The theme for posts this week will focus on privilege and what that means to us as individuals but also as parts of larger communities.
It’s when I look past the difficulties I have spelling the word that I can see the impact the word has in my life along with everyone else. I think what many people think now when they think of privilege (thanks again, Grammarly) is white privilege. First, let’s look at what privilege actually means. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines privilege as “a right or immunity granted as a peculiar benefit, advantage, or favor”. (side note, privilege was in the top 1% of definition searches on the website. Hmmm…) One step further, the definition of White privilege according to Dr. Francis Kendall, who works as a consultant for organizational change focusing specifically on diversity and white privilege, is ” an institutional (rather than personal) set of benefits granted to those of us who, by race, resemble the people who dominate the powerful positions in our institutions. I understand fully that I am in a very privileged position. I also understand knowing that I am in a privileged position, it is my obligation to use that privilege in order to better the world for everyone, not just the privileged.
Privilege is often broken down and compared between ethnicities and then also gender. One place that is not always looked at is the differences between being able and disabled. Disabled is a very broad term in regards to what it refers to. Being disabled means that you are limited in some way because of a physical or mental condition. This can cut across so many different areas of someone’s life. I personally have not felt marginalized because of my color, gender, or abilities, but I have seen it happen to people I really care about.
This is the important idea that I want to get across and communicate with others, Just because I do not personally feel marginalized does not mean I shouldn’t get involved. Too often I feel that others are complacent with circumstances that don’t directly impact them. The point is, you have a heart, listen to it, it will tell you whats right. You have a voice. Use it, to help others who may not know understand. I put forth the importance of living each day knowing that it can be better than yesterday, for yourself but also for others around you.
I will leave you with a quote that I have read many times to start my day and remind me of what I can do:
“Never be complacent about the current steps; don’t agree and follow the status quo. Be determined that you are making an indelible impact with great change. Now, dress up and go to make it happen!” – Isrealmore Ayivor
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