Check Your Privilege

Most recently I offended someone in a Facebook group that I belong to. Wasn’t the first time it’s happened, and most likely won’t be the last. Because I offended this person, they took down their original post and ended up posting something else in its place, jumping to the conclusion I thought their opinion was worthless (not the case).

While this person is entitled to their opinion, so is everyone else including me. And my friends will tell you I’ll tell it like it is and won’t go jumping on the bandwagon and “agree” with everyone blindly. I’m not afraid to shake up the pot every so often and go against the grain.

In this Facebook group I’ve seen just about everything. Positive stories, overcoming hardships, and camaraderie around a sport. But more and more I’ve seen how members of this group have expressed how unfair things are for those who carry two X-Chromosomes versus XY, how women are not equally represented, and in doing so separating women more and more from the pack. What’s wrong with us all playing in the same sandbox?

I don’t dispute that things are lopsided, but are they truly unfair? I don’t ever remember a time that I was denied the ability to sign up for a race, hiring a coach, or buying a racing kit. But I do remember growing up in the Midwest where I may have been passed over opportunities because of the color of my skin, the slant of my eyes, and my last name.

Was this unfair? Absolutely. But when life is unfair, what do you do? “Suck it up and work harder” is what my mother would tell me. There’s a difference between unfairness and opportunity…and if there wasn’t an opportunity available to me, I made it happen.

Growing up, none of my role models looked like me. Honestly there weren’t a lot. Tiger Woods perhaps, but we all know how that turned out. But never did I see someone on a poster and think “that person isn’t Asian, so it’s not possible for me to do this.” When I see people succeeding and excelling, it’s the accomplishment itself that inspires me, not the color of their skin, who they are, etc.

Now I work in an industry where it has historically been dominated by men, but the rise of women in leadership roles didn’t occur because we complained about how unfair it was, the tides changed because we worked hard, went to school, and got there on our own merit.

So while the recipient of my comment may have found my response offensive and unkind (to which that was not my intention), the purpose of it was to give everyone (myself included) the opportunity to check our privilege.

We live in a world where everyone is so easily offended, and because of that many are afraid to speak up with differing opinions. Well, I’m here to tell you don’t be afraid. Speak up. It’s allowed. I got your back regardless if I agree with you or not. Check your privilege. I do. Every. Single. Day.

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