Word of the Week
So, I’m taking a class called Intro to Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. I’m hoping it will be a good one but things are looking kind of murky right now. Last week was my first week of classes and basically for fifty minutes a young woman of the “dominant” race in society, who shall not be named was going on and on about how privilege isn’t bad and everyone has some and white people, white women specifically shouldn’t be blamed for that.
Now, I’m inclined to agree with her. No one should be blamed for the privileges they do or do not have. They did not give them to themselves. Most likely, society bestowed them upon them or they inherited them from their parents. The problem with this discussion of privilege arises when people, like the girl in my class, act like those without privilege are bad people, “wrong” or don’t work hard enough. Homegirl was really sitting there trying to say that being overprivileged or having certain kinds of privileges can be a bad thing because people assume that you didn’t work for anything that you’ve gotten. Mind you, I was sitting there thinking……. but why does it matter if people think you didn’t work for anything if you did? AND you wouldn’t be concerned about that if you could acknowledge that maybe sometimes you have just gotten things because of your power or position in society. So, basically I was looking like this the whole class:
I’m sorry, I just don’t want to hear about how bad it is to be “over-privileged” or how much it sucks for people to think you didn’t work for anything. And while it’s true that some privilege is earned and others is not, everyone has some degree of privilege and everyone uses what they have to get ahead if they can.
Having privilege or being privileged is not inherently bad. But, when your privilege systematically oppresses other people and then claims that they “aren’t working hard enough” that becomes problematic.
PS: saying “colored” to describe people who are not white wasn’t okay pre-Civil Right’s Movement and definitely isn’t okay now.