As a white, upper class, educated, able-bodied female I recognize and understand that I’m blessed with more privilege than most. My parents have provided my siblings and I with a lavish lifestyle that came from years of their hard work. I don’t have to worry about affording my next meal or if I’m going to have a place to sleep at night.
Although I’ve been blessed with this lifestyle, I’m fully aware of the gender divide and the different components that come along with it. While women are automatically seen as lower than males (i.e. wage gap, pre-historic gender roles), there are certain groups of women that are more invisible than others. These women include people of color, women who are LGBTQUIA+, lower socioeconomic status women, etc. In the future, I hope to use my privilege to help speak out for those who are repressed in society.
I was reinforced and punished a certain way in order to live up to unobtainable gender roles. I’ve been inundated with television, magazines, or social media about how I should look, dress, and what I should eat. There’s a non-stop policing of women’s bodies that doesn’t necessarily come from laws. Not only do I have the media telling me what to do, but also I have people convincing me to get an IUD because my own government trying to control my body.
While these classes have definitely opened my eyes and exposed me to underlying, subconscious forms of oppression that I failed to recognize in the past, they also taught me that each person I encounter has various components that come into play to empower or create struggles in that person’s life. A person’s gender, birthplace, ethnicity, religion, ability, class, etc. ultimately create a path in which they are thrown obstacles. Depending on how these different components come together changes
While I understand that as a female I will face specific obstacles that my male counterparts don’t have to, I also know that as a white, educated, abled, upper-class woman I’m already way more ahead of the game than most. If anything, the take-away from this article should be that having privilege isn’t necessarily an evil, but you need to understand your privilege and how it affects others.
If you would like to use your privilege to help others out please consider donating to the organizations found on this website:
2016 was quite a year. It was full of events and emotions that are difficult to put into words. What I have finally been able to dictate about 2016 are my own feelings about the year in politics.
When I first decided to write something about the politics of 2016 it was much angrier, more intense and accusatory. I was hurt, confused and for the first time in my life, truly doubtful of our nation. Those feelings have evolved after listening and making a valiant effort to understand.
What I would like to discuss though is not necessarily about the political antics displayed during the year, rather, what people are actually upset about, why people supported the president elect and why it is important that we understand both sides of the coin.
I was 100 percent for one candidate. I actually said to a survey caller one time in October that I was 1,000 percent for one of the candidates because at that time, another skeleton had been found in the opposing candidates closet and I was roaring to express my disdain. Now that time has passed, my emotions have simmered and I have really listened to what people have to say about the election, I think it is time to try to understand one another; to listen without the intention of responding, rather listen with the intention of trying to fully understand and then responding thoughtfully, respectfully and thoroughly.
To do this, I have asked friends and family of mine to explain their fears associated with the upcoming presidency. I am doing this in the hopes that one side of the coin will be explained and so that I may better understand what the other side of the coin supports.
Below are quotes from friends and family of mine that have expressed their fears of the president-elect’s future presidency:
“I fear that Donald Trump doesn’t completely grasp the values that make our American democracy great. He has threatened to jail his political opponents and members of the press, he has said he wants to remove vast groups of people from the Land of the Free, and time and time again he has demonstrated he doesn’t believe all men (and women) are created equal.”
“I think one of my biggest fears of his impending presidency is how he’s changing the mentality of the country- meaning that I’m concerned he’s instilling hatred of diversity, tolerance, and pluralism.”
“A man who publicly mocked the disabled, who blatantly bragged about doing whatever he wanted to women without their permission and who ran a campaign solely on hateful rhetoric was elected into the highest position in office. My concern is that hate will be normalized and if that happens there’s no telling where this country is headed.”
“My fears are that the social atmosphere that his campaign and possibly his presidency will create/ have created will make the world a more dangerous and toxic place for people within minorities. That’s not to say he will do a bad job, that is really to highlight that he inspires people to act in scary ways.”
I have heard people express disgust when speaking about the protestors after the election. People saying things like “they just need to get over it” or “are you kidding me?! Their classes are canceled?!” What I have not heard though from these same people is any sort of commentary about why these people actually feel the way they do.
Why though are we discounting other people’s real fears and emotions? Why are we dehumanizing them as if what they have to say does not matter? Why are we not trying to listen to their fears and understand why they are so upset?
