Fall 2019: Weekly Intersectional Privilege Event

I am an affluent, white, male, cis, able person who has these privileged identities within the American white-cis-ablist-classist-patriarchy.

I am also a gay, socialesque, atheist which are marginalized identities within American hetero-ancap-christian culture.

I see many gay, affluent, white, cis men forgetting about the fact that they are affluent, white, cis, men. This has led to much of my social activism work focusing on reminding people with marginalized identities of their privileged identities.

 

During fall semester at Sierra last year, I led a weekly intersectional privilege event in the quad. Each table represented a different power dynamic and offered things for free to the marginalized identity while inviting people with privilege to pay.

For example, at Rainbow Alliance’s table, straight people could pay for coffee while non-straight people got free coffee. At Feminist Action’s table, men could pay for lemon bars while everyone else could have one for free. There were also other tables for other dynamics.

This led to a fascinating phenomena where people got excited about supporting those who they had privilege over. It was at times very hard, but also very rewarding to start these kinds of intuitive conversations. No one who participated could walk away without an understanding of intersectionality and privilege/oppression dynamics.

We had a few malicious white cis male football players who would regularly come through and claim they identified as black trans women in order to get free things from all the tables, and even in doing that, they were forced to internalize the concepts of intersectionality and power dynamics of privilege and oppression. Even the people who tried to troll us wound up deeply understanding the material. Hopefully this will eventually lead to some change for those people.

Across the board I count this event as an unequivocal success that I could not have conceived of without separating my privileged and marginalized identities and acknowledging as much duty to interrupt those systems that benefit me as those that oppress me.