What privilege really means

Bella Tollestrup-Wimbish

Learning to have honest dialogue


We have all heard the term privilege. Someone might have even told you that you have privilege. Whether it be white, male, straight, cis or economic, there are many different types of privilege a person can have.

One should not be offended by having their privilege pointed out.

Many people don’t recognize the fact that they have privilege, and they don’t want to acknowledge that it exists.

If you don’t believe you have privilege, consider this: What have you had in life as a given that other people may not have?

Even though I am a woman of color, I have the privilege of being white passing, among many other privileges.

I have noticed that people can become defensive when someone calls them out on their privilege. Some believe that having hardships in certain ways prevents them from being privileged.

If we can’t have an honest conversation about privilege because others are offended theirs is pointed out, then we can not progress as a society when it comes to striving for equality and working against the advantages that come with privilege.

You should not feel bad about your privilege, nor should you be offended when it is recognized. Instead say “Yes, I have these privileges and this is what I can do with my privilege to help people who do not have them.”

A conversation about privilege should be recognizing that discrimination still exists, and wanting to help with it even though discrimination does not affect you individually.

I realize that recognizing and accepting privilege can be hard sometimes.

To recognize privilege you have to understand it.

“The Unequal Opportunity Race,” a short film made for the African American Opportunity Forum shows a metaphor to help better describe privilege in America. The film uses the metaphor of a race, and it shows how life is a race and people who have more privilege have a different starting line then people with less privilege.

This specific film compares people of color against white people in life, but this can be applied to different types of privileges.

This example is important because it’s not saying that having privilege is wrong, it’s just saying that sometimes things are easier for you to obtain than others because of certain privileges.

Privilege is something that needs to be discussed so society can move toward equality and to stop discrimination.

You have to educate yourself about the types of privilege you have and be okay with having them. It doesn’t mean you’re wrong for having them. No one can control what privileges they have, but everyone can control what they do with them.

Don’t be ashamed in recognizing your privileges and don’t feel attacked when others mention the privileges you do have.

People aren’t trying to attack you. Simply recognizing privilege helps others who are at a disadvantage.