Taylor Swift: ‘I didn’t know about my white privilege’

The ‘ME!’ singer-songwriter explained that she had never been educated on her own privilege until recently

Adam White
Saturday 24 August 2019 13:33 BST
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Taylor Swift has explained that she was not aware of her own white privilege, as she had never been educated about it until recently.

Speaking to The Guardian, in her first UK interview in more than three years, Swift responded to accusations that she had exploited the history of “white victimhood” in her combative past interactions with Kanye West and Nicki Minaj.

She explained that she had learnt “a lot about how my privilege allowed me to not have to learn about white privilege”, adding: “I didn’t know about it as a kid, and that is privilege itself, you know? And that’s something that I’m still trying to educate myself on every day. How can I see where people are coming from, and understand the pain that comes with the history of our world?”

In the interview, Swift also revealed that her background in country music, and the vitriolic reaction to anti-George W Bush comments made by the Dixie Chicks in 2003, had previously encouraged her to avoid talking about politics.

“I come from country music,” she explained. “The number one thing they absolutely drill into you as a country artist, and you can ask any other country artist this, is ‘Don’t be like the Dixie Chicks!’ … I watched country music snuff that candle out. The most amazing group we had, just because they talked about politics. And they were getting death threats. They were made such an example that basically every country artist that came after that, every label tells you, ‘Just do not get involved, no matter what.’”

Swift also said in the interview that she had long felt ignorant about the political climate (“I wasn’t educated enough on it,” she said, “because I hadn’t actively tried to learn about politics in a way that I felt was necessary for me”) and that she had never had a significant relationship with the disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein, who she had worked with on the films The Giver and One Chance.

“I absolutely never hung out,” she said. “If you listen to the stories, he picked people who were vulnerable, in his opinion. It seemed like it was a power thing. So, to me, that doesn’t say anything – that I wasn’t in that situation.”

Swift’s new album Lover was released yesterday to positive reviews, with The Independent calling it “a partial resurrection of the Swift of old”.

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