December 3, 2012
Privilege: Up the Yangtze
I liked when we were discussing Up the Yangtze in class the other day and we arrived at the concept of privilege. We spoke earlier in the year about understanding the world around us through metaphors, in terms of other things we can relate or identify with. I believe that privilege functions as a barrier to identification or understanding between different groups created by class. The dominant or privileged class establishes the norm or standard upon which all else is compared, their own database of metaphors/comparisons to draw from. If they don't have to worry about a certain issue, they are blind and un-empathetic to it because it is not something they are familiar or accustomed to dealing with. For example when Cindy's coworkers we talking about her on the boat they were saying she should just work harder to fit in and earn more money to send to her parents. Her coworkers don't have to send money back home to support their families, they were raised differently and accustomed to a different lifestyle. They can't relate to the struggles Cindy has to face, the worry about her families home being flooded, the fact they may starve without her help, why she can't buy nice clothes like the rest of them, etc. These barriers to communication and identification are a direct result of the class system set up by the concept of privilege.