“Instead of making a comparison between two discriminated-against groups, try putting the powerful in the place of the powerless. It’s a great reality check. Take language, for instance. Many women feel invisible or aberrant when they are subsumed under a masculine term that is supposed to be universal; yet they are often made to feel trivial and nit-picking if they object. But look at it this way: Would a man feel included in “womankind”? Would he refer to himself as “chairwoman,” “Congresswoman,” or “Mr. Mary Smith”? If a male student earned a “Spinster of Arts” degree, a “Mistress of Science,” or had to apply for a “Sistership,” would he feel equal in academia? If men had grown up seeing god portrayed only as a Mother and She, would they feel an equal godliness within themselves?
The same linguistic concerns hold true for race and religion. If titles like “novelist” and “engineer” were perceived as black unless otherwise stated – if “white novelist” or “white engineer” were necessary qualifiers – would whites feel equal ownership of those professions? If political issues put forward by white male citizens were called “special interest” and those of women and people of color who are the majority were the mainstream, who would feel themselves marginalized? If white people were defined in the negative as “non-black,” or Christians were defined as “non-Jews,” who would see themselves as the norm of society?”
~ excerpt from “Relearning,” in Revolution from Within