Gone are the days when I positively affirmed every day in the shower, and shared uplifting memes. Now I see these past behaviours as tragic extent of mine and others’ unawareness. I thought if I changed my mindset and concentrated on dismissing the negative and amplifying positive activism, that the world I wanted would resettle itself with my aligned actions.
Privileged white woman pain is more gradual and less dramatic than that experienced by intersectional minorities. It is insidious. Kind of like bonsai trees, white women have the innate capacity to grow to a normal size but our roots and branches are cut so that we grow far smaller. Stunted or trained along a trellis in such a way that few see, sometimes not even us.
If people only have a choice between evils–be it republicans or democrats, leave or remain, tories, labour lib-dems etc. –then those who don’t want any of them are coerced into making a choice they don’t want, it violates the principles of consent at a very basic level. Consent must be free of coercion by definition, otherwise it is not consent. And when the costs of not picking a side are too high, the voter relationship with the government becomes non-consensual.
There’s a relief that comes with such a diagnosis. But also a glimpse of the fatality that living in our society provides. It’s a label which means you can be put in the box, ‘no longer of any use to society’. And the purpose of getting well is to be of use to society because the machine, the machine must be fed. That is the way of things in the system we have built.
I don’t hide my white privilege but many of my friends don’t know that my Greek-American father wasn’t considered white as a young man. But they don’t tend to ask because I look utterly white, a caucasian through and through. It’s such a small thing, that it barely scratches the surface of relevance. And yet weirdly enough my realisation of what this means is emblematic of our globally expansive-yet-locally-intolerant times.
Trump wants to make America great again, Theresa May wants to take Britain out of Europe. What they mean is that they want to return to a simpler more ignorant time, one where white people could exploit others–be parasites–without accountability. Abort the awareness baby. Abort.