Daisy Ridley does not understand white privilege & doesn’t think she has privilege

Daisy Ridley stands out in bright red at Good Morning America

Conversations about class and privilege seem especially fraught these days. Here in America, there are a lot of wealthy white people who like to pretend that they got where they are because of hard work alone, and that white privilege played no part in their lives. It happens with celebrities, and it happens with voting blocs as well – I’m always shocked when I see the demographic breakdown of Trump supporters, and how many of them are wealthy white people with chips on their shoulders about their own f–king privilege, not that they would admit that. Anyway, America doesn’t have the franchise on fraught conversations about privilege, class, wealth and race. British peeps also have those same awkward conversations, and it’s always a treat when some posh private school actor suddenly thinks he’s working class. I didn’t expect the conversation to happen in the midst of the Star Wars promotion though. Daisy Ridley gave an interview to the Guardian, and the Guardian journo brought up Daisy’s privileged background in the middle of the interview and Daisy… reacted poorly. Here’s that section:

I ask if she thinks it has been easier to be confident and navigate her celebrity because of the privilege in her life – of boarding school, her upbringing and so on? Ridley is suddenly incredulous. “The privilege I have – how? No, genuinely, how?”

Well, I say, in terms of wealth, class, education – that kind of privilege, in knowing how to decode the rules in certain spaces. As a caveat, I add that both of us have privilege, and it’s not a criticism; I was simply curious to know what she thought. Things take an awkward turn.

“Well no, because, no… ” There is a very long and tense pause, before she insists that, actually, there is little difference between her experience and that of her co-star John Boyega, who grew up in south London to British Nigerian immigrant parents. “John grew up on a council estate in Peckham and I think me and him are similar enough that… no.” I don’t point out that members of Ridley’s family were establishment figures (her grandfather, John Ridley OBE, was head of engineering at the BBC from 1950 to 1965; his brother was the Dad’s Army actor and playwright Arthur Ridley), while Boyega had to apply for a hardship fund to join Theatre Peckham.

“Also,” she adds, “I went to a boarding school for performing arts, which was different.” (Her publicist later calls to clarify that Ridley won a scholarship.)

But surely nine years of private education gave her some additional confidence?

“No.” Ridley leans on her elbow while twirling a small knot in her hair. “No. I think, also, it has taken me a little while to be OK with it. I was always fairly confident, and I think that comes from being part of a big family who are all quite chatty.”

It’s an unexpectedly defensive detour, as if the mere mention of privilege is an attempt to diminish Ridley’s hard work or talent. I try to change the subject but get the distinct feeling that her publicist, sitting behind me in Ridley’s eyeline, has made some sort of silent intervention. “I’m not saying what you’re saying is wrong,” Ridley adds. “I’ve just never been asked that before, so I’m like, oh. I don’t think so.” We move on.

[From The Guardian]

I think the Guardian journo made the right observation there, “as if the mere mention of privilege is an attempt to diminish Ridley’s hard work or talent.” Daisy took the mention of her family background/systemic white privilege as a personal affront. If she was 18 or 19 years old, I would say that she probably never had to answer a blunt question about her class or race privilege and she reacted poorly, but maybe it’s a teachable moment. But… Daisy is 27 years old. She’s been part of the Star Wars franchise for five years. She’s lived in the world and she’s a well-educated young woman. She knows better. Of course she works hard. Of course she studied in school and she continues to study and prepare and train for her work. But of course… her background, private education and yes, her race, all played a part in getting her through a lot of doors throughout her life. And I can’t believe she honestly thinks her experiences as a middle-class, well-educated white woman were basically the same as John Boyega’s experiences. My God.

Daisy Ridley arrives at Good Morning America as she greets fans

Photos courtesy of Backgrid.

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138 Responses to “Daisy Ridley does not understand white privilege & doesn’t think she has privilege”

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  1. Carol says:

    White privilege is gonna white privilege.

  2. Leriel says:

    She’s wrong, obviously, but “class stuff” in UK is different in position. While in US upper class people either create “American dream” image or say openly “yes I am/was privileged to get there”, in UK same people prefer to hide this entirely, to keep privilege, actually. Look at their aristocrats, they keep silence about their life because when it all goes to the light, backslash will be huge. So Daisy denies having privileges to keep them. And, most times, privileged classes in UK have little to less ideas about theirs privileges because of really strong glass ceiling, they can’t compare themselves to lower class, because they may not have a lot of personal contact with them everyday (I mean more personal contact than with barista in coffeeshop).

    • emmy says:

      I’ve lived in the UK and they DO know. Of course they do. That is the point, the entire class system is based on people knowing “their place” or knowing where everyone else belongs. It’s less about money, that’s true. But hell yeah they know.

      • Jaded says:

        This speaks directly to the abuse Meghan Markle has taken – she’s not the right “class” to marry into the royal fam; she’s a bi-racial woman; she’s a TV “actress”; all of these things are anathema to the privileged class.

      • Samsara says:

        I don’t think Leriel is saying that they don’t know but that the culture is different, so they deliberately don’t talk about it. In GB, talk of money and wealth is vulgar. The real aristocracy aren’t flashy. They’ll wear clothes that look like they’ve come from a charity shop and drive very average cars. It’s only the fake rich and new money that flash it about.

        Saying that, it’s still no excuse here. Daisy is a 27 year old woman who should be very much aware of the impact that her background has given here and she should be speaking our about that.

      • Pineapple says:

        Emmy and Jaded … I agree with you both. Meghan Markle didn’t know “her place”. How dare she work, and work SO, SO WELL, and outshine the other Royals. How dare she!!!

        I am so, so disappointed in Daisy. Wow. I hope to hear her apology soon. A real sincere apology. Again, actors are not necessarily educated well, not necessarily any better or smarter than the rest of us. XO

      • tealily says:

        When I lived in the UK I found that absolutely no one that I knew described themself as middle class, even when I would have. I think the opposite is true in the US. We all think we’re middle class, even though we really aren’t.

    • Paige says:

      I’m British and work in the entertainment industry here in London, and debates about privilege are HUGE right now. There’s no way anyone in the UK entertaining industry could be unaware of that.

      She certainly comes into contact with a ton of less privileged people on film sets.

