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View Diary: "If I Were a Poor Black Kid" BUT YOU'RE NOT!! (330 comments)

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  •  And "white male" is the default perspective. (9+ / 0-)

    It's not just default.  It's "rational" and "objective".

    I encourage you to watch this clip from Michael Kimmel's On Gender.  The relevant section starts at about 1:26:

    Kimmel relating how he used to think:

    When I wake up in the morning and look in the mirror, I see a human being.  I'm kind of the generic person.  You know, I'm a middle class white man, I have no race, no class, no gender.  I'm universally generalizeable!

    And we're socially conditioned to think of it this way.  Marks thinks of it that way.  He has no idea that there might be topics on which his perspective as a white male is not definitive; is not of primary importance.  

    Granted, this is a endemic to the commentariat; but it is a common affliction outside it, as well.  If you don't believe me, try visiting feminism blogs, or anti-racism blogs.  Look for the ones where comments are not moderated with an iron fist or deleted with extreme prejudice.  And see how many comments you can read on a post before somebody with privilege (white or male) tries to come in and make it about them.

    Of course you're right that sometimes an outsider perspective is good, and can help someone see what they didn't before.  But a necessary first step for that to happen is for the outsider to actually learn about the situation they are diagnosing.  Listen.  Observe.  A second necessary step would be for them to interrogate their own privilege.  Only then can they have anything to add to the discussion.

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