What Does It Mean to Be Privileged

You must read Jamelle Bouie’s excellent (and short) essay, “What Does It Mean to Be Privileged.” He sells his friend a TV and wants to carry it a few blocks to her house at night. But he decides not to, because: He’s black.

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3 Comments / Post A Comment

julebsorry (#1,572)

YUP.

Like when I used to go on dates – if it was a new guy, I’d make sure a friend knew where I was going, who the guy was, and I’d usually give her an “all clear” when I was back home. I’m pretty sure the guys on the other end of said dates would have thought that sounded crazy, and never did anything remotely similar.

(Or Mike, love him, but the other day when he asked “who gets yearly checkups? Anyone?” and the women on the site were all like, “Umm, AHEM,we pretty much all have to if we want our fun pills.”)

Markham (#1,862)

This is why I think the word “privileged” isn’t enough, we need to differentiate between: financial, social, racial, gender, etc.

I’m a Black Man but I don’t worry about going out on dates, why would I?

But my White Female roommate tells me where she’s going to be if it’s a first date.

That’s my male privilege, even though I’m Black and she’s a pretty blonde woman.

Flip side: she can go running in my neighborhood at night, I won’t, I mean, a Black guy running through a posh neighborhood? Not going to try that one.

Flip side: when we worked together people discriminated against her, doubted her skills, etc.

Me? Gunned for my job maybe, but doubted me? Not so much.

I have white male friends who aren’t as educated, earn 1/4 of what i do, etc., they have a racial privilege, but I have an economic one.

The whole picture is so complex.

emmabee (#2,008)

@Markham definitely. There’s always kyriarchy: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kyriarchy

But while it’s an important idea that I think most people understand intuitively (that you can be privileged in one area and not in another area), the word itself and most of the literature surrounding it is only accessible to people who are educated and happen to be well-read in critical theory, which seems to defeat the purpose…I’m a queer white woman with lots of privileges, but educational privilege is definitely the one that I’m most guilty of ignoring.

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