• Allie McFarland

On Privilege

The ALP and its permanent board are privileged. Personally, we are white, cis, and (mostly)able-bodied, and this allows us to move through the world in very different ways from many of our contributors or guest editors. Our privileges have also afforded us opportunities to grow our writing and editorial experiences, which in turn enable us to give informed feedback on writing submissions. 

The ALP is privileged to provide all our publications online for free. Providing free information is typically expected of BIPOC or otherwise oppressed writers/activists/academics, whereas white experts are entitled to payment for sharing their knowledge. Because of historic systems of oppression, white people tend to believe we/they are entitled to the experiences and expertises of oppressed peoples, and oftentimes in this day and age, that manifests as white people demanding oppressed peoples to inform them about racism/sexism/homophobia/transphobia under the guise of allyship. Rightly so, many oppressed peoples are upset by this and don’t want to have to both endure oppression and educate their oppressors, especially not for free. 

The ALP is privileged, in part because we have access to a wide range of readership and contributors, and we are committed to utilising this to the best of our abilities to help provide a platform for oppressed voices. While we are free to read online, we do pay our contributors, either $20 or a free print copy of our annual anthology. This is deplorably little, but while we are privileged in many ways, we are a not-for-profit that runs a deficit (our permanent board members contribute funds regularly to help keep us afloat). This small gesture is our acknowledgement that individuals should always be paid for their work and expertise.

The ALP is privileged that writers/creators confide in us their intersecting identities, information which is crucial to our mission of prioritizing oppressed voices and identities that we ourselves do not possess. We are so honoured that many writers do tell us about their intersections of oppression and trust us with their work. We do not share their information with anyone outside of the editors (unless a writer includes their identities in their bio), but we do use that information to help shape how we read submissions and give feedback. 

We are privileged because we couldn’t exist as we do without the multitude of voices and experiences captured in our pages. Thank you. We will continue our work promoting oppressed peoples and educating ourselves on how best to do so. We are committed to redoubling our efforts to publish writers from the BIPOC community and other oppressed groups. We appreciate the oppressed peoples who have already trusted us with their work, and in doing so, have helped us become an inclusive online space. We will not be complacent—we will keep doing the work by promoting your work. We will keep evaluating our actions and decisions so that we can continue to create an inclusive space. We are privileged, and we will use our privilege for you.

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