Privilege is an ugly word. And it should be. It's the uncomfortable truth that the western world is controlled, by and large, by straight white men. Men like me (but typically with more money) influence every aspect of our lives. Should they? No. But they do, and this is the mess we're left with.
Recently the most volatile articles I've read and shared online have pushed the ugly truth of privilege to the forefront. And they've received some pretty passionate reactions. That's to be expected. If you tell a bunch of straight white guys that they have it easy in life, and that the world is built to service them, no matter how enlightened they like to think themselves, some of those men are going to react badly.
I shy away from many controversial subjects on this blog, but the subject of privilege is not one of them. I do believe that straight white men have an incredible, unfair, advantage, and I agree with assessments that being a straight white man is essentially playing life "on easy mode."
With that, I feel, comes a responsibility to effect change. But that responsibility doesn't have to be exercised in the typical "male" way. I believe the most powerful thing a straight white man can do is shut the hell up and let other people talk. We have all of our society geared towards our desires. We can more than afford a platform for others to get their feelings and desires out, and do so without putting people down for disagreeing with us.
I'm trying to tackle privilege in some of my new books. Lady Raven will deal with sexism and patriarchy, as well as challenging some presumptions about sex and relationships in YA fiction.
My new Carver & McCain novels, a police procedural with monsters, will tackle racism in a supernatural context, and examine people having to live with difficult lifestyle restrictions because of who and what they are.
I don't know if I'll succeed in exposing these issues to the light, but I'm willing to try, and open to hearing from people who think I've missed my mark.
In any case, I have a lot of work to do, and a whole lot more to learn.