Home > Signal Boosts > Random reblog, with comments

Random reblog, with comments

This is brilliant, so I’m reblogging it. It applies to disability as well as, despite not mentioning it explicitly. Also, the comments were really interesting, and not as horrific as usual (thanks, in large part, to JS’s willingness to moderate them and occasionally hit people with the Mallet of Doom when they overstepped their bounds.)

I tried to read all the comments, really I did. I got to about dinnertime on May 15. By the time I got back, comments had been shut off. Sadface. So, because my responses are all running around my head like overcaffeinated hamsters: I want to respond to some of the commenters here.

1) “Tom G,” I’m not sure why you were even allowed to comment. I don’t know if you were trolling or if anyone can really be in that dire need of an encephaloendoproctectomy (for those of you who don’t speak Medical, that roughly translates as “operation to remove one’s head from one’s posterior”). Actually, sadly, I do know… There are actually SWCMs in this country who think /they/ have it rough simply by virtue of being SWCMs. There isn’t enough facepalm out there. “Someguy” also wins a douche award.

2) To all the SWM who said, essentially, in a range of ways: “Yes, I agree it’s unfair that I got the breaks, but stop hating on me for it/ what am I supposed to do about it/ how come you’re all blaming me?” and in some cases “but I even /tried/ to help the less fortunate and got crapped on for my trouble” (htom, Ian I, shackledtodesk, Dismissed Minority Truth, Gareth S, Joshua M, Jdack, cammanwordsmith, Matt, John F, someguy, prof.pedant)

— Actually bother to read the answers people gave. There are some damn good ones. Accept the fact that someone might know more about it than you. Learn from them.

— Ian I, in particular, you seem stuck in “yesbut” mode. You and people you knew had some lousy experiences with this kind of thing. Yes, that sucked. No, it wasn’t fair. I acknowledge that. But it’s a very very small piece of what’s going on. Take a deep breath, step back, and look at the bigger picture.

— Go read some Tim Wise, a SWM who Gets It. I’m disturbed no one had mentioned him yet. To quote the man: “Guilt is what you feel for what you’ve done. Responsibility is what you take because of the kind of person you are.” Believe it or not, guys, very few people, and no one I saw in the comments, wants to make your lives harder, wants to make you pay for having the easy setting, or is even asking you to feel bad about getting the easy setting. All we’re asking is that you make a concerted effort to leave the world a better and fairer place than you found it. That’s all. Really.

2) “Pat,” I’d guess you’re college-aged, Libertarian, and either female or a racial minority but not both. Your main mistake is that you assume everyone can apply the points they earn the same way. This is not true. Intelligence, health, and education all deeply affect a person’s ability to make the decisions that give them the chance to get ahead (or even catch up) in life. Either you think people with disabilities and lower intelligence can just pull themselves up by their magical bootstraps, in which case you’re naive, or you don’t believe that they actually deserve to have decent lives because they aren’t smart/quick/strong enough to create those lives for themselves, in which case you’re a jerk.

3) John, I’m not a gamer myself, so I may be missing some subtleties… but my main concern with the game metaphor is that it perpetuates an idea too many of your commenters seem to believe already: that life is some kind of contest, where it is up to some of us to get ahead at the expense of others. I truly believe that there’s enough of the good life to go around, and that much of the reason we all fight so much is the misconception that this is a zero-sum situation where any one person’s improvement comes at someone else’s cost. That being said, the metaphor still rocks my socks off.

4) A shout-out to all the awesome folks who got it right, did the educating, and said the stuff that needed to be said: drtboi, Bryce, Daveon, Muse, Constance, Mary Anne M, iiii, Sigh, kurtbusick, Bryon Q, jchines, pixelfish, angus g, verbranden, Ron Z, David who wrote “next question” where appropriate, Sophia M (I’m nabbing your list of links)… you are my heroes of the day. And above all, John S himself, and The Pint: I want to have your baybeees!

Ok. I’m studying now, like I’m supposed to. Really.


I’ve been thinking of a way to explain to straight white men how life works for them, without invoking the dreaded word “privilege,” to which they react like vampires being fed a garlic tart at high noon. It’s not that the word “privilege” is incorrect, it’s that it’s not their word. When confronted with “privilege,” they fiddle with the word itself, and haul out the dictionaries and find every possible way to talk about the word but not any of the things the word signifies.

So, the challenge: how to get across the ideas bound up in the word “privilege,” in a way that your average straight white man will get, without freaking out about it?

Being a white guy who likes women, here’s how I would do it:

Dudes. Imagine life here in the US — or indeed, pretty much anywhere in the Western world — is a…

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Categories: Signal Boosts Tags: ,
  1. May 17, 2012 at 11:50 pm

    Note: I, too, will ruthlessly moderate comments on this topic. In particular, if you obviously haven’t read the /entire/ original post, don’t expect your comment to be approved.


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