Using your privilege for good? What a shocking concept
The subject of privilege has been a hot one as of late. Sure, the term “white male privilege” has basically been cemented into pop culture vernacular, but all kinds of privilege have been making themselves known recently. Who would have thought you didn’t need to have a dick and be a Caucasian to have privilege?
(That was sarcasm, by the way, in case you couldn’t tell.)
All of the people in my circle are safe and home—refrigerators stocked and with the capacity to go to the grocery store when needed—and I am so thankful for that. We don’t know what the future holds, but we’re okay for now. It’s this level and capacity of privilege, right now, that is the most obvious.
I do not worry about whether or not food is on my table; I worry about whether or not I’ll like how the protein was cooked. I do not worry about having money to shop in the grocery; I worry my brand of shampoo and conditioner and deo won’t be on the shelves. I am not running around double guessing everything I touch and everyone I talk to, about whether or not I’m bringing COVID-19 home; I worry about my bottle of vodka sitting on our bar shelf, steadily diminishing as the days go by.
I can voice my opinions on the lack of action because I know what the government is supposed to do, because I know that—should things continue to go to shit—I will not experience the brunt of my words. I do not live in one of Makati’s pristine and massive exclusive villages, but I am also not one of those people that will be jailed for hitting the streets, demanding food and demanding work. Alternatively, silence is a privilege I often cash-in on, too.
I, a young(ish) female born and raised in a third world country, am still of privilege. I fucking know this—but, more importantly, I think I know how to use it.
There is merit in criticism, but it is not my preferred brand of modern heroism. I have never understood the need to share stories and photos of my life or my opinions. I am scared that too much noise will result in consequences much worse than present conditions. So instead of screaming obscenities through social media (and calling out the bane of our country’s existence), I have supported causes I believe in. I have convinced my parents to download the apps that will make it easier for them to donate. I have offered opinions when asked, shared news screenshots to share my frustrations, but you will not find me in the heat of it all—not now—because I think I understand that these are sensitive times. One wrong move could cause an unstoppable avalanche that none of us are ready for.
For now, in my humble opinion, the best we can do is offer help where possible, support those who deserve it and follow the rules as much as we can—because we’re privileged enough to do so. I know we all have our doubts when making donations (and paying taxes)…but that’s where vigilance comes in. If you don’t have faith in one segment, you put it in the other because we are not without choice. And another thing: Don’t fucking forget. Do not forget the names and the faces that rose and burned, that provided peace and created chaos. Do not forget the anger that has so often burned your throat in the last few days and use your privilege to spell out a different tomorrow.
If that means waiting it out, then wait it out.
Art Alex Lara