To start this off, we should ask ourselves, “What is privilege?” It is having special rights, advantages, or immunities. But it doesn’t only entail basic white privilege just yet.
A while back, I was talking to my friend who was complaining about having slow internet that made it hard for them to finish signing up for online classes. As a response, I got frustrated with them and said, “You’re complaining about this, but so many people don’t have internet access at all.” My friend agreed with me but still carried on complaining. That made me think about all the privileges we don’t think about so often, such as internet access, the ability to buy food while so many people live in a food desert.
I am privileged even though I am a biracial woman who is disabled. How am I privileged you ask? What do I have that many disabled people don’t? I have an accessible van that helps me get around.
So many people with disabilities are not as lucky as me, and I understand that. So instead of feeling entitled, I try to help those who don’t have the thing I am grateful to have. Now you might wonder how you are privileged. Well, if you have access to clean water, if you’re able to get a job without worrying if your past will affect your chances, or if you don’t have to worry about transportation from place to place, then you have a privilege that not everyone out there is lucky to have.
Recently, someone messaged me on Instagram. It was a complete stranger, but the message read, “You don’t know me, but I was wondering if you could share a GoFundMe I made to help my boyfriend’s family.” I read their story and I found out that this family has a young woman with disabilities. I was heartbroken by this story and have helped in any way I could. I’ve donated, looked for resources for them, and shared their fundraiser. Why? because I very well could be this woman and her family. In fact, I needed a van for years and couldn’t get one. So, to some extent, I have been where this family is, and I have decided to use my privilege for something else, something good.
As a society, we need to wake up and use our privileges to better our communities, and in doing so, better ourselves in the process.
Sharing is caring. We would gain a whole new perspective on what privilege could and should be with more kindness. It would change the way we view it — from something that harms us to something that can help us all. Just because someone is poor, or black, or gay doesn’t mean they don’t deserve basic rights and privileges. The journey to that starts with us as individuals. So whatever your privilege may be — big or small — go out and use it to help someone else. You will be amazed at the impact it can have on some else.
Photo by Austin Blanchard on Unsplash