I realize that all of a sudden today I started posting to this blog, after a ten-day hiatus. Sorry. Not really though. Just read the damn posts.

I am reading a book called Privilege, Power and Difference by Allan G. Johnson for my Intergroup Relations dialogue training course. It’s a very readable, well-written book, and though from time to time I feel a touch talked-down to by Johnson (maybe a vice of the righteous, I don’t know), I am enjoying it. Except for the fact that Johnson only makes mention of the oppression of transgender people in name. I just read through a segment where he breaks down the subtle ways in which social privilege benefit agent groups. The “gender” section discussed how men have privilege that women lack. But his silence on non-binary gendered people was very telling for me. Ironic that the guy has written a book called The Gender Knot. The so-called gender knot is a lot more…well…knotty…than Johnson seems to want to recognize.

Now the thing of it is, this section of the book was written to draw attention to the fact that oppression, and the giving of privilege, is often something we take for granted. It’s often something we just don’t think about. As soon as the class snaps into topics related to gender-based privilege, I feel sidelined. And like Johnson brings up, when we’re in positions of privilege we are at liberty to ignore them.

I don’t know how to break through this barrier. It’s like all of a sudden I get put behind a glass wall where I can see and hear what goes on but there’s nothing I can say to anybody about it. And the thing of it is, it makes me start wondering how worthwhile my efforts in social justice are.

Look at it this way: transgender issues have only recently become a more mainstream topic of discussion in terms of social justice. If we haven’t solved the social justice issues that have plagued other target groups, then how the hell are we supposed to solve this enormously more complex question of gender oppression? If the people who I know who are most committed to social justice intimidate the hell out of me so much that I can’t talk about it with them, then what is the purpose of all of this?

I mean, there’s a deeper philosophical question to the purpose of all of this, but here I mean — what am I doing? I know for a fact that unraveling the problems of oppression for one group is like blazing the trail for another. But I might just not be patient enough for this shit.

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