I’m very hesitant to publish this. I’m uncomfortable writing it.
A few nights ago, a friend of mine and I were talking about gender roles. Long story short, she said, “the further removed from a straight, Christian, white male, the harder your life is.”
For the record, she is not white, male or Christian.
Usually, when people make these kinds of comments, I keep my mouth shut. I just figure, with the racial history in our country, it is best if I don’t say something. If a white person defends themselves in the racial arena, they’re kind of a dick. And, more hurtful, a bigot. However, this time, words came out. Out of my mouth. Honest, but unplanned:
“Everybody deals with their own sets of challenges. I feel devalued as a person when you say something like that. My life is not easier because I’m white. I’ve dealt with grief, social anxiety, and tragedy. And to say that my being a Christian makes my life easier is simply untrue. Exploring faith has been one of the biggest challenges of my life. I would never consciously (and would hope to not subconsciously) discriminate against someone because of their socioeconomic status, and it kind of sucks that you discriminate against me because of mine.”
I really don’t know what to think. Am I the dick and the racist that I fear being perceived as? Anyone ever feel like me? Anyone ever feel like my friend?
I want you to open your mind, your heart, and remember you asked because on the real?
Yeah, you are the dick in this situation.
What she was describing is called Privilege, White Privilege, Male Privilege, Straight Privilege, and Christian Privilege. You seem to have all of those, Privilege, despite its name does not mean that your life is easy. It means that while walking through life you’ve don’t have to deal with certain issues that people without those privileges do deal with, often on a daily basis.
Let me attempt to explain;
White Privilege is easy, as a PoC I deal with my race every day, I think about it, how people view me, how I carry myself, it’s something that weighs on me every day. I don’t have the privilege to not think about my race. It’s a factor in so much that I do.
Male Privilege, As a dude you don’t deal with the same issues a woman does everyday, rape culture, how you carry yourself, you being strong is rarely an issue, women being strong is often seen as a threatening problem. You, as a male don’t worry about rape and how society will try to make it your fault, women often do have to worry about that, they don’t have the privilege to not think about it.
Straight Privilege, the quickest way I can think to describe this is, if you were to go out on the street and ask a woman out on a date you may fear rejection, but do you fear bodily harm? Death? Now ask a gay man that same question, they don’t have that privilege.
Christian Privilege, okay, now maybe you struggled with your religion/faith, but that’s on a more personal level, what your friend means that in the U.S/UK you openly celebrating/practicing Christianity is what’s normal. A muslim often doesn’t have thatprivilege. Practicing their religion in the open, at best, is considered weird and abnormal, and at worst, met with violence and bigotry.
Also your friend wasn’t discriminating against you, she is right, she was just pointing out privilege. How is pointing out that in many respects, that you don’t even realize mind you, that your life has less speed bumps, discrimination?