The Misconceptions of Privilege

One of the most misunderstood topics on planet earth is the concept of privilege. People who don’t fall into the 1% seem to glance over the various privileges that we are afforded based on factors such as gender, sexual orientation, level of education, and of course, race.

Some refuse to admit their existence based on our personal circumstances, but that doesn’t disqualify their validity.

privilege
noun: a right, immunity, or benefit enjoyed only by a person beyond the advantages of most

For example, it is easy for me to say that I am not privileged because I’m an African-American from the inner city in Chicago. I have been discriminated against for my race, applauded because I’m “not one of those blacks” (whatever that’s supposed to mean), and I am fairly certain that my resume has been glanced over due to my Nigerian name.

However, I must admit that I benefit from male privilege, since a woman on average makes 78 cents for ever $1 that a male makes in America.

I benefit from the privilege of my Bachelors degree, since it is exponentially harder for those without college degrees to make a livable wage. I also benefit from my heterosexuality, since the LGBTQ community is yet another group demonized by society. My citizenship, clean criminal record and intellect are all traits that grant certain privileges to me that other groups aren’t afforded.

We have definitely made some strides toward equality: for one, I can freely walk down the street without being sold into slavery or lynched. Yet, there has been just as much regression: for one, I still have to worry if a broken tail light will result in a cop murdering me in “self-defense”.

With the school-to-prison pipeline, the modern-day slave trade prison system that disproportionately targets African-Americans, war on education and more, we have a lot of work to do.

These are hard truths that we must face head-on if we want them to change, and the first step is acknowledging them. As I’ve said before, you can’t solve a problem by ignoring it.