    • Andrea says:

      I disagree about the US. I am a daughter of an only child and an only child myself and have had to downplay our money/priviledge my entire life (I am 38). I grew up in NY state. Most men I have dated have felt not good enough for me or used my wealth as a weapon in arguments. Most of my friends are cool with my lifestyle, but a few I have had to let go due to jealousy/meannness over it. I honestly would now prefer to date someone with similar inheritance etc, but I find them hard to find.

    • Rosalee says:

      White Privilege is not about money or education. It is simply about spaces. Do you feel comfortable in simple daily pursuit such as shopping. Do the people you interact with on a daily basis are the same colour as you. The majority of people of authority are white the majority of people who you deal with on a professional basis are white. Low income families deal with police officers, social workers, advocates, teachers, health care professionals, the majority are white so our children grow up aware of the colour lines and the meaning of white privilege meanwhile their white peers are comfortable in their spaces. I have two granddaughters, both are Indigenous, but the genetics drew different results for both my eldest granddaughter is tall, with long dark brown hair and eyes, high cheek bones, with skin that could be described as a golden tan she is simply gorgeous. My other granddaughter is adorable she has dark blonde hair, hazel eyes, she is pale…so very pale with a nutmeg sprinkle of freckles, round eyes compared to her sister’s almond shaped eyes. Their life experiences are vastly different and it is very noticeable. Once one of my younger granddaughter’s friends at school asked her after the older one dropped her off was her sister a foster child. That is white privilege..belonging or unquestioned acceptance without the stereotypes, the harmful assumptions associated with the colour of your skin. I experience it with my grey hair..I can carry a coach purse and wear Eileen Fisher but once I walk into a store I can understand the codes over the PA system and the clerks following me watching me carefully. The rude looks the knowledge you are being judged or worse you are ignored, your skin colour has rendered you invisible in classrooms or workplaces, your voice is silenced.

      • Macheath says:

        @Rosalee
        This is one of the best explanations of privilege I’ve read. Absolutely agree – it is the privilege of just being able to be yourself, to be comfortable in expressing the full range of human emotions, to not have to double or triple think your words or actions, to not diminish your existence for fear of being a stereotype, to not question everything or silently go crazy, to not shrink yourself when you enter certain spaces because of the eyes on you.

  3. emmy says:

    Jesus Christ. EVEN if this is her opinion, has she been living on Mars? She knows this is a conversation! Be prepared!

    This is why I keep reminding people that education means nothing if you are not truly intelligent. Intellectually, emotionally. What a moron. Privilege is something you’re often born with so it’s not that you did something wrong. Acknowledging it doesn’t take anything from you either. Thinking it’s a myth and comparing your rich white ass to a black person from an economically challenging background and saying you’re the same? GTFO. Apparently those private schools aren’t worth the money. Unprofessional, unprepared, and unpleasant.

    • Millennial says:

      I can’t imagine being a celebrity and not being prepared for this question. Who is her publicist? Do they not do prep for this? I have so many questions about the business side of this.

      Anyways, this stinks. I liked her, but agreed, what a moron. Goes to show money can’t buy you some smarts, even if you do go to a ritzy posh school.

      • minx says:

        Was she prepped on the topic and she didn’t take the advice seriously, or she just didn’t care? It’s just strange someone from that blockbuster franchise would sound so unprepared/ignorant.

      • emmy says:

        Just to add, she’s also talking to The Guardian. The Guardian! I mean… I really want to know who dropped the ball here.

      • Wilma says:

        Love The Guardian for asking this and the way they wrote up the interview.

    • VS says:

      “This is why I keep reminding people that education means nothing if you are not truly intelligent.” ———- I 100000000000% agree with you. We see that every day with Trump and his click of corrupt people, look at Trump’s sons, look at some in the British Royal family, look at Boris Johnson, etc….. Daisy is clearly not that bright

      • emmy says:

        I haaate this argument “But they went to university!” It means very little. And unis can serve as just another bubble of privilege as well.

      • Jaded says:

        One thing that struck me about her interview is that her grammar is atrocious. “I think me and him are similar enough that… no.” Ummm….it’s “he and I” Daisy. Also she sounds totally inarticulate so yes to “This is why I keep reminding people that education means nothing if you are not truly intelligent.”

      • Elizabeth says:

        I stopped reading when she said “me and him. That really makes her school look good, doesn’t it?

  4. Flying fish says:

    Ridley should really shut up and crawl back under the privileged rock from whence she came.

    • Snappyfish says:

      Wow just wow. A rather stunningly obtuse statement she made about herself & her co-star. He should have immediately triggered the “how lucky I have been” realization. I hate when I find out someone I liked was a vapid ill informed creature.

    • Fiona says:

      The fact that she compared herself to John Boyega is INSANE. Even after starring in Attack the Block he was still struggling to get any roles or auditions. And that’s not even mentioning the regular discrimination he experiences in his everyday life

  5. DS9 says:

    Well there goes that lady boner….

    I’m really surprised to be honest to someone who clearly does have a privileged background react so poorly to the mere mention of privilege.

    Usually it’s the suburban white types with average backgrounds or ones who have had a more difficult life who bristle.

    • Purplehazeforever says:

      Difficult life here & I know the privilege I was born with. I think Henry Rollins summed it up best…he used baseball as an analogy being born white guaranteed him a double in his chances at life. He already was guaranteed a head start, no matter his wealth or where he grew up, by being born white. I understood that at 5.

      • AnneliseR says:

        Ditto. Caught on very young that being white was going to make it easier to get away from where I came from.

    • josephine says:

      It felt like she didn’t even understand what the word meant.

      Of course, my next reaction was “well, she’s probably making a hell of a lot less than the men so there is that…” Hopefully she is earning the same or more, but most women in Hollywood make so, so much less than the men that i can imagine she doesn’t automatically think of herself as that privileged in that tiny little world. But in the larger world, of course her socioeconomic background, whiteness (and attractiveness, for that matter), brings all sorts of privilege.

  6. Rogue says:

    British actors from working class backgrounds like Gary Oldman always say that class was the struggle as most successful British actors are well to do eg went to Eton (Cumberbatch, Redmayne, Hiddleston) or were able to go to posh drama schools.

    So extra hard for a minority actor from a working class background like John Boyega. Maybe she thinks they both had the normal actor struggles& rejections&thought the interviewer was suggesting her background rather than talent helped win roles.

