Let’s replace the divisive notion of “privilege” with the unifying ideas of Rights and Solidarity…
Sophie Grillet
1

That’s the overall aim, but of course, “privilege” must first be addressed as more than a “divisive notion”, but rather a “divisive reality”.

As an abbreviation of “White Privilege”, which is excludes race that do not aesthetically or socially qualify as “white”, “Privilege” is a relative term. Meanwhile, “Rights”, which is clearly short for “Human Rights” acts as an umbrella term, which can help people easily overlook the nuanced symptoms of modern racism that co-opt and further re-enforce the current race-based hierarchy.

Basic human rights are supposedly extended to racial minorities throughout the western world and yet they continue to suffer disenfranchisement and homogenisation to the extent to which their voices and identities are shrouded by the external interpretations of the racial majority (people who appear “white”).

“White Privilege” is the ability to make these interpretations (albeit, most plausibly, in an innocuous manner) without suffering any immediate repercussions, besides the alienation of an already disempowered group (which limits interracial reactions, allowing “white interpretations” to go unchallenged).

Thus, “Privilege” and “Rights” are not mutually exclusive concepts, but the former better illuminates the existence of an “Underprivileged” population, which bears a relative existence with the racial majority. Conversely, it can be argued that a group or an individual’s “Rights” have been tended to, in spite of any feelings alienation, which might be passed of as normal or symptomatic of living in Western society, where the racial majority benefits from what is essentially dubbed as “Privileges” that ensure that their products are the standard by which everything else is measured.

In most cases, these “Privileges” are not subscribed to consciously (at least, I like to think so) and therefore, the beneficiaries should not be criticised, nor feel criticised on the basis of the word-choice. However, they should understand that it illuminates a “divisive reality” and in being equally subject to it, they should approach it with the intentions to learn from it, so they can solve the social schism it has formed between races. But this cannot be done successfully, if we don’t call it what it is in the first place.

The unifying ideas of “Rights and Solidarity” exist alongside Privilege”, but they don’t oppose it yet. When they do, the lexical changes can be made.

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