Estimated reading time: 6 minutes, 12 seconds

Maha. Something you re-retweeted said, “Like fish who do not know they are wet, those who are the beneficiaries of privilege need to know how to be inclusive continually”.

I believe that privilege depends on exclusion so this dialectic seems contradictory to me. Exclusion, in turn, is about economy – about managing scarcity. In higher ed, we do not manage knowledge so much as we manage accreditation, creating artificial scarcity and then monopolizing it. The opposite of this is Open Education – a concept that resembles some non-Western systems, including the Arab ijaaza qualification.

Privilege is a function of communities. Each community imposes its own rules, regulates access.

There is an episode in To Kill a Mockingbird in which the protagonists, two white kids – Scout and Jem – are taken to church by their African American maid, Calpurnia. Their father is away and the maid doesn’t trust them to go to church, so she takes them with her to the African-American church. Calpurnia refers to Scout and Jem as “my children” but one member of the congregation, Lulu, objects to her bringing white kids to their church. It’s a tangential episode, but there is nothing superfluous in fiction. This is in Chapter 12 – a summary is here:

Privilege is often contextual – everyone belongs to multiple communities and the degree of privilege anyone enjoys varies from community to community. So I think that it may be possible to deal with this by promoting policies of openness within our communities by welcoming strangers and making an effort to connect with them. We need to be aware of behaviors that can intimidate and exclude…