Sick & Tired of Being Called “Privileged”

There are times when I feel exhausted from having to monitor myself and make sure I’m not accidentally being racist (and sometimes I still fail). There are times when I am so tired of hearing about how privileged I am and how much responsibility that gives me . Can’t we all just forget it and get along? Do people really have to take offense?

And then I remember that no matter how annoyed I may feel about having to be respectful of the position I’m in (post coming soon on cultural appropriation and me), it is nothing compared to being prejudiced against.

I do see some people of privilege getting snarky and upset about how P.C. things are (as though being nice to people is a tremendous burden!) I am admitting here that I sometimes feel twinges of that.

I think what those people (and at times my own mind) fail to realize is how bad it is to be on the receiving end of racism.

It really is only fair (and actually does not even balance out) for me to have the uncomfortableness of trying not to offend others.

I can’t imagine what it is like to be looked at as “less than” by the people around you, to have nasty things said or implied about you or your family or your entire race and then be told to chill out and take it as a joke, to have someone be suspicious of you just from looking at you, to feel at risk because of something that should be giving you the respect and care of others.

Racism is alive around the world. As a person who has not been systematically oppressed, it is my responsibility to monitor my thoughts, speech, and action to counteract any racist tendencies in myself. 

In my grandmother’s time, being of Irish heritage had prejudice against it in America. But I have never experienced anything like that. These days in America, it’s cool to be Irish.

So, Paula Deen, stop trying to defend yourself and just apologize. Take the lesson that it is better to treat others with love and respect. You’re human, you made mistakes, we all do. Realize that mistake and become a better person for it.

 

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About Ambaa

Ambaa is an American woman of European ancestry who is also a practicing Hindu. She is fascinated with questions of philosophy, culture, and the meaning of life. Join her in the journey to explore how a non-Indian convert to Hinduism experiences her religion.

  • Agni Ashwin

    “As a person who has not been systematically oppressed….”

    Women haven’t been systematically oppressed?

    • Ambaa

      Well…Hmmm. I’ve just never really noticed that or felt it. I guess it is happening, but either it isn’t happening to me or I’m totally oblivious :)

    • http://amarchotoprithibi.blogspot.com/ Andrea

      Yes, but not on the basis of race. There are all categories of privilege – white privilege, male privilege, “blue passport” privilege (metonym for having US citizenship), Global North/”First World” privilege, class privilege, education privilege. Some of us have all of them, some of us have one or the other, and there are those also with none.

      It isn’t about Suffering Olympics — trying to figure out who’s more oppressed so they can get more pity — but about recognizing the accidents of our birth that have given us an unfair advantage, and then making a decision about whether we should use those advantages for the greater good (like Bill Gates does), try to level the playing field so those advantages don’t contribute to pain for others (like Tim Wise does), or just try to ‘get ours’ even if it means perpetuating an unjust system.

  • HARRY

    Talking about privilege, That’s same as Bill Gates saying I’m tired and sick of people talking about my money. We all are privilege in comparison to some people in Africa and Asia, and for that we should be thankful. To say I’m not, when you are is same as Bill Gates lying about his money, when he doesn’t have to.

    When you follow and accept Hinduism, there is a word that describes who you are as an individual and that is Satsangi. You probably have heard loads of words surrounding or similar to this word. Let me explain what this word means in Sanskrit. You have heard load of simple explanation for that word, fellowship, follower, and so on, but it means none of that, what it means is COMPANION OF TRUTH. The day you fail to accept that is the day you fall from that step called Hinduism which in nutshell is called universal truth. There are thousands of words in sanskrit which have no link to any other foreign dictionary, that is why you cannot translate sanskrit in to an english, you miss the inner core of the explanation.

    When you write something in future, you as an individual have to address the truth first as a Hindu because that is core of our religion and without that we wouldn’t be a Hindu, thus the guardian of the universal truth. By not accepting the privilege we have is same as we are not accepting the whole truth and because of this we would be called a part time Hindu or a plastic Hindu and I am sure you are not. This is why Bhishma got destroyed even tho he was great in whatever he did because he side stepped the truth by being on the side of Kovravs at the time when he should have taken the side of Pandavas (Truth).

    Namaste Ambaa.

    • Ambaa

      The title of the post is somewhat sarcastic, you know.

      The post is about the moment of realization that I have to be always grateful for the great advantages I have in life.

      The point you are supposed to be left with is that people who complain about their privilege are wrong.

      • HARRY

        I knew it was sarcastic but I had to bring in an angel which most people ignore when it comes to Hinduism and compare it to the Abrahamic religion which has totally different concept altogether.

        This also gives me an opportunity to throw in few Sanskrit words to get you thinking and give you the heart of our religion and our faith in general. And Namaste for second time.

        • Ambaa

          Okay, if that makes you happy :) I’m not sure why you think that I’m not familiar with Sanskrit words. My parents have studied Sanskrit for thirty-five years and I grew up hearing a whole lot about it!

  • DsylexicHippo

    Not sure if you have read Frank Bruni’s article on Deen’s Bless-Yer-Heart (oh how I dislike that phrase!) “faux pas”, if you will. Here’s the link to it:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/25/opinion/bruni-paulas-worst-ingredients.html

    As most transplants from the north would attest to it, I truly believe that it is much worse down south.

    • Ambaa

      Thanks for the link, I’ll check that out!

  • Ambaa

    My understanding is that she has said racist things more than just that one time.

    However, I do think she should be given the space to apologize and be forgiven for it.


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