Editor’s Note: This article is a reflection of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views of Her Campus at Cal Lutheran as a whole.
Privilege. What is it exactly? Honestly, it can be defined and worded in different ways. And at times, there are people who believe that privilege does not exist. For the purposes of this article, I will be writing about white privilege.
(Disclaimer: I am aware that other people besides white people can be privileged and also acknowledge that there is some white people who admit their privilege and are activists/allies.)
It is a given that politics are unavoidable because in reality, anything and everything is a political act. I was recently going through my Twitter newsfeed and saw a short video about a country singer (Cody Johnson) ending one of his songs/performances by going on a rant and saying something along the lines of, “If you don’t like the way it is in the United States of America, move somewhere else,” while speaking about politics and social media. And if it is not obvious already, he is white. It is very easy to say that one does not care for politics when things don’t affect them directly which causes them not to care, and in most cases, it’s to white people, specifically white males.
It is not just famous people who have viewpoints such as these, there are so many people out there who think the same way. Including many college students. But, if politics don’t affect you directly that does not mean that you should not care or avoid them. It’s called being an ally and being there for people. It’s called having a heart and thinking about other people besides yourself. People don’t take into account that anything and everything can be political. For example:
• In education: A child not having access to a pen or pencil is political. The quality of desks in a classroom is political. The administration hired at a school is political. • The neighborhoods within a city and what kind of funding and programs are provided to them: a low-income neighborhood compared to a middle-class or upper-class neighborhood. • Being a person of color versus being white. It is no surprise that when a person of color runs for any office or tries to take any leadership position, they are questioned harder than a white person and are seen as “un-fit,” due to their race/ethnicity. • Even someone’s decision to avoid politics is political. • And the lists can just continue going on and on…
Living in the United States is a privilege and so many people wish to live and experience the “American Dream.” So many people come from all over the world to live this American Dream in hopes of a better life for not only themselves, but their families as well. But if these people come to this country and hear comments such as, “move somewhere else,” how is that supposed to make them feel? It is very easy for a white guy to say such a comment because like I stated: he is a white guy. White men are the most privileged people in the world.
Living in today’s society, it is important for underrepresented communities to have allies and people they know they can count on. People can say so much about how great the U.S. is, but they must also take into account what needs to be fixed. Telling people to leave just makes it hard for the United States to have unity. Peoples voices must be heard in order to make change. And there are so many people out there who have a lot to say and want to be heard, but for certain reasons, they cannot make that happen; so, these people need to be represented and have allies. Keeping quiet and not saying anything back should not be the case, especially in topics like this.