THE BLOG

Trying To Break Down My Experience Of White Privilege

30/11/2016 16:16

This was always going to be difficult to write because anyway I try to formulate an argument, it ultimately ends up being paradoxical, yet another white girl adding her resoundingly privileged left-wing voice into an already flooded realm of anti-Trump protestations

This year I have had the great privilege to study race, as not just the historical black and white story of oppression, but the ways that I have studied race have always been more politically and socially focussed, whereas now the idea of race has been shifted and has become more abstract and conceptual. We look at the idea of whiteness, whiteness being this figure of undermining privilege, the logic and reasoning behind colonialism, and its something I've really enjoyed studying, but when it comes to the commentary, and taking what I have learnt outside of the realm of academics and into a more social commentary perspective I've begun to analyse whether or not I, as someone blessed with many of the privileges of whiteness, can comment on the injustices of oppressed minority communities I witness in the media, without the invocation of my own white privilege.

The issue of whiteness is something very much applicable to the Black Lives Matter vs the All Lives Matter movement on social media. The reason there is a necessity for the Black Lives Matter movement is that yes all lives matter, but in many circumstances the evidence is clear, for whatever reason, black lives seem to matter less, you just have to look at prison, poverty, progression, employability statistics to see that. In a fight for equality, the Black Lives Matter movement is crucial as it highlights the injustices and institutionalised racism that many of just accept. These are my opinions, but they are the opinions of a white girl, and does that matter? I am not the victim of this injustice but I see the injustice and want to speak out against them.

I am a white female, and as such, I have been afforded the vast majority of privileges that being white has afforded me, and perhaps the ultimate privilege being that up until very recently I have not noticed. Being white means I am less questioned, less scrutinised, less judged. I have a warm home despite my status as a young mother because at least I am a white young mother, yes? Maybe, who knows. The fact is it is very difficult to understand barriers that exist when you have never come up against them yourself. I am not enlightened, how can I fully understand the depth of the struggles that POC face daily, and how can I ally myself alongside them.

So where to begin, how do I use what I know, what I read, what I see, what I believe is right and wrong, and spread that message, I wish to ally myself alongside those who suffer and fear they will suffer under the rising right-wing white supremacist attitudes, I want people to know that despite my position, my education, the colour of my skin, that I do not agree with what they believe in, UKIP and Trump are not what I am. I believe in multiculturalism, in the freedom of expression and equality for all regardless of race, so how do I say this without using my whiteness to do so? Well, hopefully by successfully behaving as an ally to the Anti-Trump, Anti-Brexit "48%ers", and to the LGBTQ, and ethnic minorities who feel threatened by the latest wave of whiteness.

Do so by promoting the voices of those unheard, share their stories, spread their voice, show your support. Try to use social media platforms as a way of drawing attention to others and not just yourself. People in power get cited as experts on marginalised people's experiences because they're considered "unbiased." You can help push back against this faulty paradigm by insisting marginalised people are the experts on their own lives and the issues that affect them. By getting into the habit of sharing articles and publications and poetry and art by people of colour and most importantly buy their books and link to them on Facebook or Twitter. Make sure their thoughts and perspectives and ideas and analyses reach audiences who might not have had access to them otherwise. Share ideas and articles on intersectionality, black feminism, supporting immigrants, queer and trans writing, and include current statistical analysis to provide depth and validity to your arguments.

Spread the message of equality in the white community, no use preaching to the choir, challenge those people you meet; perhaps families and friends whose attitudes challenge your won, the conversation begins with you and you have the ability to challenge any racism you come across within your own social circles, what is equality without diverse social cohesion? If we look at the statistics it is the white 65+ community whose voice is being heard, so talk to your parents/grandparents about politics, feminism, religious tolerance and LGBTQ rights.

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