When I say that you are privileged in this society, I am not assaulting your identity or in any way claiming that you are less entitled to fight for the rights that you might have been denied. When I say that you are privileged, I am not accusing you of committing a crime. I am not segregating you into a section of society that does not deserve the status that they have. I am not classifying you into a group of vain people who don’t understand oppression because they have never felt it. In fact, I am not saying that you haven’t ever been oppressed, because in a society that feeds off of repression, every single person has faced oppression, because of their social background in one way or another. When I say that you are privileged, I am telling you that within the multifaceted sphere of our political systems, you have some important rights that I am not fully able to utilise.
Privilege is not a one-dimensional statement, it has several implications and nuances that fit from one person to another. A man might be privileged over a woman, whereas at the same time a woman born into an upper-class wealthy family might be privileged over a man born into a lower-class family.
The important nuance here is that a white woman is more privileged than a black woman with an identical background and a man is more privileged than a woman with an identical background. This essentially underscores the dynamics of privilege: Antiquated ideas prevail and prejudice clouds the way that we are treated in society.
Privilege stems from the unfortunate reality that in every situation, there is a class of people that is being oppressed by another single or multi-dominated class. It is the sad truth of white-washed feminism and all-lives-matter movements.
The only way you can erase privilege is by granting the same opportunities and the same facilities to all the people regardless of their gender, religion or race. This, on a deductive level, incorporates the basic idea of democracy, yet hypocritically, there is no democracy in the world that functions on these ideas.
While erasing privilege is like striving for utopia, there is a definitive hope that in future generations, discrimination can be curbed to a point when privilege will only stem from the identity that the individual creates and not the identity that has been thrust on the individual against their will.
- The reader is a student based in Dubai.