“Privilege,” whether it be white, rich, male or cis, is one of the most misunderstood words in the English language. Those who sit atop the throne of privilege, while their hearts might be in the right place, will never recognize the struggles that many have, simply because they have the wrong perspective.
Privilege is not about being wealthy or about not having struggles. It’s about shopping in a store without being harassed. It’s about being able to catch a cab. It’s about not having expectations placed on you simply because someone is nice.
On a less specific level, privilege is about not being targeted because of the color of your skin. It’s about not being a target of violence because of the way you dress. Privilege is about not being disadvantaged.
Still, that’s a very difficult concept for many, if not most, to grasp. Fortunately, a teacher made it very easy. He tried an experiment where students were supposed to throw a piece of wadded up paper into a recycling bin.
He put the students in rows and told them that they had a chance to be wealthy and move into the upper class, as long as they hit the bin. The students in the back rows complained that they had a disadvantage, but the students in the front row seemed unaware there was any discrepancy at all.
The conclusion was the perfect definition of privilege. The closer you are to the goal, the better the odds of getting there.
Here’s the video, thanks to BuzzFeed:
Image via YouTube screenshot.