    Daisy sounds quite sheltered and like she has never had to think about privilege which is surest sign of having privilege. Doesn’t make her a bad person but maybe this interview will force her to open her eyes a bit.

    • Livvers says:

      Christopher Eccleston talks about the class issues openly too. And I believe there is an interview with James McAvoy where he really makes the case for this as an issue – the Hollywood Reporter published one with him on this topic. Also Julie Walters and David Morrissey… Wow. Just a quick google search shows me that Daisy has NO excuse for such an ill-prepared answer.

    • Digital Unicorn says:

      Your last para is spot on, she has always come across as someone who led a very sheltered and middle class life. Her family connections are one of the reasons that she actually has a career as she never had any proper acting training – drama school and a performing arts school are very different.

      As others have said, in the UK entertainment industry being working class or a POC is held against you as all the best opportunities go to those who come from white middle class background.

      Daisy is like Emma Watson, someone with mediocre talent who got lucky and now thinks that it was their ‘talent’ that got them their career. There were rumours online a while ago that she almost got fired from The Force Awakens because a) her acting was so bad (there has been some improvement on that front) and b) she spent too much time partying to put in the effort required for the role – apparently it took a severe talking to to get her to realise the opportunity that she had been given and she changed her attitude.

      She clearly has NO CLUE about what white (and middle class) privilege is.

      • Dee Kay says:

        Yeah but Emma Watson certainly knows what privilege is and would have given a very different answer to this question. Watson is far from a great or maybe even good actress, but she has used her fame and Harry Potter privilege to learn about, and speak out on, important issues.

      • Hope says:

        I agree with Dee Kay. Emma is a horrible actor but a likeable person – genuinely intelligent and perceptive and socially minded. Daisy is very mediocre in films and this doesn’t make me like her at all, but I’m not into cancel culture. The backlash will give her some real-world perspective rather than make her more defensive, I hope. She has been average in all the SW films and in Orient Express. Very charisma free as well, but has the right look for SW.

  7. pyritedigger says:

    Wow. I don’t invest a lot in celebrities or have “favorites” etc., but reading her statement shows that Daisy had built up a lot of good will with me based on her character in Star Wars. That statement was definitely like cold water down the back of my neck. Her comments comparing herself to John is just peak white people. Good lord.

  8. STRIPE says:

    Why is is so difficult to say “I have worked very hard to get where I am today, but I was also lucky to have a head start over some other people”

    Social capital is very VERY valuable because it opens doors. You may work your ass off after the door is open, but someone else had to beat the door down to get in.

    • Nothing to add. If I were a publicist I would have that tattooed on the hand of every one of my clients. With royalties to you of course.

    • Digital Unicorn says:

      She should have said ‘no, nothing can prepare you to deal with fame esp the Star Wars kind’ and left it at that. Other actors etc.. have commented that its very very difficult to deal with fame and it doesn’t matter your background. She shot herself in the head when she started going on about where John grew up, she’s clearly very defensive about her background and has to know on some level she has what she has because of the colour of her skin and her family connections.

      She’s not the first public figure to get defensive about their privileged background – look how defensive Bendy was and still is about it.

  9. Babs says:

    I am very confused by the question. I get what the journalist was trying to get at but I was confused at first by the question. I think she should have stopped and thought of her answer …she should know better.

    I think her comparing to John experience and saying are the same was really wrong.

    Generally though I don’t get why this question was asked? I am asking this honestly…is there a huge difference between her and other actresses, is it because of John B, I don’t follow either of them or really anything star wars so I don’t know the background…did she get in on connections ect

    • Kaiser says:

      The context within the Guardian’s interview was that Daisy was talking endlessly about how difficult it has been for her to navigate her fame, and the Guardian journo was basically like, “well, do you think your posh background and private education makes it easier to navigate?”

      • Birdix says:

        What bugs me here—and this in no way makes Ridley less wrong—is that it’s so clear that the journalist sees an opportunity when she stumbles for his/her own “scoop” and then documents every stammer, sigh, and potential warning look from her publicist. He/she painted it on too thick, particularly in speculating about the nonverbal communication from the publicist.
        Doesn’t make Ridley less wrong though, but it was distracting.

      • Melody calder says:

        maybe she meant that privilege cant prepare you for the level of fame she and john encountered when becoming leads of star wars films. That’s is a crazy level of fandom, and very difficult for anyone to navigate, even a seasoned actor or privileged person.

        To me, it’s like saying megan shouldn’t complain about her level of fame because she used to be an actor…. she was but that could not possibly prepare her adequately for her reality today.

        I think she and john talk and vent a lot together, and both struggle

    • Chelle says:

      Context: there have been a lot of conversations /chatter in the UK over the last decade re: actors from the upper classes being over represented in film and acting versus years past. Actors with backgrounds like Micheal Caine and Sean Connery are apparently hard to come by now days.

      I actually read the full article and I found myself stuck on the word experiences that Daisy used. I thought it was an odd word to use there. This isn’t to give her a pass but I’m thinking that when she answered that particular question she was coming from a place in her thoughts that she and John are contemporaries in terms of age and have have had similar experiences and stories that way and as a whole those similarities do not privilege her over him, e.g., ok boomer. Hence, her answer of no versus thinking more broadly about how her family background has positioned her as an individual for certain things and/certain dispositions.

      The article starts off with how she is really assertive about telling people and friends to not post pictures of her and to not talk about her etc., etc. And the question was trying to get at why and/or how she feels confident and/or unapologetic at being so assertive doing that . . . from my read.

      • Babs says:

        Thanks for those that responded. I am more willing to understand a bit more where she is coming from in her response.
        I still consider the whole exchange just odd from both the journo and her.

  10. Bananas says:

    Not surprised at all. This is exactly how privileged people behave. The more you deny and show your lack of understanding, the clearer it is you are privileged and have benefitted from it. The simple act of being ill informed and not knowing much about it is a huge privilege in itself.

    Seriously though, I would love for every white male actor (or manager, in the real world) to be asked what she was asked “do you think it’s easier to be confident and navigate celebrity (or career progression, in the real world) because of the privilege you’ve had in your life?”

    • Mtec says:

      “The simple act of being ill informed and not knowing much about it is a huge privilege in itself.”

