As a straight white bloke from a middle class background, I think I’ve got a fair old chuck of privilege. The schools were pretty good where I was born, my folks cared for me, and despite some minor bullying/outing, I passed through life pretty easily all things considered.
- No one yells abuse of “go back home”.
- People don’t tell me smile more.
- I don’t get leered at, touched up, groped, or have my chest stared at.
- I don’t fear for my safety when the night draws in.
- People don’t look at me like I’m a criminal or a terrorist.
- People listen to me because I’m a man.
- If I was to be stopped by the Police, I’d be nervous, but not worried I might be shot.
- I get paid more because I’m a bloke.
- I can’t be too pretty or too plain: I’m just a bloke.
- My native language is used across the world.
- I live in a place that’s not at war.
- My life it not at risk because of who I am or who I love.
- I have access to free health care.
- I don’t have a disability.
So despite my run in with depression all those years ago, and my occasional bumps with dysphoria, I think I do pretty well.
But if someone had to take a pace back from the proverbial starting line, for each of the above points, can we see the advantages I have?
When someone mentions privilege, say yes. Don’t argue: you’ll look like a twit.
When you hear black lives matter. Again, don’t argue, don’t change it. Just say: yes, yes they do.
When someone talks about MeToo, just listen and be kind. No need to say ‘not all men’. They know. It’s not about you. It’s about what happened.
That list of things that don’t affect me? For some folk, it’s just everyday BS. I think we can do better than this. I think we can change, listen, and acknowledge that some of us, just through the luck of birth, have a position further up the track than others. Maybe it’s time to slow our pace and help folk.