Lately, I feel that a lot of people belong to religions, political parties or other ideologies simply because they do not know who they are. They do not know what they believe in and even when they do know, they cannot say why. Myself, I want to think that I have a good grasp of who I am, what I feel and WHY do I feel something. So, this series of posts is designed to explore this. I will tell you who I am in hopes of you being inspired to search for yourself in a similar fashion. So, let's get to it.
I am a straight white male. Some people would say – part of the most hated group today. But those people would be wrong. I am actually a member of a group that in my opinion is the least likely to be discriminated against based on who they are. This is actually everything the term 'privileged' encompasses in this context. But more on that later. So, don't worry, I didn't go insane or right – wing. This is not a post where I cry about straight white males being oppressed or at fault for everything or some other nonsense. And trust me, I have seen both arguments – people blaming straight white people for everything and straight white people thinking they are victims of oppression. Well, that is only natural because the Internet is a very big place – and you're about to run into all kinds of specimens.
According to statista.com, „as of the most recent reported period, the number of internet users worldwide was 3.58 billion”, so it only makes sense that some of those users are assholes and end up blaming straight white males for everything or use it as a new form of insult. Let’s tell the truth here – there are probably some people out there who believe that the simple fact that someone is a straight white male means that person was handed everything on a golden plate. But in my opinion that is not what most people mean when they say the term “straight white male”.
Quite the contrary, it is the words actions of the very small minority that give the ammunition to the people who like to play the victim. On the other side of the “debate” – if you can call it that - are actual straight white men who believe that they are being prosecuted or some other nonsense. I am not one of them. Instead, I realize that when looking from the worldwide point of view, I am a member of demographics that does have privileges when compared to others. That is just a fact of life, currently. Want proof? Well, in this post you will not really get it, but keep visiting this site, I will tackle it in a future blog post. For now, just look at the CEO demographics. Here is a handy embed:
Now, is it possible that all this is the result of white males simply working harder than anyone else? Sure, it is possible, as in there's no law of nature saying it cannot happen. But because something is possible, it doesn't mean that it's true. As I said, I will explore it further in some other post. This is all about me and what this means to me.
It means I know I am privileged and by that, I don't mean that I was born into a wealthy family. If you are a straight white male and somebody says you're privileged, don't be offended too fast. I certainly am not. After all, they have a point. By saying you are privileged people usually do not mean to say that you were born on a golden bed and a solid gold pacifier was immediately put into your mouth. In a huge number of cases, they simply mean that your race and sex are not holding you back in life.
“A special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group.” - English Oxford Living Dictionaries
Every one of us is fighting their own battle. We have problems with family members. We have problems at work. We have problems with our lovers. But it is, in my opinion, a much rarer occasion that a straight white male will have problems just based on who they are as a human being. Yet, this is what happens to women and sexual minorities all over the world. This is what people mean when they say white people are privileged. It means we have an advantage due to the current state of the world.
I probably do have a greater freedom to move all over the world than non-white people. I probably do have greater freedom to work in many different countries. I probably do have more possibilities to speak up or to speak my mind than people – I am more likely to be listened to simply because I am white. By definition, if you have more possibilities based on who you are racially and sexually – those possibilities are not earned. Sure, it could be that a white person has worked hard, became rich and because of that, he is powerful (privileged). There is no question about that. The only problem people have is with privilege that is not earned – a privilege that was given to you at birth simply because your skin is white.
If you take an objective look – if you are a straight white male, you do enjoy advantages that neither you or your ancestors have really earned. By admitting this, you can start to look at what can you accomplish using that advantage. You can be a selfish person and try to use it to somehow promote yourself and your interests above others – or you can try and be an ethical person and use it to help others whose voice is not perceived as important as your own. What kind of person do you wish to be?