There is a difference between a right and a privilege; a right can never be taken away from you, no matter what.
In that sense, almost everything we have is a privilege, which is true. There is a huge disparity between the underprivileged and the privileged; normally this isn’t a problem until the privileged begin taking privileges from the underprivileged.
That’s a problem, a huge problem. But I think there’s another problem, a problem just as important. When the privileged believe that they understand the oppressed and that they share some sort of brotherhood with them. Then they assume that they can speak for the oppressed and they know what the oppressed need, but they don’t realize what a privilege it is to speak about another’s oppression.
What privilege it is to misrepresent someone and not feel any consequences. You don’t get cool points for being part of the oppressed. Even worse these people who wish to be “on the frontline” and bring “news from the resistance” portray the oppression as safe and okay because at the end of the day after roleplaying the oppressed they can return to their safe, sheltered, suburban homes. There they can return to a society that denies that oppression still exists swallowing the bullshit lies of post racial America and broken glass ceilings with the words revolution, rebellion and riot censored out of our lifestyle even though they make up an essential part of our nation’s foundation.
These people must be confronted with the fact that racism still exists! Denying someone’s cultural heritage does not make you less racist, just because you “don’t see color.” “Oh my god I didn’t know you were ethnic until just now.” Not cool. “To be fair as a white person…” Whoa. Whoa shut the fuck up! This problem is not solved by ignoring it because that just sends the message “don’t worry everyone is slowly turning white.”
People must realize sexism still exists even within our country despite our advances, how are we suppose to advance to equality when jokes like “staying in the kitchen” are still acceptable. When we hold the victims of rape in contempt while letting their attacker go free. How shameful, that society can still believe that the problem of sexism is nonexistent. Even now I know I am a hypocrite speaking about an oppression that does not affect me.
But I too have been judged on the color of my skin, the gender that I am and even the instrument I play. So I can say with certitude is that the oppressed don’t need another “savior” who believe themselves to be one of the oppressed. What the oppressed need is compassion from the outside, a willingness to help from outside to show that the oppressed are not alone, because when people voluntarily oppress themselves then the oppressors have won.