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Mirkat

Mirkat Always Reading

I'm always reading something, usually multiple books at a time.

Currently reading

The Magicians (The Magicians, #1)
Mark Bramhall, Lev Grossman

Perils of Privilege

The Perils of "Privilege": Why Injustice Can't Be Solved by Accusing Others of Advantage - Phoebe Maltz Bovy

 

 

I received this book as a free ARC from NetGalley.  This will not prevent me from writing an honest review.

 

For several years now, it has been common for comments to online articles and blog posts to call out the author and/or subject to "check your privilege" or to be notified that "your privilege is showing."  In response, many writers include a list of privilege-acknowledging disclaimers to preempt such reactions.  The privilege framework plays out in higher education and politics as well.  Phoebe Maltz Bovy contends that the call-outs and self-policing are counter-productive.  Far from improving inequities, they help distract from addressing valid issues.  While writers and thinkers are busy acknowledging that there exist people with fewer advantages than they have, the most advantaged people are continuing to enjoy all of the benefits that come with that status.

 

As Bovy suggests, when something that should be a basic right for everyone is framed as a privilege that not everyone can have, it's not productive to call out people who have that "privilege," as if it's something no one should have.  Instead, the question would be how to ensure everyone's rights are defended.

 

Bovy is careful to point out that the book isn't a crank piece designed to ridicule people examining questions of privilege.  Instead she suggests there have been over reaches; take a step back without a return to earlier obliviousness.  

 

I think this book could serve as a useful tool for moving beyond what can be a stalemate, to start moving the conversations along when considering social inequities.