Don’t be that.

Hi,

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.

L x

6 Comments

  1. I so totally agree about the luck – I have had so many breaks being born when, where and who I was and in what family.
    I really hope that the recent events of all kinds nudge more people towards actions that reduce inequality – if there’s one big answer I am sure that is it. Vote for more taxes, more caring and more diversity and carry out small acts of random kindness. That’s my manifesto.

  2. Noblesse oblige. People of privilege ought to feel able to use that privilege to help and encourage others in a less fortunate position. It need not entail loss of their own privilege. It’s that fear of losing some position of dominance or a social quality, real or imagined, that so often leads to race hate and other prejudices and phobias. I never doubted your nobility in such matters, Lynn, and you are right that when one gets any reasonable oppportunity to support others one should take it.

    How do we persuade the many fearful haters that they need suffer no diminution in their rights by allowing others to attain the same position? That improving someone else’s place in society doesn’t involve shaming those already at the top? Fear and hate usually run deepest in the psyche. Some people say be always kind and understanding, others say fight and punish transgressors. Or a bit of both? I don’t know the answer, if there is one, but I do know that one must always stand up to the haters – any way is better than none – as silence is always to their benefit. Thanks for speaking out.

    Sue x

    1. Thanks Sue.

      That fear, IMHO, is something that is exploited and I think we’ve seen a number of recent events that run on fear.

      Perhaps a moment to step back and ask, why am I feeling this? What’s the other person’s angle?

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