We All Have Privilege. It’s Okay If We Address It.
Why is having privilege so hard for us to accept?
The word “privilege” comes from the Latin privilegium, meaning a law for just one person, a benefit enjoyed by an individual or group beyond what is available to others. Social justice activists and writers have built on Peggy McIntosh’s original essay on privilege in 1988, adding to and modifying the original list to highlight how privilege is not solely about race or gender. We can have privilege through the following:
- Gender Identity
- Age and location are also sometimes considered
Looking at this list, the chances of us having privilege in one or more categories is very high. But why is it so hard for people, especially the most privilege to recognize it. When you tell people they have privilege they get so offended. Oftentimes I see that many people only like to focus on one type of privilege. White people often don’t think they are privilege because they are not rich but struggle to recognize anything outside of economic privilege. They think people like Colin Kaepernick and Lebron James should not speak about racial injustice because they are rich. Many of us also only seem to think of race or gender when we think of privilege.
Having privilege means having an advantage that is out of your control. It is hard for us to acknowledge our own privilege because privilege is the other side of oppression. Many people are against talking about privilege because they don’t want to be seen as the aggressor or responsible for people being oppressed. It is hard to accept being complicit in a system that gives you an advantage at the expense of others, an advantage that you have no control over. I believe many people struggle with accepting the word ‘privilege’ because sometimes it is seen as if you have privilege, your whole life has been easy. But we need to get over our egos because privilege is designed to make us feel guilty or feel bad about our achievements. But if we want to change anything in this world or move forward, we need to first recognize and accept that we have privileges. Second, we need to take action, both large and small, to use our privilege and make the systems we were born into more fair for the oppressed.
In this episode, we get introspective and address the ways we have privilege in society. The So-Called Oreos touch on the many ways one can have privilege outside of race and gender and share personal stories on realizing privilege in certain aspects through classism, ableism and sexuality.
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