Like most people in general, no matter what racial demographic they come from, it’s damn near impossible to have a perspective outside of your own experience. The case for this was made more evident when Daisey Ridley claimed that she is no more privileged than her Star Wars co-star, John Boyega.
Ridley was asked if her background – including private boarding school and relatives who are established in the industry – has helped her to navigate the world of celebrity easier than her peers.
“The privilege I have – how? No, genuinely, how?” Ridley replied.
When reporter Nosheen Iqbal explained she meant in terms of class and wealth and wasn’t criticizing her, Ridley went on to iterate that her experience wasn’t too dissimilar to those of her co-star John Boyega.
Boyega, who plays the character Finn in the Star Wars franchise, was raised in south London by British-Nigerian immigrant parents and applied for a hardship fund to join Theatre Peckham.
In contrast, Daisy comes from a showbiz family; her grandfather, John Ridley OBE, was head of engineering at the BBC from 1950 to 1965 and his brother was the Dad’s Army actor Arthur Ridley.
“Well no, because, no… John grew up on a council estate in Peckham and I think me and him are similar enough… no,” Ridley continued.
Daisy had a scholarship for performing arts, which she says “was different” to other boarding school students.
Following the comments, the backlash was swiftly harsh – as one can imagine. Her comments were lambasted on Twitter – and justifiably so.
One person tweeted: “Yikes imagine being this blind to your privilege and comparing yourself to someone who grew up on a council estate in Peckham… do better Daisy Ridley.
In the past, the Star Wars franchise has been praised for the diversity of the cast.
Not only does one have to not be aware of the hardships that Black people faced in the past, which we’re assuming she has some basic knowledge of, but one must choose to be cognitively distant from the global marginalization of the African diaspora. And that’s not “ignorance”, that’s apathy.
Many critics have fallen into the same trap that many in “woke” culture fall into, they assume verified facts, and information can persuade someone into empathy. I assure you, it cannot.
In order for that to happen, Ridley must do what many people in her position have to do. Chose to listen and understand those who have been marginalized, systematically oppressed, and underappreciated in society – which ironacally is not much different than the protagonist she portrays in Star Wars. Only then will she even begin to recognize her own privilege.
A journalist, educator, and a progressive who loves to travel the world.