bell hooks on how the truth will set you free:
"In not noticing [one's privilege], one loses opportunities for greater insight into oneself and one’s experience. A significant dimension of who one is in the world, one’s Whiteness, remains uninvestigated and perceptions of daily experience are routinely distorted. Privilege goes unnoticed, and all but the most blatant acts of racial bigotry are ignored. Not noticing requires energy. Exactly how much energy is used up in this way becomes apparent with the opportunity to explore those silenced perceptions. It is as though a blockage has been removed and energy is released."
One thing about our society is that it invites people born into it (viz. a younger me) to make the assumption that what is best known is also just the best–period.
So, because, e.g., I never heard about any of the stuff I'm reading now about power and privilege, I assumed that it was not really an important issue. I assumed that people functioned as a Goodness Aggregator in terms of popularity, and that an outrage is an outrage no matter who hears about it, and so by this logic, the most outrageous things would quickly reach global attention, get solved, and then be done.
This logic also has the effect of making any remaining problems in the world seem intractable. After all, if the whole world knows about them and nobody has any solutions, it must just be intractable. After all, people are all good and nations are all helpful, so of course we would help one another solve each other's problems.
This is really preliminary, but you see how I thought. This is just another effect of privilege, of course, but I thought I'd relate my own experience of privilege, because I'm sure I'm not the only one who thought these dumb things. I hope to explore this idea a little better at some point, but I wanted to get it down while I felt I had the words for it.
At least at some times, pity is the strange deal a person makes when deluding themselves–the agreement to feel bad/guilt and flagellate themselves in exchange for seeing the pitied person and then not actually doing anything. People who pity let themselves off easy. Pity is ridiculous. And that's the most usual kind of pity in this country–if not the only kind of pity there is. Either help people or quit lying to yourself.