Thoughts on the Process: Critiquing Personal Privilege

"I’d like to leave y’all with somebody else’s words. W.H. Auden said ‘All I have is a voice to undo the folded lie’.

Here I am, a thousand miles from home, a thousand miles from any family member and I keep bumping into all these folded lies – these intricately [designed and maintained] lies that require a certain fortitude to undo and get to the bottom of.

I soon realized that in order to be fully human I have to be brave. I know that fear seems easier because you can scamper off into a corner and avoid the fight, but that comfort is temporary and it requires a cost far too high: reality, authenticity, the ability to speak truth to power.

So, I charge you, I encourage you, I dare you to be brave.
I dare you to be brave along the broken parts – those places where your cultural privilege bumps up against your personal hurt. When you’re challenging your privilege, I want you to do something for me:

When you start to do the negotiating dance that sounds a lot like ‘Oh man, I don’t think this person is lying, but I just don’t see how it’s possible’ or ‘Sure, I don’t see why someone would go out of their way to lie but…’

In those moments when you’re wrestling with Cultural Privilege, Despair, and Cognitive Dissonance, I encourage you to ask your self these questions:

‘Is it possible that this person whose knees buckle under the weight of a systemic oppression on a daily basis – is it possible that they know what they’re talking about?’

‘Is it possible that they have a monopoly on their experience and that they have the inclination and wherewithal to undo the folded lie that most intimately applies to them?’

‘Is it possible that I have traded Truth for my comfort?’

…and I dare you answer truthfully."

- The Ideologue's closing statement at 'What Does Feminist Anti-Racism Look Like?', a joint event put on by Community Change Inc and New Wave - Young Boston Feminists on 10/11/2012