It is impossible to see one’s own privilege, we can only learn about it from others. As a white man my privilege is as constant as my shadow, as trusted as running water in a developed nation. My privilege, like the rings in a felled tree, ripples out from my very core and mingles indifferently with the surface that touches the world. I adorn it with more privilege, layers and layers of it: my education, my functioning senses, my able body and let’s not forget my country’s colonial history. But most of all it is in my alternating powers of visibility and invisibility. I blend in when things get difficult/awkward/dangerous, I stand out when things are interesting/fun/profitable. I am provocative only if I want to be, controversial only when it suits – I can take breaks between statements, I can rest between battles. If I choose to be a misfit or an outsider I do so through my own agency.
Every time I stand on a stage I wrestle with my insecurities, but I don’t have to wrestle with anyone else’s. That is another privilege. Forging a career in the creative industries is exhausting, fraught with setbacks, self-sabotage and intense competition but at least I was allowed to begin at the starting line, plenty of talented people don’t even make it to the track. I have a relatively strong control over how I am perceived because I benefit from a legacy of acceptance compounded over multiple generations. My band was never once described as male-fronted. Our drummer was never once referred to as a male drummer. When I walk through the stage door the crew assume I’m in the band, not with the band. My female friends in this industry all too often do not have that privilege.