I want to live in a world that is a marketplace for ideas... Where everyone is busted for their bullshit all the time. - Penn Jillette
What is Privilege?"
Simply put, some people are allowed to get away with certain things, while others are not. You may have a friend that gets away with things that you never could. Often times the reasons why are, Practice, Gravitas and/or Privilege. Some Privilege is legislated, some is societal gender, race and social norms. Being a man, I don't often comment on feminism. I tend to get my privilege checked, quite frequently, and sometimes quite aggressively. So, I asked an ex-student of mine her thoughts on the #cancelcolbert twitter campaign. She responded;
"Often white people seem to be under the mistaken impression that they somehow get to define racism. That is not accurate... "White people cannot define racism because oppression cannot and should not be defined by oppressors."
I then asked, "Am I an oppressor?" I qualified, and she responded;
"Oh, fuck yeah. Like, sorry, but yes, just by virtue of being a white person. Here's the thing, you're definitely an advocate for oppressed and marginalized groups, which is awesome, but it doesn't mean that you aren't complicit in their oppression. The idea is just that you have to acknowledge your privilege and use as a tool to end oppression. You're an oppressor, in many ways I am an oppressor. It's something we need to acknowledge and fight against. There's nothing inherently wrong with being white, or straight, or a man, or cis-genered, or whatever, but there's definitely something wrong with not using these positions of privilege and power in our society to advocate for oppressed and marginalized peoples."
I take her to mean that since i am identified by others as 'white', 'cis-gendered', even if I don't self define as white and cis isn't a gender. Sorry. 'Cis-Gender' is just a made up word that only exists to point a objecting finger at breeders, imo. Unless, someone personally identifies as Cis, to which I have no objection whatsoever.
Anyways, as an individual, I must define myself. By defining myself, I must do so against what that which i am naturally; apathetic. Because, in all of us, we have made a choice towards apathy or against it, if we are apathetic, we have made that choice to act apathetically. It is easy to act in bad faith.
My main complaint with Suey is that she allowed her own personality to become the focus, instead of discussing Privilege. In making a personality of herself, she also drowned out Native Americans from the conversation about Native Americans, and Racism. Further, there are legal precedent questions concerning human resources, if one were to take Suey Park seriously, which almost no one seems to do, including herself. "she never thought there was ever a real chance of the show getting canceled. But she wanted an apology, and came up with a hashtag that would get noticed." Then again, if she succeeded, that could have made her the single most hated person on the internet. Talking about playing with fire...
In her defense, I did some silly shit in my mid twenties, too. I helped coordinate a social media campaign that deposed my college president on my own personal judgement of his academic work was not up to par, and because he wanted the Heritage Foundation and Joe Bast to take over Shimer, and rename it Liberty Institute.
They failed, and went back to Texas. What I realized is that social media is a incredibly powerful tool. Social media is more powerful than money, because it's the brute force of the mob thrown as a Molotov cocktail into the master's chambers. Truth deposes governments. That is why the NSA is so afraid. They see what is going on in the middle east, and they are scared that people will wise up to the power of an articulate intelligent compassionate voices being raised. Active Citizenship and Social Media can change the board, drastically.
We all do some silly things from time to time, and I will continue to do so, boldly, and in the digital age, our mistakes are ever more public. So, I feel a bit of sympathy for Ms. Park. I believe that she will at some time consider her own privilege, if not, it should probably be explained to her, politely and respectfully. After all, how else are we to learn?
Personally, I believe there is something objectionable about the way Ms. Park chose to make her argument.
I used to respect and enjoy your work, @ColbertReport. Fuck you.—
Suey Park (@suey_park) March 27, 2014
It also must be said that Suey campaigns on, "Promote what you love instead of bashing what you hate", yet spends a good amount of time bashing white liberal men.
This is why some have called Suey a 'Professional Umbrage Taker'. Yet, there is something to be said for class.
Hopefully someday Suey Park will look outside herself, and realize there are more offensive things happening in the world than comedians like Steven Colbert, and if he is worst offense she's faced, she is much more privileged than most of the world. Hopefully someday she'll move off twitter, out of the dorm, and try her hand in the real world with something to lose, beside her U-pass. Or, she could focus her laser on subjects that deserve outrage:
#sProbeScaliaHard (You could even get corporate sponsorship from this one! Tell me a butt plug company wouldn't enjoy their logo on that tweet?)
Or, for a Christmas suggestion: #PetCokefromKoch
Perhaps even an info-graphic... Petroleum Coke as a Christmas card from Koch Industries. Give the big slag of cancer a elf hat, so everyone can get Koch Coal? Is no one clever anymore?
Ms. Park, who claims she has a special talent for putting hash tags in front of words, unleashed a hailstorm of #cancelcolbert tweets..." - Taiwanese Animators