We’re about 3/4 of the way through a month of 5 minute free writes based on one-word prompts provided by Kate Motaung. About 130 of us are writing together for the #31days challenge.
One way we can understand what privilege is is by looking at expectations. What can I expect to be typical in my day/week/month as far as how I interact with the world around me and how I am treated by others?
As an educated white female, I can expect
- that if a product disappoints me, when I take it back, the clerk will be courteous and accept the return.
- that if I enter a store I will be approached by staff who want to help me and ignored if I say I’m fine.
- that if Riley is having a hard time in public, people will largely respond to me emphatically.
- that if I assert myself too articulately or too strongly I will likely be viewed negatively by the other person.
My expectations are, to some degree, a reflection of my privilege (or, in the case of being female, lack thereof). And the expectations of those who are not beneficiaries of privilege change accordingly.
Others have wisely reminded us that privilege guilt, privilege blindness, and privilege shaming are all unhelpful. But privilege understanding continues to be worth our attention and consideration.