Tuesday, April 11, 2017

We Don't Know How Privileged We Are

Life sucks, doesn't it? It's not fair. Here, you're trying so hard to fight through life, but there, across the world, some bitch's chilling out on a yacht sipping Champagne just by being lucky enough to strike the genetic lottery.

Each day that passes, there's always something to rant about.

Stuck in traffic. Too long a queue at Starbucks. Your computer goes black, and the IT guy speaks with some weird foreign accent that you can't follow. Your ex-BFF posts a shitload of pretty photos of her Euro trip with the same rich dude that you warned her about but which she angrily dismissed as you being "jealous af". Your home WiFi drops a notch, causing Netflix to buffer, right when you're getting comfy on your sofa after a long day at work.

"FML," you say.

Life sucks, life isn't fair. Yes, I feel the same way too. I feel like screaming out. I feel like throwing something hard against something fragile.

But then, at the very last moment, I stop myself.

Life isn't that bad, I realise. Life could be better, but life is still good.

The colour of privilege

10 Reasons To Check My Privilege

Let's take stock of a few things going my way, shall we?

1. I was born in a safe place, where I can walk out on the streets without fear of getting mugged and murdered. Many others in the world are trapped in war-torn and crime-ridden zones, where going through a day without being pelted by bullets is considered a blessing.

2. I live in a developed city, and enjoy affordable access to clean water, electricity and food. Many others in the world are still mired in poverty, famine, and disease.

3. I have a healthy body, and a sane mind. Many others in the world suffer from incurable genetic and psychological disorders.

4. I am a tall and fair guy, with a face free from freckles and scars. Many others in the world get summarily - and unfairly - dismissed by potential mates simply because they don't meet the minimum physical requirements.

The not-so-lucky ones

5. I had a decent education, subsidised heavily by the government. Many others in the world attend schools staffed by incompetent or absent teachers, some have no chance or time to attend any at all.

6. I had good parents, and grew up in a stable household. Many others in the world are deprived of a proper childhood and upbringing, some even abused by their own parents.

7. I am a recognised minority, with basic rights intact. Many others in the world can't even move freely within their homeland, and can't speak up without the risk of being beaten, arrested and imprisoned.

8. I have freedom to choose my religion, and how religious I wish to be. Many others in the world have beliefs forced onto them, where blasphemy is made a crime.

9. I live in a digital age, where computers break down complex tasks into simple clicks. Many others in the world lack the basic infrastructure to equip themselves with the technologies of tomorrow.

10. I have many options in life, made possible by the small but meaningful advantages accumulated from my smooth childhood. Many others in the world are doomed to walk down the narrow pathways laid before them, with no room to twist and turn.

Chinese privilege also very good!

The Lucky Ones

I could go on and on, but you get the point.

Yes, there may be people in the world more privileged than I am. But there are many, many more others less privileged than I am.

Yes, it would've been nice to be born in the US or Western Europe. But given the size of the global population, it would've been more likely for me to have been born in Africa, the Middle-East, China, India, South America or Eastern Europe.

Call it luck, call it fate. Whatever it is, I came into this world with privilege.

And if you're reading this through your slick laptop or smartphone - so are you.

We often forget how lucky we are. We need to check our privilege more.

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