Updated: Dec 30, 2020
As an inclusion, diversity, and anti-racism professional I can't tell you how many times discussions around white privilege, privilege, and power becomes a lightning rod of emotion. Mostly, because the term privilege conjures up a picture of ease, comfort, and lack of struggle. I understand. Life is not easy. Nevertheless, until we accept and own the privilege we have, how can we be grateful for what we have and how can we use what we have for the betterment of society?
I remember waking up in my home with running water, electricity, and two refrigerators and a freezer full of food, listening to the devastating reports coming out of Puerto Rico, in the aftermath of hurricane Maria. My privilege became so apparent. Acknowledgement of my privilege, my unearned gift, that a disaster had not ravaged my state. As the people of Puerto Rico suffered, I thought about how I could use my privilege to help. For me, it became a donation. That was the best I could do in that moment. However, if I had denied my privilege it would not have occurred to me how I could leverage my privilege for good.
As John Amaechi explains here in one of the clearest descriptions of privilege I have heard, if you are struggling with owning or understanding the privilege you have, think of the impediments that you do NOT have.