Normally I am not one to stick up for those I find do not really have it that hard in life. I mean there are some people that just have it a little easier in some areas of life than the rest of everybody. It's just a proven fact. It is really nothing to be ashamed of if you fall in to that category. It can actually be a huge benefit to you and to others around you if you choose to use it in a compassionate and eyes-wide-open manner. If you recognize that you are privileged in an area (or several in your life) you are more able to embrace that and put it to work for you and others around you.
I am getting off subject already and I haven't even introduced the subject of this blog. His name is Andrew. Andrew is a true blue Northern Minnesotan. He is from Scandinavian decent and white as can be. Andrew belongs to a privileged group of people. He is a white American male with good work ethic from a small town and a small school who has been well educated. Now we could spend a long time delving in to his life and talking about the privileges and benefits or difficulties or get in to a debate about whether or not you think he is actually privileged just because of the aforementioned characteristics. I don't really care. Because the topic of this blog is actually the disadvantage that he faced the other day. We were talking and he was expressing his frustration about a conversation he had had where someone informed him that he could not understand what it was like to be a minority. You may agree with this statement and maybe for the average person in his situation that might be true but Andrew has chosen multiple times in his life to live outside of his comfort zone. He has visited India for several months, Mexico and Colombia. Now did I mention that Andrew is white? I am going to mention it one more time because Andrew is not just white he is white, seriously, sometimes in the winter we have actually debated whether or not he was glowing and it is hardly any better in the summer (sorry Andrew). In the crowds in foreign countries he sticks out like a sore thumb, his presence screams at passersby to badger him, grab him (literally) and to laugh at him. Now he may be able to walk through an airport and not be stopped or to move from country to country with much more ease than the average, he may even be able to get higher paying jobs or all the things that we know go along with his privilege but Andrew does know something about being minority, the stares, the whispers, the butt grabbing, no, I'm not kidding, just ask him the story sometime, and the constant badgering for money.
I asked him why he had not explained some of these circumstances to the person he was in conversation with and he said something that struck a chord with me, he said "I can't say anything because then I will look like I am defending myself when I am one of the most "privileged" people out there so how would anyone ever believe that I could understand what it felt like to be a minority."
So I sit here once again to give a voice to someone who felt that they had no right to a voice. Everyone has a right to a voice it is what you do with that voice and who you lift with that voice that counts.