How To Recognize YOUR Privilege

We all have privilege.

There is something about you that gives you social, economic or political status. You might not be aware of the status you have — or it might not seem like a big deal to you — but you do have privilege.

What is privilege?

privilegeIt’s “a right or benefit that is given to some people and not to others.” Privilege is also defined as “the advantage that wealthy and powerful people have over other people in a society.”

But privilege is not just for the wealthy. You receive benefits in our society if you are able-bodied, or heterosexual, or from a certain cultural group, or speak a certain way. (Check your level of privilege here.)

We all have varying types of privilege based on our:

  • Economic class
  • Physical ability
  • Race/ethnicity
  • Sexual orientation
  • Gender
  • Age
  • Education and literacy level
  • Religion
  • Employment status

Watch this video from BuzzFeed and think about how you would respond to the questions asked.

Clearly, some groups of people have more status than others — either because they are part of multiple high-status groups, or because the status they experience has more influence than other groups’ status.

‘Own’ Your Privilege

You are not a bad person for having more privilege than other people.

You can’t control most of the things that give you status any more than someone with less privilege can control not having as much privilege.

A White person cannot change their race (ahem, Rachel) and a Christian should not deny their religion in order to relate to groups with less privilege.

The best thing people with high privilege can do is to acknowledge how their gender / race / social class / health status, etc. affects their social status. Then use their status to shine a light on the discrimination / violence / disrespect shown to people with less status.

We all have privilege.

We also all have the ability to speak up and act out to support others who are working to increase the opportunities, safety, health, representation, and respect that should be given equitably to everyone.

More about Privilege