Privilege: A word that's being thrown around a lot these days, especially when it comes to the audacity some people have to complain about things they "do or do not have". I am not talking about POC's, those who fall in the LQBTQIA+ community, or anyone part of an oppressed group, I am talking about cis white folk.
The people who have colonized, taken over and abused power and continue to control the system. Now don't get me wrong, a lot of white cis folk aren't "bad" people, just the same with any group of individuals; there are just simply some bad people wherever you go (sad). Bringing it back, I am talking about the undermining effect of unrealized or unnoticed privilege. I will begin to explain a perfect example of privilege, based on an assignment I had to provide for my English class, with a course based around gender, sexuality, and race.
Something that's stood out to me, was a story about The Erotic written by Audre Lorde. Lorde mentions the impact that our own personal erotic can have on our day to day, and view of life. Lorde mentions a story of someone's hands being their erotic; a centered place of pleasure and power. Not that hands can be used for power necessarily, but it is an outlet of power, for good…and also sexuality, emotion, and expression. Think about it, as cis (straight) people, our hands are not our only outlet for "pleasure".
The story then goes onto to talk about an instance of a lesbian couple, who were set out for a manicure one day. Only one of the partners got their nails done, and their partner watched. Let's call the person getting their nails done REESE and their partner RILEY.
Reese was getting her nails done, and Riley was observing, now Riley was the one in the story, who described their hands as their erotic. Riley was watching Reese get their nails done, and couldn't help but get extremely uncomfortable; as Riley saw hands as her erotic, and a place of sanctuary within the bedroom, and mode for emotional and sexual expression, it made Riley uncomfortable at the way Reese's hands were being touched. How the hands were caressed like they meant nothing to the manicurist, and they were just "skin and bones".
Riley thought about the level of uncomfort, and how she, was the only one in the room thinking that. Long story short, cis people do not need to think about a manicure, in which ways some people might if they deem their hands to be a sexual mode of expression, emotion, and love like previously stated. Now, I'm not saying bless the holy ground that your hands behold, but I just used this instance as an example of a privilege some communities do not need to think about, it's just in cis folk nature to not concern themselves with that.
Check your privilege at your favorite restaurant, with your best friends, in class, the grocery store and when you're meeting a new group of people for the first time. Treat everyone with kindness, and remember where you came from. Look in the mirror for god sake if you really need a reminder that your exterior is giving you power and privilege that some fight for, and may never have; by means in which the way the world and our country especially, works right now.
Count the number of times you have to think about the way you are touched, think about how you touch others. Remember that no one can always speak up for themselves, remember that sometimes doing the right thing should be subconscious; but if it not for you yet, take a second to think about your actions.
Be smart, be kind and be honest.
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