Social Question

hominid's avatar

How often do you consider your privilege?

Asked by hominid (7347points) September 18th, 2014

We all enjoy a significant level of privilege, yet can slip into long periods without recognizing it. Do you engage in any kind of gratitude practice that helps you be more conscious of your privilege?

The privilege could be gender, sexual orientation, race, economic, where you were born, the body you were born with, the time in which you were born, etc. Anyone reading these words is enjoying a level of privilege and good luck that should be obvious.

How often do you contemplate this fact, and how do you feel when you do?

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24 Answers

dxs's avatar

I just saw someone complaining on Facebook about how they were discriminated against for being white and “cis”. Being of the more privileged gender and race, I’m sure there’s much I don’t relate to or realize when it comes to gender discrimination, but I’ve still seen and heard enough for it to matter to me.
I swear I count my blessings. I contemplate it a lot and it makes me feel guilty. I feel uncomfortable being in a private university ful of rich people while just outside the doors are people with almost nothing. I’m lucky enough to have a financial support system, so I’m also in a couple organizations that do a lot for people who don’t have as much as I do.

Pachy's avatar

I’m grateful for every single one of the privileges you list—and more—and grow more so with each passing year.

syz's avatar

I was lucky enough to be born to a stable middle class family, so I’ve always had a safety net (should I need it). I was born white. I was able to afford a college education. I’m relatively healthy. And I do think about those things, which is why I commit to volunteering for various organizations.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

Daily. I am reminded daily how lucky I am to carry an American passport, that I can live the life I do, that I am intelligent, and that I am strong, and that I’ve had a good life up to now. I am surrounded by people who haven’t been so lucky in one or more of these departments, and it humbles me. So, when I’m down and feeling a bit sorry for myself, I look around and I spit on my own problems. My problems are bullshit next to theirs.

They are the strong ones, the resilient ones. They are the ones to learn from.

rojo's avatar

It is one of my shortcomings but I very rarely give it much thought until it is brought to my attention.

then I get defensive

Here2_4's avatar

I try every day to be worthy of the air I breathe.
The first time I heard someone use the term, “he’s a total waste of skin”, about somebody, I was stricken. I never wanted to be viewed as useless, and unworthy of my own body parts.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Growing up upper upper middle class, I completely took it for granted. From my parent’s home it was a seamless transfer to middle middle class as my husband and I were just starting out. It wasn’t until I hit poverty in the 90’s that I realized just how privileged I had been, and I’ve never taken it for granted again.

As far as my color, I know there are privileges to being white, but having never experienced being any other color I can’t really answer to that.

I’m am privileged with intelligence, and for that I really am grateful, but again, it’s something I never thought of until I encountered really stupid people and realized they couldn’t help it.

Being female is a mixed blessing….as we all now know! Being good looking was a privilege. You gain a certain amount kind of confidence from constantly being complimented. Rick and I went to look at a house for sale. The gal selling it is in her mid 60’s. Her skin was wrecked from years of too much sun, or tanning beds, or something. It was hard to see it, but I told Rick, “She was beautiful once.”
He said, “How do you know?”
I said, “Because of the way she carries herself. I can just tell.” It’s something you don’t lose, even when your looks have faded because it’s just part of you.
He was skeptical. I was positive.

eno's avatar

Never. I feel fine.

No practice of gratitude. What is the practical purpose?

Dutchess_III's avatar

To recognize how simply lucky you are. None of us really deserve any privilege that we have. To recognize it makes us better, kinder, more tolerant people. (Although I suck at that sometimes, I know!)

eno's avatar

I said practical purpose, not psychological nonsense.

flutherother's avatar

Constantly. I am very aware that I am privileged to have been born in this time and this place. Look at some of the alternatives in history and the third world today.

JLeslie's avatar

I am extremely grateful for all that I have.

First, I am grateful to live in a country where I for the most part feel safe and free. Specifically, I was raised to appreciate living in a country with freedom of religion and respect for one’s beliefs. I never forget this, even when America is pissing me off. I was lucky enough to be born here, but my relatives, especially on my paternal side, suffered a tremendous amount getting here and lived in poverty and had very hard lives that affected their mental and physical well being.

