privilege part two

3 Oct

We often talk about privilege as an abstract concept, but it is something that impacts our lives on a daily basis. When I say I have privilege, I’m not always talking about white privilege or cissexual privilege. Sometimes I’m just talking about the basics of my life that I have the privilege of taking for granted. Here are some things I’ve done or had over the course of the weekend that I often take for granted, and that I think many people often take for granted. Along with each point, I’ve included some statistics which might help explain why I believe it is such a privilege. Hopefully this list will make you understand and think about what you have the privilege of taking for granted in your own life.

1. I drank clean, safe water.

  • “884 million people lack access to safe water supplies; approximately one in eight people.
  • 3.575 million people die each year from water-related disease.
  • The water and sanitation crisis claims more lives through disease than any war claims through guns.” (source)

2. I ate three meals a day.

  • 26,147: people who died of hunger today
  • 7,865,764: people who have died of hunger so far this year
  • 1,028,272,461: undernourished people in the world right now

(Go here for the source of these statistics on hunger and/or to watch these numbers increase on hunger clocks)

3. I took a hot shower. (see water statistics above)
4. I slept in a bed.

  • In 2005, an estimated 100 million people worldwide were homeless. (source)

5. I saw my dad. I know and spoke with both my parents.

  • Today there are estimated over 143 million orphans in the world.” (source)

6. I took birth control.

  • an estimated 150 million women worldwide cannot get the birth control they desire. (source) What are the implications of this? According to the source listed above, women who have fewer children are generally healthier, and the children they do have are also healthier. So, women who don’t have control of their reproductive health are less healthy, as are their children.
  • Additionally, “maternal mortality remains the leading cause of death for women of childbearing age—an estimated 500,000 women die each year from pregnancy related causes, with 78,000 deaths resulting from unsafe abortion. Having access to safe, appropriate family planning methods and safe abortion when needed, can make the difference in women’s lives. “

7. I went to class.

  • Read this article for information on the limits placed on women’s education, and how that impacts women, girls, and their communities.

8. I picked up a prescription, and did not have to pay for it.

  • Among adults age 18-64 in the United States, at least 20% do not have health insurance. (source)

9. I wore clothes appropriate for cold weather.

  • This is related to homelessness. Oftentimes, homeless families or individuals do not have the money to buy clothes appropriate for cold weather. This especially affects children.
  • I couldn’t find statistics on this point, but I think it’s also likely that many people who aren’t homeless, but are still below the national poverty line, cannot always afford proper clothing.

10. I live in a war-free zone.

  • See here for Wikipedia’s list of ongoing conflicts.
  • “According to a United Nations study on children in war by Graca Machel, ‘The physical, sexual and emotional violence to which they [children] are exposed shatters their world. War undermines the very foundations of children’s lives, destroying their homes, splintering their communities and breaking down their trust in adults.'” (source)

3 Responses to “privilege part two”

  1. Lasciel October 4, 2010 at 2:06 am #

    Reminds me of that “if the world was reduced to a village of 100 people” thing.

  2. Naomi October 6, 2010 at 3:05 am #

    These are things that I take for granted so often. Thank you for posting this.


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