WHAT IS PRIVILEGE?

Last week at work we were all talking about the state of politics; about how Brexit played out, about Trump coming into power and about the general election called by May this year. When asked who they were going to vote for, one of my colleagues said that they were “bored of politics”. I almost slapped the boy.

When somebody says they are bored of politics what they really mean is that they aren’t affected by politics. They wouldn’t be bored of politics if it had any bearing on their lifestyle, on their safety or on their income.

And this my friends, is privilege in action.

By dictionary definition; Privilege is a special advantage held by a group or individual. My colleague holds privilege as a straight, white, cis-gendered, able-bodied male. His privilege means that he doesn’t need to fight for his rights because his rights are already in play.

If however his safety was threatened or his rights were different because he wasn’t those things, then politics would become an interest to him. And this is somewhat the problem; we often don’t care about things that don’t directly affect us or those that we care about and if we continue to behave this way then privilege continues and so does inequality.

How are ever meant to get anywhere if people only ever fight or care for what they want as an individual?

Just because you aren’t a victim of bigotry, racism or misogyny doesn’t mean that those aren’t important matters.

What we can do however, to better the political state of our nation, of our economy, of our well being and peace as a race (the human race obvs) is to stand up for those who are victims of oppression and discrimination.

We can use our privilege for good.

Whether that privilege stems from your race or your gender or your position at work or your huge blog following; it can be used to change opinions and sway votes and make the world a better place.

We can take our voice and use it to make others heard. Because guess what? As sad as it is; those who discriminate against a certain group won’t listen to that minority but they might however listen to someone who they consider similar to themselves.

So next time you say that you’re fed up/bored/not interested in politics, remember why. Remember that your gender, abilities, race, sexual orientation, religious background and heritage allow you to lead a life in which you don’t have to care about politics. Instead choose a life where you do.

 

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all photos by Rebecca Claire, libfemblog.com (Sony Xperia X, edited with VSCO) // all rights reserved

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12 Comments

  1. The world is so scary at the moment, I honestly can’t believe what things have come to lately. It feels as if there’s a giant practical joke being played on us all. People do care about politics, sometimes they just don’t realise how it affects the issues that they do care about! I also think it’s to do with spheres of influence. If you never come into contact with anyone outside of your priveledged bubble, life becomes an echo chamber, no one challenges you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It really is and sadly, I feel like this damn election is gonna send the NHS and everything this country has to be proud of into the shit!
      I definitely know a lot of people with their heads so firmly planted in the privilege bubble who sadly react quite badly to being challenged. I love being challenged, forces you into really thinking hard about what you value!

      Like

  2. I’m just over here having so many feelings about this post.
    I work with a guy who believes that privilege is coming from wealth and that is it. When I had a full blown argument with him over it he had the cheek to tell me that I don’t live in the real world and to be honest I’m so angry about it.
    You sum it all up so nicely. One of my friends told me once that she doesn’t vote because politics doesn’t interest her. My response “so your future doesn’t interest you?”. I guess not getting it is a privilege in itself. You live in your little bubble…
    So yes, everything you said above. I read this whole thing nodding my head.
    V ❤
    http://sirvikalot.wordpress.com

    Like

    1. I’m glad you liked it! Your colleague sounds a bit ignorant (at least my colleague had a change of heart when I explained privilege to him!)
      But yeah, living in a bubble is definitely a good way to put it as well xx

      Like

  3. I totally agree with what you are saying. I have seen similar posts around he internet especially regarding White privelige in the US and rich privelige in the UK. I see the effects of government on our NHS and it’s something I’d like to write about more but I just can’t find the words to say. Thank you for this post.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It can be so hard nowadays to take a step back and look at the bigger picture when the bigger picture is so incredibly big. But those of us with privilege certainly need to try, or we are abusing the rights and access that others do not have. Politics is overwhelming at the moment, and all but shoved down our throats every single day, so I personally understand the feeling of being “bored”, or getting a little sick of hearing about it all the time! However I, seemingly unlike your colleague, understand that it is so important to be involved, so I make an effort to listen and educate myself and engage at every opportunity. (I’m not sure if this comes across badly? I agree with everything you’ve said in the post!)
    Hannah
    HannahInternational.co.uk

    Like

    1. I get what you’re saying, it doesn’t sound bad haha! My colleague since has realised that maybe he should be more involved and use his voice. I actually emailed him the draft for this post at work and he said that he is just tired of hearing about it but maybe he should do something about it if he’s bored of hearing negatives all the time. Xx

      Like

      1. That’s good! It can definitely get tiring hearing about it day in, day out, but we have to do something about it for sure or things will only get worse.

        Like

  5. I think you make some good points. I do, however think that “privilege” is a much abused word, which is often used, as a stick, to beat those with whom one disagrees over the head with. You are not doing this but others certainly do. For example some Radical Feminists accuse other Feminists of “privilege” when the latter group argue in favour of decriminalising prostitution. Likewise Radical Feminists frequently describe those sex workers who have not had a bad experience of working in the sex industry as “privileged” and dismiss their arguments as invalid as (in their view) they dont represent the views of what the Rad Fems term “prostituted women”.
    We can, of course be privileged in some aspects of our lives while lacking privilege in others. For instance I am disabled (registered blind). As such I have experienced discrimination with restaurants and other service providers failing to admit me due the presence of my guide dog (which runs contrary to the Equalities Act). On the other hand I have a well paying job and own my own home so am, in those respects “privileged” in that a fair portion of the population do not possess these “privileges”.
    I feel a moral obligation to vote and have always done so. Kevin

    Liked by 1 person

    1. First of all Kevin, thank you so much for reading and engaging with my blog!

      You are very right, I have seen people dismiss opinions on the basis of privilege and while someone privileged might not understand something in the same way as someone who experiences discrimination, it’s totally unfair to dismiss their words because of it. Just as I might not know what it is like to be blind, I could still write about and and consequently learn from your comments on my words. Many people are privileged in some aspects while discriminated against in others and it’s easy to forget that we all fight our own individual battles.

      Thanks again, Rebecca xo

      Liked by 1 person

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