On Privilege

This is an excerpt from a Facebook post I made earlier this year, about the cartoon that will be linked below. I thought it might be a relevant post in relation to the book Between The World and Me, which I just posted a review of, so I figured why not share it here too?

THE CARTOON

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It’s easy to forget how privileged you are when you are in the midst of it. I get overwhelmed sometimes, I get stressed at the thought of working and attending uni at the same time sometimes. But that’s before I remember that I would not have the job I have without my connections. I would not have been accepted into the course I have, I would not have graduated from that course with the grades I did, without the privileges given to me by my parents who were capable of giving me everything that they did as I grew up, and setting me on the path that I am now.

No man is self made, no one person is where they are in life because of their own actions, because it takes more than the lifetime of one person to create that person’s position in life. It takes the work of their parents, their grandparents, it takes the work of all of history to either build someone up or break them down.

It becomes particularly important to remember this when you look at the current President of the USA who stands there in his white privilege, the son of a millionaire, in a country that favours white men, and claims that he is self-made. It is even more important when you live in a world that claims the cycle of poverty is the result of lazy people rather than a system that makes it impossible for anyone to escape poverty, or that uses the idea of a ‘dream’ that anyone can achieve what they want if they work hard enough as an excuse for ignoring underprivileged people who need a helping hand to achieve such dreams.

I try and remember this as often as I can: that I am one of the lucky ones. And that I, along with all of you, should remember my privileges. It’s only when you are aware of your privileges that you can use them to help those without them.

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