      THIS 100%! Very few underprivileged people and people of colour barely get to go through life without being constantly reminded of how unprivileged they are; whether it’s with microaggressions, to straight-up aggressions, workplace/hiring discriminations, race-based pay gaps, etc…

  11. Darla says:

    So, this keeps happening. You would think that since Scarjo can’t serve as a good example, she could serve as a warning. About 2 weeks ago, something like this hit soap twitter. Chloe Lanier of GH (and I’ll tell you she’s a VERY talented actor, and I was assuming she was one of the few I’d see make it in prime time) actually, get this, CORRECTS another soap actor, Camila Banus, a woman of color. Camila had pointed out that there has never been a nomination for a Latina woman in lead actress. So this is what Chloe tweets back!

    “I’ve been a judge for the Emmys the past three years and would never vote against someone based on their race and none of my peers would either. There’s an overwhelming amount of women submitting to each category – it’s a competition, plain and simple.”

    OMG! Well, she ended up deleting her twitter account. But what a mess, right? Now Daisy Ridley, who is so much more famous, i mean not even on the same planet really, and she pulls the same thing! I can’t get over it. I completely disagree with them on points, I really want to be clear. But what really makes me feel even more contempt for them? It’s because I can’t respect stupid. I just can’t. And saying this isht, even if you are stupid enough to believe it? Is even stupider. And for that, we can’t hang.

  12. Aimee says:

    I have two words: Fiona Hill. She said she would not have been able to make it as far as she had in Britain because of her background/accent/privilege, whatever you want to call it. It’s 2019. And she’s right.

  13. ooshpick says:

    my parents left Britain for Canada because class was such an issue. they were both from working class backgrounds who both got doctorate degrees. they love canada because they were free to succeed on their own merits….that and the ethnic mix. canada is classist but not like Britain.

    • ME says:

      Meh Canada has it’s own issues..the racism here is insane yet Canada still manages to have this “we are so friendly” image. It’s all b.s.

      • Jaded says:

        I respectfully disagree. Yes, Canada has some dreadful issues, mostly with our First Nations people, that are slowly but surely being corrected. I’ve lived in the UK, I’ve lived in the U.S., and it’s been my experience that Canadians are more accepting of multicultural society. I was looked down upon by a number of people as a “colonial” in the UK, and I lived in a part of the U.S. where I routinely heard the “N” word. I was in a restaurant one evening in Florida and an East Indian woman came in wearing a sari and head scarf. People started telling her she wasn’t welcome and to get out. That kind of racism is completely unacceptable.

      • Andrea says:

        I have lived in the US (NY and NC) and Canada and even though we are very accepting and multicultural in Canada, I find it very hard to make friends outside of one’s race. I am white and I find many ethnicities up here stay together in their communities and because they have large family units, they have no reason to make friends outside of it. Friends in general are very hard to make in a multicultural place. So yes the blatant racism is not here, but it was much easier to make friends especially outside of your race in the US.

      • kerwood says:

        Canada the country is legally and technically a multicultural society thanks to the late GREAT Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau. CANADIANS support multiculturalism in large cities and when it makes us look good in comparison to Americans.

        I and my siblings were born in England and my parent left because they didn’t want to raise Black children in England. I grew up in small town Canada and, while it wasn’t Mississippi in 1955, it was rough. It still is.

      • sunny says:

        This @Kerwood. Canada, while it does better than some Western countries, has deep issues with racism especially towards our indigenous communities and it is also deeply anti-black.(signed a black Canadian who parents left Britain).

        Also while we celebrate multi-culturalism here it is often just a watchword and when you look at economic mobility between generations, policing, health outcomes, access to clean water, education, our country’s behaviour is still pretty egregious.

      • A says:

        @Jaded “slowly but surely being fixed”? Are you sure about that? Have you talked to any indigenous people lately? Because I think a lot of them would disagree. Very little has changed, even in recent years. A vast number of their reservations are still under boil water advisories. Indigenous youth suicide is still a problem that has largely gone unaddressed. Trudeau’s government decided that it’s better to waste money fighting indigenous children in court over child welfare policies rather than compensate them properly in the way that they deserve. And all of these are the tip of the iceberg, leaving out massive questions of indigenous sovereignty in the face of climate change, and the plight of MMIW.

        So no, things are not “slowly but surely” changing. People have done the bare minimum to save face, under massive amounts of pressure, and proceeded to forget about indigenous people, just like always.

        @Andrea, “I find many ethnicities up here stay together in their communities and because they have large family units” sounds like white person speak for, “Those darn ethnics stay in their own enclaves and ghettos and don’t assimilate.” Sorry if that wasn’t your intention, but that’s the attitude I’ve encountered behind such words, and it’s irksome.

        Canada has it’s problems. It’s not “better” than the US, or anywhere else in the world. The *nature* of its problems is different, and people mistake that as being “better” than in other places. But if you think it’s better in any capacity, because of multiculturalism or whatever else, then you’re just not paying attention to what goes on under your own noses. Mosques are getting torched in places like Calgary. Francois Legault banned religious garb for public service workers in Quebec. But hey, we’re multicultural! And better right?!?! Because our racism doesn’t shout or make an ugly public scene! Or maybe because people just fail to cover it properly and that lets the perpetrators get away with it more.

        Sorry for the overly long rant.

      • Andrea says:

        I should clarify. I am an ESL teacher and many of my students have stated to me very clearly that they have no friends outside of their family. That is where that comment came from.

        I find it particularly difficult to make friends up here period. I am in Toronto. I find everyone I meet is wary of newcomers and it takes months or years to hang out regularly and always on their terms; never on a basis often enough where I would consider them close. I feel if I say no too often, I get shunned. I have a large swath of LGBTQ and multicultural friends in the US that I feel is completely not one sided and I am far closer to. I would maybe invite one or two people to my wedding if I got married from up here. I have atleast 50 people in the US friendwise I’d invite and I have lived in Canada nearly 8 years. I find that disconcerting to say the least. I am strongly considering moving back to the US because I just don’t have anyone I can count on up here and I want that sense of community.

      • ZsaZsa Fierce says:

        Thank you!
        As a Black African living in Canada, I concur! And just as bad is the denial. A lot of Canadians are like, “What, racism, us? No, we’re so nice and polite. That’s what you find across the border in the US not here.” Us ‘visible minorities’ (I hate that phrase) are forced to stick with ‘our own’ because no matter what we do, we’re almost never accepted in white spaces. Barely tolerated if we’re lucky.

