Sunday, November 30, 2008


Privilege is a concept that occurred to me only recently. I mean, I knew I was lucky, but I'd never actually defined it this way.
But as time goes on, I see how privileged i actually am, and I find it crazy.

I'm white.
I'm young.
I'm slim.
I'm conventionally attractive.
I'm straight
I'm smart enough.
I'm middle-class.
I'm from what they call a traditional nuclear family.
I live in a country that pays for my education and health care.
I'm confident enough.

I'm comfortable enough in my own skin not to feel threatened by what is different from me. And I think that's the mother of all privileges, although many probably won't agree with me.
I was brought up to be tolerant and not dismiss what I don't understand.
I lived in a safe environment, where I wasn't belittled overmuch for being a girl, although it has happened, of course; where the gay people I knew weren't attacked, and where the probability of my being mugged was fairly small. Case is, I've been harassed but never attacked, and here's hoping it stays that way.

Racism though was rampant because in the south of France there are large muslim/arab communities-well this actually goes for the whole of France but we're near the sea and Morocco and Algeria are very near. It's hard to be Arab or Black in France.

It's funny how where I lived it was rarer to meet homophobic people than racist people, especially in my generation. After all, we don't listen to only-white music or watch only-white movies.
I could try and explain it. I could try and justify it, but it's just wrong.
I could tell you that whenever I've been harassed by unknown men in the street in my short life, they've all been Arab, strangely enough. I could tell you about how this experience is common to most of my friends. Not three months ago, two friends got beaten up by five arab dudes.
I could tell you how we've all come to associate violence with Arab youths-and older men, for that matter.

And it's just terrible.

These kids have been discriminated against for years, of course they're angry, and all this leads to violence and the 2005 riots.

But that's not what you think of when you've just walked past a group of them who whistled at you and called you a fucking French whore because you didn't respond.

I can try and understand the anger. They're screwed over. You're soooo less likely to get through school, to find a job, to be able to rent a flat if you're Arab or Black, it's insane.
If you're young, it's no point even thinking about it.
That's why people like Rachida dati are set up as an example. She was the daughter of illiterate immigrants, she managed, being a girl, she got out of an arranged marriage, she managed.

But these kids, they mainly have footballers, rappers and singers to look up to, and that isn't much.
So I'm angry at how screwed up they got, so that they got so angry, so that I have to take care to avoid looking at them so as not to get "who you looking at, you French ho, what you want?".
I'm angry at the system that taught them it was no point fighting back.
I'm angry that I don't know what I could do.

Roommate dearest has some voluntary work to do to get her degree. She's going to tutor a kid from one of the less favoured sides of town, which is great. Seriously the Law uni is so much better than ours, it's crazy^^

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