As someone heavily involved in activism of many societal issues, from Civil Rights violations to abortion rights, and closer to home, Scottish Independence, I am loud and persistent in my activism, a must in this current political and social climate worldwide. But I also am wary of not raising my voice of protest over those who are actively and directly oppressed by the issue(s) at hand, in particular in regards to homophobia, transphobia, racism, and Islamophobia – four increasingly prevalent issues today. I am conscious of my own privilege as a white, cis-gendered woman, especially when protesting.
It can be difficult to put yourself in the position, for example, of a Muslim woman too afraid to wear Hijab in post-Brexit Britain or post-Trump USA. A trans person, unable to use the bathroom, which corresponds with the gender they identify with. A black person, watching the Ku Klux Klan march in celebration in their home state or see another innocent person killed by police. A Palestinian, seeing their home illegally destroyed in front of their eyes. A whole Native American community is losing their fundamental human right to drinkable water due to the greed of capitalism, or a Syrian child is being subjected to such terror by so many of the world’s most powerful countries. Although difficult, it does not take a lot. Anyone who has empathy and who is even just a little awake of the world’s spoken and unspoken atrocities can understand and know that these are wrong, inhumane, and completely unacceptable. That is unless their own internalized racism/white superiority complex holds them back, or they can not break outside the idealistic bubble of the western world.
White privilege takes effect in an abundance of ways, and I urge other activists to use their white privilege to amplify the voices of those directly affected by the atrocities mentioned and the many not listed, but just as worthy of outcry and opposition. The most effective voices in the combat of oppression are the oppressed, but unfortunately, these voices are the most ignored and silenced – oppression is this reason.
Photos by Tumblr user @julesdassin, taken at a Trump protest in New York City on 9th November 2016.