      • sparker says:

        BIPOC Canadian and yes, Daisy’s response is pretty typically Canadian and there’s little or no hope for change, except that we import 300K immigrants per year but many of them are European who welcome white privilege while still claiming that immigrant status.

    • ooshpick says:

      unequivocally I believe Canada is racist and smug about it . I do think that classism is more subtle here and my point was to pass on why my parents moved. I did not grow up in England so have no point of ref. I am happy to see my nieces mixing with lots of different people/genders/classes but growing up in a privileged predominantly white academic environment I heard the talk but I did not see the walk (in terms of racism). I also spent time working in one of the poorest neighbourhoods in Canada. I do not think people really care about racism or classism unless it is literally their pound of flesh they are willing to sacrifice. A trendy thing is to acknowledge the stolen land of First Nations through tokenistic reference to the original occupiers of the land while doing absolutely nothing meaningful to address this legacy.

      • Scotchy says:

        As a Canadian woman of colour that grew up in small town Canada, I can attest to the fact that blatant aggressive racism exists in Canada. I also agree @ooshpick Canadians are really smug about it, but it’s here and it’s a problem. Case in point small city in Ontario recently elected its first ever black city council member in 2019. Micro aggressions run rampant in the cities and macro aggressions in the towns. Racism and classism are international problems and no place is truly exempt

  14. kerwood says:

    Well, her character is cool but that doesn’t mean that she is. I can’t believe that any person from her background could spend any time with John Boyega and not have a single clue about how lucky she was to be born in the situation and SKIN she was born in. Being a talented actor doesn’t mean you’re not an idiot.

    • bibi says:

      cause she and he are not close. it’s just marketing bs. actors who are close remain freinds off work which these two absolutely don’t. so she wouldn’t know his side of the story nor he hers. I never believed they were real friends ever since he went to beyonce concert with his group and she wenet with hers and they never interacted. that tells you all you need to know. it’s just star wars fans, in particular who ship rey and finn, who believe in PR BS about on set friendships. it’s all made up to sell the movie.

  15. Sarah says:

    The Karen is strong with you, young Skywalker…

  16. Chaine says:

    slightly OT but I still always see her pix and initially think it’s Keira Knightley… I wonder if that has been any advantage to her.

  17. Joy says:

    Well, I long ago stopped thinking actors were intelligent and capable of nuanced conversations. So no shocked.

  18. Laughingirl says:

    She’s typical of white English middle-class people. They get defensive right away when you gently allude to their advantages. One of my mates said to me “I don’t see colour.” Sure, if you are white you have the luxury of ignoring all that, non-white people don’t have that option. It is tiring to have to point that out over and over again.

    And lol to comparing herself to Boyega. No, girl, you were just bloody lucky not to have to deal with all this holding you back, you had to work hard but you also got a major leg up.

    • stepup says:

      And they do see “colour.” It’s just a stock answer that they hope will shut down the conversation.

    • sunny says:

      “I don’t see colour” is a phrase that lets you know that you are dealing with a racist who doesn’t know that they are a racist. Lol

  19. perplexed says:

    I think she should know what privilege is, but I do think the phrasing of the question might have confused her. The person didn’t ask if her privilege helped her get more roles; they asked her about confidence and being able to navigate celebrity. The two are different topics. If the question has been phrased more directly, the response might have come out differently. I did kind of wonder why the journalist didn’t simply ask her about getting better roles because of her privilege.

    • Chelle says:

      That’s what I think too.

    • Mtec says:

      But Daisy also could have asked her to clarify the question if she was that confused. But Instead immediately got defensive, and no matter which of the two questions she thought the journo was asking, that is very telling.

      • Boxy Lady says:

        That’s the thing. I don’t think she was confused. She answered the question that she was given: she had no advantage over John Boyega in dealing with their sudden worldwide celebrity because of her privilege. Despite how she grew up, neither one of them was famous before the Star Wars movies came out. But for some reason, people are reading it like she answered that she had no advantage over John in advancing her career because of her privilege. This is a backlash because of a lack of reading comprehension, not because Daisy Ridley is acting entitled.

      • Maria says:

        Sorry Boxy Lady but that’s incorrect. There is a world of difference in the way people react to white stars than to stars of color. And John is still more likely to suffer from racism and microaggressions, no matter how “equal” in stardom he and Daisy appear. She’s acting entitled, no matter how you read this.

    • Kebbie says:

      It really was such an odd question. Why would privilege help her navigate sudden fame? I don’t know that she would have answered any differently if she was asked if her privilege helped her career though. The defensiveness makes me think she would have had the same answer.

      • Mtec says:

        @Kebbie @Boxy Lady @Perplexed

        “ Well, I say, in terms of wealth, class, education – that kind of privilege, in knowing how to decode the rules in certain spaces.”

        —I think the journo was as insinuating that her white/wealthy privileged could have made her more confident, not with fame per se, but specifically with the spaces opened to those with fame (Hollywood/UK elitist film world) because she would have been used to the extravagance and not intimidated by it. It’s likely she would be better equipped to handle it and be welcomed in that predominantly white, classist, space (specially in the UK) because of her background and white privilege.

        I don’t think it’s an odd question at all. What’s odd is how she chose to answer it by saying she used a scholarship to get into acting school. And that she and Boyega navigate that space the same? Not a chance.

  20. Godwina says:

    Anyone who has some success in a coveted field with enormous competition (music, acting, writing, academia, sports, modelling…it’s a long list) has to acknowledge the luck factor *as well as* their hard work. Whether that luck is in the form of privilege, whether you filled a quota, whether you got scouted by an agent at 16 because you happened to go to a mall that day, or whether you happened to write a book that hits a trend and/or found its way to an agent and publisher who gets it. Not acknowledging one’s luck in fields absolutely stacked with talented, hard-working people all vying for a small pie is such a smack in the face to the 3,000 other talented creatives who ALSO put in the work (yes, I’m side-eyeing an author who carried on that way on Twitter last week). It’s so shitty a thing to do, and it’s right out of the conservative “bootstrap” playbook, where apparently nurses, researchers and factory workers are lazy gits because they don’t have mansions. Do they hear themselves? I hulk smash that crap

    • jmacky says:

      100%. You expressed beautifully how I have been feeling after too many podcasts with comedians who whinge and whine about how hard they work, how it sucks to not make fun of people without consequences, and how their hard work is the only way they made it to the top. Zero acknowledgement of privilege, luck or as you beautifully point out, just being in the right place at the right time or releasing work (art, song, book, joke) that was exactly matched for the acceptability of socio-cultural gate keepers.

