What Do We Mean When We Say Privilege, Ally & Comrade?


Over the past several years movement activists and intellectuals have devoted considerable time to discussing varying forms of privilege and what it means to be an ally. Thanks to these discussions, more clarity and more uncertainty exist than ever before about how to organize across difference. Thanks to the way that white critique of privilege Tim Wise has recently come under fire, the time is ripe to engage a discussion on exactly what we mean when we talk about privilege, allies, and comrades.

In this special forum moderated by Shaun Lin, participants Kazembe Balagun, Melanie Bush, Brittney Cooper and others will discuss what they mean when they talk about privilege and discuss how useful they find the concepts privilege, allies, comrades, and solidarity.  Rather then finding answers, special attention will be paid to raising questions that will help movement activists and intellectuals think through the concepts of privilege and how to organize across difference in ways that transform human beings and the world. \Kazembe Balagun is a project manager at the Rosa Luxumberg Stiftung.  He is a long time writer and activist in New York and has made critically important contributions to radical culture in new York through his involvement with several organizations.   

Brittney C. Cooper is co-founder of the the Crunk Feminist Collective. She is Assistant Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies and Africana Studies at Rutgers University where she specializes in Black Feminist Thought, Black Women’s Intellectual History, Hip Hop Studies, and Digital Feminisms. She is most well-known for calling folks on their  racist and sexist B.S. in impassioned writing about gender politics in and among the Hip Hop Generation, convergences of faith and feminism, dating while feminist, and contemporary feminist movements.

Melanie E. L. Bush is associate professor of sociology and anthropology at Adelphi University. She is the author of Everyday Forms of Whiteness a 2003 winner of the Praxis Award for outstanding achievement in translating knowledge into action in addressing contemporary social problems.  She has been active in community struggles for over three decades.

Shaun Lin works with Picture the Homeless


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