Today I am going to talk about “the ‘P’ word”:
This is a word that really causes people to get defensive. They exclaim “I’m not privileged, I’m [insert unprivileged group here]! How DARE you call me privileged!”
In all honesty, there’s really no way to sugar coat the term or the concept of “privilege”. There’s no way to say “society favours certain people over others” without making the other person out to be some sort of villain. There’s one thing that I really want to stress about privilege, and that is:
Having privilege does not make you a bad person.
If you belong to any of these (non-exhaustive) categories:
You are privileged.
And you know what? It doesn’t make you or me or anyone a bad person. For the most part, you can’t change the fact that you are privileged in some ways, nor does having privilege mean that you automatically have it easy, because of….
Put simply, intersectionality is the reason some straight white men fall on hard times and one of my professors (a woman of colour and all around awesome prof.) was able to study at Harvard. Okay, that’s a little simplistic, but my point is that most people are privileged in some ways and not privileged in others. Privilege is on an axis, not a continuum, and no, privileges and not privileges don’t cancel each other out, so my being disabled, a lesbian, and a non-Christian doesn’t mean I don’t still benefit from white privilege, cis privilege, and class privilege. It’s important not to confuse the word “privilege” with the phrase “easy street” because that’s not how it works.
I’m tired, so if you need more info on this topic, here is an awesome (and extensive) article on privilege: http://blog.shrub.com/archives/tekanji/2006-03-08_146
and here is an article on privilege specifically geared towards gamers: http://whatever.scalzi.com/2012/05/15/straight-white-male-the-lowest-difficulty-setting-there-is/