      Because, exactly as you said, we working class people who are the nurses, teachers, researchers, repair/service industry folks have no imagination and just sit on our backsides for $10-15 an hour.

      Celebs of all industries need to spend some time reading and listening to humans, especially real humans who might shatter their protected bubble world. The Kardashian-Wests reality celebs who think they qualify as socio-political experts, the royals who commit crimes and have it buried, the politicians who sell out the basic tenets of human and constitutional rights so they can create secret coffers, the posh actors who justify their luck by diminishing the work of the same people who buy their movie tickets and magazines? Over it.

    • ME says:

      @ Godwina

      I really enjoyed reading your comment. Well written !

  21. detritus says:

    I’d be interested in Boyega’s answer to the same question about privilege.

    Something he has most likely thought about more than once. Something that would be very doubtful to catch him by surprise. Something maybe about the abuse him and Kim took for merely not being white passing.

    A lot of middle to upper class white ladies have a late coming to feminism because their privilege protects them. Racism, because they perpetuate it and aren’t the victims, seems to be harder to dismantle and it’s a really really bad look.

    Sometimes they just need a good metaphorical smack. Or a patient friend, but that’s a lot to put on someone. Maybe just read a damn book, Ridley.
    Get facking with it.

  22. Boxy Lady says:

    Honestly, that was a weird question to ask. It would be different if the question was about how her privilege has helped her career; with that question and her answer I can see where the backlash is coming from. But she was asked if her privilege helped her navigate her celebrity and make her more confident. And really how could it? How could growing up with privilege help her deal with this massive worldwide Star Wars fame that she and the rest of the cast has experienced? I don’t think anything can really prep you for that.

  23. Caty Page says:

    I feel like any time I use the word “privilege,” I also need to define it.

    “Privilege doesn’t mean you had things easy, it means there were specific challenges you didn’t have to think about because you wouldn’t face them. For example, you never had to worry about whether you were going to go without food. That doesn’t mean you didn’t work hard to earn money for dinner. It just means you knew your hard work would result in dinner.”

    BUT THAT’S EXHAUSTING.

    My boyfriend’s wealthy conservative family STILL finds ways to argue about it– “but everyone can work hard and get dinner!” Because if you want to stay blind to something, nothing will stand in your way.

    • ME says:

      Yeah the whole “just work hard and you can be rich like me !”. That’s not how it goes, not even close.

    • A says:

      They’re trying to justify their own exorbitant wealth in the face of extreme poverty. If you admit that it just comes down to luck or factors that are outside of your control, they’d have to confront the fact that there is so much injustice in this world, and this injustice (rather that a person’s own individual choices) are what is responsible for starvation and death and poverty and suffering. And then it becomes all of our responsibilities to fix it, and they’d rather not do that. It’s easier to justify tragedies such as poverty and other things as something within a person’s control.

  24. Ye says:

    Hey it takes a while to understand privelidge. My life sucks. I didnt feel like I had privelidge when I was younger. Until someone explained to me how much more my life would suck if I also had the added suckiness of being treated in all situations as a person of color on top of it.

    Someone should explain the challenges of being a person of color to Daisy.

    • ME says:

      I know right. Does she think she would have gotten the same roles had she been a Black woman, Indian woman, Mexican woman, or Chinese woman? She is delusional.

    • A says:

      You know you can read right? And there are resources that allow you to learn for yourself how these things work? “Someone” should explain, well she can explain it to herself. It’s called being intellectually curious

      • Ye says:

        The fact is that we are all busy with our own battles, maybe this is something she hasnt pondered about yes. She will now though.

        I know I didnt google it. The words «white privelege» came up in a conversation a long time ago and someone explained it to me.

      • Joanna says:

        @A, Hey, that’s harsh. I grew up in a town of 1,000. I think there was one non white family. I didn’t grow up around POC so I didn’t know how bad it was for them until I started dating a POC. you can’t look that life experience up on the internet. I wouldn’t have known to look it up, I assumed they were treated the same as us whites. I thought racism was not common, my parents weren’t racist. I assumed most people weren’t racist. It wasnt until I started dating a POC that i started getting a clue. Now i just try to clue people in to what I have learned.

      • GirlMonday says:

        @Joanna, being told to educate yourself is not harsh, and not having the inkling to do so is a privilege.

    • Piptopher says:

      The issue is that “someone” will almost always be a POC. It is not their job to educate their opressors and it is actually quite offensive. If you have human empathy, you educate yourselves. It takes 5 min and an open mind.

  25. Digital Unicorn says:

    I wonder what Kellie Marie Tran would say to these comments – she was attacked online by ‘fans’ as she was the first Asian American women to be cast in a lead SW role. IIRC Tran almost quit acting due to the hurdles she faced as an Asian woman in the industry.

    Daisy needs to take all the seats. She got handed the role of a lifetime on a platter and has always been the weakest acting link of all the cast.

    • Livvers says:

      Excellent point. Even if, as some commenters above say, the question Daisy was answering was “how did privilege prepare you for fame,” not “did privilege help you in show business.” If Daisy is answering the former question, well, in comparison to Kellie Marie Tran, Daisy does seems to have had some advantages/privileges that Tran did not. It should be possible for Daisy to acknowledge that, without taking away from the difficulties she did face navigating her own fame.

      Even with the Boyega comparison asked by the reporter, if _I_ can imagine how someone whose family struggled financially would deal with fame and the money it brings (+ the pressure to stay in the game), compared to someone who was always financially stable and would feel less obligation to that fame, then Daisy should be able to.

