I don’t like the term “white privilege”. That’s to be expected. I’m white. What I need to do is educate myself a bit more on the concept and then I’ll not only like it, I’ll use it widely as shorthand for “I’m not racist”. You need shorthand for that, in these racially tense times. It’s not good enough to simply not be racist. Unless you’re working on your inner thoughts and vetting them, and keeping your colonial roots at the back of your mind then you’re probably micro aggressing like a mother, and nobody wants to be doing that, on a weeknight.
My own colonial past is a bit sketchy. Being Irish, my history is one of being oppressed rather than the bad guy. Being celtic and paler than the recently deceased, the colour of their skin didn’t stop my ancestors starving when the potatoes ran out. They could have had cake, if cake wasn’t the preserve of the privileged.
But that was then and this is now, and now, being white is a symbol of being born privileged. Unless you are white and born into poverty, and we can mark that by whether or not you receive free school meals. If you do, your chances of acquiring the education you need to get out of poverty are less than 20%. Comparatively, people from ethnic minorities on a similar income have a 5% higher rate of school leavers obtaining the most basic of skills. The very vast majority of both groups may live and die with so little learning that they won’t be able to spell the word “privilege”, literally.
And cue a hundred handy videos explaining the term “white privilege” to reflect the mistaken belief that those who reject it do so because of a lack of understanding.
I’m not saying white privilege doesn’t exist. All privileges exist. Male Privilege. Abled privilege. Educated privilege. Home owning privilege. Home renting privilege. Food in fridge privilege. Fridge privilege. Food privilege. Until you get right down to the pauper on the street, who has abandoned all hope of ever living a meaningful existence and just wants enough cider to shut reality out. You would do well to not try and teach such a character about the privilege afforded to the colour of his skin. He may just reply, “Away and fuck yourself!”
I tried to explain to the teen that critical race theory is an ideology, a way of looking at the world, that it was entirely possible to be critical of critical race theory and not be racist. He replied, ‘Yeah, I get it, Mum, but don’t go explaining it to other people, eh?’
And he’s not wrong. No-one wants to listen to a white chick talk about race, and I get that. I rarely listen to blokes talk about sex. Any kind.
And I’m only talking about it because the subject keeps coming up. And every time, there is only one hymn sheet. You are on our side, or the wrong side. If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. If you’re not actively calling out and seeking out microaggressions, what are you even for?
And I’m for writing, mostly. Between mothering and household management, and fending off sharks and keeping the wolf from the door, and all the other tasks that comprise being a grown up in this dog eat dog world.
And I’m for free thinking.
See, I escaped the catholicism that plagued my youth with its one stop morality shop and its limited supply of stock. Why must I spend these prime writing years mouthing platitudes that are ill conceived and divisonary, based on bad science and even worse literature, in order to appease an educated mob that favour emotion over action and social media posts over redistribution of wealth?
So that people that have no reason to suspect I’m racist can be satisfied I’m not. It’s all a bit original sin for me and we know how well that tale turned out…