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Sun Jun 2, 2019, 04:43 PM

why I don't think it's (necessarily) about white privilege

Last edited Sun Jun 2, 2019, 09:17 PM - Edit history (1)

There's been a lot of discussion about the protestor who jumped on the stage featuring a discussion with Kamala Harris. This person - a white male - grabbed the microphone out of Senator Harris' hands and started to talk about an issue other than what was being discussed. That this person is a white male, and Senator Harris is a woman of color, has led a lot of people to point at this as an example of white privilege.

I'm not going to say it isn't - but I AM going to say it might not be.

Case in point - there was a "town hall"-style forum with our University president, who had been hired less than a year previously. Of the finalists for the position, he was the only one with no academic administrative experience whatsoever. A lot of us felt that the Board of Regents organized a sham interview process to hide this person's direct hire. Hence, his presence on campus was controversial, and the forum was not as even-tempered as one might hope.

Toward the end of the forum, a young man walked to the front of the lecture hall. There was no stage per se, but he walked right past a line of people patiently waiting their turn to use the microphone, stepped up to the podium, and began a lengthy and, frankly, meandering soliloquy.

I thought it was extremely rude. But some of my colleagues told me I should not think so badly of it. The person who cut in front of everyone was African American, and he was interrupting a white male. My objection to his behavior, I was told, reflected my own white privilege.

No, it didn't. It reflected my concepts of courtesy and decorum. Want to say something? Wait your turn, like everyone else.

What I saw in the incident with Senator Harris reminded me a lot of the incident at my university. A protestor who wanted to call attention to his cause interjected himself at the expense of others. That he's white, and the woman he interrupted is of color, didn't necessarily enter into my reading of what happened.

I fully acknowledge that, being a white guy, I'm less likely to pick up on subtle racism. But I honestly think this reflects a sense of entitlement held by activists lacking the ability to se beyond their own causes. Male/white privilege may or may not have played a role, but I've seen people act this way who weren't white men.

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Response to cab67 (Original post)

Sun Jun 2, 2019, 04:56 PM

1. She is a sitting U.S. senator. Her proper title is Senator Harris, not Ms Harris.

 

Which is what makes the man bun guy's actions so shocking. He got on stage, came right up to the senator and grabbed the microphone OUT OF HER HAND. A lot different from your scenario, I'd say.

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Response to Demit (Reply #1)

Sun Jun 2, 2019, 09:15 PM

10. You're right.

I'll edit to correct her title.

I didn't claim the situations were the same. They are, however, similar in some respects. There were no hand-held microphones in the town hall at my university, and there was no stage, so the set-ups were different.

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Response to cab67 (Original post)

Sun Jun 2, 2019, 05:16 PM

2. white privilege? ok, so what do we call it when

black activists hijack the stage in front of thousands of people and take the microphone from Bernie? Remember that, in Seattle? They were not manhandled and muscled off the stage, but were allowed to have their say on BLM. This guy that jumped the stage with Kamala, she handed him her mic but we didn't even find out what he wanted to talk about before he was wrestled away.
Should we condemn him for being white? male? Or just self-important and rude.

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Response to cab67 (Original post)

Sun Jun 2, 2019, 05:19 PM

3. Kanye did this to Taylor Swift. Male privilege, even if now white.

 

Ugh.

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Response to cab67 (Original post)

Sun Jun 2, 2019, 05:24 PM

4. "Male/white privilege may or may not have played a role, but I've seen people act this way who

weren't white men."

White privilege doesn't necessarily make this dude feel like he can walk on stage an ask Senator Harris a question -- but it's important to realize that it's certainly what allowed him to get that close in the first place.

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Response to cab67 (Original post)

Sun Jun 2, 2019, 05:31 PM

5. It wasn't about white privilege...

It was about white, male ENTITLEMENT.

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Response to MrScorpio (Reply #5)

Sun Jun 2, 2019, 09:19 PM

11. A different label doesn't change my perspective.

That this person is a douchebag is undeniable. Whether he felt entitled - consciously or not - because of his social status (which is a function, in part, of gender and race) is still an open question, in my opinion.

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Response to cab67 (Reply #11)

Sun Jun 2, 2019, 09:34 PM

12. The difference is that privilege is something that's given

Versus entitlement, which is something that he felt that he could take.

If a bunch of large, burly white me were up on that stage talking, I doubt that he would feel entitled enough to wrestle a mic away from them.

More than likely, he would demand the mic and expect to be given a voice on equal terms.

Instead, he felt entitled enough to do what he did to black women. Letís not disregard the fact that sexism and disrespect of black women from a position of white entitlement is also a problem on the left as well.

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Response to MrScorpio (Reply #12)

Mon Jun 3, 2019, 05:48 AM

14. Emphasis on 'large, burly'

As others have noted, this particular douchebag has evidently tried to pull the same stunt with white men, including Bernie Sanders.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.commondreams.org/news/2019/06/02/three-years-after-rushing-bernie-sanders-event-animal-rights-activist-takes-mic%3famp

I never said senses of entitlement emerging from gender and race are absent from the political left. Iím just not convinced this is an example.

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Response to cab67 (Original post)

Sun Jun 2, 2019, 05:46 PM

6. An OP like that is similar to pushing a stick into a bee hive.

 

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Response to cab67 (Original post)

Sun Jun 2, 2019, 05:49 PM

7. The asshole belongs to an obnoxious cult called Direct Action Everywhere

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Response to cab67 (Original post)

Sun Jun 2, 2019, 07:41 PM

8. I agree


I don't think this had to do with color. I read he interrupted Bernie Sanders once too. Someone posted this on a tweet about the subject. I think Direct Action Everywhere, who this guy is part of, should denounce this action, but I guess it their way of doing things.


Black Lives Matter disrupt Bernie Sanders

https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2015/08/09/black_lives_matter_protesters_disrupt_bernie_sanders_event_in_seattle_sanders_gives_up_mic_to_them.html


Direct Action Everywhere news release
https://docs.google.com/document/d/14dO4FHqHL4f6btUSG4YjiAjzsHaDyuSg3O4t3VCtGl8/edit

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Response to cab67 (Original post)

Sun Jun 2, 2019, 07:43 PM

9. SOMETIMES an asshole is just an asshole and that is all. nt

 

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Response to UniteFightBack (Reply #9)

Sun Jun 2, 2019, 10:39 PM

13. I was going to write somethjing similar

I don't think there a complex social theory here on this one. Those things exists, but they don't comprise our entire existence and explain every adverse thing.

This guy is an asshole. That's all.

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