The privilege is the absence of barriers that exist for other people

You may not have noticed this (I kid), but talking about privilege doesn’t always work out. If it did, we wouldn’t be hearing so much about that guy Tal Fortgang, who is so remote from having any privilege that major media are paying close attention to his lack of privilege. Mychal Denzel Smith explains in The Nation why it all goes wrong.

When people with privilege hear that they have privilege, what they hear is not, “Our society is structured so that your life is more valued than others.” They hear, “Everything, no matter what, will be handed to you. You have done nothing to achieve what you have.” [Read more…]

Experiences inform

Obama made some remarks about race and context and experience and the criminal laws today.

Those sets of experiences inform how the African-American community interprets what happened one night in Florida, and it’s inescapable for people to bring those experiences to bear. The African-American community is also knowledgeable that there is a history of racial disparities in the application of our criminal laws.

That’s the “privilege” conversation. That conversation is not a reason to scream in panic and head for the hills. [Read more…]

One rule for thee and another for me

Religious privilege in action.

Some guy from something called The Christian Institute (why do I suspect its membership consists of the guy in question?) is saying he’s going to boycott Tesco, because some other guy who works for Tesco in some capacity said something on Flickr. Yes really. Mind you it’s in the Telegraph, which seems to specialize in this kind of non-story, but it’s still worth a tiny smile of disdain (because after all, how much trouble is a tiny smile of disdain).

Nick Lansley, Tesco’s head of research and development, said he was actively taking a stand “against evil Christians” who opposed the right of same-sex couples to marry.

In a message on his profile page on, he said: “I’m…campaigning against evil Christians (that’s not all Christians, just bad ones) who think that gay people should not lead happy lives and get married to their same-sex partners.” [Read more…]