Something that I don’t think is communicated enough to straight white men is that the consequences for mistakes are much higher for people who are not straight white men. It’s easy to exude confidence when you know you’ll always be given a second chance.
We grow up learning that someone is always looking at us and checking for misbehaviour … Whether or not anyone is actually watching and checking at any particular moment is less important than the fact that they might be and if a lapse is observed the penalties will be dire.
Laurie Penny, Cybersexism: Sex, Gender and Power on the Internet
… the price of error is higher for you than it is for your countrymen, and so that America might justify itself, the story of a black body’s destruction must always begin with his or her error, real or imagined …
Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me
Not having the luxury of being able to make mistakes changes your behavior. But it’s hard to take that into account if you’re judging someone else’s behaviors and all you’ve known is privilege. You might mistake the behaviors of people who are unable to take the same risks as you as laziness or ignorance, a phenomenon Holly Wood describes in Paul Graham is Still Asking to be Eaten:
He assumes people who are not rich are not driven, and so he ignores in this odd little essay the probability that the poors are poor because they are busy being driven at enterprises people like Paul Graham think are valueless.
I’m certainly not saying anything new, but this is an aspect of understanding diversity that I think could bear more repeating.