We are a world divided. I don’t see an end to that in my lifetime. There are so many so many subgroups that society puts us in to diminish us. There is no dispute that we actually belong to these groups like men and women, members of the LGBTQ community, people of color, etc. But can’t we all just…..be people? Sometimes, when one group of people makes an advancement, they forget to include the other people that need help. Or worse, people support one group of people while actively opposing another. bell hooks, a well known feminist scholar, states, “Given the reality of racism, it made sense that white men were more willing to consider women’s rights when the granting of those rights could serve the interests of maintaining white supremacy” (Saraswati, pg. 21-22). I can pretty much guess that those men had no interest supporting those women until they knew it could benefit them. In this case, its a step forward for women, but a detriment to people of color. So is that really a win for those women if they endorsed the suppression (and harming) of other people trying to gain equality? NO. The world is so divided that we need to actively help the progression of all equality, not just the group that we belong in. hooks continues to talk about how women of privilege tended to stop caring once they got to the level they were striving for, like equality in the workplace for women (which still isn’t accepted everywhere). I think that is easiest to do for people who doesn’t have much intersectionality in their life. As a white, middle-class female from rural Pennsylvania, its easy to say that I don’t have many problems. As discussed in Peggy McIntosh’s White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack, McIntosh states that “my skin color was an asset for any move I was educated to want to make” (Saraswatei, pg. 74). I was given the privilege of being white without me having to do a damn thing. Others, who also didn’t chose their circumstances, whether it be skin color, sexual orientation, etc., are being faced with struggles everyday just to get the same power I was given at birth. Some may say “why are you being so outspoken about these problems you see happening around you? It doesn’t affect you!” I’ve been given the opportunity to not acknowledge social/structural inequality because i’ve been groomed to believe that my place toward the top of that hierarchy allows me to do so. But why should that stop us from speaking out? Just because we don’t all feel the direct effects of peoples’ prejudice against other groups, doesn’t mean we can’t use our privileged place on the hierarchy to help disrupt the ideas and actions that keep that hierarchy in place. I would just like to note that when I googled the word “prejudice” to make sure I was using it in the proper context, a picture of Donald Trump popped up. So while the near future with our orange asshat’s administration seems bleak, all of use who have been given privilege in our society need to use it to help lift up others who don’t have the mobility to access every avenue we can.
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Saraswati, L. Ayu, et al. Introduction to Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies Interdisciplinary and Intersectional Approaches. Oxford University Press, 2018.