Privilege is a funny thing and not something I really think about all that often (probably because I’m privileged enough not to have to). However, having done three years of a social science undergrad I have read more papers and written more essays on gender, class, race and sexual privilege than I care to even dwell on.
And every so often something happens which makes the hierarchy of privilege so painfully obvious that it is difficult not to think about it. This week has been a interesting one.
I have been on placement all week which has had me doing a whole range of things, namely getting up at 6 (vom), enduring the busy commute and then looking for stories. All of these activities bar getting up in the middle of the night (because 6 basically is the middle of the night) generally features twitter.
I do love twitter. I love that it’s quick, newsy but opinionated. When the news broke this week that tory MP, Anne Marie Morris was ordered to resign after using the ‘n’ word in a meeting (and absolutely rightly so) I was (already) angrily scrolling through my feed on the train.
It threw up a lot of questions, primarily, what the hell? Why was that saying in her head? What age are we living in? Is this real life?
Her complete ignorance to how it had caused offence got me thinking about how people often don’t think something is an issue if it isn’t happening to them. They say ignorance is bliss. I can 100% guarantee Morris has never had her whiteness called into question. Her race is probably something she doesn’t even think about. But come on. I couldn’t believe there were debates going on as to whether her resignation was an overreaction.
Twitter wasn’t a complete annoyance though. It also provided me with the gem that is the video of Andy Murray correcting a journalist after his loss at Wimbledon. If you haven’t seen the video, where have you been and I very strongly recommend it. As a journalist makes the statement that “Sam is the first US player to reach a major semi-final since 2009” Murray very smoothly interjects and says “Male Player”. There is a lot of nervous laughter (from the journalist) and Murray continues to look completely disinterested.
I would have loved this interaction, however it had played out- if Murray had jumped up on the table, thrown a copy of the female eunuch at the journalist and ripped his top off to reveal a ‘females are the future’ top hiding underneath. But the reason it was so brilliant was that Murray corrected the journalist so casually, so naturally because he legitimately see’s the likes of Serena Williams, Johanna Konta, Caroline Wozniacki as his peers, his equals.
This is not performative feminism in any way shape or form. He’s not doing it to get in his wife’s good books or look like the ‘nice guy’. We have got good at putting up a front of being socially accepting and aware. Progressiveness is sexy. So many people were against Trumps Muslim ban, holding it up as a blatant injustice. Yet those same people get offended when being pulled up for saying “Oh but they’re not like other Muslims.” Millions of people will attend Pride across the world yet some of those people will not use the pronouns that trans men and women go by because “well they’re not really a man/woman are they?”
There are so many Andy Murray’s out there, people who are genuinely socially aware. Who care not because it is going to get them 10 more followers but because it is the right thing. It’s just a shame that some of the people we voted into power don’t seem to feel the same way.