Not ev­ery­one shares the same priv­i­lege

Advertiser (Grand Falls) - - Editorial -

In our so­ci­ety, ev­ery­one has a view on what be­ing priv­i­leged means. It may mean for some that you come from a fam­ily with money, one who runs a fam­ily busi­ness, or even per­haps a fam­ily where ev­ery­one has a cell­phone.

What­ever your view is, I’m here to tell you that you’re wrong. If you’re like me — a white straight male — no what mat­ter your per­sonal or fam­ily sit­u­a­tion is, you’re priv­i­leged.

To be able to think like this, you need to re­al­ize all the ways that other peo­ple are be­ing dis­ad­van­taged, no mat­ter what their per­sonal or fam­ily sit­u­a­tion. In­grained in all of us are prej­u­dices that we may or may not be aware of. When I walk into a room, I do not have to prove who I am to oth­ers. It’s as­sumed who I am. I don’t have to prove that I’m straight or male or white. Th­ese are the priv­i­leges that I walk around with daily.

For oth­ers, this is their daily night­mare, prov­ing to oth­ers who they are. A gay per­son who comes out to their friends — as if hav­ing to “come out” isn’t bad enough — is ex­pected to prove that they are gay, as if it is their re­spon­si­bil­ity to con­vince their friends of who they are as a per­son.

A per­son named Jor­dan walks into a job in­ter­view, and sur­prises the in­ter­viewer who was ex­pect­ing a male when in­stead a fe­male en­ters the room. The in­ter­viewer now ex­pects Jor­dan to prove that they’re ac­tu­ally Jor­dan and that they are here to be in­ter­viewed, all the while Jor­dan has to try to con­vince the in­ter­viewer that she can do just as good a job or bet­ter than the male Jor­dan who was “ex­pected” to come.

A male who iden­ti­fies as fe­male tries to en­ter the fe­male bath­room — the one they iden­tify with and feel com­fort­able us­ing — and catches dart­ing glances from those watch­ing them en­ter the bath­room. This per­son now feels they owe the world an ex­pla­na­tion as to why they are en­ter­ing this bath­room. The feel­ing that she must prove she is who she is can’t help but cross her mind.

If you can re­late to any of th­ese sit­u­a­tions, chances are you are be­ing dis­ad­van­taged based who you are as a per­son and you might not even re­al­ize it. We, as a so­ci­ety, need to re­al­ize that we are all in this to­gether. We can ei­ther work to­gether and make this planet great for all, or con­tinue the sta­tus quo and keep liv­ing in a world where peo­ple are dis­crim­i­nated based on their true selves.

Pa­trick Butt Mount Pearl

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