Their lives matter. Their opinions matter. Their emotions matter. Their fears matter.
Just as much as yours do.
We should be listening.
Just as I have explained the fears associated with the future presidency, I would like to listen and understand why other people chose to support our future president. I do not believe everyone that supported the president-elect is what people are accusing them of – racist, homophobic, xenophobic, etc. I know there are reasons why people supported the president-elect other than those accusations. Help me and others understand why you chose him.
I have no promises that I will agree with what is said or be less fearful myself of the years to come, however, it would be negligent of me not to try to understand the opposing opinion just as I have challenged supporters to understand us.
Let me be clear, I am not suggesting we can come to an agreement, I am suggesting we make a full, well-intended effort to understand one another, humanize one another and prepare each other for the United States we (or at least I) want to have:
One of peace. One of understanding. One of fairness. One of equality. One of acceptance. One of love.
To other people who are fearful of the future presidency: What are your fears? Please continue to share so we may all work together to make our country a safer place.
To supporters: Why did you support the president-elect? Please continue to share so we may all work together to make our country a more tolerant place.
To those of you who did not vote: Why did you decide not to vote? Please continue to share so we may all work together to make our country a more relatable place.
I hate politics. Well actually, I despise politics. If you know me personally, you know that. But I just have to ask that you keep a few things in mind when you brag to me how you are a part of the “Drumpf Train.”
First of all, it’s not Drumpf that I hate so much, it’s his ideology: racism, sexism, homophobia, discrimination, etc.. I’m not able to comprehend that so many people I know are willingly supportive of such a hateful human being. It’s also not a Democrat/Republican issue. Quite frankly, I don’t belong to either of those two parties. Let me break it down why I am personally, as Kirsten, offended by the ideologies of Donald Drumpf.
First and foremost, I was blessed enough to be raised as a part of a biracial family. This taught me strong family values, respect, and the importance of fighting for equality. When you say “Drumpf,” I hear “racial injustice.” I don’t like that. If you know me and seem to care about me, why would you brag about the cruel things this candidate has to say about my family? You know my family is black, yet you’re so willing to openly cheer to me how you support a racist. That’s quite rude and inconsiderate.
I’ve also been blessed enough to have an array of gay/bi/lesbian friends and family in my life. I don’t like that either. Love is love. I’m religious, but people need a dose of reality. It’s not all Adam and Eve; you have to respect that not everyone believes in that (you do support the 1st amendment, don’t you?) How do you preach about the greatness of American freedom, yet attempt to infringe upon those rights when granted to people that are just wanting to live their lives in peace and happiness? They’re not bothering you, and you’re being quite mean.
I’m a feminist. Drumpf just isn’t. It would be totally bizarre and completely unnecessary for me to repeat how he refers to women. You know what he said. Hmm… Not really a fan of that either. I recall when you were worried about the transgender community sexually assaulting your children when being given their free right to go into their restroom of choice, yet now you’re supporting someone who actually has a record of sexual assault. Wait, you’re not worried about this candidate’s record of sexual assault? I’ll just sip my tea and mind my own business.
I’m currently majoring in Physics and Astronomy at the University of Georgia. You exclaim to me, “Oh my god, Kirsten! That’s so cool,” yet your vote for Drumpf tells me that you’re okay with his plans to cut NASA’s funding, and there’s also the possibility that you believe climate change is a hoax, or not a pressing issue. Tell me how cool you find my astrophysics studies when I can’t find a job in four years because one of the possible major employers of my desired profession isn’t able to pay me. Tell me how cool it is then.
In conclusion, I’m baffled by the people in my life that appear to support and claim they love me, yet personally go out of their way to strike down my friends and family. The voting is over, I’m not attempting to sway anyone. It just saddens me to know that my country willingly opts to have a leader who strongly supports such hateful ideals. Next time you think about screaming “Drumpf” in my face as I peacefully exercise my right of the first amendment, please consider what you’re ACTUALLY supporting before you advocate for it. I really don’t think people think these things through.
On a side note, I reach out to all of those who share my sadness, and I encourage you to reach out to me if you wish. We may have lost the battle, but we have not lost the war. LOVE DRUMPFS HATE, and in the end, love will always prevail.