What do I mean by “Privilege”? Privilege is a set of advantages that I receive, without earning them, merely because of my birth circumstance(s). Privilege is different than prejudice or “ism”s. As a person of privilege, I get the advantages even if don’t have prejudice and don’t engage in overt oppressive activities like sexism or racism.
Some examples of my privilege as a white man include:
• I can go to any workplace and expect to see people who look like me
• If I make a mistake, no one will say that it’s because white people are
• The lead roles in movies and tv shows are usually of my color and
• If I have children and a career, I won’t be called selfish for not being
home with the children
• I am more likely to get a job than an equally qualified applicant who is a woman and/or person of color
There are many types of privilege, including (specific examples and details can be found by following the links):
• White Privilege
• Male Privilege
• Heterosexual Privilege
• Able-bodied Privilege
• Class Privilege
• Religious Privilege
• Cisgender Privilege (contrast with transgender)
You may say: “But I have struggled!
I don’t have privilege!” Privilege isn’t about whether I am powerful,
wealthy, have a good job, have worked hard all my
life to get where I am, or struggle every day.
Privilege is simply unearned advantages I get
because I belong to a group.
Sometimes when people learn about the concept of privilege, people feel guilt? If this happens to you, ask yourself where the feeling is coming from. Is it because:
• I never noticed it before?
• I act in ways that make this worse?
• I don’t do things that make it better for people
Now that you know about privilege, what can you do about it? You can:
• Read about privilege
• Stay on the lookout for other privileges you might discover you
• Belive the life experiences of people with less privilege
• Ask yourself if your actions or policies reinforce the advantages
of certain privileged groups
• Don’t “help” less-privileged groups - it robs them of agency. Instead amplify their voices (retweet, etc)
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