Awhile ago I answered a question for Radical Reference which brought me back to Peggy McIntosh’s article “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack.” A friend of mine in college had the male privilege version of the list pinned to his door. My college was a good place in that, for the most part, people knew this stuff and did their best to live by it. That effort was not always successful, but it was there.
I regret to say that my Easter started off this year with a conversation with someone who, upon hearing that I go to the Episcopal church in town, mentioned that he, too, had once been an Episcopalian until–and here he made a homophobic comment that I won’t repeat. “Excuse me?” I said. And I tried, with probably limited success, to explain that I did not find his comment–or his views–appropriate, and that, in fact, I found them offensive.
I was thinking, of course, of Dorothea’s post from a week or so ago. Dorothea is speaking specifically of “geekland culture” and more broadly of culture on the web, but her point is applicable everywhere. Unfortunate, but true. It was even applicable at my college; it’s certainly applicable in the wider world–what everyone used to call the “real world,” as though there are worlds one can inhabit that are unreal.
I have to remind myself of that, and I have to remind myeslf, with posts like Dorothea’s, that it’s also my responsibility to do something about it.