KMJ Coaching & Consulting

"Coaching Consulting Diversity Inclusion Specialists"
  • 403 921 1805

Deconstructing Privilege

What is "Privilege?"

The definition of privilege is. .. a right or immunity granted as a peculiar benefit, advantage, or favour (merriam-webster.com). When we talk about privilege White men of most particularly middle-age, and advantaged economic class would be the group that comes to mind. Although it is the main demographic that benefits most from social, financial and other resources, depending on who you are, you will see and experience privilege differently. For Organizations, Companies, and Schools, paying particular attention to developing a strategy of even distribution of these resources can make a huge difference in the lives of people that fall outside of the main demographic. In his article “Origins of Privilege” Joshua Rothman highlights how “ the concept really came into its own in the late eighties, when Peggy McIntosh, a women’s-studies scholar at Wellesley, started writing about it in 1988” (newyorker.com, Joshua Rothman May 12,2014) . In Harper’s Bazaar UK (harperbazaar.com/uk/culture - by Ella Alexander ” Jan 7, 2021) She shares 20 of Mcintosh’s examples of how this Privilege functions

“Understanding White Privilege: 20 Everyday Examples

1. I can, if I wish, arrange to be in the company of people of my race most of the time.
2. 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.
3. I can be pretty sure that my neighbours in such a location will be neutral or pleasant to me.
4. I can go shopping alone most of the time, pretty well assured that I will not be followed or harassed.
5. I can turn on the television or open to the front page of the paper and see people of my race widely represented.
6. When I am told about our national heritage or about “civilisation,” I am shown that people of my colour made it what it is.
7. I can be sure that my children will be given curricular materials that testify to the existence of their race.
8. If I want to, I can be pretty sure of finding a publisher for this piece on white privilege.
9. I can go into a music shop and count on finding the music of my race represented, into a supermarket and find the staple foods that fit with my cultural traditions, into a hairdresser’s shop and find someone who can cut my hair.
10. Whether I use checks, credit cards or cash, I can count on my skin colour not to work against the appearance of financial reliability.
11. I can arrange to protect my children most of the time from people who might not like them.
12. I can swear, or dress in second-hand clothes, or not answer letters, without having people attribute these choices to the bad morals, the poverty, or the illiteracy of my race.
13. I can speak in public to a powerful male group without putting my race on trial.
14. I can do well in a challenging situation without being called a credit to my race.
15. I am never asked to speak for all the people of my racial group.
16. I can remain oblivious of the language and customs of persons of colour who constitute the world’s majority without feeling in my culture any penalty for such oblivion.
17. I can criticise our government and talk about how much I fear its policies and behaviour without being seen as a cultural outsider.
18. I can be pretty sure that if I ask to talk to “the person in charge,” I will be facing aperson of my race.
19. If a traffic cop pulls me over or if the IRS audits my tax return, I can be sure I haven’tbeen singled out because of my race.
20. I can easily buy posters, postcards, picture books, greeting cards, dolls, toys, and children’s magazines featuring people of my race.The definition of privilege is. .. a right or immunity granted as a peculiar benefit, advantage, or
favour (merriam-webster.com) . Read the full list at Nationalseedproject.org