Benjamin Studebaker

Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things

Tag: Social Justice

Why the Selma Movie is Terrible

The movie Selma has achieved near universal critical acclaim. It has a score of 99% on Rotten Tomatoes, and 100% among top critics.  It’s been nominated for 2 Academy Awards, and many people think it should have been nominated for even more. This is a problem, because Selma has a fatal flaw–it lies to us about how our political system works. Read the rest of this entry »

How We Should Deal with the Charlie Hebdo Attack

As most of you probably know by now, terrorists in Paris shot up the offices of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo earlier this week, killing 12 people. Charlie Hebdo is known for publishing provocative cartoons. Some of these cartoons mocked the prophet Muhammad, and this earned the magazine the enmity of reactionaries within Islam. Before we think about emotionally charged events like this, it often helps to think about how we should think about them. To get the objective distance we need from events to analyze them with the most fairness and impartiality we can manage, a little temporal distance can be useful. Over the last few days, I’ve been digesting a variety of visceral, emotive reactions from people across the political spectrum. In most of the think pieces I’ve read and discussions I’ve seen and participated in, there has consistently seemed to be something missing, and today I’m ready to identify that something.

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Rethinking the Word “Privilege”

The word “privilege” has become ubiquitous in the United States, particularly among politically active left-leaning college students and graduates. Many different people are said to be “privileged”. There’s white privilege, rich privilege, male privilege, straight privilege, and so on down the line. We are frequently encouraged to “check” our privilege, to be more aware of the extent to which racial minorities, women, LGBT people, and the poor are denied the same access to resources and social treatment we enjoy and take as given. I agree with the social justice movement that it does people born into affluence some good to remember the widely divergent environments and social circumstances their fellow citizens must endure, but I absolutely hate the use of the word “privilege” for this purpose. Here’s why.

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