Follow up on Privilege
I had a very supportive and encouraging friend offer some feedback regarding my post on male privilege. What specifically caught her eye was my acknowledgement that I may have benefited from other “privileges” such as “white-privilege”. Her comments were very much appreciated and thought provoking. I wanted to take a moment to clarify my statement and my perspective on privilege.
First of all, I don’t feel entitled to any privilege – my only reason for acknowledging it in my prior post was my attempt to not be naive about the world around me. The only privilege I would ever cling to is the unearned grace God gives me every day – and that is something I believe is here for anyone and everyone. Second, from a sociological and anthropological sense, I don’t believe “race” exists. Ethnicity may define us biologically and culture may create differences between us socially, but “race” (much like “gender”) is a social construct based primarily on appearance. As such it can – and should – be deconstructed. Neither fortune or suffering has eyes – we are all susceptible to both.
The irony is that by even mentioning it’s existence in my previous post and despite my good intentions, I unwittingly contributed to keeping the distinctions alive. I don’t intend to write in an effort to “keep everyone happy”, but if we are not willing to learn from the conversation, then the conversation is really pointless.
As an African-American woman, my friend say she sees her life as very privileged. She says she is surrounded by well educated, intelligent and successful people. I hope (in an extremely non-people pleasing way) she considers me one of them and I am very privileged to know her.