How to stage a Privilege Intervention
February 18, 2013 8:08 AM Subscribe
I have a friend who has a long history of saying hurtful things based on stereotypes to his friends. I want to gather his friends and stage an intervention. How to go about this?
posted by anonymous to human relations (21 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I believe that he genuinely means well, but he is an straight upper-class cis white male who has a long history of saying hurtful things to people around him based on stereotypes. He doesn't seem to realize it's unfair and hurtful to judge people by stereotypes about their cultures. For example, he 'jokingly' harassed an asian friend of ours for months, asking if she wanted rice or kon pao chicken for dinner, made fun of her for not speaking "her native tongue" (she was born and raised in America), and made fun of her asian name. They got into a massive fight about it, and the behavior with her about that specific issue seems to have stopped, but the general behavior is still very much present.
He prides himself on his "knowledge" of different cultures and his behavior is very much tied into his worldview that stereotypes accurately portray minorities. He once met a Korean couple and proceeded to tell me all about them, who they were as people, where they were from, their culture, etc. I happened to meet those people and it turned out they were Filipino, not Korean, and he had entirely made up their history and life story based on stereotypes of Koreans without ever talking to them about it.
His issues are not limited to race, and extend to gender, socioeconomic class, gender and sexual minorities, etc. Basically, if a culture has sterotypes about it, he'll apply those stereotypes to anyone he meets in that culture. I care for him very much and he has many other redeeming qualities, but this issue is ruining our friendship. Our friend group is otherwise socially progressive and aware of privilege issues. All of our friends have tried talking to him about privilege individually to no effect.
As a last ditch effort, I want to get all of his friends together and stage a "privilege intervention", where we talk about his stereotyping of people and how things he's said have hurt us as people and how it's affected our relationship. Everything I'm finding on the internet relates to addiction interventions, and I'm hoping to get some better resources or ideas on how to go about this. Thanks!