Originally posted on Bookmark Chronicles on June 6, 2016
A few months ago I did a post on privilege that you can check out here. That particular post was about privilege in general and how everybody has it whether they want to acknowledge it or not.
This post will be a little different from that. I have been seeing a lot of comments recently about certain things and it’s stating to get to me. For example, let’s go ahead and talk about the Stanford rapist again. Caught in the act of raping an unconscious woman and only sentenced to six months because the judge feared that jail would have a severe impact on him. To make matters worse, his father released a statement saying that his son is paying a “steep price” for his “20 minutes of action.”
Can you say rape culture?
Aside from all of that. When the initial sentencing occurred, people started talking about privilege. More specifically, white privilege. Think about it. If this had been a man of color what would the sentence have been? How would the judge have looked at him then? Do I believe that it would have been a much harsher sentence if he had darker skin? Yes. Why? Because that’s exactly what white privilege is and historically, that’s how it goes.
Another example. Last night Miss District of Columbia won Miss USA, an African American woman. Someone (a white woman) posted on Twitter, “Why are people acting like a black woman has never won Miss USA before?” She’s right in the fact that she was not the first but if you really want to get into that, here are the facts:
- Miss USA was started in 1925
- The first Asian American won in 1961 (it took 36 years)
- The first Hispanic/Latino American won in 1985 (it took 60 years)
- The first African American won in 1990 (it took 65 years)
- The first Arab American won in 2010 (it took 85 years)
Considering it took so long for the first minority to win the competition. I’m sure that the total number is low. So what exactly is the issue here? This woman’s comment is the problem. Why? Well let me ask you this? What reason did she have for making the comment in the first place? Because she isn’t a part of the community celebrating? What many people in the majority fail to realize and acknowledge is that they see themselves represented in EVERYTHING, constantly and without question, while minority groups do not. (This applies to more than just racial and ethnic minorities, but that is a whole separate conversation that could be had).
It is not that often that a minority is crowned and placed on a pedestal as the most beautiful girl in the country. Too often minority women are told that they aren’t good enough, not pretty enough. They need to straighten their hair and lighten their skin if they want to be considered attractive.
That is why people celebrate when a woman of color earns one of those titles. The fact that you are not included does not give you the right to try to take that away.
I could go on forever about this, but what it all comes down to is that people need to learn how to check their privilege. You are not the center of the universe and everything is not going to include you. The next time that you want to complain about not feeling included,think about all the times that you were. About all of the times that you were a part of the majority in the room. When all of the actors in your favorite movie or TV show looked like you. When the character in the book you read was described to have your same hair and eye color.
Think about all of those things and accept the fact that you are privileged.