So. The big ones. Sex, race, disability, class. (Add your own: sexual orientation should be in there, heteronormativity and how that functions, trans issues, religion or lack thereof, lots more.) But I’m on my choice of Big Four today. And allies. I’m talking about alliances, allies, the process of allying. How do you start? Where can you go wrong? How do you fix it? And mostly, I’m the one asking the questions: I offer up a list of starting points from the fields of sex/disability/race, but I need even more help with class.
Sex. There’s been a fair bit of clatter about the traps about how a man can become an effective feminist ally. Cheers to tigtog for her compilation, which I have drawn from heavily here:
Disability. I’ve written just a little on disability accessibility, though not nearly enough about disablism itself. The Gimp Parade is a great place to start on that. For where I’m coming from:
* Stop and think: invisible access for invisible disabilities
* Rearranging accessibility: more on invisible disability accommodations
* Who hates to hear they look great?
* The Open Letter To Those Without CFS/Fibro …
* Invisible Illness Bingo.
Race: How can white people confront their white privilege, learn about racism (including their own personal little racism imp on their shoulder), and turn that examination around to becoming antiracism allies? You need only to peek back through the indigenous archive here at Hoyden to get a sense of some of the stuff that’s going on in Australia. Dynamics and magnitudes vary the world over, but nowhere is free of racism, and where there are white people, there are oppressors; this means a hefty chunk of today’s readers have this paragraph aimed squarely at them (and from me, who is in much the same boat.)
* Start with White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack
* Nanette’s The Benefit of the Doubt: White readers, if you were the white blogger in this story, how would you react? How do you make your blog available and friendly and open to such critique?
* Magniloquence has started a Race Relations 101 Q&A here, which is worth reading all the way to the end:
Because I promised”¦
* Race-Relations 101 – What can I do?
* How not to be an asshole: a guide for white people/feminists
* How to Suppress Discussions of Racism: What not to do!
* and A Deeper Look at Minority Spaces. [Edited to add, from tekanji: not a specific look at race, but a general post about privileged people coming into the spaces of non-privileged -- including race, gender, class, etc.]
I can’t help but see one honking great gap here: Class.
Everyone accessing the internet has some sort of economic privilege, sure, but many much, much less than others. In this commentariat alone I’m sure their are single mothers, people on disability pensions, people without any health insurance, people paying back impossible private health costs, people who’ve lost their homes or businesses, people who’ve never had a home or business, students struggling to make it through night bar work and sleepy classrooms and student loans…
Well, hello to you all. I’m a complete novice at this side of things, so please bear with me, and call me out if I sat something that makes me sound a right git. but I thought it might be illuminating to start tackling class privilege as well as the other three privileges above, and, once we’ve started that, start figuring out what we can do to reduce our Class Impact Factor. Because I’m not convinced that paying taxes and slipping the Salvos a fiver once a year quite qualifies – though, sadly, it’s better than some.
Over to you.