My Problem with Privilege

Disclaimer: This is my opinion and perspective only. I am not trying to tell other people what to think and I am not looking for a debate/argument. I’m actually doing pretty bad lately and really don’t want to deal with a giant backlash. I’m not trying to speak badly about anyone and honestly I’m pretty scared of potential backlash but I wanted to publish this to reference. Please, don’t hurt me.

Opression by Narnia • http://flic.kr/p/bn92FL

Opression by Narnia • http://flic.kr/p/bn92FL

Life is hard.

Regardless of where you are from, your race/gender/height/weight/ability, or any other factor, I would like to propose that we all have, at some point, had challenges or difficulties to face. I repeat, life is hard.

Relating this to social justice, and anti-oppression work, I think the term privilege is often used to encourage people to be more conscious and reflect upon their attitudes and ideas towards others. …An effort to decrease judgement and create understanding. In practice however, I think the use of the term privilege creates many assumptions and judgements against others. For example…

Jazmin Singer recently published an article describing her experiences as both a (to use her words) fat person and a thin person. In her article she referenced the “privilege” of being thin. I think I could argue equally for the “privilege” of being fat. I am not trying to say being fat is easy, because as mentioned, LIFE IS HARD. But being thin has its own challenges. As a child I was very small for my age and was often bullied for my size. People would call me anorexic, bulimic, and on a few occasions some other girls took me to the bathroom and tried to force me to throw up. Some people might not agree with me. Perhaps my struggle and pain as a thin person is not great enough to validate pointing out the privilege of other sizes. But I’d like to propose, it is not a contest of who is worse off. We all have the ability to suffer, to feel pain (physical or emotional) and hardship in some capacity. What might be a step to one person is a mountain to someone else. Some people might have more challenges to overcome than others. That doesn’t make any struggle less of a struggle.

In another case I read an article that said, “White people aren’t told that the colour of their skin is a problem very often.” – for me, this was not the case. Growing up in a mixed Canadian community I was part of a white minority in a primarily South Asian population. I was bullied at school, there were certain expectations of how I would act because of my race, I was often excluded from social events and was definably not a part of what my classmates called “brown pride”.

I am not ashamed to have lived as a thin, white, middle-class female from North America. Believe it or not, life has been hard for me too. I get stopped at the border and asked about drugs, I get physically searched down almost every time I get on a plane. There have been times when food was not available to me and the prospect of homelessness loomed. LIFE IS HARD.
Now don’t get me wrong, I am not advocating for oppression. I think it is wrong to discriminate against others based on any number of factors including but not limited to their: gender, race, size, ability, appearance, religion, or species. But I think often in activist work to stop this discrimination, other people, perceived to be more “normal” or better off  or “privileged” are denied the benefit of the doubt.

Reason to be Vegan: Ducks!

I’ve decided i’m going to start doing a weekly feature on awesome animals and vegetables to promote how wonderful veganism is. This is a step I am taking to “become the change” and create the world I want to live in. These features will highlight awesome nutritional, compassionate, and environmental reasons for my own personal vegan lifestyle. Today, Ducks! Enjoy these cute photos!

... Duck and Carnival  !!! Musk goose!

Duck

Duck Soup!

What amazing creatures! According to Wikipedia

Ducks are mostly aquatic birds, mostly smaller than the swans and geese, and may be found in both fresh water and sea water. Ducks are sometimes confused with several types of unrelated water birds with similar forms, such as loons or divers, grebesgallinules, and coots.

Despite widespread misconceptions, only the females of most dabbling ducks “quack”. For example, the scaup – which are diving ducks – make a noise like “scaup” (hence their name), and even among the dabbling ducks, the males never quack. In general, ducks make a wide range of calls, ranging from whistles, cooing, yodels and grunts. Calls may be loud displaying calls or quieter contact calls.

In 2002, psychologist Richard Wiseman and colleagues at the University of HertfordshireUK, finished a year-long LaughLab experiment, concluding that of all animals, ducks attract the most humor and silliness; he said, “If you’re going to tell a joke involving an animal, make it a duck.”[8] The word “duck” may have become an inherently funny word in many languages, possibly because ducks are seen as silly in their looks or behavior. Of the many ducks in fiction, many are cartoon characters, such as Walt Disney‘s Donald Duck, and Warner Bros.‘ Daffy Duck.

Cool!

By being vegan I save over 50 animals each year! (http://www.chooseveg.com/vegetarians-save-lives.asp)

Let’s all Respect Rebecca Black!

So i’m sure by now you have seen Rebecca Black’s video for the song Friday. It is not the best song on the planet, but it has brought laughter to millions of people. WIN. What bothers me about this isn’t the laughter, but the hateful comments. Imagine if that awkward video you made at the beginning of high school was publicly broadcast all over the internet and millions of people watched it. I had some good ones in my day ahah. Overall though, I’m sure we’ve all had an experience with hate towards us. In high school someone left some cruel messages on my answering machine one day and i’ll be honest. It didn’t feel good. I’ve moved past that incident and forgiven those people, but I can’t imagine experiencing that on the scale that Rebecca Black has to deal with. She gets my major admiration. Plus, if she hadn’t made this song, then this awesome band Tucker wouldn’t have made their awesome acoustic cover! LOVE IT!

In all seriousness though, let’s all show some compassion. I think we should all grow up… so Rebecca has the chance to.

BE LOVE.

expressing my concerns

Why do people so often view themselves as the most important creatures on the planet? Or themselves as the most important person? As a human, I can see how it can sometimes be difficult to look outside ones self. You are you, after all. What else is there? A lot, as it turns out.

With each decision you make so many other are affected. How will other people feel about it? How will other creatures feel?

I sometimes express my concerns about the decisions of others. I feel it is my right to. We all share this planet. We all need to co-exist. What if someone I know was torturing someone else? I wouldn’t just stand by and watch. But no one will listen to my concerns if I don’t express them in a way that makes other comfortable and able to listen to my concerns. I’m still trying to find out what that manner is.

The purchasing and the plastics and the paper waste… it all makes me very sad. I can see why others might be offended when I express concerns but I wish I could make them understand. In speaking out against the lack of compassion I have created a lack of compassion. Funny how that works.

Kwan Seum Bosal

Kwan Seum Bosal

Kwan Seum Bosal

How do we create Kwan Seum Bosal?

Peace.

Kwan Seum Bosal

Kwan Seum Bosal

Kwan Seum Bosal

Kwan Seum Bosal

Kwan Seum Bosal is the Boddhisatva of compassion. When you chant the name of Kwan Seum Bosal, you are more or less expressing your desire for the spirit of compassion to manifest in the world.

Which is amazing. Let us all share in this : )

Namaste.

Jenni