Saturday, May 3, 2008

Uh.... Bubble privilege?

While I am more than a little reluctant to call it a type of privilege, I've often wondered, during conversations on the internet and while reading other sources, about the unexamined advantages a person has if they live in a more socially "liberal"/progressive town or city.

So, one of the things that bugged me when I read Inga Muscio's Cunt: a declaration of independence was her perspective as a person who lives on the West Coast of the U.S. and has access to a comfortable bubble of like-minded progressive types, and perhaps institutions (i.e. clinics, Planned Parenthood, woo-woo herbalist friends, etc.) that the majority of the continent does not experience. It is not necessarily a direct function of city size, but of geography and social attitudes. And I've seen this same perspective coming from many people in discussions on the internet. It's gotten to the point where, usually if I see some completely oblivious person who is saying things like, "What do you mean, you don't have a Planned Parenthood within easy walking/driving/bus distance?" they are from the West Coast: usually somewhere near San Francisco, Portland or Seattle area... I swear I'm not just hallucinating this. Sometimes I'll see someone on LJ say some really stupid "hai there I live in a bubble where everyone loves and tolerates each other and the streets are paved with candy" white liberal bullshit, I go to look at their profile, and lo and behold they live on the West Coast of the U.S. Call me crazy, but I can't help making a connection...

Well, hmm... is it more a subset of class privilege, then? I'm inclined to disagree, because I don't hear the exact same attitudes coming from people from expensive cities like NYC/Boston/wherever. There may be hints of it, but it's a different flavor. It's less intense, less oblivious. Maybe because NYC and Boston and the like aren't so... granola.

Intersectionality -- I think this is perhaps more accurately described as a mish-mash of class privilege and white privilege. It's the assumption that what is "normal" for white progressives/radicals in Portland or San Francisco or Seattle is "normal" (or, if recognized as not normal, then it is asserted as the ideal) for everyone else. What I see is: O hay, we don't have to worry about the fucked up shit that's happening in the rest of the country or the rest of the world, because we have our happy granola community here, plz stop bumming us out with your talk of reproductive rights and race issues and omg I DON'T SEE COLOR...

Yeah, well. You get the idea.



Oh jeez, I am so bad at expressing myself. How do other bloggers write such perfectly articulate theses on matters like this? I think I'm going to have to blame the fact that I haven't really been healthy for the past month and today I'm woozy and sick (AGAIN) with a sore throat and god knows what else...

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