That Evil Word: Privilege

via What Is Privilege.

Here we have yet another problem with binary thinking. To a LOT of people, including those who do not have certain privileges, this is an either/or situation – you either have privilege or you don’t.

But, the reality is – as this video shows – it’s a far more complex concept.  Some people have “all” the privileges, but most people just don’t.  Even the guy you think “has it all” may not have the kind of privilege you think he does.

The list of questions is under the video, and is worth taking the time to actually do it.  Make a list of 1-35.  Start with you and your friends located at number 17.  Then do what the list tells you to do. In this listing, 1 is the least privileged, while 35 is the most privileged.

Now, I am a white female, overweight, disabled from a good family that has struggled.  I ended up at #13, and so does my sister, except 1 difference – making her a #14.  Where did you end up?? From what I know of my boyfriend, he’s about at #14.

Look at the differences between yourself and those around you, and what numbers they ended up with.

Privilege is a LOT of different things that all intersect.  And YOU cannot judge by looking at the person whether or not they are really ‘more privileged’ than you are.

But people make assumptions about it all the time.

You don’t know whether that rich, white boy down the street is gay, or trans, or abused by his parents, or is only rich because his parents skimped and saved and destroyed their health to make a good home for him.

And you can’t assume the disabled, black trans-woman down the street is completely unprivileged either.

Now, there ARE some people who trade off of their privilege, and feel superior to others because they have those privileges.  And there ARE some people who trade off of their lack of privilege, while again feeling superior to those who “have privilege.”  Sadly, there are emotionally and ethically bankrupt people in ALL groups.

The point of assessing privilege comes down to feeling a sense of compassion and community responsibility.

I’m more privileged than some people, and that means that if I can do it, I should have compassion on those less privileged than myself.  And I try to do so.  I try to help out a little old lady who is struggling to take care of herself.  I offer my talents to those who might not have them.

I don’t automatically expect that people more privileged than myself will help me, but I can hope they have the compassion to do so if I can swallow my pride and fear and ask for that help (for example, through our GoFundMe campaign).  And just because I set up a GoFundMe campaign doesn’t mean I’ve stopped looking for other ways to support myself and my sister within the limits of our disabilities.

So, quit thinking that life is quite so polarized.  Life isn’t just 1s and 0s, like in a computer.  Life is NEVER that simple.  It’s messy and gross and hard, as well as being clean and wonderful and easy.  It’s a spectrum – as are most “labels.”

Think about it.  If your whole community (whatever you define that as) works together to make sure everyone has what they need, then the whole community gets better.  Making everything a competition has only led to us destroying the lives of most of the human race.

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Categories: Body Positivity, Gender Inequities | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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One thought on “That Evil Word: Privilege

  1. Pingback: Context, Intersectionality & Fear | The Demonized Other

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