Opinions

A quick memo on privilege

December 3rd, 2014

The Univeristy of San Fransisco has started a campus wide campaign to open up dialogues concerning the differing privileges and inequalities that students face
privilege_becoming aware

Poster from University of San Fransisco’s “Check your Privilege” campaign

What does it mean to be ‘privileged’?

Privileges are systemic and intrinsic traits that are associated to being a member of a dominant culture or group in society.  Members of dominant cultures receive these invisible memberships just for existing.  They can cash in on the benefits of being privileged on a daily basis.

For instance, the peak of privilege, in North American society, is living as a white, ablebodied, middle-class, straight, cisgender male.

This does not mean that every single white, abledbodied, middle-class, straight, cisgender man cannot be burdened with problems, or that they nothing bad ever happens to them.  What it does mean is at the end of the day, they have access to systems in our society that are centered around them.  They benefit the most from the way our society is structured: jobs, education, medicine, judicial and political systems.  This is not intended to be a guilt trip, but a reminder to all privileged members of our society to think critically of the privileges they are privy to that many others in the same society do not innately receive.

Remember: just because a person is privileged doesn’t mean that person cannot suffer; but if the privileged person does suffer, they are not suffering from their innate and unearned societal privileges.

 

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