Invisible Privilege

1. Privilege is a hard concept for many people to grasp. This is because they were born into well-to-do families and never had to come to terms with it. Or perhaps they labored hard for their success but eventually forgot how far they had come. Without a doubt, the most privileged type of people are caucasians, specifically white males. Throughout history they have cemented themselves as the dominant group, both in the gender and race arenas. They are not exclusive to this group; also included would be anyone born into riches or given many opportunities to succeed over others. They can often go their whole life without ever realizing the tremendous edge they have over everyone else.
Privilege is always recognized,envied, desired, and hated most by those who have the misfortune of not having experienced it as richly as others. Whether they be Black, female, gay it is inevitable that they will be less privileged in some way from the so called “more acceptable” people. These are the people who can appreciate seeing their hard work pay off and watching their privileges rise with that success. They know what it’s like to be deprived of that status and they have an honest desire to acchieve the same as those they see who enjoy it, though most likely in complete and total oblivion.

2. Andrea seemed to be uncomfortable in Jewel’s house for several reasons. She was apparently overwhelmed by the interactions between Jewel’s family members. Though not in another country, Andrea was experiencing minor culture shock because she had never witnessed people talking to each other in that manner in her own culture. She expected conversation to follow a pattern she was used to and became uncomfortable when it didn’t match her expectations. Andrea was also distressed by how dark the house was because her privileged life she was unfamiliar with having to be conscious about saving electricity. She was shocked by the second toilet in Jewel’s basement, which she had to use in the dark. She was so used to her standard of living that she couldn’t get past the differences in her friend’s house and just have a good time.

I believe that people can overcome these social differences. Though the differences might be shocking and hard to deal with at first, it’s important to remember that we are all people no matter what color or class we are from. I feel like Andrea should have focused more on being Jewel’s friend and catching up on lost time than being concerned and even frightened by the new environment. Paula S. Rosenberg blamed three hundred years of race, class and various other differences as the reason why her daughter couldn’t maintain a friendship with Jewel but it was really more simple than that. Two eight year old girls don’t care about those issues as much as adults do. Andrea simply couldn’t look past her friend’s lack of privilege.

3. I have become more aware of my privileged life the older I get and the more people I encounter. I have my own place to live, a car to drive, two jobs and I go to school. I’m a white male which automatically gets me further than other people could attain in certain situations. I’ve been made very aware of these points especially since my girlfriend is African American. I had never grown up with racism directed toward me. I had never been openly judged because of my skin color. As my relationship has progressed with my girlfriend I’ve had many multicultural experiences where I have experienced a life style that is far different than mine. Though other people may have less privilege than that of myself, I have never let that affect my view of that person. I’m aware of my so called “edge” over other people but I try my best not to let it get in the way of being their friend.

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