@courage_wolf: I feel like arguing over privilege is one of the many reasons the "conversation" goes in circles. This dialogue would be several orders of magnitude more productive if people focused on specific, constructive examples of what could be done to address grievances rather than arguing about the argument. Pointing out privilege is not an invalid thing to do, but it's also a fairly academic point that doesn't accomplish much but put people on the defensive. It distracts from making actual efforts to solve problems and help people because we're then arguing over different philosophical concepts instead of focusing on actual inequalities and actual victims.
It would be like if I started every conversation over gay rights by pointing out heterosexual privilege. Do I personally feel a bit bummed out when I look around me, every day, and see straight couples who can freely express themselves, hold hands, freely mention their partners without fear of judgment? I do. It hurts. It's a daily reminder of how far we still need to go. But I gain nothing from beating people over the head with this that have done nothing wrong and respect me as a person as much as I respect them, and in the conversation over my rights as a person, I keep things productive by pointing out direct examples of what can be done to solve inequality, and do my best not to place blame or sound bitter about it. It sometimes does take effort, but it's also the best way of actually bringing people together.
I also feel like it's sort of dehumanizing. Like looking at a rich person and saying "You can't possibly understand the plight of the poor, your opinion here is invalid!" Perhaps it is more likely to be wrong, but I'm unsure of how much it helps to rob people of their agency like that, through no wrongdoing of their own. There are many wealthy people who understand that plight, afterall, and do their best to contribute to the financial security of the worse-off. Do I make allies by painting with a broad brush in this way? I doubt it.
People may call this "tone policing" but it's not fair to whip out that line whenever someone asks you to be more respectful. Tone policing is a very real thing, but it's also not a universal response. Not every venue is as knock-down-drag-out as Twitter, and being wronged in society does not justify every action or word. In places like this, we're encouraged to have more prescriptive, constructive, long-form discussion, so getting emotional and riled up isn't particularly productive, which is why people ask for more welcoming dialogue. We can't treat this as a war, we simply need to be there for victims, listen to them, and encourage them. We're all here to learn and refine our thoughts, so we should actually be doing that, instead of arguing about arguing.
I was going to type up a long response to this, but I have to go. Just wanted to say I thought this was an excellent post. You get...... 2 cookies :)