8 Bit Philosophy: Does Privilege Matter?

Jacked Assassin

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Jun 4, 2010
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Should we really look to a rich white man person to be an authority on privilege?
No & that's the closest this video got toward having anything worth saying.
 

youdont12know

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Nov 21, 2011
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If your social standing is low just lower your expectations. Jeez oppressed people just be happy you have options. Like f'ing suicide.
 

Jake Martinez

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The video was better than I thought it would be with the terribly flame bait headline :p Really, Sartre's argument is more existential than that, it's more or less "Is there really such a thing as privilege at all?"
 

MoltenSilver

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Feb 21, 2013
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I'm going to have to rather staunchly disagree with the video, to paraphrase a metaphor I heard once:

"If you take 5 locked-up starving people, hold up a can of food, and tell them the last one left alive gets the food, sure it's accurate to say whoever wins 'wanted it more then the others' but that doesn't change the fact only one can win in the first place, and that the person arranging the situation is the one deciding how many can win."
And I somehow doubt even Sartre would consider 'person involuntarily starving to death' a valid reconstruction of one's life mission.
 

Kenjitsuka

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Last scentence nails Sartre!
He probably looked outside his mansion walls at the people working on his garden and said: "They can totes quit when they want and become Master Prison Sand Castle builders of world class!".

Maybe if he was in the sub-Saharan desert for a bit would he... check his damn mouth a little?
 

Mikeybb

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Aug 19, 2014
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First time I've watched one of these.

Interesting.

I'm sure it's been said before, but I get a real "Hitchhikers Guide" vibe off the narration and presentation.
 

Darknacht

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Saying that a Sartre has nothing of value to say about privilege because of the socioeconomic position he was born to is the same as saying that Marx and Engels had nothing of value to add to communism because of their's.
youdont12know said:
If your social standing is low just lower your expectations. Jeez oppressed people just be happy you have options. Like f'ing suicide.
That is not what he is saying, he was a Marxist and a humanist, he believed that everyone should be given the same opportunities is life. But he also believed that being in a disadvantaged socioeconomic position didn't make you less of a person or less able to find meaning in your life and there for there is no privilege.
Sartre would be more likely to tell the oppressed to find meaning in overthrowing their oppressors, not to settle for a less meaningful life.
Kenjitsuka said:
He probably looked outside his mansion walls at the people working on his garden and said: "They can totes quit when they want and become Master Prison Sand Castle builders of world class!".
Yeah that sound like something a revolutionary Marxist would say.
 

cdemares

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The freedom to imagine a life-story for yourself is self-evident from having a brain. It's also not very useful. The prison example is kinda the best argument I've ever heard that privilege does matter.
 
Sep 24, 2008
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One is free to adjust his perceptions to levels of self-delusion.

But one will never be free as long has he exists in society. Society dictates how we live, what is just, and what is permissible. There are staunch limits to actions if Society doesn't deem it to be acceptable.

If you found a girl under 17 who truly can understand what love is and chose you to love, no matter how well thought out she can make that statement... if you choose to express your love, you will go to jail.

Unless you are rich and privileged. Then you can be found guilty and not go to jail because you might get hurt [http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2014/03/31/3421132/rich-heir-rapes-his-3-year-old-daughter-gets-no-jail-time-because-he-will-not-fare-well-in-prison/].

If you are an intoxicated person and you took a life, no judge will try to understand. No pleads of mercy will be heard. We all learned of the dangers of drinking and driving young. And the fact that you chose to do that shows a disregard of life. you deserve all the jail time and more.

Unless you are rich and privileged. Then you can kill four people and not get any time because '"I think he can be rehabilitated given intensive therapy and I hope that he gets it," Wynn said about the teen. "The juvenile system is about rehabilitation and if it's going to be about rehabilitation, she (Boyd) absolutely made the right decision."' [http://www.cnn.com/2014/02/05/us/texas-affluenza-teen/]

Oh, he never apologized.

If you are a minority in Ohio (an open carry state), and you have what looks to be a toy gun in your hand, you can and probably will be shot dead if you're not with white people who are carrying as well. John Crawford showed that. [https://www.rt.com/usa/193656-guns-walmart-crawford-shooting/] He didn't do anything even legal in his state, but since he was apart of the 'scary race', he was gunned down.

Because he wasn't of the privileged set.

The danger is getting the freedom to 'alter your perception of how you view the world' and the freedom of 'not having your social or ecomonic status affect your world around you' mixed up. Yes, you are free to look at every obstacle as a life enriching experience. But you simply can't stand up to any government in the world and say "I matter as much as those people who donated to you, and deserve as much sway as they have". Because the only thing you'll receive is laughter.
 

CrystalShadow

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Apr 11, 2009
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If you frame things in this way then yes, the whole thing seems meaningless.

But in terms of what you can viably choose to try and accomplish in life, 'privilege' clearly shows up in terms of the variety of choices you can make.