Second, I have more than I ever thought I would. More things, more money, and it also means I am generally safe, secure, and can afford whatever I need and afford some wants.

Third, I am fairly attractive, no great beauty, but attractive, with a nice figure, and I believe it helps me in life.

Fourth, I have people who love me, and I can’t imagine being all alone in the world.

Fifth, I was raised by people who had integrity and was shown and taught why and how to respect people and care about how we affect others. This is huge. People void of this have no conscience and it destroys society.

ucme's avatar

Every October, briefly.

trailsillustrated's avatar

Grateful everyday. Privilege discussion has not yet reached our shores.

longgone's avatar

A couple of times a week. It comes naturally, often following sadness.

Whenever I’m sad, my thoughts automatically turn to all the people that love me. Then, I usually realize that the current crisis will not render me homeless or even poor, because I’m okay financially.

I’ve always been happy to be female, so that thought crosses my mind on occasion.

The privilege of being in Germany is something I think about whenever I hear an ambulance, because the system of helping injured persons as fast as possible fascinates me.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

Probably not as often as I should do but I grew up in a fairly poor neighbourhood and my family weren’t wealthy at all. So I’m very conscious of how fortunate I am financially now. My work also makes me very conscious of my race and the privileges that affords me. Not to mention just living in a first-world country with everything that entails. One only has to watch the news to see how privileged we are. So fairly often actually.

hominid's avatar

Thanks for all of the great answers!

I also find that spending a few moments every day to notice how lucky I really am does a few things. First, it clears away any residual self-pity, pride, and jealousy that may have accumulated while I hadn’t noticed. Second, it really provides an opportunity for me to feel compassion and empathy. Third, it is simply seeing more clearly. There is no psychobabble necessary to see that luck and fortune is a much larger contributor to our lives than we give it credit for. We like to pretend that it’s our hard work ethic, or others’ laziness, or people’s weak characters. But that is pure delusion. And if we can do away with this, there is very little standing in the way of empathy and compassion. If I had been born to the same parents as person x, with the same genes, in the same country, with the same environment, I would be person x. There is no other variable available that would allow me to say, “well, I would have done things differently”.

Blackberry's avatar

It’s too the point where I feel sad for experiencing joy when ill always know there’s death and despair around us :(

I go on drives on big open roads because I’m bored, or go do drugs in beautiful national forests seeing nature at its finest, or stuffing my face in pretty restaurants lol.

tinyfaery's avatar

Not enough. And thank you for reminding me to do so.

Haleth's avatar

Lately, every time I watch the news. :(

LostInParadise's avatar

Sometimes more guilt than gratitude, the atheist equivalent of there but for the grace of God…

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

I actually don’t think about it that much. I’m in my mid-thirties, white, male and middle class. I feel like I had to work VERY hard to get where I am. I’m supposed to be among the most privileged people anywhere but that stereotype in my experience has been a barrier. Growing up in the height of political correctness and affirmative action I can’t even begin to tell you how often I was discriminated against for my “status.” I said nothing, I took no offense. If I encountered a wall I went around, over or under it. As much as I was ignored, passed over or left to my own devices I made the best of it and stood on my own. There was no extra help or privileges that were bestowed on me because of my status. If anything there was resistance, I still made it. In that aspect affirmative action worked because that must have been how minorities back in the day had to go through life if not worse. I’m honored to understand what they went through and how we got here. Struggle is a good thing, it makes you own your accomplishments, something you can’t do if they are handed to you. I’m proud of the Americans who did the same and much, much more. Kudos to those who rose above it all and made their way. That said, it’s time to retire the old ways. No more affirmative action, no more privileged access, just hard work and just rewards regardless of background.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

I get pretty choked up when I see people accomplish things when most would write them off for whatever reason. This is true especially when they don’t come from privilege or through some special program. I don’t care who you are, where you come from, what your gender or race is. I don’t respect status or position. I only respect the circumstance, ability and obstacles that someone has had to deal with. Give the underdogs the torch and it will burn brightly forever. They are the pulse and spirit of this nation because they know how to stand on their own.

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