It has been brought to my attention that some feel I have made an oversimplification of what privilege is. I would like to respond to that by saying this is not a series for those who are “privilege experts”. It is an INTRODUCTORY course for those are seeking to understand these topics for the first time. While we will build, it is important to understand the use of brick before you can ever hope to build a house.
That being said, allow me to lay the foundation and then you can decide if you like my house.
In this post, we are going to discuss more forms of privilege and do more real life examples.
In the last post ,we addressed that there are multiple identities present in one individual and that is where intersectionality comes to play.
We very loosely touched on the concept of white privilege. As always, many white people here the term “White Privilege” and assume the claim is being made that in every situation or comparison, you are better off simply because of being white.
This false assumption results in the negation of the reality of white privilege and denial of their recipiency.
This is not the claim being made. Being white in the majority of the world allows you the benefit of the doubt more often than others, but it is not the end all be all.
Reality Check Time
There will be a level of initiative and independent study required. My goal is not to give you ALL the answers.
For a more thorough discussion on real life manifestations on White Privilege here are some suggested readings:
If you read nothing else on the topic, the most important illustration of what we are discussing is White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack
I also suggest the following articles that give awesome explanations.
- Explaining White Privilege to a Broke White Person
- How To Explain White Privilege Exists: 7 Common Arguments, Debunked
Moving along, While race is the most discussed type of privilege, intersection, in short, provides a level of balance for most of us.
Real Life Example #2
Meet Aniyah. Aniyah is a Mexican-American cisgender female from Frisco, Texas. Growing up, Aniyah had 2 present parents. One who is a doctor and one who is an engineer. As a result of her parent’s affluence, she has attended private school her entire life and received a quality education. Aniyah is a lesbian and she has been in a wheelchair since the age of five as a result of a terrible car crash.
While Aniyah’s parents have always provided her with the best money could buy (privilege), Her being bound to a wheelchair (disadvantaged) has created an increased daily struggle to get around.
When she visits her relatives, she occasionally cannot get around due to lack of sidewalks and automatic doors. She is often anxious about her interactions, as she does not want sympathy- there just weren’t necessary accommodations that allow independence. Some of her childhood friends who share her ethnic identity (Mexican American) face discrimination and are often accused of being “illegals”.
Aniyah’s affluence and presence in prominent social groups act as a buffer(privilege). Lastly, while acceptance of same-sex relationships is on the rise, she still has a level of social anxiety when going out in public with her girlfriend of 5 years (disadvantaged). Although she is a 30-year-old adult, many look past her and speak to her father when they have they have a question about her life. She has come out to her parents who aren’t worried because they feel it’s “just a phase”.
Had her money not been a buffer, Aniyah would experience increased levels of the follow
Robert v Aniyah
While Robert is a White male, economically and educationally, he Is worse off that Aniyah. In terms of independence (mobility & seeing seen as subordinate) Aniyah is worse off than Robert. Roberts relationships are seen as less taboo and Aniyah education gives her increased access and exposure to the world around her.
The purpose of this comparison is to illustrate no one is ALL privileged and very few are ALL disadvantaged. Your life experience is the details PLUS the context.
I will end by saying, this is an informational series, I am not here to convince anyone of anything. If you believe all of these topics are made up, this is not the place for you and I won’t argue with anyone.
However, if you have the desire to learn and understand, I can help with that. 🙂
What about you? What do you think? Next time, we will cover religion and how in western culture, certain religions come with a level of privilege!
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