Privilege. When you think of the word...what comes to mind? White privilege, educational privilege, privilege of ability?
The dictionary says :
: a right or benefit that is given to some people and not to others
: a special opportunity to do something that makes you proud
: the advantage that wealthy and powerful people have over other people in a society
Readers took at a stab at what privilege means to them through several different sources.
Here’s what they had to say:
Privilege is Accessibility
“Living in LA, having a car is giant privilege that I always overlook. In places like Los Angeles, the public transportation is such shit that there’s a huge part of population that remains static, without the privilege of private transportation that I’ve got. There’s very little opportunity for those who can’t afford a car to leave the city, and there’s really no incentive to do so because of how difficult, time-consuming, and all around inaccessible transportation is. And if you’re someone who can’t afford to move around much on a daily basis, you’re probably cut off from recourses you might otherwise have, like social programs, better schools, higher paying jobs…you name it. I’m damn lucky to not have to worry about that.”
Privilege is Light Skin
“I’m three-quarters Japanese, and that identity comes with plenty of dis-privilege, but recently, I realized for the first time what a fucking privilege it is that I’m light-skinned (with freckles all over my face to highlight my quarter-whiteness). My friends and I were driving to a campsite in Southern California, tripping balls on acid, and smoking a joint in the car when a police officer pulled us over. Obviously, we freaked the fuck out—there was no way we weren’t gonna get arrested, right? The car reeked of bud, and we were all very clearly tripping. But the officer pulled us over, looked inside, and saw four basically-white girls…and he didn’t do shit. He just told us not to smoke and drive, and sent us on our way, telling us to ‘drive safe.’ It pains me to think about what might’ve happened if my friend had opened the car door to four Black guys.”
— Aiko, 21
Privilege is Being Male
"Even the morning routines of some of business’ most powerful women, according to Forbes, include cooking breakfast for the family. (I wonder how many of 355 men on the Forbes 400 Richest Americans list integrate into their morning routine a round of eggs for the family.)
At the 2015 Golden Globes, Tina Fey called out the unfairness of such imbalanced routines:
'Steve Carrell’s Foxcatcher look took two hours to put on, including his hairstyling and makeup. Just for comparison, it took me three hours today to prepare for my role as a human woman.'"
Whatever you think privilege is, I think it’s important to recognize and think about.
Buzzfeed created a video asking some important questions: Are you are able to move through the world without fear of sexual assault? Can show affection for your romantic partner in public without fear of ridicule or violence, take one step forward? Have you been diagnosed with a physical or mental illness/disability? Is the primary language spoken in your household growing up English? And more...
Maybe it’s important to read these question and add some perspective into your day.
What is privilege to you?