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On Privilege

This is a rant I went on a few weeks ago. It’s very angry and pointed – and I don’t mean it to offend anybody.  (It is also completely unresearched and missing a lot of actual words for things.)  I am not angry at the people to whom my arguments were aimed at any more; however, they remain my views, so if you are interested in some slightly heated musings on this thing called privilege, read on.

What do you think?

I’ve given it some good thought, and I’ve concluded: it is the most ultimate show of “privilege” if one spends the majority of one’s time and energy being “concerned about, talking about, and reprimanding the “silly, unaware, ignorant ‘privileged’” people about privilege and people’s attitudes about it.

Most people are hardly ‘privileged’ enough to know all of your fancy words and terms for different types of discrimination and insensitivity. And the people whom you reprimand for the sake of all the people like you who sit around whining and complaining about how victimized they feel by certain things people say (When maybe it is a good idea to be moving on now to just working on living meaningful, productive lives) – does it ever occur to you that perhaps these people you’ve now attacked for their “privileged ignorance” are people who have stories that you don’t even know?? Perhaps if you knew that they’d been through a lot of the the things you now attack them for being ignorant and insensitive about, and how they have simply come out on the other side with legitimately educated opinions – not because of privilege, mind you, but because as individuals with minds they made the conscious choice to not let something so minor as a “lack of privilege” get them down or hold them back.

And you might argue that “some people don’t have that option; stop being insensitive to those who are underprivileged with no encouragement, no opportunity to not be gotten down, not be held back.”

Well, you know what?

a) You don’t actually know these people; we’d be able to tell if you did. The only people you know are those who may have been in that position, but who have risen out by whatever means in whatever ways, though it sounds an awful lot like maybe they are now in your group of people-sitting-around-whining-while-pretending-to-have-intelligent-discussions.

b) By acknowledging these people, underprivileged people, as being any kind of “less than”, whether you do it with an air of concern or unconcern, you are practicing exactly against what you preach: you are, more than anything else, actually affirming and perpetuating these cultural stereotypes, limiting the individuals, heavily judging them, not thinking the best of them, and not giving them the benefit of the doubt that perhaps they will “rise out” and will achieve. You’ve also painted an incredibly limited picture of these people, so much so that anything that they do do to rise out of their personal ashes and achieve potential will be darkened and overshadowed by this stereotype you are eternizing in your efforts to dispel it; that perhaps if they were not underprivileged this wouldn’t be such a feat, or so small, maybe they could even be more – and/or you patronize them: “Wow, look at what that poor, underprivileged person ended up doing after all and despite all odds!” – Yes. YOU are the real racist. YOU are the real cultural-whateverist-that-I-can’t-remember. And YOU are the real one condemning and judging underprivileged people. I hope you know one day that you hurt more people than you help…

c) The product of A and B: it does not make you a better person to sit around and talk about how educated you are on your choice issues and got around trolling others whose stories you don’t even know – and informing them of their ignorance to your petty little concerns. No, what would make you a better person would be to HELP the people you claim to protect with your awareness campaigns. Why don’t you use your privilege, whether you were born into it or gained it with your own self, to help the people you feel so sorry for, if that is the way you truly feel?? Yes, by all means start with feeding the hungry or building houses for the homeless – surely you’ve seen Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, where it says people need food and shelter before they can get into things like trying to rise up in the world.

If you are more concerned with those having difficulty with things such as race discrimination, achievement of education (any type of education for whatever reason), sexuality discrimination, that cultural whateverism that I can’t remember the term for right now, then it is no less of a cause to help these folks with your obvious upper hand. I really doubt you can afford to simply pay for someone to get a college education, but that is thinking inside the box anyway, and ultimately maybe paying for everyone to have higher education isn’t going to solve the problem (though that is another rant).

What people – no matter who they are – need is encouragement and hope. What if you spent your whining, limiting-others time to give somebody lacking hope hope?? That is how everyone one of us has gotten to where we are today, because someone has given us encouragement to be ourselves and hope to achieve all we aim for and to rise out of our limitations, whatever they are, and you cannot deny that – unless you’ve been ‘privileged’ enough to never have needed that… which I hate to add, because yes, I am mocking you.

If you really cared enough about these issues, the way you would change them would be to help the people you’re concerned about rather than obnoxiously attempting to change the attitudes of everyone else you are perceiving as hostile towards these people. Don’t fight the symptoms: fight the disease.

I am not writing this because I am more or less qualified to have these thoughts than you. Maybe. I don’t know your whole story and you also do not know mine. I just wanted to take the opportunity to point out the fallacies in your constant arguments and rants on these matters, and I’d like to make sure you understand you are offending, hurting, and even making enemies of more people than you are actually helping. Please consider what I’ve said before you open your mouth to criticize someone’s words or actions again. We’re all just people here.

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Posted by on November 2, 2012 in Soap Box

 

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