I open the doors, walk into the party, a big smile on my face. I take a few steps in, when a feeling of unease creeps over me. I look around and see some people staring at me. Not unfriendly per-se, but more with a look of “what the hell are you doing here?” Everybody there looks the same in some way. And in the same way they are different from me. Maybe they are all women. Or maybe they are all under 20. Or all earn at least a gazillion euro per day. They are the same and I’m different. And everybody knows it. I would really like to turn around and walk away…A few days back I want to a feminist meeting (I got invited and it seemed like an interesting way to broaden my horizon). The discussion was about “save spaces”, but the thing that got me thinking most was “privileges” and being part of the “norm”.
There was talk about people who fall outside of the “norm”, due to their race, sexuality, age, sex, socioeconomic status, etc. About having to hide who or what they are or having to defend yourself against what “the rest” feels to be “normal”. Discrimination and all it’s ugly brothers and sisters.
Being part of many “privileged” groups (being white, male, etc.) this never really crossed my mind. Trying to find a way to think about it, I came up with the idea above, of the party where you don’t belong. It’s a scary and very unsettling thought for me.
And imagine such a party where you can’t leave. It’s your live and you’re stuck there.
I’ve always tried to judge people on their own merits, not on what groups they might fall in or belong to. This experience has driven home once more how important that is. Let’s make and keep life a fun and enjoyable party for everyone!