Surprised by Privilege

The last few years have been ripe with heart-breaking news stories about race, religion, and intolerance. Since the death of Michael Brown, new names have been added to the long list of hashtags at what feels like a daily pace. In the midst of this, terrorist attacks by the radicalized few have been carried out in places like Paris, Colorado, and here in Chattanooga – prompting The Candidate Who Shall Not Be Named1 to suggest barring an entire religion from entering or residing in the US. Then, yesterday, a transcript of Supreme Court proceedings in the Fisher v UT case was being shared which showed overtly racist statements from Justice Scalia and Chief Justice Roberts.2

The most surprising thing for me about all of this has been the fact that my privilege still allows me to be surprised by injustice.

As a white male, my base assumption, no matter how awake to the injustices in our world I think I may be, is that things are fair, even when I know this is not true. Subconsciously, because I have always felt treated fairly, I anticipate fairness. Then, when the next black life is shot down by the system that is supposed to protect it, or the next public figure spouts hate speech aimed to further marginalize the marginalized, I have realized that I actually have the privilege to be surprised; because the oppressed just aren’t.


1. We all know who this is. I’d rather not encourage him by allowing Google to find one more instance of his name on the internet, therefore he will remain TCWSNBN. (back)

2. It also shows Justice Sotomayor being awesome. Here‘s the full transcript. (back)


One comment

  1. Pingback: The True America « social inequalities

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