A rich man can trivially choose to become a poor one if they desire it, because the actions they would need to take to accomplish that are not at all difficult.

The reverse is however not true.

Yes, both are 'free', to choose things. But what can we say of a situation where one person by virtue of random chance alone has far more options about what they can meaningfully choose than another?

People do not exist in a vacuum. And this is creating a definition of freedom which, largely seems to be opposite to what I would consider freedom.

But I guess that's the nature of philosophy sometimes.

Choosing to accept the constraints on your life is quite a different thing from not having any in the first place. (Which is how I would define freedom)

Of course, from my definition, nobody is ever free. (For one thing, no matter how well you do in social terms, you are still bound by the laws of physics, and have to suffer the consequences of those laws whether you want to or not)

True freedom is unobtainable, but there are variations on how 'free' someone can be, and these can arise for many reasons.

Some are obvious constraints - Like the freedom to murder someone without consequence, while perhaps making you more free, makes whoever you are choosing to kill less so.

Others are less obvious. Does giving more money to the poor come at a cost to others? And if so, to what extent?

Does allowing people to wear whatever clothes they feel like have a downside?

Anyway... Freedom. All rather odd.
 

Luminous_Umbra

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Sep 25, 2011
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On the topic of privilege, I have this to say:
Far too often, privilege based on sex or race is treated as though it's the end all be all or even remotely close.
When in truth, as seen here:
ObsidianJones said:
If you found a girl under 17 who truly can understand what love is and chose you to love, no matter how well thought out she can make that statement... if you choose to express your love, you will go to jail.

Unless you are rich and privileged. Then you can be found guilty and not go to jail because you might get hurt [http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2014/03/31/3421132/rich-heir-rapes-his-3-year-old-daughter-gets-no-jail-time-because-he-will-not-fare-well-in-prison/].
Class privilege has a far greater effect, as it can show up in someone regardless of race, sex, or any other factor and overshadow any other disadvantage that individual might have from privilege.

There are certainly issues faced by minorities, but the advantage the rich and well-off have over the rest is far greater than any other.
 

chikusho

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Jun 14, 2011
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Sure, you don't choose your race or place in society or any other inherent privileges. But you sure as hell benefit from them.

The problem mostly comes from the fact that people rarely reflect upon the parts of themselves that they haven't chosen as long as they are considered 'normal'. And 'being white' is an example of something that's a normal in western society, and if you deviate from that norm you are automatically an other. Thus, when you don't reflect on your individual attributes and heritage (or, "check your privilege") it becomes impossible to realize that there are other, perfectly accurate worldviews separated from the societal structures you take for granted.

For example, Native Americans weren't 'Indians' before America was colonized. They were Apaches, Mohaves and Potawatomi.
Black people weren't black before Africa was colonized, they were Zulu, Maasai and Oromo.

How we choose to categorize and identify people shows what traits are valued in the society we inhibit. And some of those categories usually carry a lot of prejudice, and very little actual/valuable/relevant information, regarding the person they are describing. The simple fact that white men can move throughout most of the western world without having their ethnicity or gender questioned is an enormous advantage, simply because that's what's considered to be the norm.
 

Gorrath

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Feb 22, 2013
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chikusho said:
Sure, you don't choose your race or place in society or any other inherent privileges. But you sure as hell benefit from them.
This is dependent on context and the details of any given situation. To make such a sweeping generalization is correct but not useful for assessing individual situations. Being white or a man may carry privilege in one situation and disadvantage in another. The benefits or disadvantages any one person faces depends on many factors some of which can change rapidly and some of which are essentially static.


The problem mostly comes from the fact that people rarely reflect upon the parts of themselves that they haven't chosen as long as they are considered 'normal'. And 'being white' is an example of something that's a normal in western society, and if you deviate from that norm you are automatically an other. Thus, when you don't reflect on your individual attributes and heritage (or, "check your privilege") it becomes impossible to realize that there are other, perfectly accurate worldviews separated from the societal structures you take for granted.
But people don't just live in "western society" they live in specific neighborhoods with different socio-economic, racial, religious makeups. When people pay attention only to the macro and try to apply it to the micro it is very easy to lose the justice they may be fighting for. This seems an extraordinarily common trend in today's social justice movements.

For example, Native Americans weren't 'Indians' before America was colonized. They were Apaches, Mohaves and Potawatomi.
Black people weren't black before Africa was colonized, they were Zulu, Maasai and Oromo.

How we choose to categorize and identify people shows what traits are valued in the society we inhibit. And some of those categories usually carry a lot of prejudice, and very little actual/valuable/relevant information, regarding the person they are describing. The simple fact that white men can move throughout most of the western world without having their ethnicity or gender questioned is an enormous advantage, simply because that's what's considered to be the norm.
You are correct that it is the category itself that tends to carry the prejudice. Many people make the mistake of assuming it is specific categorizations within the broader categories that carry the prejudice and not the category itself. In other words, people will often make the mistake of assuming that "being black" is what carries the prejudice when it is race in general that carries it. Racial prejudice affects groups of people and individuals differently depending on where they live within the western world and a slew of other factors.