    • A says:

      Another example of the disparity is Daisy Ridley and Kelly Marie Tran. Neither of them have social media presences, both of them deleted their Instagrams after the Star Wars movies came out. Ridley stated that the reason was “anxiety” in navigating the sudden fame that came with being the face of Star Wars. Kelly Marie Tran’s reason was the significant and disgusting amount of racial harassment she was subjected to on the platform. So yeah, I don’t think the reporter was out of line in questioning how Ridley’s struggles to navigate fame are likely different and less fraught than those of her costars.

  26. Valerie says:

    Yikes. I didn’t even want to read this because I knew it would be terrible. Her family is landed gentry, ffs. If they aren’t privileged, who is?

  27. Teebee says:

    Some very thoughtful comments today. Thoroughly enjoyed the conversation.

    Let me throw a wrench into the proceedings. I have watched the latest trilogy offerings with much chagrin. I am of an age that the original Star Wars are my only Star Wars, almost all the latest offerings have fallen flat (except Rogue One). And it’s usually because of the acting/actors. These movies are all about the spectacle, the grand fight of good against evil, with the maudlin stilted dialogue and hammy acting that goes with it. Any of these actors lucky enough to be cast in one of these films hit a very limited lottery win. None of them have proved they can pull off another role, one that actually would challenge them as actors, so I’ll just let them have their moment in the sun, let them think their hard work has paid off. And most likely never see or hear of them outside the Star Wars canon again.

    Just my two cents.

    • M.A.F. says:

      Okay. I’ve been watching all of the Star War films leading up to December 20. NONE of the acting is good, even in the original trilogy. There are moments in each set but as a whole, the acting is not the best. It’s the story frankly that pulls people in and the story has suffered, it suffered under Lucas on the Prequels because he cannot direct actors and it has suffered with the new ones because I am not convinced they knew the story they wanted to tell.

    • Digital Unicorn says:

      Err I would STRONGLY disagree with you about that, the current cast (except Daisy) have all proven themselves.

      Oscar Issac – Inside Llewyn Davis/Ex Machina/At Eternity’s Gate
      Gwen Christie – Game of Thrones (she ruled as Brienne of Tarth)
      Adam Driver – have you seen ANYTHING else of his? I suggest you watch Paterson and The Man who Killed Don Quiote
      John Boyega – Attack the block is an amazing movie and he is great in it
      Domnhall Gleeson – Unbroken/Ex Machina/The Revenant/Frank/Mother!/Brooklyn/Anna Karenina

      Most of them were doing quite well before Star Wars came along and it won’t have hurt their careers either. The only one I can see disappearing after the trilogy finishes is Daisy – she’s going to be the Emma Watson of this franchise. I can see John’s career blossoming as he really has talent and I look forward to see what he can do.

      The problem with the acting in these trilogies are the scripts and plots – both movies so far have been badly written with poorly fleshed out characters. The 2nd one was better under Rian Johnson but I don’t have much hope for the final instalment as Abrams is back directing and he also wrote the script.

      • Teebee says:

        I’m talking about the actors that are launching their careers in a Star Wars film…didn’t know Ridley before seeing her in her first SW film, not the established actors.

        And yes, I am familiar with many of the actors, including Driver. But I will say none of them are doing their “best” work in any of these SW films.

    • kerwood says:

      Acting was never a thing with Star Wars. I saw the original Star Wars when it first came out and even way back then, when I was just a kid, I knew that most of the acting was laughable. The leads were chaming and likable, but actors? Not so much.

      One of my favourite things about the original trilogy is watching the great Alec Guinness struggling to hold back his laughter while he mentally counted the money he was making.

      This latest trilogy has taken exciting new actors and put them on the sidelines. From the trailers of the ‘The Force Awakens’ I was led to believe that Finn was going to be the lead not the ‘sidekick’. John Boyega was one of the most exciting actors of his age group and will be again, once he’s released from Star Wars indentured servitude.

      • Anne Call says:

        Idk, it made a star out of Harrison Ford and he was perfectly cast as Hans Solo. I think the other roles can have been cast with lots of other actors of that time, Ford really was spectacular.

    • Hope says:

      Space operas are very dated these days but people go back to the cinema and keep streaming SW for the nostalgia. The 2nd Rey film was so terrible. Check out those YouTube vids outlining everything wrong with the film plot wise. It’s all just a money-making thing. The original three with Luke had a vision, though dated today. Even the ones with Hayden Christensen had an interesting darkness but the old-school-George-Lucas approach couldn’t translate. Stuck in the ’70s and ’80s.

  28. Wilma says:

    I’m Dutch and grew up dirt poor, particulary considering the wealth in my country. I was the first of family to go university and was completely clueless about how to go about that. When I graduated and reflected on how hard it had been I realized that I would not have been able to do it if I hadn’t been white. White privilege means people are always willing to give you the benefit of the doubt and that meant to me that professors were willing to explain the system, offer guidance and help when I was overwhelmed. They gave up much sooner on the students that weren’t white. It does not diminish my hard work to admit that. My parents instilled the reality of inequality of opportunity deep into us and that wasn’t an invitation to mope, but to do something about it.

  29. Vegan says:

    Why is this being asked of her in the first place? Why should she even answer that? Did anyone ever think that maybe there should be some sort of boundaries when interviewing actors about their work? How is this question relevant to her career? It’s like asking whether she or all of you/we here are more privileged than the 95% of the rest of the world , which we are. Is that relevant to how well you do your job or the movies she’s in that is coming out? People ask this to stir up crap, and it clearly works every time. Why don’t they ask her about what it’s like being underprivileged as a woman in show business? What’s the intention behind these stupid questions…. other than to make someone look like either they didn’t work as hard as others (of color) or are a horrible person for not saying the ‘right thing’ ….

  30. virginfangirls says:

    I have to remind myself too. As a white woman. Because I did grow up very poor. My lights or telephone would get shut off because my parents couldn’t pay the bill. My house got taken away when I was a teen for back taxes. I went to a 2 yr community college, fully paid with financial aid, because it’s all I could afford & even then it was really tough because I had to work while attending. I took a job upon graduating that paid for college credits, and went 10 more years at night to get my Bachelors. And I got that first job because I was a woman entering a mans field and they were looking to diversify. But I realize that color made it easier. I also now believe that a good, supportive, encouraging, family that insisted from ever since I could remember that I behave, do my best in school and attend college was what ultimately lead to my success. So I’m also thankful for the family I was born into.

