Editor’s note 3/23/20: Amidst the grips of the Coronavirus, we are recognizing what a privilege movement culture is. Folks recording their pushups and squats in their tiny apartments, refusing to let their privilege be taken away, by any circumstance. The collective is starting to feel what the under-represented have been dealing with all along — the fear of not having, and existing without control or certainty.
Discussing privilege from a socio-cultural perspective. Building on Talk #5 that examined the role of privilege on the nervous system. The following seven questions served as an outline:
1. In what ways does the notion of privilege make you a bit defensive?
2. What forms of privilege do you agree has likely swung things in your favor?
3. How did you enter your circle of ‘movement culture’, and how might have privilege influenced your means of getting there?
4. From our last chat, the notion of ‘The Privilege of Disassociation’ really stuck with me. Did this strike a similar chord with anyone? If so, how?
5. In what ways does this industry limit or restrain access to keep it (health, wellness, movement culture) as a marker of privilege?
6. How might we renegotiate money and time as a form of currency that pays us for our work? How might we reach those who might not have either of those resources in excess? What might this mini-culture be fueled by if not those two already accepted exchanges?
7. How can we do a better job of creating and promoting a community where all are welcome and have something to offer?
Written answers from both present and non-present contributors shown below video.
1. I don’t think it does, I can not think of any instance of the top of my head.
2. High intelligence, supporting father and growing up with a financial status that allowed me to have hobbies.
3. I was always interested in ice skating and dancing, i just asked to be taken to classes when i was 3 years old. I had parents who could afford it as well as honor my wishes.
4. I was not there unfortunately so I am not sure if I would get the concept.
5. Everything is too expensive (except health in turkey..) and it is mostly developed for able-bodied people.
6. If I didn’t have to worry about money and all my expenses would be covered by a governing body, I would still be doing the same things that I do right now. So I think love, passion, and belief is strong motivators along with willingness to be contributing to society around you. Since I do not get paid by a governing body, I would have to manage my time and energy accordingly. But still the fuel is there for however much time I chose to invest.
7. Creating and holding space for all experiences to be seen and heard I guess. This is a very long topic.
1- I think for me when others are reticent to see their own ways privilege has affected their lives, this gets me inordinately upset. I think the frustration there is a lack of perception or perhaps when someone is attributing their successes as part of their worth, thereby accepting privilege somehow undermines their value as a person, which isn’t the case or argument, or at least I don’t think it should be.
2 – I mean being a white male has helped for sure, I’ve seen how friends of color have struggled in various ways. Despite being from a poor economic background it was always easier to appear more professional. I’m sure there is more but these are the main ones that have stuck out to me.
3 – I think once I found movement my mother had an inheritance that she was using so I was way better off than I ever had been, if I wanted to go downtown (we lived in the suburbs) it was easy and I think having a supportive mother was another level of privilege that not everyone would have had, especially for a niche activity like Parkour.
4 – I’m not sure I remember it correctly, there was so much information given during the last talk, but I would love to hear it again and see what feelings and thoughts it evokes.
5 – I think cost of services is a big one, and sometimes our goals can be high above the markers of a “normal” healthy life so often times I feel like if I want to help the general public I have to pull the reigns back a lot on my actual movement goals for people/everyone. For example I’d love everyone to train parkour and enjoy it but I understand that’s not reasonable therefore just accepting that people move/play a little bit more than they used to is something that I think can keep activities more accessible.
6 – I think finding barter communities is a great idea on paper but I haven’t seen how well it would work out in actual practice. In actual practice I’ve used and seen at least one other company use the model of making enough money with a more affluent clientele so that they could offer more community and outreach services without spreading themselves thin. I’d be very interested to hear other potential ideas for this goal.
7 – I think sensitivity and ego are a tough thing to deal with, trying to not place a strict hierarchy of what movement must look like, or trying to rate it. Generally for parkour it’s due to the perception of danger or it being a kind of extreme and more masculine sport that keeps people from trying it when my reality for it is so much different. So it’s just finding a way to break through that initial fear barrier and gain a little of their trust. Then you can show them how they can move themselves safely and hopefully it progresses from there.
1. It feels like it seems to lessen the existence of ‘the American Dream’ which my Dad actually lived. Somehow it makes the outcome of consistent work and conscious, deliberate decisions to get to where you are feel like they are unearned or less deserved.
2. White, middle class upbringing, with a stay at home Mom for most of my young life. I had a family that had enough resources to be loving, helpful, and supportive.
3. Through injury. I don’t equate sports/ athletics to be a part of movement culture. There is/was too much of a system in place. After the professional medical help I sought and received proved inadequate, I started down the road to figuring things out for myself – which I think was the origins of movement culture in general.
4. This thought really shook me. The fact that I can leave places, situations, people, and have almost pre-programmed escape plans on hand, allows me to live in a world where I can choose to care about certain things and completely disregard others. I think this is privilege disguised as self-reliance.
5. It is marketed as a sign of elite vitality. You “need to have stuff to get stuff.” The entire industry is predicated on creating confusion, conjuring a problem and then selling surefire solutions.
6. I think it starts with being sincerely interested in the marginalized and ignored. Seeking them out and going to them. How can we give them our attention, and then let them show us what we’ve been missing. Are we willing to do the extra to meet them more than halfway? Do we trust that we will get enough out of these confrontations to put forth the effort to make it happen? Giving attention and credit to what THEY are doing and THEIR way of being — systems, methods, concerns — would flip the switch and place their perspective on a more valuable tier than our own, because it is ultimately expansive.
7. Better marketing, or at least some with a clear, distinctive purpose on putting the spotlight on others. If we don’t know where they are we can’t get to them. And we can’t ask. And we can’t learn. And if they don’t know about us, that someone’s looking for them, perhaps they will stay as they are and we will stay as we are. Can community be inclusive without the asterisk of otherness that keeps you separate from the whole?