checking privilege and the women’s march on washington

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“Defend Dignity” by Shepard Fairey

There are many privileges I enjoy at a cost borne by someone who doesn’t enjoy them. They include a financially stable childhood, two well-educated parents, being a native English speaker, being born and having grown up in stable, open and wealthy countries, and being able-bodied. These privileges I don’t think about even on a weekly basis, let alone daily; that, of course, is part of the privilege! And it’s all the more reason why it’s so important for me to “check my privilege.” This I take to mean being aware of and acknowledging the advantages I have over others based on factors outside my control and unrelated to any efforts that I made, understanding the historical roots of these advantages and their current impact on myself and others, and taking action to correct the unjust systems that perpetuate these inequalities.Read More »

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women at the helm

Women are not pro-woman by nature of being women. The structures within which we navigate are intensely patriarchal and anti-feminist. Stronger women than you and I have tried and failed to break free of them. They have infiltrated our expectations and thoughts and behaviour and we have internalised the arbitrary boundaries of what is possible, feasible and achievable in gender equality. This does not change when one is in a position of power – especially political power. The political straitjacket is perhaps tighter still as she must prove that she belongs in this male-dominated sphere. God forbid the female leader be seen favouring her own kind – never mind that male leaders have been favouring their own for all history.Read More »

twice as hard

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one thing minorities have quickly learned is that nothing is given; all victories are earned. we’re always reminded that just to get half as much you must work twice as hard – and have a bit of luck.

i’ve been told that implicitly from a young age, and heard it more recently on the airwaves from larry wilmore, host of the nightly show; from jessica huang, on fresh off the boat; from viola davis, when accepting her prize; and from scandal’s rowan, with words both painful and wise.Read More »

cognitive dissonance

cognitive dissonance (n): the state of maintaining two seemingly contradictory ideas

On the one hand, I don’t really believe that my continuing failure to find a job has anything (or much) to do with my gender or race. I think the positions I have been applying for are simply really competitive. I also believe that many of the other applicants are as qualified or more qualified than I am. Either my knowledge/experience is lacking or I didn’t sell myself well enough.Read More »

more unwanted encounters

I am sat on a bench in the park near my house, in front of a little pond, reading my friend’s thesis draft on my laptop.

A man walks past, turns to me briefly and bids me good morning. I glance up briefly and return the greeting before going back to my laptop.

A few seconds later the man turns back and starts talking to me. He’s dressed casually, wearing a magenta toque and holding a plastic shopping bag. Read More »