get you out.”
Steven stopped writing.
Watching both through the window and the body camera feed, Steve watched as Jamie jabbed at the gap with the pole. The Deathclaw snarled, kicking backwards with one of its hind legs. Jamie, however was quick enough to dodge and patient enough to wait out the creature’s anger-driven attacks.
Eventually, Jamie managed to get the pole into the barricade gap. Then, after several long moments of physical strain, the makeshift lever forced the gap to widen. Sensing a chance for freedom, the Deathclaw lunged forward. It’s front appendages clawed at the ground, tearing huge gashes in the dirt - and with a final cry, it ripped its trapped limb free, staggered, then raced into the forest.
Through the feed, Steve heard Jamie let out a soft “Awww” before the body camera was deactived. Jamie returned to the office soon after.
“Man, that was crazy,” Jamie sighed.
“The Deathclaw will likely be shot and killed by one of the survey teams after it tries to eat them.” Perhaps the human Jamie hadn’t realized this?
“Oh, I know.” Jamie lingered by the window, staring out for a moment. “But it was the right things to do. Everyone deserves a fighting chance.”