By Leslie Grajeda / Staff Writer

Privilege needs to be acknowledged as a driving force in American society.

You might have heard of “white privilege” before, but out of context or without definition. White privilege is the unearned, mostly unacknowledged, social advantage white people have over other racial groups simply because they are white.

An example of white privilege is being able to go to the store without the expectation of being followed or harassed by staff, or when the media says white people “scavenge” while people of color “loot” a store during or after a natural disaster.

The cliché, “I just don’t care about politics” comes from a place of privilege. Even when my People of Color friends say “oh, I try not to be involved in politics,” it’s just not possible for them. They know more on what’s going on than white people their same age. We have no choice but to pay attention because we have stakes in new policies.

As a lesbian Latina, I don’t have the luxury to not care on what’s going on in politics. It’s tiring, and I wish I could have a break like my straight and white peers. I wish I didn’t have to advocate for my existence every day to politicians in government and strangers I meet.

It isn’t an option for me not to vote, because my inaction actively hurts me. I am reminded this Black History Month of Martin Luther King Jr.’s warning on the white moderate. By not actively denouncing and deplatforming white supremacists, you silently side with them.

In much the same way, silence and inaction on LGBT, racial and women’s issues from people with privilege loudly and actively helps our oppressors. The more you give disgusting people a platform, the more of a chance that these people indoctrinate another supremacist.

If you live in privilege, use it to learn about the struggles of those without it, and fight for their right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. If we don’t all have those rights guaranteed to us, then no one does.

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