It’s about time I make a master post for the Problem With Privilege series, given that I’ve already written eight such posts. The series covers the Dublin incident involving Rebecca Watson being hit on in an elevator and later vlogging about it having been creepy, and all the attendant death spiral that occurred after she dared make such a statement.
She didn’t accuse this man of rape, she didn’t call for an end to all sexual behaviour, she said his particular behaviour made her uncomfortable.
Not only do the marginalized people get explicitly marginalized, there are some creeping and insidious ways that the privileged group gets advantages that they themselves might not be aware of.
Even with all these hypotheticals, the salient points are still that she was alone, slightly tipsy, in a foreign country, at 4 in the morning, in a hotel during which time most of the activity was winding down for the night, and a stranger got on the elevator with her and the first contact she’d ever had with this guy was for him to offer her coffee in his room so they could “talk”. Because he found her “interesting”.
There is a concept in the business world known as the elevator pitch. The idea is simple — when you step onto an elevator with one of the business world’s movers and shakers, you have between thirty and sixty seconds during which you might be able to sell your business to them. Because they can’t get away, they have to listen.
Jennifer Ouellette writes about the chilling effect of privilege prejudices on diversity in the skeptical/atheist movement, and I couldn’t agree more.
The epithets have flown from both sides, fast and thick.
There are a number of arguments in this whole privilege debacle surrounding the so-called Elevatorgate that, while not actually rebutting the issues in question, are in themselves valid and correct. Here’s a few of them, and why they don’t address the problem at hand.
I posit that the abovementioned groups are victims of a runaway skepticism of the sort that produces AGW denialists, Birthers, the Tea Party, 9/11 Truthers, New World Order conspiracy nutjobs, and just about anyone else who says something about “the establishment keeping the truth suppressed”.
The term “predatory behaviour” covers a spectrum of actions that society generally frowns upon, because it involves taking advantage of imbalances of power between two or more entities.
Future entries will be added to this list, and will link back in the comments as pingbacks in case you’d like to subscribe to this series.