Frustrated with how some are reacting and behaving with the onslaught of the Coronavirus? Well, it might be high time to check your privilege, because clearly, we are in a much better state than others–even Bryanboy agrees.
Reality check: If you are reading this, perhaps the cold, hard truth is: You are privileged.
Sure, no one wants to be told they have a leg up in the daily struggles of life or have been dealt a better stack of cards in a multitude of unique circumstances, because it comes with a trail of assumptions such as unapologetic ignorance, undeserved success, and unearned power. It is a vulnerable word to be associated with, and nobody wants that, but really, many of us subscribe to privilege in different capacities. So, before you get riled and ruffled up over the fact that you are of privilege, understand that while it isn’t universal or exclusive to the up and up, it encompasses the liberty to live in a world where there are little to no strains and tensions to exist in your reality and express your truth.
There is no sugarcoating this context. You and I are at a much better place than most who are at an obscene disadvantage from your point-of-view because of persistent systemic inequalities that continues to pervade the consciousness of society today. In her illuminating essay, White Privilege: Unpacking The Invisible Knapsack, Peggy McIntosh asserts that it is inculturated in the obliviousness “to maintain the myth of meritocracy, the myth that democratic choice is equally available to all,” she writes. “Keeping most people unaware that freedom of confident action is there for just a small number of people props up those in power and serves to keep power in the hands of the same groups that have most of it already.”
This couldn’t be truer in the reality we live in today, especially in the Philippines where there exists a ridiculously wide gap between social and economic classes. (And that is barely scratching the surface of the entire spectrum.) It subsists on such a vacuous plane of silence and denial that we are often left blinded by the dominance we knowingly or unknowingly assert over someone else. Constantly, are being reminded to check our privilege, an offshoot of this generation’s more conscious mindset to be recognize that we are in so many ways privileged. Weightless and invisible as it may be, we often fail to acknowledge the luck that we have, which is precisely we get irked when associated with that. But you see, right then and there, our world already begins to operate on privilege, in which the currency we peddle is our inane tendency to make things about ourselves. Guided by an already skewed moral compass, navigating the day-to-day is a test of reacting to biases and systems that only favor us. We get it, it’s a human condition, but would it kill us to at least think about it and take the blinders off from our gaze?
With our paradigm’s being forcibly shifted because of the Coronavirus pandemic, we are compelled to not only face the inadequacies of our privilege compared to others, but also, we are made to rethink and recalibrate them. And it’s only day 4 of the government-mandated enhanced community quarantine.
Erupting over social media, we have seen everything from irrational hoarding of supplies and essentials, woe-is-me exasperations of cancelled trips, and inconsequential posts of misplaced hope, there hasn’t been more grating than the disconnected and sentiments over the lockdown and curfew. Whether it was the Boomer-led frustration of Netflix and being called to war to the more disgraceful display of economical distance by explicitly hurling expletives at the expense of the unfortunate few who have to still brave the potentially dangerous, virus-exposed outdoors. Meanwhile, we have the luxury of staying comfortably at home, with enough food to subsist, the convenience of working at home, and access to different means of connection, others are risking their lives to earn their keep, stand at the front lines, or make it just in time before the restrictions take place. In their poorly phrased and tone deaf way of airing out their skewed thoughts, which was thinly veiled as concern, it became very clear that despite playing the victim card, they only exposed themselves as reprehensible and out-of-touch.
From the other side of the pond, and perhaps a much more privileged one at that, someone seems to have a full grasp and comprehension on the reality at hand. In a Twitter thread, one of the OG style bloggers and still an enduring force in fashion, Bryanboy, voiced out his thoughts on the callous vexations of the stubborn and severely misinformed population. “Being able to self quarantine at home is a true privilege not many of us can afford, The fact that we have the option is already a luxury. Many people like the tip-based workers or cab drivers can’t do it without their livelihood impacted. Many of them don’t have health insurance,” he wrote. “I’m all for humor and uplifting freedom of speech and shit, but I am tired of the nonsense garbage about first world problems about quarantining at home.”
Look, if he can step down from a proverbial pedestal of privilege and look at the world from beyond a pair of tinted sunglasses, what’s your excuse? While you whip out your Zen and Namaste, cry foul over having to eat canned goods, or bemoan the fact that Coachella is postponed, there are others threshing out their own privileges and actually doing something about it. Whether it’s a simple act of sharing pertinent and verified information, demanding a check and balance in governance, or going the extra mile and sharing their blessings from their limitations, they aren’t playing ignorant, oblivious, arrogant, and downright destructive—they are checking their privilege.
Besides, in the state of crisis and calamity that the world is in, no one wants to be out there just as much as you are. Everyone else is scared, anxious, uncertain, but they have to take their risk because they aren’t accorded the good fortune of being able to self-quarantine and practice social distancing. Times are hard, but others have it much worse. Life goes on, business as usual.
There’s nothing wrong with privilege, especially if you actually worked hard to get to where you are. But you have to understand that you are indoctrinated in the culture of advantage from the perspective of another. It would be inconsiderate if you still choose to look the other way after, when the world is at a point of making these ineptitudes known. We constantly ask people to listen and ultimately understand us, however some of us steer towards the path of sanctimony. The world doesn’t revolve around you, and that’s the truth of the matter.
Don’t wait for the world to call you out on it before a realization is made. Look around you, hear people out, and really take to heart that your truth is not the same as the person next to you. We are told time and time again to be more mindful, now is the perfect time to walk that talk. You can tweet all about it, update your Facebook status on it, or post about it with a detached caption on Instagram, but it still remains that you are a lucky one, living a life of privilege.
Now, are you just going to sit there in the confines of comfort and watch as the world whirls on by, or are you going to get off your high horse? Your move, but we are keeping an eye out.