Listening Well as a Person of Privilege - the complete series

privilege
privilege

I did a short series on listening well as a person of privilege because I often encounter privileged people who sincerely desire to stand in solidarity with oppressed people but don’t really know how to go about it in an honoring way. As a result, their well-intentioned attempts to listen well often result in clumsy and oppressive interactions that counterproductively widen the divide between the privileged and oppressed. In order to honor the image of God in oppressed people, we need to think deeply about what it means to listen well as a person of privilege – hence, this series. I hope you’ll join in and share your thoughts. As someone who identifies with both privileged (highly educated, upwardly-mobile) and oppressed (black, female) groups, I’ve experienced both ends of the privileged-oppressed spectrum.  As a result, I’ve played the part of the privileged perpetrator of oppression as well as the oppressed target of oppression. And within the reconciliation context, I’ve often had to ask for grace and I’ve often had to give grace.  These thoughts on listening well as a person of privilege are based on my experiences as a privileged person and an oppressed person.

Here are links to all of the posts:

#1 Recognize that the rules are different for you Despite the fact that privileged people have benefited from an unfair advantage in society, they are often preoccupied with being treated 'fairly' in the context of reconciliation work. Read more...

#2 Solidarity first, collaborative problem-solving later Privileged and oppressed folks can and should collaborate to solve problems... But problem-solving should never precede solidarity.  Even Jesus the Great Problem-Solver spent 30 years standing in the ditch of humanity before he flexed his problem-solving muscles and performed his first miracle. Read more...

#3 Communicate on their terms, not your own Listening well as a person of privilege means it can’t be all about you, the listener. Read more...

#4 Recognize the limitations of good intentions Privileged Christians almost always mean well.  No one (or at least hardly anyone) consciously sets out to silence, oppress and dishonor diverse people...So why is it that many people of color feel marginalized by privileged Christians? Read more...

#5 Seek to understand and embrace anger Only a cheap, self-centered reconciliation seeks to avoid the anger of the oppressed. Privileged people who are truly committed to standing in solidarity with oppressed folks must also commit to knowing, bearing and even being targeted by their anger. Read more...

#6 From pain to hope Not only is pain a powerful point of solidarity with Jesus and oppressed people, it’s also a signpost of the impending victory over oppression. Read more...