This is all me and my silly head -- I need to work on a paper and won't if I keep wondering if people have said anything here. So I need to forbid myself lj till the paper's done.
1) kate_schaefer notes that, it being MLK day today (and hey, Obama's inauguration tomorrow), it's an excellent time to donate to the Octavia Butler Memorial Scholarship Fund, which sends one student of color to Clarion and one to Clarion West every year.
Anything I'm writing now, I owe to Clarion, which means I owe it to the Carl Brandon Society and the Octavia Butler Scholarship and the wonderful donors who have made it possible.
I wish I were well enough to really help people, today or any other day. In the meantime I'll point you at her lovely post.
2) deepad just posted what might be the best explanation I've seen of why color-blindness is a terrible concept. It's certainly the one that's made the most sense to me, though that may be due to my background as well as the fact that it's a marvellous post.
3) I can't stop thinking about -isms and Otherness and all of that. And I think where I stand at this point is:
I believe that Otherness does not stop one having bigoted opinions, and that nobody wins when the game is Duelling Othernesses, and that when we're irritated/upset at being called on privilege it's worth listening, and thinking about our own assumptions, and that it's a really bad idea to decide someone else is overreacting or being oversensitive or failing to understand rather than looking inward.
On the other hand I also believe that we hurt the discourse when we focus on some Others while ignoring... er, others. And that unquestioned privilege can go both ways even at once. And that it's really a terrible idea to confuse one type of privilege/prejudice for another.
Racism, classism, and academic privilege have major overlaps and much in common because of historical injustice that hasn't been adequately dealt with, but they are not the same thing. wrt the recent arguments, yes dismissing people without a college education is prejudice, and it's a prejudice that hurts a lot of PoC, but it is not the same thing as racial prejudice. It is a related, insidious, real problem that we won't solve by thinking it's another problem. And that academics won't know to work on if it's always confused with racism.
(Also... does religious prejudice pattern closely with racism in all cases? And does it pattern with classism and academic privilege too, or just racism?)
Personally speaking, I've felt pretty cast-out by (the subset of) PoC in these arguments who have been acting like being an academic is in direct conflict with being of color. Because, hey actually, I'm both. And I'm hardly the only one.
Misogyny, heteronormativity, and gender normativity similarly have overlaps and several things in common, but are not the same thing. And I think perhaps age, weight, and health prejudices might pattern together too, though more loosely. In all these cases, it's... well, it might be easy enough to get confused about which prejudice we're seeing. But I think we need to be careful not to categorize them by which is the nastiest name we can call people, nor by which ones we are most sensitive to by virtue of who we are, but try to see what's going on as clearly as possible.
And I think there's an issue I've seen lately -- two Others of different sorts both accusing the other of privilege/prejudice/not listening, and both being too hurt and feeling too badly under attack to examine themselves. Which makes me wonder whether we can really get very far without looking at all Othernesses together, at least some of the time, and acknowledging that many people involved in the conversation bring their own hurts, and may be reacting to those. Not in order to dismiss anyone's hurt, quite the opposite -- in order to understand and respect everybody's hurt and work in real partnership.