In recent weeks, it seems the Internet can’t host enough pieces about privilege, and I, for one, do not understand it. I feel like I did not miss the boat, rather the boat is something about which I’ve been told. It’s my own personal Groundhog Day. I wake up as Bill Murray’s character, see the advertisement and rush to the ticket agency. Upon arrival at the dock, there’s just, simply, no boat. My wife told me about this Feminist Breeder post, which stems from a 26-year-old piece entitled White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Napsack. My friend Ashley Fuller shared this on Facebook, which apparently led to its creator doing this and most recently, I came across this piece, which I found via this exchange on Twitter, which stemmed from the Dr. V story on Grantland.com.
I don’t wish to dissect the Dr. V piece as that has been done by professional writers, and done well. I’m not sure I support the underlying attack of all of those dissections, which is that Caleb Hannan violated an ethical boundary in outing Essay Anne Vanderbilt. I do think it peculiar that he revealed this piece of information to a member of the investment group that backed her product. But I can understand how and why he lost the scope of his piece and allowed Vanderbilt’s past to take over his story. In the end, the outspokenness of trans* supporters has rung true with this now-prevalent idea of privilege, and I recognize the opportunity to use this situation/story/unfortunate death of the subject as a platform for awareness. At the same time, the idea itself has perhaps trickled into another notion: that of punishment disguising itself as privilege. The theme of what Kate Fagan, for example, wants to address centers on awareness, aversion to defensiveness. And I, being one that tries -- albeit with struggles -- to be mindfully gracious, don’t get it.