we all know what good vs. evil looks like. sometimes acknowledging privilege means admitting that you're on the side of the villain. that freaks people out! they'll deny it. you can't shake the common sense of good vs. evil so you adjust it so that you're the hero or the victim.
understanding that we coexist within systems - social, political, cultural systems - and knowing where we stand within those systems it's the first step. but people veer away from it. seeing the system means seeing its flaws. seeing its flaws means challenging your foundations.
and people who are safe are not always going to want to challenge the thing that keeps them safe, even if it's evil. even if it means ignoring those who also seek that same safety - people that die without ever having felt that safety. turning a blind eye? that's privilege.
seeking to maintain ones' safety is common sense too but the difference is found in context - who suffers so that you can feel safe? when you exercise your freedom, are you supporting a system that makes that same freedom impossible for others? accepting that is privilege.
any system that permits suffering is a violent one. retaliation against broken systems is not the beginning of violence, but the pursuit of justice. and it's hard for people to admit but sitting safely atop that system is a violent position to occupy. complacency is privilege.
white folks don't wanna hear it. my non-white family members don't wanna hear it. my relatives that suffered through their own oppression at the hands of white people don't wanna be told they're racist for being anti-black. but it's true. it's not damnation, it's systemic fact.
the hopeful thing about systemic issues is that unlike individuals, you can study a system. you can't account for the human nature of individuals, but you can study faulty structures. systems that were enforced need active work to deconstruct. identify where it's broken. fix it.
this is not a judgment call on the inherent goodness or badness of individual people - thing is, the concept of systemic good and evil renders individual intention obsolete. people can be grey, but that position you occupy doesn't care how you feel about it. it is what it is.
no political system we exist within today occurred naturally. no person in the world is immune to the effects of their systems. if a machine is broken down you fix it or throw it away. refusal to fix the machine leaves only one option - don't be surprised when people take it.
check your systems. know where you stand within those systems. understand why some people want to burn it down. ask yourself whether you're really in a position to tell them not to. have you done enough with your privilege? can you really call yourself a hero if you haven't?
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