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Writing about the meanings of power and privilege - Essay Example

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Writing about the meanings of power and privilege

Rather than focusing on race itself, however, I will distill the readings related to this module into principles that have been established by studying race while applying those concepts to a different class of individuals; one whose race is not the determining distinction. Although perhaps controversial, I want to apply these observations to academia itself, and contrast what it would feel like to be a member of the working class (out-group) when in the presence of intellectuals (group). In thinking through this comparison, I can see that the principles of racial power and privilege directly translate to issues beyond race.
Personal. I wonder what it would feel like to be denied acceptance in a group because I was not considered intellectual; and held political or moral views that were considered un-enlightened or not politically correct. In the presence of a group of intellectuals, I might be tempted to express my personal views on a given subject even though I knew that it would be taken as criticism of their sincerely-held views. As Sassower points out, “[t]here is a price for even the pedestrian role-playing of a critic. The critic is an ‘outsider’ whose views are suspect and whose motives are scrutinized vigorously...so as to find their flaws and discredit them as quickly and thoroughly as possible” (Sassower 475). Much like race relations, there is an insider/outsider dynamic between those who consider themselves intellectuals and those who are members of the working class. The insiders, on both sides, project superiority and imply inferiority in the outsiders.
Herein lies one of the benefits of being a member of a group or preferred class; the ability to be convinced that the group opinion is the right one and any disagreement with that dogma is ignorance. The more intense the group dynamic, the more this concept is justified, ...Show more
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Summary

The questions of power and privilege, and both their independent as well as combined effect on those out-of-power and non-privileged (the out-group), have been researched in academia for decades. American history is replete with major societal incidents of the abuse of power or…
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