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Tuesday, 5 December 2017

What is 'privilege'?

Privilege: a special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group.

Among modern leftists, social justice warriors, regressives or whatever name you want to give them, there is the term ‘white privilege’ going around. This presumes that anyone with white skin is automatically ‘privileged’ against those who are non-white. There is also ‘male privilege’, a term coined for men being privileged against women.

It is racist to assume that just because someone is white, they are 'exempt' from any kind of problems. This ignores their humanity and reduces them down to nothing more than they're skin colour. 
Humans have always exploited other humans for slave labour. The transatlantic slave trade - no doubt one of the worst things in human history - is often discussed, but people seldom discuss the enslavement of Africans by Arabs. Does that mean 'straight arabic men' are all evil and privileged? Hail to the privileged libyans!

Humans of all racial backgrounds have had a chance to build empires and rule over others. Africans, Romans, the Spanish, the British, the Greeks, the Russians. Right now who knows what could happen - with Trump and that awful Kim Jong-Un we could be at war in a couple of years. Or maybe they'll nuke the entire planet and kill us all.

If you're living in a first world country you're automatically more privileged than the majority of people in this world. People in Palestine, North Korea, Syria, Libya, Saudi Arabia - all these countries where the common folk are exploited by the government or the wealthy. Doesn't it show how pathetic and privileged you are, if you're living somewhere like Britain or America and moan because 'WHITE PEOPLE HAVE IT SO MUCH EASIER!! WAAA! I'M A BIG BABY THAT CAN'T THINK FOR MYSELF AND IS TOO LAZY TO WORK HARD!' Additionally, why would you belittle yourself like that? Why would you give yourself an excuse to not bother trying? 'I wasn't born white so I'm not going to try, therefore the white man is evil.' 

The majority of the British population is white. That means the homeless, the poor, the mentally ill, the addicts, the illiterate; all of the people that suffer from general problems - a great deal of them are going to be white. Not every white person in this country is a 'yuppie.' 

But I must address that statistically ethnic minorities are more likely to live on lower incomes than white people. But factors for this must be taken into consideration - it's not a case of 'institutionalized racism.' Bangladeshis and Pakistanis are the poorest in this country (65%), due to a great deal of them (particularly women) not being in paid work. I'm not sure about those cultures but I think they're more patriarchal than modern Britain and men do most of the work. For black Caribbeans (who make up 30% of the lowest income rate), a lot of them come from single-parent families, which increases poverty rates as there is only one parent working. But it's very narrow-minded to not consider
additional factors, like culture, or choice, or circumstance, and just blame it on 'white people are racist and privileged.' Although white British people have the lowest poverty rates in this country (20%), there are still poor white people, and if white people were truly privileged than every single white family would be very rich, and every single non-white family would be poor. Plus when people migrate to a different country they tend to look for the lowest paid work because they're running from a country that had a repressive or unfair regime. Eastern-European migrants in this country are more likely to work as maids or bus-drivers rather than become lawyers because they're looking for immediate ways to support their family. This is just common sense, and how socio-economics works.

Also, with the exception of Bangladeshi and Pakistani households, the highest earning households in the UK are Asian households, including Indian and Chinese:

Britain is not a 'racist' country. Non-white people are not treated any differently by law, and if they are they are allowed to file a complaint. The same goes for women. Women in this country are probably some of the most privileged women in the world. We have the vote, contraceptive rights, we can apply for any job, we outnumber boys in education, we have the upper hand in child custody rights, we can ruin a man's life by claiming he raped us when he didn't, we're given sympathy if we are actual rape victims, we have men walk us home and take us out and still are allowed to emasculate them and walk all over them, we have hundreds of domestic abuse shelters across the country, we're not forced to undergo the barbaric practice of FGM - and on and on. Being a woman born in Britain is fucking fabulous. 

A point to address. I would say that the only group of people in the world who actually are privileged are the wealthy 1%, or 10% or whatever. If you are wealthy, you are by default, privileged. over non-wealthy people. Money helps, and humans universally believe in money. But as earlier addressed, white people have not been the wealthiest bunch of humans since the beginning of time. For a long time, white people did not even exist, and the concept of 'wealth' didn't exist as for the majority of our time on the planet humans have been hunter gatherers. 
This picture is fucking gold. OJ literally got off because
he was black.
BUT. We don't choose what family or wealth bracket we're born into. Resenting somebody because they come from a wealthier background than you is petty and immature. People who are wealthy became wealthy because they worked hard, or because they came from parents who worked hard. Why should we resent the wealthy? (I'm talking about myself as well). It's not like they decided to be born to rich parents. If you want to be well-off, go to school, get an education, and train in a high-paying profession. There is nothing stopping you or me or anyone else. Maybe I am privileged because I was born with a higher than average IQ. But maybe I'm under-privileged because that same IQ got me bullied in school and has made me alienated from most of my peers my whole life. I find it extremely patronizing (and racist/sexist) that someone could look at me and assume that my life is harder because I am a black woman. Those factors have never once stopped me from living my life. But my life is harder because I have insomnia, suffer from panic attacks, depression, and am a recovering alcoholic. 

People have real problems that go past the superficial reams of their sex and racial background. EVERYONE has problems and faces difficulties in life, because life is very difficult. And all humans, no matter where we came from, are destined to return back into the dust. None of us are in the 'clear' if a natural disaster comes and sweeps our house away. None of us are immune to cancer, AIDS, or any kind of illness. The concept of 'privilege' can be applicable in some cases, but is it really helpful to look at ourselves like that? Yes, a wealthy person can pay for more expensive treatment. But if that treatment doesn't work they're not safe from dying or becoming disabled. 

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I'm Zarina Macha, an author, blogger, and musician from London. I write about stuff on the internet 'cos having opinions is fun -- if you want to join the games, please note your thoughts below. All thoughts welcome, even if they're mean (just no spam links please -- can't tell you what a liability those are to remove).
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