October 25, 2015


what comes to your mind when you think of the word privilege?

do you think of money? status? advantage?

...what about gender? race? religion? sexuality? education? ability?

i've been thinking a lot about the topic of privilege, as it has become extremely important to me in the last year. from day one of my graduate program, a change started taking place. i started to become aware of my privilege.

in this article by peggy mcintosh, privilege is broken down into an easy-to-understand checklist. how privileged are you?

there are several different types of privilege, though, as this article details.

yes, i am a white girl from utah valley.

when i was younger, i didn't think i was racist because i had spent eight years of my childhood on the east coast. i attended a public school in inner-city hampton, virginia where the teachers and students were mostly black. february {black history month} was celebrated even more than Christmas! as a child, skin color didn't affect who i played with or what i thought.

the innocence of childhood lasts only so long before cynicism and fear {of anything different from our definition of normal} take over. these color our judgement, taking us from innocent children to adolescents and young adults who learn from faulty/extremely biased text and teachers about different versions of history.

this is why i plead with you to watch the documentary "slavery by another name" and learn that not only is the brutality towards black people ongoing to this day, but many of the prejudices held against black people {read: judgmental beliefs of an entire race's nature as lazy, violent, and "bad"} are based on falsehood created by unjust circumstances.

i have embedded this link from youtube: https://youtu.be/VAJLSpUXawE
i originally found it on pbs: http://www.pbs.org/tpt/slavery-by-another-name/home/

please, somehow, watch this. or at least some of it.
it is sad and it is true.

if you don't have time to watch the documentary, please at least watch this clip from "sexuality +" about racism.

here is the link to youtube: https://youtu.be/h_hx30zOi9I

as i work with social workers who help the people of new jersey in crisis, a majority who are on welfare, i realize the depth of america's skewed perceptions of the black poor.

my sister, who is in school at the university of utah for a ph.d. in political science/international relations, wrote a paper on the book "why americans hate welfare: race, media, and the politics of anti-poverty policy" by martin gilens.

i felt the following quote was extremely telling of american bias:

"although blacks only make up 36% of welfare recipients and 27% of all those who are poor in America, “whites’ attitudes toward poverty and welfare are dominated by their beliefs about blacks (gilens 5).

i strongly believe that education about these kinds of issues is the first step in changing the current reality of racism in our country.

i've always believed that love is the answer for everything. since we tend to love people more when we understand their background, maybe this can help.

i don't know if it will, but i have to try.
there is so much hurt and sorrow in the world.
and i am so unbelievably blessed and privileged.

what will you do with your privilege?
i want to help others with mine.