when i read the article about shannon gibney, i was reminded of all the times that i have come face to face with the mindset of “i don’t have any more privilege than you do!” i am reminded of all the times i have heard white ppl say “well, we can’t have a white entertainment television station!” or “there is not a white history month or a straight pride month!” and it usually befuddles me into muteness, primarily because i know the ppl who are saying this don’t mean to push the oppression of others to the wayside they are simply in a defensive posture, they are interpreting white cis/straight male christian rich privilege in general and them as individuals. yes. we all know YOU never did this to any BLACK person, YOU were not the ones who beat that TRANSWOMAN to death…everyone acknowledges that it was not YOU specifically, but to allow ego to get in the way of seeing reality from the perspective of the others is up to YOU!
i do not look at heterosexual ppl as though they themselves personally are out to get me personally, but there is a knowledge that i am different and i can be in danger at any moment at the hand of a heterosexual person. that is just real. as a women i do not look at all men as rapists and misogynous asses, but i do know that i can be on the receiving end of hatefulness, discrimination and harm at the hands of men. i know my value socially is smaller than that of my male counterparts, but i do not think that the individual men in my life see me that way at all
i also have to admit that while i am on the outskirts of wasp culture, i know that i have a certain amount of privilege bc i am white. i am able to get away with things bc i look the way i look. for example, despite the realities of drug culture, i am the least likely to get pulled over for suspicion for drugs bc i am a white female in my 30’s, and as long as i stay in my neck of the woods i am relatively safe from a drug bust. i am also less likely to be suspected of shoplifting. that is real. am i proud of that? no, it is horrible, but not recognizing that it is reality is even more demeaning than the idea itself. it is not until we take a good hard honest look in the mirror and at the world that these imbalances will continue to happen, causing more of a rift in the social fabric.
the reality is the western world was founded on the idea of diachotomy: good or evil, black or white, light or dark, male or female. the judeo-christian values fuel our morals, despite more and more ppl pulling away from christanity and turning to agnosticism and atheism, the golden rule of conduct is still based on abrahamic law. capitalistic races divide us into classes, and this has been used to cause a chasm between the poor ppl of color and poor white ppl for centuries-historically, in the united states and in most of europe the lines of division were not based on skin color, there were white slaves and many ppl with white skin were not considered white, but that was dangerous to the land owners and so a rift was created intentionally giving the white slave a better station and calling them indentured servants instead of slaves.
so what does all this mean? it means that when ppl talk about privilege they are not necessarily talking about you, unless you are contributing to the problem on a personal basis. it means that those with privilege can use their power to help those who don’t have the same opportunities. it means that we need to take some ownership of historical elements of oppression at the hands of our fathers and try to do what is right and just among all ppl. telling people who have had their culture stolen, ripped away, burned, people who watched as their grandparents suffered to stifle their anger and refusing to look at it as real is so degrading. it is real, it is still real today! choking large populations of ppl so they can’t speak anymore is not solving anything except to make you a bit more comfy.