Sun Feb 24, 2013, 01:22 PM
Star Member MineralMan (50,676 posts)
The Problem with Being Privileged
I am privileged to a large degree. As a white, straight, male, able-bodied, college-educated, married, man with no criminal convictions who also is a military veteran, financially solvent and over the age of 65, much privilege accrues to me automatically. Because of that privilege, I can:
Walk down the sidewalk without being looked at suspiciously.
Drive through any area without being stopped for no reason.
Shop in whatever stores I wish without being considered a potential thief.
Avoid being shunned or attacked for my sexuality.
Never worry about a potential employer or client wondering if I'll get pregnant or marry.
Never be told to smile by some moron who thinks he's irresistibly attractive.
Be taken seriously if I want to refinance my mortgage.
Be given great attention if I go into a car dealership or hardware store.
Enter buildings after climbing stairs and pulling open heavy doors.
Park away from crowded areas in parking lots and walk.
Receive single-payer healthcare from my government.
Receive a payment each month from Social Security.
Get special treatment for home mortgages.
Get care in a Veteran's hospital or nursing home if I'm destitute.
Avoid being treated like a criminal at traffic stops.
Go anywhere, do anything, and not be noticed unless I wish to be noticed.
Do, be, and get many more things than described above.
That is my privilege. Most of it accrues to me simply because I was born who I am, where I was born, and to whom I was born. Frankly, I often forget that I have a big bunch of privilege following me around wherever I go. But, then I see someone else who is not me, doesn't match my description, and who did not automatically start with that big pile of privilege. I see people every day for whom parts of the list above simply does not apply. For some, almost nothing in that list applies. Then I remember my privilege and am humbled by it. I didn't earn it, for the most part. It simple accrues to me by accident of birth, mostly. I try to remember that, but often forget. That's the problem with being privileged. I often forget.