College Student: Right-Handed People, Check Privilege

Darius Miner, who serves as chief justice of the University of New Orleans Student Government Association, recently called on right-handed people, men, heterosexuals, cisgenders, white people, college students, U.S. citizens, and non-intersectional people, who do not qualify for being oppressed in multiple ways, to "check your privilege."

Miner made his declaration on Odyssey, a social media content site that is not affiliated with the University of New Orleans, on March 14.

Miner told right-handed people, "I didn't realize for a while that nearly everything is structured for convenient use by right handed people, from school supplies to the structure of houses. Check your privilege."

"Don't try to silence a left-handed person who complains about scissors hurting their hand or how uncomfortable school desks are to sit in, or the struggle of having dirty hands from writing in pencil. This may seem petty (especially to the rest of the issues listed) but the world is made for right handed people," Miner added.

"Let's work towards left handed desks in classrooms. (If you're right-handed in a class with some left-handed desks/seats, please don't sit in it unless it's your last option. And please don't move it to the back!)"

To cisgenders -- people who recognize their biological sex as their gender -- Miner wrote: "If you identify with the gender assigned to you at birth check your privilege! Just because a gender is assigned at birth and you are comfortable with your gender does not mean that everyone feels or conforms the same way."

"If a person chooses to conform or transform to a different gender or no gender at all that's their choice and their business. You don't have a say in who a person feel they are or choose to become. Respect their identity as you expect them to respect yours. Work towards change. Work toward safety and equality for transgender/non-cisgender people."

The Atlantic reported in 2014 that "cisgender" was created in the 1990s and was used mostly in academic journals. Cisgender hit the Internet over the past few years as a buzzword to describe people who are not transgender, whether they wanted to be described that way or not.

Miner also criticized his fellow college students: "I'm not saying you didn't work hard to earn your spot at your university. But the fact that you can pay, somehow, thousands of dollars every year to attend a higher education institution is a privilege."

"You may be in debt, but the eligibility to take out thousands in loans, qualify for grants or scholarships to attend lectures and have so many resources at your feet is something many people aren't capable of or fortunate enough to experience."

"Education, on all levels, should be a right, but until America plays catch up, check your privilege and help work towards better education opportunities for everyone."

CNBC reported in 2015 that outstanding college debt in the U.S. is more than $12 trillion, which comes out to 40 million "fortunate" borrowers who owe an average of $29,000.

Miner concluded: "If any of these titles/identities/labels apply to you, acknowledge the privilege you have because of this title. Then, learn how you can be an advocate to help the corresponding oppressed groups, and then fight for the equality of every other oppressed group."

"If you identify as a member of an oppressed group, don't give up. You have a voice and you matter. Fight for equality for yourself and your peers. Fight for the equal treatment of all groups of people. The first step in this fight is to check your privilege!"

Sources: Odyssey, The Atlantic, CNBC / Photo credit: Keith Allison/Flickr

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