les cheveux trempés dans du miel et de caramel (delux_vivens) wrote in sex_and_race,
les cheveux trempés dans du miel et de caramel

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granny's link fest.

So Granny has a great post with some good links and information in it, and one of the things that she excerpts is a piece from someone about listening,and stuff. I figured i'd post it here.

  • Accept Your Privilege: It all starts with one simple self-realization: you are privileged. Chances are, your reading that has made you feel defensive. While it’s a perfectly natural, and common, reaction, don’t let it get in your way of actually thinking about what the statement means. What you need to realize is that we all have privilege to some degree: white privilege, male privilege, heterosexual privilege, etc. The hardest thing to do is to get over your instinct to fight and say, “But I’m not like that!” If you can do it, you’ve completed the first step towards being a nice guy in reality rather than words...

  • Learn to Listen Rather Than Speak: This one is a lot harder than it sounds, and I say this as someone who loves speaking and voicing her opinion on things. One of the greatest things we, as privileged people, can bring to a minority discussion is our closed mouths and open ears/minds. When you enter a minority space, you need to realize that this is their soapbox, not yours. Your privilege gives you many other soapboxes that you can take advantage of, so when participating in a minority discussion your primary goal is to pay attention to what they say about their issues, lives, and oppressions.

  • Criticism is Not Hatred: Any time a minority busts out with an angry critique (or even a nice one), someone will eventually come up with the, “I’m sorry you hate men/whites/heterosexuals/etc.” line. With rare exception, minority individuals do not hate privileged individuals, but we do hate how many privileged individuals act! Learn to take criticism. Learn to not deflect it with excuses about how the minority person is just angry, hateful, etc. Even if the person in question is angry, hateful, etc. Even if you, personally, don’t act that way....

  • Don’t Make It About You: First of all, there’s a difference between using your own experience as a foundation for understanding, and making something about you. The former requires you thinking about a situation and trying to understand it the only way you can - through your own personal lens. The latter, however, is often a defensive reaction (especially around minority groups, because privileged groups have been trained to keep the focus on ourselves) that will shut down dialogue faster that you can say “moo”. Make sure that what you’re saying is relevant and appropriate before you bring your privileged experience into a minority conversation. And, furthermore, if the minority group reacts badly, don’t get angry at them! Reflect on the situation and use that knowledge to foster a better discussion next time.
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