Nothing, and I mean NOTHING smacks of privilege more than going on television to defend yourself against allegations of having sex with underage girls at drug-fuelled sex-parties hosted by a convicted sex-trafficker and saying this…
Imagine, if you can, having the sheer audacity to actually sit down in a television interview and claim that your accuser’s description of you as sweating profusely (and, therefore, her entire story) must be untrue because you remember that at that point in time, you were medically unable to sweat due to too much adrenaline during the Falklands Conflict… but have since done a number of things that have enabled you to sweat once more.
“There’s a slight problem with the sweating.” Fuck my actual life.
For legal reasons, and to avoid being murdered in a high-speed car chase through Paris, I can’t say that this is absolutely definitely the biggest load of utter shit I have ever heard in my life, so you’ll have to draw your own conclusions.
The whole interview kind of speaks for itself, so there’s no need to dissect it any further here, that’s not the point of this. And to be honest, the issue of whether or not, or when, or how the Duke of York regained his ability to sweat is both unimportant, and a sentence I never in a million years thought I’d type.
What is important is that this frankly baffling, Partidge-esque interview with our Andrew from Windsor who loves afternoons out at Pizza Express, was a masterclass in saying literally whatever the fuck you want without even the slightest fear of any consequences. This, my friends, was white, male privilege in a wobbly-jowelled nutshell.
We’re seeing a lot more of it these days – rich, white dudes doing and saying whatever they like. I mean, yes, that’s how it’s always been, but, you know, we haven’t had it shoved down our throats (cough) quite so much before.
At every turn, there’s a rich, white man talking absolute fucking bollocks with not one iota of trepidation, usually to explain something shitty they’ve said or done – or to defend or excuse the monstrous behaviour of other rich, white men.
We’ve normalised it to the point where we just expect rich, white dudes to get away with pretty much anything and everything. From mocking disabled reporters, to awarding massive contracts to shipping companies with no fucking ships, to blaming the victims of a horrific fire for lacking the common sense not to die, to sexually assaulting unconscious women, to lying and cheating their way through entre political careers, to being Jimmy Fucking Saville, to… well… you get the idea.
Essentially the world seems like it’s chock full of shitehawks, doing shitehawk things, and being excused by other shitehawks. Or if these morally moribund horror-shows are given a platform to explain their shitehawkery, it doesn’t matter in the slightest what they say.
“I did not have sexual relations with that woman.”
“I have no memory of the alleged incident.”
“This was locker-room banter.”
“There’s a slight problem with the sweating.”
The obvious and profoundly damaging knock on effect of our continued appeasement of rich, white dudes is a whole generation of young white dudes who firmly believe that their entirely unearned privilege makes them basically untouchable. It’s kind of hard to blame them for thinking it – but it’s also a pretty terrifying prospect.
If you’re continually presented with the message that you’re somehow above the law, that you can do what you like because you’re rich and white – that if you get caught doing something awful, you get to come on television, spout a load of crap, discredit your accusers, and show absolutely no remorse whatsoever – if that message is reinforced every single day of your life, then why wouldn’t you believe it?
The recepients of this message – the beneficiaries of such intense privilege – aren’t going to suddenly grow their own consciences. We have to be the moral standard-bearers here. We have to refuse to be distracted by Britain’s Got Talent, and make sure that we don’t just resign ourselves to the idea that this is the way the world is.
We have to hold people to account for their crap – and that means our friends, family, and colleagues. Don’t get me wrong, being snarky about stuff on twitter is fun, but it’s not going to change the world.
“That’s the problem. We let people say stuff and they say it so much that it becomes okay to them and normal for us. What’s the point in having a voice if you’re gonna be silent in those moments you shouldn’t be?”‘The Hate U Give’ – Angie Thomas