Inspired by this poem
but also by a lot of other things.
In Internet discussions of politics - in terms of feminism, in terms of race, in terms of gay rights, in terms of poverty, in terms of anything
- one thing that keeps coming up is The Guys With All The Privilege: white, straight, regularly abled,upper-middle-class men. Usually, in these discussions, they're seen as the ignorant ones, the blind ones, the ones who are very lucky and don't realize it, the selfish ones, the ones who cause and perpetuate the problems. And there may be a grain of truth to all of that. There may be a lot more than just a grain, depending on circumstances. And it's easy to get behind that. It's easy to agree with it. It's easy to be angry with the lucky ones, especially when they don't realize all they have. Definitely, people who argue with this viewpoint tend to be considered over-privileged and ignorant themselves. For a while, I never even thought of arguing with this.
Then I thought about it - about the lists of characteristics. White, straight, cisgendered, regularly abled, upper-middle-class, male, not any minority religion.
My brothers fit all of those characteristics. So does my dad. So do a lot of my friends.
And yeah, sometimes they don't get things. Sometimes my brother and my dad don't understand why I can't stand to watch all of Casino Royale
and stay silent. Sometimes my friends crack a joke that makes me wince. Sometimes they do the kinds of maddening things that cause people, people who have had it far harder than I have and have had ENOUGH, to get angry.
But on the other hand - these are my friends, my family. They screw up, but that isn't how I define them. I define them as the people who hug me when I need it. The otherwise well-behaved brother who, ages ago, body-slammed a kid who was mocking me for being the brainy, geeky one, and never stopped being that guy. The brothers who collaborated with me to find Christmas presents for our mom, and played ridiculous imaginative games with me in the backyard (we basically came up with a very crude form of LARP) and never told me I couldn't pretend to have a sword. The friends who respect my opinions enough to have hour-long arguments over Shakespeare or nuclear weapons or whatever else. The father who went with me to pottery classes and shared Broadway cast recordings with me. People I care about. People I love.
Sometimes they Don't Get It, with capital letters. But does that make them bad people? I can't see them that way. Does that mean I'm not getting it? I have a lot of privilege too - I'm female and bi, but I'm still white, still cisgendered, still upper-middle-class, still regularly abled. Am I missing something here; is this post just plain asinine BS? I don't know.
But I still can't see my family, even with all of their privilege and their mistakes, as bad people.