To the new Patriots
Another academic year has begun—and with it comes the surreal feeling inside the campus. It’s surreal for the upperclassmen to watch a new batch take over, and even more for the freshmen stepping into the undeniably sheltered world of DLSU-D and discovering what it means to be a “Lasallian”.
Being a Lasallian brings about numerous stereotypes that get debunked or ignored altogether, but there are terms that need reconsidering, even acceptance—I’m talking about “privileged”. Though we might snap back that we’re “not like the others” because we know the country’s social issues, we must accept that we are indeed sheltered. It’s not that we haven’t struggled ourselves (you might say we even have had classes in rooms without electricity), but we’re bound to admit that the background we were born in has given us an undeniable leg up in life. Because the truth is, it’s no longer about “checking your privilege” but leaving it altogether.
We will never win if we don’t have the privilege to fight.
There’s more to learn beyond what we see in our timelines. Quick infographics about contractualization, minimum wage, and the oppressed along with headlines on extrajudicial killings won’t tell you the daily struggles of the Filipino people. We’ve barely scratched the surface when we say that we are aware, and when we say that we know that someone is being oppressed or a system is taking advantage of us.
We have the privilege to laugh at Atty. Gadon’s memes when he hollers, share social justice posts in our spare time, and consider rallies as an experience because we get to arrive to the comfort of our homes when our fellow underprivileged Filipinos’ fight continues beyond the streets.
This is not to say that we have the capabilities to single-handedly save our country if we only get up and fight. We shouldn’t dispose a kind of savior complex when it comes to standing up for what’s right. We have the platform not to raise ourselves up, but to raise the voices of those controlled by an unjust system by letting them have the chance to speak for themselves. We will never win if we don’t have the privilege to fight, thus we must join in the so-called struggle by entirely excluding ourselves from the privileged narrative, stepping down from our ivory towers, involving in the discourse, and immersing ourselves with the people that we supposedly fight with.
A think piece by Indian scholar Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak sums it up: “My privilege is indeed my loss.” Being born into privilege comes with the loss of experiences that we may never have if we choose the comfort our cages have. To be born into this sheltered life is not our fault, but choosing to shut our eyes when we’ve already been awakened will be our gravest mistake.