the built-in blindness of male privilege

the built-in blindness of male privilege

"Male Privilege" cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward I did another cartoon recently along this same theme, The Problem With the Patriarchy is it Doesn't Know it Exists. I watched this fascinating lecture by sociologist Michael Kimmel, Boys Will Be Boys: Deconstructing Masculinity and Manhood. Very enlightening! Privilege is invisible to itself. This why and how it works. Here is a section of the lecture where he shares the moment he realized he was guilty of white, middle class, male, privilege:
"Each week, eleven women and me got together, we would read some text in feminist theory and talk about it. And during one of our meetings I witnessed a conversation between two women that changed everything for me. One of the women was white and one was black. The white woman said, 'All women have the same experience as women. All women face the same oppression as women and therefore all women have a kind of intuitive solidarity or sisterhood.' And the black woman said, 'I'm not so sure. Let me ask you a question.' So the black woman says to the white woman, 'When you wake up in the morning and you look in the mirror, what do you see?' And the white woman said, 'I see a woman.' And the black woman said, 'You see, that's the problem for me, because when I wake up in the morning and look in the mirror,' she said, 'I see a black woman. To me race is visible, but to you race is invisible. You don't see it.' And then she said something really startling. She said, 'That's how privilege works. Privilege is invisible to those who have it.' Now, remember, I was the only man in this room. So I heard this and I kind of just spontaneously groaned and put my head in my hands and someone said, 'Well, what was THAT reaction?' And I said, 'Well, when I wake up in the morning and I look in the mirror I see a human being.' I'm kind of a generic person, ya know? I'm a middle class, white, man. I have (visible) class, no race, no gender. I'm universally generalizable. So I like to think that that was the moment that I became an aware middle class, white, man. That class and race and gender weren't about other people but they were about me and I had to start thinking about them and it had been privilege that had kept it invisible to me for so long."
Powerful! The problem, of course, is that the church suffers almost total blindness to this reality. My hope is that eventually enough voices of light will illuminate its eyes. We talk all about this kind of stuff. Join THE LASTING SUPPER. Read my books, especially THE LIBERATION OF SOPHIA! A true feminist! My ART speaks contemplatively of these things HERE.

Leave a comment