Ranty McRant-Face

We wouldn’t dismiss Afua Hirsch, Otegha Uwagba or Renni Eddoh-Lodge for their success or the advantages that come with it, or may have preceded it. For the same reason, we shouldn’t dismiss anyone simply because you identify them as having an advantage you lack.  

Working in the learning support department of a large, almost entirely white, English secondary school, I support kids who are dealing with profound learning difficulties and/or socio-economic problems and/or mental illness or addiction and/or family break-up and/or parental addiction, neglect, abuse, etc. etc. To point out to them that they are benefitting from White Privilege, would have no meaning. Their disadvantages eclipse anything they might have gained by being white.

What it might do is give them the impression that the few racial minority students they know are angry with them or dislike them for reasons they can’t fathom. This would not make the situation easier for anyone, especially as the poor racial minority students are probably already hyper-aware of their difference.

Of course, my students are exceptionally challenged, but that demonstrates that privilege and social advantage is a hopelessly complicated interlocking series of spectrums (spectra?) At what point does it become acceptable get stuck in to them for being a privileged white bastard? What about someone who is university educated and affluent, but quadriplegic or has terminal cancer or is schizophrenic? What about systematically sexually abused, manic-depressive? Or just depressed or lonely? To point out to them that they benefitted from White Privilege would be unfair and uncaring. 

To exist, spiritually, cognitively is excruciating. To be consciousness is a form of suffering, is to be afflicted by anguish and confusion and a sense of unrealness. We should recognise the universal truth of that in solidarity, not be so alienated from each other due to tiny differences that we assume other groups have it easy, that if you were just white you’d have no problems or that your sense of existential angst would evaporate if you could only have gender reassignment surgery. 

Easy, buyable solutions are a consumer-capitalist marketing myth. 

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