Privilege is something that is glaringly obvious in hindsight.
One who thinks that there is no caste discrimination in cities comes from a privileged caste; have never faced any racist comments come from a privileged race; chooses not to acknowledge assault comes from a privilege of power; choose to say “we’re a tolerant society” comes from a majoritarian side. And, one who doesn’t have to worry about visa and documentation has the privilege of citizenship.
This probably comes out as a bit strange, doesn’t it? After all, people would expect me to just be quiet, as I really don’t need to worry about these trivial things like these, don’t I? Like Sunil Gavaskar famously said, “Boys and Girls shouldn’t be at the protest, they should be in the classrooms studying.”
Yet, I am here. Try as much as you can, I am here to show something that I find lacking in many people: support and empathy.
When people accuse others of not being able to take criticism, like for example, when Piers Morgan blasted Meghan Markle, over ‘Megxit‘, they are often so glaringly ignorant towards the power that they have. Only when power is forcibly taken away, do such people realize the magnitude of their actions, don’t they?
Closer home, there are so many cases, of supporting many activities by the present disposition, because such people never even have to think about the inevitable.
Snowflake is often a term used for people who are “sensitive“. Yet, perhaps they are the ones who dare to point out the holes in a deeply flawed society, the ones who take to wrest back the narrative that has been pedaled against them. Fighting injustice needn’t be something earth-shattering.
It can also be started right from acknowledging basic stuff. Like acknowledging that “Yes, I am from a background, where I don’t have to face prejudice and shame.” Acknowledging that others do face issues, and try not to belittle their efforts.
If you are born as a person from a relatively affluent background, don’t be insensitive. Proudly embrace your identity, but also be sympathetic towards those who don’t have it. If you are proud to be a Hindu, be proud. No one is asking you not to. No one is asking you not to flaunt it. All that we ask is something very simple. Just acknowledge us. Treat us as equals.
For everything you don’t have to think about, like accessing the internet, think about those who don’t have this. For each time you fat shame someone, think about how lucky you are to be able to maintain your lifestyle. Each time you see a cycle blocking your way on the road, think about how cycling may be a hobby to you, but something which is a very crucial means of transport for someone else. Think about every time you are mean to or make fun of anyone, that you are privileged to have a support system.
Harping about freedom of speech without knowing basic courtesy in conduct is a violation of others’ rights. So, just pause. Pause to think of your privilege, and on the ways to use it to make others’ lives better.