Privilege: where it falls down, and where it's misunderstood
I profoundly disagree with the language of "privilege". The discourse seems inadequate to the complex realities of racial, gender, and national inequalities for example.
You're quite right that it is inadequate - it doesn't cover all aspects of political debate and analysis, it is no substitute for analyses of economic structure or address the full range of power dynamics in society, nor is it supposed to. What it does well, I think, is provide some insight into how the individual understands the world and the experiences of others within it, and in relation to themselves. As I see it, it is less about how the world works and more about how we all perceive the world to work.
It also tends, in concrete politics, toward an unhelpfully moralistic language – checking your privilege, and so on.
I'd disagree that it is moralistic, at least when used accurately and correctly. Moralistic, to me, implies that the language of privilege says one person (or one person's perspective) is somehow better than another, because of their gender, race, whatever. I actually think the language of privilege says the exact opposite to that. Although I could agree that it might often look like discussions of privilege are saying "I'm right and you're wrong because I'm a woman / black / gay and you're not" what it is actually saying is "Please stop thinking you're right and I'm wrong just because I'm a woman / black / gay and you're not." It also takes us away from a simplistic 'oppression olympics' by pointing out that there are multiple axes of privilege, so a man may be privileged due to his gender, but simultaneously oppressed due to his class or disability, so we can only really understand privilege if we also understand intersectionality.
You’re probably familiar with the idea of ‘burnout’ (if not, check out the burnout tag). It can be hard to know if you’re looking after yourself, with enough self-care and group care to balance out the energy you’re putting into projects.
A new tool has launched that gives you a helping hand. The Energy Project’s Energy Audit measures your energy across a range of sectors: spiritual, physical, emotional, and mental. It asks a series of questions, and then flags at the end where you may be able to make some changes.
Not a world-changer, but a good first step!
Taken from the New Organising Initiative’s website.