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Sure, but what's the solution?

*I* am aware "the subjugation of others" within the system of the classroom, because I am not privileged in *all* social situations, or in every intellectual exchange or classroom setting; I have felt intellectually intimidated, I have felt socially incapable, I have been inarticulate.

I am not sure what the role of an 'ally' ought to be, in this situation or in any other. My experiences in minority/marginalized positions makes me want those of the majority/normative to understand, and to not to get in my way.

I understand because I've been there, but how do I get out of the way (without betraying myself and my own interests)? How does any privileged person get out of the way? How many steps back, and stepping where?

I've heard the phrase "If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem" before, and it puzzles me. It makes sense insofar as it expresses the idea that we all have positions within the various intersecting dichotomies of marginality/normativity; thus, we are all part of the problem because we are all part of the system, the machine (even the marginalized? Perhaps this is directed solely at the normative and dominant?). What puzzles me is how to become part of the solution. How are we to go about dismantling the current status quo and erecting one in its place? What is the place of the privileged in that undertaking, and in what way does it differ from the place of the marginalized?

I am wary of any notion of the privileged fixing things for the marginalized: it makes me think of the schemes of some abolitionists to send all people of African descent in the US back to Africa; and the researchers behind the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment honestly considered themselves to be helping the black community, although they never gained the consent of the participants in their experiment or kept them fully informed.

I can't teach others how to take (intellectual) risks and I certainly can make take those risks for them, for example. The most I can do is make any given social setting one in which they feel comparatively safe (if you don't feel a little terrified, you're not taking a risk). But at what cost to my own intellectual/personal explorations? What is it about me that is intimidating (and this will vary, of course), and can I mute that? And will I choose to?


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