Privilege: a right or benefit that is given to some people and not to others; the advantage that wealthy and powerful people have over other people in a society. (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)
Privilege is arbitrary. We do not choose to be born as we are, yet some of us struggle within society for those very characteristics which we are given at birth. Race, sex, sexuality, religion, socio-economic status and other factors play into how easy it is for people to live within society. Being privileged does not imply you do not have to work hard for achieve things, it implies that you do not have to work hard BECAUSE of these arbitrary characteristics. Being privileged in whatever way means that, while you can experience personal prejudice on a small scale, you cannot experience the institutionalized discrimination that actively works against those who are different from you. There are levels of privilege within each community, from the playground to the global scene. Anyone watching this is someone experiencing their privilege right now. Do remember that when you consider those who are different from you. Do try to understand perspectives you haven’t experienced.
Privilege is important to understand, because if you can recognize your own privilege, you can better understand the lack of privilege experienced by others. Our world seems quite fueled by hate and fear, but if we took a step back and put things into perspective larger than our own, we could rationalize and what’s going on and come up with better solutions. Gay and trans people are more likely to commit suicide, women make less money than men, black people are more likely to experience police brutality. Those are very few of the commonly spoken of problems at home. Two-thirds of the world’s population lives on less than $2 a day. 80% of the world’s resources are consumed by 20% of the world’s population. We do not choose where we are born. The least we can do is consider our fellow humans.
This is an excerpt from Gioconda Belli’s memoir, Country Under My Skin, which documents Belli’s life as she played the roles of upper-class child, mother, and active participant of the Sandinista struggle against the Somoza dictatorship in Nicaragua. The message transcends her unique situation.
The video is just shots from a single walk around my neighbourhood one evening. My privileged perspective.