Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Check Your Privilege

So lately there's been this angry op/ed by a Princeton student called "Check Your Privilege" floating around the internet. Basically, this white male decides to post about how America is completely fair and how his hard work shouldn't be shrugged upon because he's a white male. Once upon a time, his familial ancestors also worked incredibly hard to help him gain the advantages he's had in life. When you get accepted to an Ivy League, there's not that much doubt that you are intelligent and were chosen based on merit (unless your family literally paid for you to be there..). I don't think anyone is questioning his hard work but at the same time, he's had it a bit easier than an ethnic minority who gained the same result. That's undeniable, and if you don't see that then you are an idiot. 

I posted a similar thing about this regarding the film industry and Rebecca Sugar. Literally everywhere you look in America is dominated by white males. Everything we read in English class is usually written from the narrow scope of a white male (Shakespeare, Heart of Darkness, EM Forster, etc). Last year was the first time I had read Asian poetry and this year we read Things Fall Apart. Our education system, history, and attitudes are geared toward white males. Can I just mention that Obama is OUR FIRST non-100% white male president? How many minorities or women are CEOs? 

Unless you regard minorities and the work they produce as subpar to that of white males, what other reason is there for a society with such hierarchy? Sure there may be laws in place to promote equality, but deep within all our psyche is a sense of racism and inequality. 

Privilege isn't something that you just give yourself. It's not that gold sticker a teacher gives you to reward you for good behavior. It's something that just exists in the system. There are little nuances that people rarely realize but hold you behind. 

Women have been living for years under the standards that MEN have built for them. Have you ever noticed that you never call female political figures by only their last name? Those little things are all setbacks that women and minority groups have to overcome. Non-white and/or non-males start the game with having something to prove while this extra hurdle does not exist for white males. 

At the end of the day, I understand that familial ancestry points to a hard past but that's not YOUR life right now. The challenges for white males began a long, long, long time ago and by now you no longer have to jump that hurdle. I think it absurd to say that America is based on solely meritocracy. 

xx stay lovely

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