  31. J.Mo says:

    I saw a headline saying she doesn’t take photos with fans in order to protect her privacy, dude, you’re in Star Wars! I think that means a lot to the fans. She seems precious.

    • lucy2 says:

      I think she’s had a hard time with the sudden fame aspect, and there is a lot of pressure on her with these films. I just looked it up, she said she doesn’t do selfies with adults because they post online and she doesn’t want her location publicized, but she will take photos with young kids. If that’s how she needs to navigate all this, that’ up to her.

      That said, her response to the privilege question is very disappointing, especially as others have pointed out, given what John and Kellie Marie have gone through. She needs to rethink it, and understand the advantages she’s had compared to many others. I hope she takes this as a learning opportunity.

  32. A says:

    I mean, a lot of this is down to the fact that speaking about things like privilege and racism and classism in Britain is more difficult than pulling teeth. The worst, most egregious social sin you can commit in that country is not calling someone an “oriental” or a “mailbox” or a “pickaninny,” or sh-tting on single mothers and calling them benefits scroungers, it’s accusing an upper-middle class white woman who has significant leg up in her career because of her connections of not understanding her own privilege. People go buck wild when you start up any conversation about these things, because talking about wealth or politics is considered “uncivilized,” even though the real incivility is structural inequality and the class system and the fact that any school that isn’t a public school in Britain struggles to maintain a proper theatre department because of cuts to education, which significantly limits how many working class kids get opportunities in the industry. Look at just how defensive British people get when someone points out that the tabloid press is being racist in its treatment of Meghan Markle. “OH but they’re not RACIST, they just don’t like her because she’s AMERICAN, Britain doesn’t HAVE racism, not like in AMERICA, just look at the rates of interracial marriage for proof!!!!!”

    Look at how many people in the comments are still going on about how the reporter shouldn’t have asked this question. I mean, she’s a f-cking journalist. Her JOB is to push her subject’s boundaries. She’s not digging for a scoop or for dirt. The fact that people think this line of questioning is too “aggressive” and “mean-spirited” for a 27 year old grown woman who has every opportunity in the world to educate herself about these topics is quite telling of people still rely on notions of white fragility to insulate themselves from having to confront the difficult questions.

    At any rate, consider this: Daisy Ridley deleted her social media presence a few years back because of how difficult she found it to maintain, especially in the face of all that fame. She hinted on more than one occasion that it caused her significant amounts of anxiety to do so. That’s fair, that’s entirely up to her, it’s her right to do as she pleases for the sake of her own well-being. However, her co-star John Boyega is regularly subjected to racist harassment on both Instagram and Twitter. He hasn’t left either platform, likely because for him, maintaining a social media presence in the face of that harassment is crucial for the benefit of his career. Daisy Ridley can do without it. John Boyega cannot. And therein lies one example of the difference between the two.

  33. Sara says:

    I am white and have educated myself on white privilege due to moving to an island where blacks are the majority but the whites have most of the weath. I grew up poorish then middle class after parents worked hard in a small town and never would have understood this subject had I not moved out of that community. My point being is that if you live in small white towns you most likely are unable to grasp white privilege. I am thankful that I have learned but know I just need to figure out how to help. Because the truth is only white people can change the disadvantage. But how I am not sure as most of this is institutional.

  34. Valiantly Varnished says:

    It’s 2019 and white people are still being willfully obtuse about white privilege. Would say Im shocked but Im not.

  35. HeyThere! says:

    My husband gets defensive about his white male privilege. He thinks I’m basically saying he doesn’t deserve what he has and I’m trying to explain that while he grew up poor and overcame A LOT…..he was white and a man. The world was nicer to him. He can’t see the privilege. We run circles and I finally quit talking about it a few years ago. I try to tell him he was born white and male so straight out the gate he was ahead, despite his socioeconomic status being low when he was born.

  36. Miriam says:

    God,that’s why I respect actors like mark Ruffalo or the great Daniel day Lewis. They are super honest about challenges they faced. Mark especially during one avengers press release was discussing why he signed on the role of hulk and said its curiosity+habit of keeping busy(worrying about being unemployed AGAIN). Theres a long list of successful privileged actors like Eddie Redmayne (who famously went to Eton with Will) who are honest about their past so I dont get why daisy would take it as an insult?!

  37. Mignionette says:

    As a Brit it’s clear that she is choosing to deliberately be ignorant and obtuse. Even the last Conservative PM in her maiden speech acknowledged this very type of inequality. Further if she really felt she were on a level pegging with John, why did he have to come up via initiatives like the Princes Trust.

    I am going to go further than everyone above and say that she feels like initiatives like the Princes Trust are actually MINORITY PRIVILEGE.

  38. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    I didn’t read all the posts so if I’m being repetitive or lost in a sea if unfocused energy, I apologize! Even at age 18 or 19, I expect so much more. But at age 27? I’m struggling to supress elevated disdain. Or more aptly, acute hostility lol. There is absolutely no excuse on the planet for not knowing and understanding the P’s and Q’s of general inequality. Twenty-seven-year-old adults should also be able to delve into a deeper understanding of our histories with some general quantitative and qualitative observations, especially in our current global climate and information age. Furthermore, any public interviewee should know instantly that off-the-cuff is a real thing, answer dissection will follow, and that there’s an unwritten rule to attribute your success to everyone else. So even at a very novice and basic level of intellect, individuals with any platform should embrace an opportunity to shine through their upbringing with a thankful spirit, and employ any understanding of stratification dynamics illustrating some desire for betterment (at the very least in a general way). This hurts because Star Wars had been my thing since the 70s lol.

  39. Marianne says:

    I went to a boarding school for the performing arts so thats different…..yeah its still boarding school you dimwit. And it was a specialized school to boot. Im sure most people dont have those kind of opportunites.

    But obviously that’s her privilege showing that she doesnt even HAVE to be aware of her privilege.

  40. becoo says:

    if i were john, i would be insulted by the sheer ignorance of someone i called a friend. the worst part isn’t even that she won’t admit to her economic privilege; it’s that she doesn’t even seem to know what racial privilege is. never thought that taylor swift would reckon with her white privilege before daisy ridley, but here we are.

  41. Minnie says:

    A ridiculous and badly worded question and a crappy answer.

  42. Susie Moloney says:

    Ew. Why aren’t we cancelling her? Imma cancel her in my own life.