Underlying Principles & Observations

  • There are many unskillful and perhaps counter-productive ways of presenting white privilege narratives.  (I found a number of examples on-line where people admit to having regrets about how they talked about WP to others)
  • Discussing or presenting the concept of white privilege is challenging for many.  There are many unskillful ways of doing it.
  • Most Americans believe and accept the concept of white privilege.  Or more precisely, they accept a or their concept of white privilege.   Which leads us to …
  • There are many way of telling the story of white privilege.  Stories are told in narratives.  Therefore …
    There are a diversity of narratives about white privilege.  There are some significant contrasts, differences, disagreements and debates between them.
  • Narratives are often not simple.  They often include theories about causes, accounts and interpretations of history,  implications of white privilege in the present, and ideas or exhortations about how to respond.   It’s quite possible that a educated, compassionate and mindful listener accept some form of WP for themselves while remain skeptical about a narrative’s causes, history, and/or implications for engaged action.
  • The various white privilege narratives are often perceived to carry with them many “code words”, unstated premises, values and beliefs.  Participants should be encouraged to ask “so what?” and “why do you think that is important”?
  • Many suspect (and not without reason) a follow-on conversation along the lines of “if you accept white privilege therefore you must …”.  In other words, while hearing other narratives listeners are often “waiting for the other shoe to fall”, for the political “got cha”.
  • Many who are said to deny white privilege are not denying white privilege per-say, that is they are not denying all narratives, but rather the “denial” is a rejection of some one else’s narrative.
  • White privilege engages issues of power, privilege, diversity, and ideology.  Its easy and I believe common for presentations about WP to privilege advocacy of a particular narrative over others.   Such presentations can thus themselves becomes examples of privilege and power that limit diversity and discriminate against “the other”.  The risk falling into hypocrisy is ever present.
  • There is a important distinction between an honest broker of information and options for action, an advocate, and a stealth advocate.  (Stealth advocacy is probably the most destructive and its quite common in political discourse especial discourse that is partly informed by science.)

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