Being able to move throughout "most of the western world without having their ethnicity or gender questioned," is only an advantage for someone who can actually "move throughout most of the western world." For those who's movement is restricted to an area where they are a minority, being white and a man can serve as an enormous disadvantage. Sure, it's fair to say that he would be affected by this less if he simply moved but that's akin to telling black people who rightly complain of racism to go back to Africa.

Broad categorizations and the meta discussion of justice is fine and even useful but when people try and apply broad categorizations and the meta to the individual, justice can be lost. We have built the theory of our justice systems on this understanding, that each person is their own case and each case should be assessed on its own merits. And yet with social justice we are so keen on ignoring the individual and the specific merits of their personal experiences that justice and privilege become feeble concepts.
 

Bocaj2000

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I agree with the video. When all is said and done, the only person to blame for your actions and lack there of is yourself. Privilege may open the door to more methods of completing those actions, but it never restricts completely. Just remember:

"If your happiness depends on what somebody else does, I guess you do have a problem."
-Richard Bach
 
Sep 24, 2008
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Gorrath said:
Broad categorizations and the meta discussion of justice is fine and even useful but when people try and apply broad categorizations and the meta to the individual, justice can be lost. We have built the theory of our justice systems on this understanding, that each person is their own case and each case should be assessed on its own merits. And yet with social justice we are so keen on ignoring the individual and the specific merits of their personal experiences that justice and privilege become feeble concepts.
Excuse me for butting in, but you've mentioned 'social justice' a few times. Do you think the Social Justice contingent are the only ones who are ignoring the individual? I merely ask because I don't want to go and assume before raising some points.
 

2012 Wont Happen

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Bocaj2000 said:
I agree with the video. When all is said and done, the only person to blame for your actions and lack there of is yourself. Privilege may open the door to more methods of completing those actions, but it never restricts completely. Just remember:

"If your happiness depends on what somebody else does, I guess you do have a problem."
-Richard Bach
Lack of privilege can get you gunned down at 12 years old by a cop who hasn't even fully gotten out of his vehicle for carrying a toy gun in an open carry state. I take it Richard Bach didn't ever have to contend with anything like that.
 

Rastrelly

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Mar 19, 2011
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OMG, guys, this 'priviledge' fighting shite is so funny =) The poorest black gay female junkie in US has more 'priviledges' then average person in, say, Syria or Iraq, or, by the way, in Ukraine. Maybe you all will start with sending all your money but 40 or 50 dollars a month to charity? This will make you all much more equal and, I suppose, will oddly enough put an end to all 'priviledge' discussions =)
 

Gorrath

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ObsidianJones said:
Gorrath said:
Broad categorizations and the meta discussion of justice is fine and even useful but when people try and apply broad categorizations and the meta to the individual, justice can be lost. We have built the theory of our justice systems on this understanding, that each person is their own case and each case should be assessed on its own merits. And yet with social justice we are so keen on ignoring the individual and the specific merits of their personal experiences that justice and privilege become feeble concepts.
Excuse me for butting in, but you've mentioned 'social justice' a few times. Do you think the Social Justice contingent are the only ones who are ignoring the individual? I merely ask because I don't want to go and assume before raising some points.
Oh not at all. The specific reason I am picking on that here is because contemporary social justice seems to be riddled with presumptive thinking that overshadows its own goals. I understand the reflexive desire to defend social justice since its goals can be seen as righteous and I am very glad you asked me to clarify instead of assuming a meaning I did not intend. Sincerely, thank you for that.

I attack social justice here for the same reason I oft attack various means progressives want to use to fight racism or other issues. It's not that I disagree with the premise but often the practice. Employing racism to fight racism is a bad idea. Employing injustice to fight against injustice is the same. Seeing individuals only as an over or under privileged class because they belong to a certain race or religion makes a mockery of justice, especially when it's done by those who are claiming to champion it.

I don't think I would be rightly categorized as being pro or anti social justice but someone who does care about the way people are harmed by injustice, regardless of who they are, their supposed level of privilege, or any other factor over which they have no control. "And justice for all," is what I believe.
 

Gorrath

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Rastrelly said:
OMG, guys, this 'priviledge' fighting shite is so funny =) The poorest black gay female junkie in US has more 'priviledges' then average person in, say, Syria or Iraq, or, by the way, in Ukraine. Maybe you all will start with sending all your money but 40 or 50 dollars a month to charity? This will make you all much more equal and, I suppose, will oddly enough put an end to all 'priviledge' discussions =)
The "appeal to bigger problems" is a bit a of fallacy, yes? Just because Jane is suffering more injustice than Bob isn't a good reason to ignore the injustice against Bob. He's a person who deserves justice too. Just because you may find a country where they kill homosexuals for being open about it does not mean we shouldn't strive for equality of opportunity and fairness here, right?