privilege part one

21 Sep

Discussions of privilege are always, always, always necessary. I will save generalities and lecturing on privilege as an abstract concept for another time. For now, here are the specifics on how I am privileged:

1. I have light skin, what some might call “white.” I do not use “white” as an personal identifier, but see it merely as a trait, just like curly haired or right-handed. This is not because I do not recognize the privileges others bestow upon me given the color of my skin, but instead because I do not believe that my skin color is a trait that should take precedence over any other trait. “White” is not a race, and rejecting my title of “white person” is how I demonstrate my rejection of the idea of a “white race.” See here to get a better idea of what I’m talking about.

2. I am able-bodied. This means more obvious things, like the fact that I can walk, jump, run, dance without impediment. It means I have access to all buildings, rooms, events, and activities, and am not prevented from entering or attending anything because there is not a walkway or elevator. It also means equally important, but less frequently mentioned, things, like the fact that I do not have to worry (as much) about being unable to defend myself in the face of sexual assault or other forms of violence.

3. I am college educated.

4. I am middle-class.

5. I am read as straight.

6. I am cissexual. This means that my gender identity and biological sex characteristics match up, and thus I do not experience gender dissonance or dysphoria.

7. I am young. Although there are benefits to being older, for the most part, our society places great value on youth, with even more value placed on youthful looking women.

8. English is my first language. This may not always be a privilege, but it certainly is in the United States.

9. I am what some might say is “conventionally attractive.” That is, I fit many societal standards for “beauty.” In conjunction with that, I often fit the female=feminine standard (although sometimes not, depending on the length of my hair, whether I wear makeup, if I’ve shaved recently, how tight my clothes are, etc).

Let me know if you think of any other ways I am privileged which I may not have noted here. That’s the tricky thing about privilege…it’s difficult to recognize if you have it.

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