Showing posts from April, 2015

Collective Solidarity vs. Individual Comfort

A few weeks ago in my seminar, we read a piece by Andrea Smith called "The Problem with 'Privilege". Directed at activists and people who are engaged in grassroots work, Smith calls for more focus on collective action to actually dismantle oppressions as opposed to individual "confessing" of privileges in so-called safe spaces. What Smith meant by this is that activists claim and try to create their spaces as safe spaces so that people feel comfortable being there, but no space is ever really free of oppressions. Instead, Smith argues that it serves all of us better if we acknowledge that every space already has people who can oppress and work to dismantle those systems. Moreover, in these safe spaces there are people who confess their privileges and then people who either have zero or few privileges to confess. Privileged people, once again, get to take up space by talking about acknowledging their privileges. Furthermore, this act individualizes oppression by…