It is true that it is often hard to step out of your comfort zone or to step out of your personal reality into that of someone else but it is not impossible. We live in a world where many do not see beyond their racial or societal privilege and this is a problem.
In terms of racial privilege, every now and then, we see people that want to absolutely shut down claims that someone’s abuse or death was as a result of racism. Sometimes the stereotypes come out randomly and even innocently but are defended by – “It’s just a joke”, “I have a sense of humour”. To be born white in the world that we live in, is frankly to be born with a sort of privilege that many are rid of. Sadly. So, on occasions when I have heard white people make racist jokes about another ethnic group or culture and defend themselves with – “It is just a joke”, “I have a sense of humour”, I view such claims as baseless. Why don’t you just deal with the insensitivity of your joke? That thing that is a joke to you, well it a reason for someone else’s harsh reality in this world of a continuous oppression of the so-called ‘other’. Learn to think beyond your bounds.
Moving on to societal privilege …
In the same way that there are white people who do not recognize or acknowledge their white privilege, it is often common for persons (irrespective of their race) in developed countries mainly in the West, to look down on people in developing countries. The latter are usually seen as in need of empowerment, resources, in need of a different culture (remember colonization?). These are the general lenses that developing countries are viewed from and for this reason, almost every discussion on poverty, war, violence etc in Canada for example, must be linked to “developing countries” – even when this concept encompasses numerous countries, some of which in reality are not entirely defined by poverty, violence or a need for empowerment.
Privilege-thinking can blind your worldview. It affects the way you look at people and treat them – and in return, it will affect the way people treat you. The ability to think and learn beyond your bounds and have respect for all peoples is a critical element for creating a better world.
Here’s to love & respect,