Aug. 20th, 2009

eirias: (Default)
I have two sentiments about privilege today.

One is that it's fascinating to think about -- in part because it's like pulling back the curtain on the Wizard. I think it tickles the same part of the psyche that responds to books like The Da Vinci Code -- the part that likes invisible, unifying, infuriating threads. Maybe it also appeals to the part of the psyche that likes to get high and stare at its hands. Seeing the world in a new way is always -- well, a joy isn't the right word, exactly -- but a meaningful experience. Things just make sense that didn't before.

The other is that, nevertheless, there is something kind of creepy, perhaps even prurient, about privileged people talking about privilege. It's like the bastard child of self-flagellation and noblesse oblige. So maybe I should think about that the next time I'm tempted to spout off.

On another note, I was recently reading about sickle cell anemia and it struck me, for some reason, as a weird example of unmarked vs. marked class -- weird-shaped blood cells contrasted with normal-shaped ones. But isn't that just the fallout of history, of how evolution has gone? Maybe there is a universe somewhere where sickle-shaped blood cells are the normal ones for humans, where the advantages it confers outweigh the disadvantages, or where something else came up to compensate for those disadvantages. Every species has an Achilles heel that's just considered normal for that species. Maybe there is a universe where dogs can eat chocolate and humans can't. Well, I'm glad I'm not in that universe, anyway. I'll gladly benefit from human privilege if it tastes like chocolate.

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