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Inside this month: When did saying ‘I'm privileged’ become a faux pas?


Out of touch when it comes to the use of the word 'privilege'

September 2, 2014
16:57

by Ben Hamilton


I used to read the Sun … and the Guardian. I’ve been told my hair is too long … and too short. I’m pro-immigration (colonies, slavery) but sceptical (EU).

I’m not right-wing, but I’m too clumsy to be properly left-wing, so I end up upsetting them both.

Like recently in London, when I used the word ‘privilege’, graciously I thought, to refer to an aspect of my youth and was surprised when two left-wing friends (true to form, I only like one of them) turned on me. So, has privilege become an ugly word?

But surely, I already knew that. Another friend told me 20 years ago I was privileged because I was young, English and white. Granted, he was a bit racist, but did he have a point? And is denying that, denying racism?

It nags me. I wish I hadn’t considered it. But then I remember how I am truly privileged (beyond the upbringing, education and not having to remember endless birthdays of nephews, nieces and godkids until I was at least 30).

Privileged not to fight
I’m privileged because I have never had to fight for my country. I have never sat in a sodden trench and waited for a buffoon’s buffoon to blow his whistle to signal the probable end of my life.

Every day, I thank God that the conscription seen in the first half of the 20th century won’t happen again. I can kid myself I would want to fight, but it is only with certainty that I can say I am privileged.

Why not take some time next month to consider the sacrifice of those who died in World War I, which began 100 years ago last month with the promise it would be a quick sortie to France that would be over by Christmas?  

Given the timing, it was always going to be the first choice of Golden Days (September 5-21), the annual cultural festival, which every year picks a theme to revolve its events around.

More than a war
The war was an unimaginable horror (well, actually, trench warfare was predicted back in 1899 by the Polish banker Ivan Bloch, and talking of ‘horror’, don’t miss Republique’s ‘Heart of Darkness’), but there is so much more to consider away from the battlefield.

The world changed forever as women found their way into the workplace and the ballot box and countries started their bid for independence – from England and France mostly.
Courtesy of those two countries, two special groups of dancers are on their way from their capitals: the stars of London’s Royal Ballet (September 15-17) and the topless girls from Moulin de Paris (August 30-September 6).

Funnily enough, the legendary German film director Wim Wenders was born on the exact day World War II ended – Japan’s surrender, not his own country’s. 
Wenders is actually going to be here in person for the opening of his photo exhibition and will be interviewed in front of an audience at Gammel Strand on September 28.

A big month for stars
Among the other big names expected in town are a trio of hip-hop artists – Pharrell Williams (September 12), Freddie Gibbs (September 11) and Azealia Banks (September 29) – the headliners in the Copenhagen World Music Festival (September 3-7) and Copenhagen Blues Festival (September 24-28), and some of the directors contributing youth films to the Buster Film Festival (September 12-28).

Also worth clearing your schedule for are the mini food festival Taste of Italy (September 6-7), the Scandinavian Motor Show (September 26-28) and the Copenhagen Inline Challenge (September 7).

And I thought I was the only who was privileged.



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