If you are middle-class, if you are white, if you are straight, then you are one of the privileged people.
Privilege exists when one group has something of value that is denied to others simply because of the groups they belong to, rather than because of anything they’ve done or failed to do.
Access to privilege doesn’t determine one’s outcomes, but it is definitely an asset that makes it more likely that whatever talent, ability, and aspirations a person with privilege has will result in something positive for them.
The privilege gap
It seems that more often than not, people blame those who are far less fortunate than them for their misfortune. Privileged people usually say things like: “Your life is hard because there is something wrong with you” or “You and your family did something wrong so therefore you deserve what you get.”
Well, just because you happened to be born white and into a privileged family does not make you better than those struggling.
The “pull yourself up from your boot straps story” that we idealize over and over again is actually a fake American mythology. Often our country is not one of equal opportunity, and when we say anything different, we are ignoring reality.
For example, right now the gap between the rich and the poor is larger than it has ever been in the past. It’s far easier for those who are born with tremendous privilege to be successful than those who are born below the poverty level. This isn’t rocket science – it’s common sense.
Privileged people have a responsibility to work towards a society that is just. For gender equality, racial justice, equity of educational access, and equal opportunities for all, regardless of the circumstances into which a person is born.
Instead of saying, “I’m privileged and those other people aren’t, lucky me,” why not use your privilege to help? Why not try to make the world a better place during the time that you are here?
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