January 11, 2017- Privilege
“When you are accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression.”
Unknown source (thanks to Chris Boeskool)
Think about it for a moment. It certainly took me a while to get the full implications of this insight. Many of us―especially compared to the rest of the world―are solidly in the category of “privileged.” As other groups of people move up from a status of “underprivileged” or “minority” or “oppressed,” those who are used to being privileged might well think that they are now oppressed―because that’s exactly what it feels like. The world around them has shifted and their first response can understandably be negative: “Hey, wait a minute…!” And in some cases, the once privileged are indeed treated unfairly.
However, this is often a time of equalization, of opportunity, and often a consequential moment of decision: Do we really believe in the fundamentals of democracy, in the attempt to make true the words “all men are created equal”? Are we really willing to share power and privilege? Even when the feeling, and sometimes even the reality, of being treated unfairly persists?
The challenging choice is ours, all of ours. Can we acknowledge historical privilege wherever it has appeared and become more open to the inclusion of others? This is a complex issue and certainly there is more to it than I mention here. As an incentive, we all might keep in mind that taking a more noble and generous stance here is a very real and practical way to contribute to peace in the world.
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