More on Privilege:

A great (old, re-introduced) article by Rebecca Solnit is making the rounds of the interwebs lately.  Nominally, it explains the phenomenon that has become known by the shorthand “mansplaining,” but I think a lot of what she’s saying applies to the workings of privilege in general, and how individual actions re-inscribe hegemonic social relations.  People who have not often been on the receiving end of these kinds of actions don’t really understand the kind of anger that people who *have* often been on the receiving end feel; but as Solnit says, “every woman knows what I’m talking about,” and an informal survey of facebook comments bears this out.  But very similar interactions happen along other axes of power difference (class, race, etc.)

I don’t have time today to lay out a whole argument about how this article might be useful for thinking about the ways Community Acupuncture differs from how we were brainwashed taught in school, but I wanted to post about this while it was still fresh.  So instead, for those who choose to accept it, here’s an assignment: read the article, think about the following questions, and discuss!

1)      Might sexism (internalized sexism counts, ladies!) have anything to do with how Lisa Rohleder’s work (including her writing and the CA model in general) has been received in the general acupuncture community?  (If Skip were the more visible/vocal in this regard, would things be any different?)

2)      Ditto classism.

3)      Solnit says: “…billions of women must be out there on this six-billion-person planet being told that they are not reliable witnesses to their own lives, that the truth is not their property, now or ever.”  (Emphasis mine.)  What happens if you substitute “women” with “poor people,” “working class people,” “people of color,” etc.?  What would it mean to treat our patients as if they were “reliable witnesses to their own lives,” in terms of our professional identities, and our roles?   How might it affect our willingness to give “lifestyle advice,” or our ideas about our professional status, or our ideas about how much acupuncture is “worth”?

What questions does this article raise for you?  Does it raise any hackles, any defensiveness?  If so, does that defensive voice speak the truth – and if it does, is that truth any truer than patients’ experiences?

*(Hat tip to Woolfie for coining “acusplaining”, and to David for linking to the Guernica article, with the new introduction.)



Author: noraneedles

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  1. Thanks Nora! I am going to use the word “acusplaining” while illustrating to new punks some of the reasons why we don’t do lifestyle counselling in the CA clinic.