No life is devoid of struggle and pain. Life sucks regardless of how much privilege you have. But it usually sucks less if you’re privileged.
There are social justice warriors who would have you believe that only a rich, racist, reactionary rube could refuse to drink the Kool-Aid of their progressive prognosis. But most of us know that there are perfectly decent people—poor, penniless, privileged people—who bristle when they hear preachy puritans and pushy prophets prating on and on piously about Power and Privilege, Patriarchy and Persecution, the Proletariat and the Past. They wonder, sometimes aloud: Where’s my prosperity? Where’s my prestige? Where’s my white male privilege?
And I sympathize with them at times, really I do, but they’re asking the wrong questions. After all, being privileged is, at the end of the day, not unlike getting ten penalty shots at the end of a hockey game: much as it helps, there’s no guarantee that you’re gonna score, no guarantee that you’re gonna win the game. In fact, having all that unfair advantage can make losing that much more humiliating.
Even as we struggle for social justice, we should never lose sight of the essentially tragic nature of all human life. No life is devoid of struggle and pain. Death is coming for us all. And it’s coming for everyone we love too. Suffering and loss are inescapable features of the human condition. Life sucks regardless of how much privilege you have. But it usually sucks less if you’re privileged.
—John Faithful Hamer, Butterflies not Crocodiles (2016)
Originally published at Committing Sociology. Reprinted with permission.
Photo courtesy of author