Some years ago I watched a short video of a black man explaining white privilege. It really moved me. Here’s my takeaway from it: privilege is a safety net you don’t even know you have, because it’s been with you forever.
This isn’t a ‘black & white’ thing, it’s about ‘us & them’, localised to our part of the world, and privilege is the key. I’m not talking about money and wealth – instead, something this part of the world is known for: strong friendships. Tribes.
Backup is great. Having loyal friends and a group of people who share my beliefs is fantastic. It truly is a privilege, much better than walking alone. But that’s our wee country for you. Backup is a run-of-the-mill perk to living in dysfunction.
Every summer here tensions rise, people cry out for attention and equivalence while laws, infractions, decency, and good care are ignored. People from different walks of life insult each other, raising each other’s hackles. People leave to escape the madness.
That video of a black man explaining white privilege – the essence for me was that I had to acknowledge the feelings of people around me, no matter what camp or category I’m in. And then my choices are:
– say something about them
– ignore them
– build the barriers even higher
Staying in my tribe, ignoring others’ experiences, turning a blind eye to kicks in the teeth… If I see unfairness and say or do nothing, isn’t it possible I’m allowing our wee cycle of dysfunction to continue by retreating into my privilege?
So whether you’re Irish, Northern Irish, British, in-between or something else, are you going to ignore the feelings of others? Or are you going to listen, speak out, and reach out?
It’s time for everyone to grow up, and see how life for us all could improve if we just stopped being awful and unfair to each other.