If ever there was a word to make someone defensive, it's privilege.
You are brought face to face with the fact that someone else doesn't have the same experiences in life as you and that their experiences somehow make their life harder than yours.
I am one of the most privileged people I know. I am a well-educated European white man. I was raised in a loving, stable home. I have a loving, stable relationship and two children. I am doing well financially, working in a job I love. The list goes on and on and on…
I understand intellectually that not everyone has this good a run in life. But I feel defensive when someone mentions privilege. "But it's not my fault!", I want to whine.
I have friends who are treated as inferior by strangers. I have friends who are not listened to at work because they aren't a white man. I have friends who have been sexually assaulted. I have known this for years and I used to shrug it off as "It's just the way the world is, but not all men are like that.".
This is not acceptable.
I've started paying more attention. I want to be part of the solution, not part of the problem. I will not blithely ignore that the rest of the population have to deal, day-in and day-out, with problems that I cannot ever fathom.
I'm reading articles and watching talks on the subject. I'm listening carefully to what my wife and friends have to say. How else can I learn?
I now know what the Bechdel Test is and I've noticed the lack of female protagonists in new games coming out of E3. I was shocked and depressed by what I read on #yesAllWomen.
I will change my behaviour and the way I talk. I will call out others too.
I will fail regularly in my attitude, in what I say and in what I do. I need my friends to point this out and, when they do, I will not whine.