Speaking From a Position of Privilege
I first wrote this post a bit over a year ago, after my study group and I had a discussion about the immigrant population in Denmark, why this group at times cause problems in our society, and what we can do to change things.
I am a firm believer that often, the issues that arise with (some of) these young people is to do with not feeling wanted in the Danish society, not fitting in and not knowing how to fit in. Having to constantly question if everything bad that happens to them is to do with the colour of their skin or their name, which isn’t “Danish”.
- Was the reason I wasn’t called in for a job interview because I’m not ethnically Danish?
- Did I get poor service in that shop because I speak with an accent?
- Is the reason I didn’t get the job, that I have the “wrong” skin colour?
In addition to this, you can add the likelihood of having received less education, due to less support from parents which might not have been able to help with homework and give the needed support. Not having learnt from birth how to behave in different social circles to become successful (whether that is getting proper service in a shop, behaving on the job, in different social situations etc.)
One of my group members and I didn’t really see eye-to-eye on this, and I told her it might be difficult to relate, when you are speaking from a position of privilege. By this I don’t mean that she gets “whatever she wants” from her parents, she is very successful, hardworking and a wonderful woman. What I mean is, her background makes it a lot easier to achieve these things, than it would be for someone from a less privileged background.
I also consider myself incredibly privileged, and aside from the fact that her family is from a slightly higher social class than mine (which here in Denmark, doesn’t say as much as it would in other countries with greater class discrepancies) I think we have pretty much all the same privileges:
- Cis-gendered (I.e., not trans)
- Normal sized
Like I said to her, the only way we could be any more privileged is if we had been born male!
People like us are the “norm” – if not statistically across the world, then in all the media, movies, literature etc.
When you speak, do you speak from a position of privilege? And do you (try to) keep in mind, what it’s like not to be born with that privilege?