Pragmatism in the real world


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.

3 thoughts on “Privilege

  1. Well put, Rob! It's hard just to identify being part of a system that oppresses or mistreats groups of people and I commend you for acknowledging and taking action on this.

    Privilege and entitlement are both words that we have to get past, so we can put ourselves in the position of the mistreated.

    Have you thought any of the parallels between mistreated human minorities and our abused furry, winged and four-legged friends in the animal industries?

  2. As his longtime reader, always learning from you ZF2, I was suckered into giving my opinion.

    If you have a family and a strong condition, be strong, show strength to others, and at most help others find the strong base you found here the same, always surpassing himself, and not trying to outdo the other pros!

    When you terrorize with something, and show the way for people to find the same full background you have, because life is not a privilege, it's only life that everyone has to face, imagine if you had been born 500 years ago and had to be sword to defend your kingdom .. lol

  3. Good stuff. A little out of the norm for your blog but really good. I've been working on becoming more aware of my own privilege and ways I can give it up to benefit others who don't have the same "free pass" I do. But the opportunities are rare since so much of this happens subconsciously.

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