The last few weeks have gotten the wheels in my head turning. It can be easy to see the ways in which we are underprivileged. We can always see the deficit around us in regards to ourselves. But it’s not as easy to see how privileged we are.
I’ve often focused on the ways I’ve been underprivileged, such as being female or being nonreligious. I get stared at when I wear clothes that are not considered modest by the dominant religion around here. I can feel the looks when my tattoos are exposed, or when I have a cup of coffee in my hand. Those are daily occurrences in my life, and often the lack of privilege shows itself in more serious ways.
But after the last few weeks, I’ve been considering more and more how much privilege I do have. Being born into a white, middle class family puts me in a position of privilege. I’ve always lived in reasonable safe neighborhoods. I’ve always been reasonably healthy. I haven’t had to worry about people thinking I am a thief or a terrorist, and I can’t possibly imagine what it would be like to live that way.
Because of this, I want to do more and more to help those in need. I like the idea of being an advocate. I already told this story, but recently I stood up for my beliefs in the speech lab. One of my students was using racially insensitive rhetoric, and I took the time to explain to him why it wasn’t right. If I was a person of color, it’s likely he would have disregarded what I said. But by using my place of privilege, I think he listened to me. I’m going to continue to take those opportunities to be an advocate and continue to learn new ways I can help those with less privilege than I.