I’ve been watching Orphan Black (#tatianamaslanyisamazing) and it got me thinking about privilege. All the clones in the series are drastically different, yet have identical genetic makeup. What was interesting was when the orphan Cosima hinted that biology does not predetermine privilege.
Of course, this is down to the scientific and technological advances this world has seen in the past decades, centuries etc. but it is also down to changing beliefs. Monarchies have evolved (albeit slowly) from believing that royal blood cannot marry “common” blood. People still think that your biology can predetermine your privilege. I think that thinking is outdated. What does this have to do with me? I’m no princess (lol).
Although far from monarchs and the 1%, we still have segregation. Within our measures of class, we somehow manage to uphold a proportion of us and downgrade the other. This, I think, is down to progression.
I am free to roam around the streets alone as a 21st century woman and I have the ability to pay for my own food with my own money and earn that through my own freelance photography work. But across the world, there are women who can’t leave the house alone or even think about having a career, let alone buying their own food with their own hard-earned money.
I am able to stand in a crowd of over 20,000 people with my sister heading towards the underground after watching Adele perform at the Wembley stadium, and speak openly about classism, racism and stereotyping. On the other side of the world, some women are afraid to speak out at all. Why is it that some parts of our world are progressing while others are falling behind?
There are more people are evolving their beliefs and opening their minds to a more progressive world and more accepting communities, there are cultures and religions that deny certain privileges for certain types of people: a minority-race woman, for instance. This can be traced to hard rooted beliefs and tradition that has shaped communities and because of its profound imprint, people are unwilling to change.
“This is how we do things around here”. Understandable.
The greatest weapon and the greatest tool that helps us understand privilege or even shapes how we attract privilege can be referred to as media. The knowledge economy is out there, already on the rise and inevitably taking over the world. What we don’t realise is how much access a lot of us have to it, and others don’t. 4.6 billion pieces of content are produced daily but one person may not get to see one of those pieces of work.
I guess where this would end is to say that it is down to character. What we do to understand privilege or how we react to others in social situations – these are all narrations of ourselves. The crux of ourselves is the character we are able to build regardless of the predispositions we’ve been given, and our character is what helps us navigate around the world.
Privilege is always going to be a part of a wider conversation and so will unconscious behaviour in prejudice but to keep it short; build your character however you can and stick to your true self – that’s how we get by.