What is Privilege?

Privilege is defined as “a right, immunity, or benefit enjoyed by a person beyond the advantages of most.” This video shows an exercise that people from different backgrounds experienced together to explore how privilege, or lack thereof, has affected their lives.

This video shows that privilege is not always clean cut or what people expect. A white woman may not have to be particularly afraid of the police, but she may have to be afraid of harassment holding her girlfriend’s hand in public. A person of color may be privileged with a comfortable socio-economic status, but they may be paid less for their work just because of their ethnicity. A man is not likely to be sexually assaulted at the rates that women are, but when he develops a mental illness he is also not as likely to seek and receive treatment. Each individual is different but these privileges reveal wide patterns across society.

When we talk about privilege, it’s important to know the difference between being underprivileged and over-privileged. It is not enough to support underprivileged people in ascending to a higher place in society. Privileged people must also use their position to denounce over-privilege. Every time someone receives an unearned benefit, someone else is receiving an unearned hardship for something they cannot help. Ask yourself how you are privileged in your own life and educate yourself about it. Find out how you can help dismantle the structures and ideologies in place that benefit some at the expense of others. To not take this action means consenting to inequality.

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