(via Nityanand Jayaraman)
Written about white privilege, this is still a good manual to understand privilege, and assess how many unearned assets you have to your name. I'm privileged on most counts -- upper caste, upper class, able-bodied heterosexual male living in a place where my native language is the lingua franca. That does not automatically make me an asshole, but it certainly pushes a realisation that one's comments and actions on what is good or bad and why for those without these privileges are fraught with subliminal stereotypes born of privilege.
EXPLAINING WHITE PRIVILEGE TO A BROKE WHITE PERSON...
- "I can turn on the television or open to the front page of the paper and see people of my race widely represented."
- "When I am told about our national heritage or about “civilization,” I am shown that people of my color made it what it is."
- "If a traffic cop pulls me over or if the IRS audits my tax return, I can be sure I haven’t been singled out because of my race."
- "I can if I wish arrange to be in the company of people of my race most of the time."
- "If I should need to move, I can be pretty sure of renting or purchasing housing in an area, which I can afford and in which I would want to live."
- "I can be pretty sure that my neighbors in such a location will be neutral or pleasant to me."
- "I can go shopping alone most of the time, pretty well assured that I will not be followed or harassed."
- "If I want to, I can be pretty sure of finding a publisher for this piece on white privilege."
- Citizenship - Simply being born in this country affords you certain privileges non-citizens will never access.
- Class - Being born into a financially stable family can help guarantee your health, happiness, safety, education, intelligence, and future opportunities.
- Sexual Orientation - By being born straight, every state in this country affords you privileges that non-straight folks have to fight the Supreme Court for.
- Sex - By being born male, you can assume that you can walk through a parking garage without worrying you'll be raped and that a defense attorney will then blame it on what you were wearing.
- Ability - By being born able bodied, you probably don't have to plan your life around handicap access, braille, or other special needs.
- Gender - By being born cisgendered, you aren't worried that the restroom or locker room you use will invoke public outrage.
- As you can see, belonging to one or more category of Privilege, especially being a Straight White Middle Class Able-Bodied Male, can be like winning a lottery you didn't even know you were playing. But this is not to imply that any form of privilege is exactly the same as another or that people lacking in one area of privilege understand what it's like to be lacking in other areas. Race discrimination is not equal to Sex Discrimination and so forth.