The past year has been an enlightening one. I’ve learnt so much in the past few months than I have ever in my life, about the positions of people and the lives they live due to uncontrollable factors. Like, their sex, their race, their sexual orientation, the list goes on.
Something that I never considered before, has now become such a big part of my life. Just making sure I am aware and acknowledging the impact on peoples lives due to these factors.
I never knew I was privileged, I didn’t know what it was. Which only now, shows me just how privileged I am. Not even having to think about it.
The fact I never voted until this year, shows my privilege. I never really had to think about politics, because ultimately, politics didn’t affect me too much. I benefited from the system without even knowing it.
A good friend of mine began to show me the truths of the World. And I was too happy in my ignorant bubble to realise there are bigger issues out there. Only now, I realise how difficult it is, to explain privilege, to the privileged.
No one wants to feel guilty, every one wants to feel like they’ve earned what they’ve got and deserve every bit of it. Acknowledging your privilege isn’t about making you feel guilty. It’s about just understanding that some parts of your life can be easier/more difficult due to: Race, Religion, Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, Class/Wealth, Ability and more!
So… what is privilege?
“A special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group.”
So it’s basically something you just have, without doing anything to deserve it.
It’s actually really difficult to explain it to people in person… especially if they are someone who benefit from the privilege system, as they often feel “got at” or blamed for what they have.
There’s a sort of “Privilege Pyramid” that can show a rough view of how privilege works, and you can work out how privileged you are.
This “Wheel of Privilege” is a rough guide as to how to understand privilege. So if you are a; European, rich, able bodied, English, young, heterosexual man, YO GOT PRIVILEGE.
And the further out of the circle such as being disabled, poor, lesbian, a person of colour etc. Would suggest you have less privilege based on these factors. Of course every persons experience is different and subject to many other external factors too and their way of life can affect this. However it is a rough guide.
You can check your privilege here; How Privileged Are You?
What are your experiences/thoughts on privilege??
Let me know, comment below.