What Is Privilege? Why Should I Care?

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By now, We have all heard the term Privilege. It’s a very common phrase in these times, and for many it has become a modern day fighting word. Despite it’s recent popularity, there are still many common misconceptions about privilege and I wanna help y’all out. 🙂 This post I dedicated to what privilege is and What its not.

Privilege Is…

An increased level of social influence

A slight advantage in a particular identity aspect

An opportunity to help the disadvantaged

Something we cannot control (Potential Exception- Education & Socioeconomic Status (SES) to an extent.)

 

Privilege Is Not..

An insult

Something to be ashamed of

A binary, have or have not factor

The Basics

The most widely acknowledged form of privilege is race. While race is definitely a huge influence in one’s day to day experiences, no one identity factor acts alone. The interaction of multiple identity factors is referred to as intersectionality . Because we all have a variety of aspects that make us who we are, a person can be privileged in one way, yet disadvantaged in another.!1450202726797

I know, I know! It’s alot , but don’t ball up and quit just yet!

It will make more sense once we plug the info into something more practical.

Real Life Example

Lets take talk about Robert.

Robert is 30 years old, white, lives in rural Wyoming. Robert does not have a diploma or GED. He has a take home pay of 15k per year but he is in good physical and mental health.

While white is privileged in the aspect of race, Robert is disadvantaged in terms of access. Living in Rural Wyoming, Robert does not have access to many conveniences we have in the city- public transportation, sewer system, and police/ fire department.

At 30 with good physical and mental health, he is privileged in the age, able body and disabilities categories. In terms of Education and SES, he is disadvantaged – no degree and very little money. Lastly being heterosexual and CIS he has two more checks in the privileged box.

Other identity aspects such as religion and ethnic background can also be aspects of privilege or disadvantage depending on one’s location in the world.

As we can see, you cannot simply check “yes or no” on privilege. Because of this, we should not deny others experiences. A different upbringing can result in a different interaction of identity.

 

What privileges and disadvantages do you have? Were you aware of this interaction?

Next time, we will discuss how to use your privileges to help those that are disadvanted and how money can serve as a buffer.

 

Drop a comment! What do you think?

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