THE THING WITH BEING PRIVILEGED
One time in boarding school I had complained about a sleeping arrangement I had to adhere to when the weekend was approaching and we had to go home . I have a bad habit of thinking that everyone is just like me because I am normal and normal people go through normal things right?
“ You’ve never suffered before hey?” my friend had interrupted me as I complained to her for what could be the 5th time .
I couldn’t understand what that meant and I was offended and I assumed she was probably tired of me talking. She probably didn't want to hear my voice because I talk too much .
Much much later , 2 years after the incident , did I come to find out that she did not have a place to stay during the weekends we would be out . She had been sleeping on a kitchen floor of random people’s homes . I have not ever spoken about it with her . I don’t think there is a need to.
I disliked boarding school so much so after I had completed I really never revisited the memories(most of them). Now as I’m maturing and looking at things from another perspective I realize I was alright . I had more than 1 home and bed to go to during the out weekends, I had multiple people who would provide me with necessities even if my parents were unable to . I had everything I needed and dare I say wanted ?
I don’t think I was ungrateful as such I just think I was young and unaware about what privilege is because the thing is privilege is felt on the other side of disadvantaged . Most people simply refuse to recognize privilege as they believe it would open them up to being considered as part of the problem . Most people also believe that others will think of them as having it easy all their life (which isn’t the case) .
Recognizing and acknowledging the little privileges you have because of who you are , the position you’re in or the people you benefit from is important as it the creates a better world for the disadvantaged .
WHY IT IS IMPORTANT TO RECOGNIZE AND ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR PRIVILEGE
- You get to empathize with disadvantaged people and understand them from some of the things they do to choices they make . Sometimes you can also help in providing a better solution for them.
- University was a big eye opener for me to realize I have a lot ! When it came to group work some people wouldn't come to meetings , they didn’t have phones or laptops to communicate.
- I was surrounded with great advantaged people(myself included)so we made it work. Often times we would do our group work at one members home where everything from a computer(s) to WIFI is available , we made transport arrangements for those who couldn’t not afford and we would sacrifice more hours at school for easier meet ups . We didn’t make anyone feel bad for not having the needed necessities and each member did their work. If you give people the opportunities and necessities that they lack , many of them are eager to work .
- You get to have some self awareness and STAY OUT OF CONVERSATIONS you have ZERO capacity to engage . Even if your intentions were pure it will come off as nothing but offensive and ignorant .A great example would be how a lot of people give advice on how poor people should be able to handle, save and make money and to stop “being lazy” . Most people are not assured of steady income due to high rates of unemployment , finding means of income is so hard without any capital to begin with and the cost of basic necessities is so expensive ! One cannot simply save any money if their entire income is going towards trying to survive . Let us also consider the mental and emotional damage you can be in when you allow the reality to kick in that you do not have finance and stability because you are at the disadvantaged side , not even by choice.
- One thing about inequality is that if will eventually affect everyone . Male privilege has allowed the patriarchy to prosper and even men that claim to be against it are still benefitting from it (most still in denial) . These same men then come online and complain of how they are forced to be providers of the house and how women expect them to be financially stable from the get go . Men are not allowed to be vulnerable because they’ll be mocked .They do not realize that patriarchy is not benefitting anyone even them .
Back to what I said earlier most people do not want to confront their privilige as it makes them uncomfortable to be considered as some sort of benefactor in the unjust society . There is really nothing to be guilty about if you have privileges (You should definitely use them considering how much of a mess society is.) . What I’m trying to say is that recognizing the privilege you have enables you to make small and big moves that make the systems we have had in place to be fair and just .
But beware not everyone wants to have a fair and just system of society as they and their egos enjoy the benefits such imbalances give them. They don’t want to “share” forgetting that sooner or later they too will be bitten by the system itself