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.