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Understanding our privilege

I came across this video on Facebook recently that brought me to tears. This is a powerful video all about privilege and I think that all people need to watch it.

Whenever we think about privilege our immediate first thoughts are generally of; “white privilege” or even more specifically; a “white man’s privilege”. Now obviously, yea it does exist. But I think it’s unfair to claim that all, and only white men have experienced privilege.

Privilege can come from many different aspects of your life as demonstrated in this video. Privilege is made up of all the things that you have attained or had access to which have led to the opportunities you now have in life. None of which has anything to do with anything you have done.

In google, privilege is defined as: a special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group.

The reason this video made me cry is that it made me realise even further how lucky I was compared to other people. It made me see my privilege for what it was – a head start in life.

While I counted how many things I could step forward to in this video, it also made me think about all the other things in my life I am very privileged to have. I think that a lot of my friends and family have experienced the same privileges that I have, and I also think that (most) people in this country have experienced at least some small form of privilege.

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I want to first clarify that I am not assuming to know you or your life. I know there are people (even in Australia) who are poor, homeless, experiencing illness or abuse. We all have different lives and I don’t mean to personally offend anyone. I will say that I am merely pointing out some of the things that we as Australians are lucky to have.

I refer to our country because as you all know Australia is a first world country and with that comes a tremendous amount of privilege. Australia is one of the richest countries in the world. (though, the wealth is not necessarily distributed accordingly I’ll admit).

We are lucky that our society is growing and changing in infrastructure and technology as well as social values.

In a first world country a large majority of us don’t have to worry about access to food and clean water. We have access to education and free healthcare (something that the great USA doesn’t even have yet).

Most importantly Australia has rights such as freedom of religion, freedom to celebrate and express our cultural heritage no matter where we are from. We have a right to vote for our government and to political communication. These are just some of the privileges that we have that third world countries do not.

Australia is not perfect, I know. But we are still a very privileged society just the same.

If you are like me, you would not have had to experience your parents’ divorce. You had access to an education, you had a phone, food on the table and the opportunity to experience luxuries such as engaging in your favourite activities or going on family vacations.

These are all things that are given to us. They have nothing to do with anything we have done. That is the privilege I am talking about.

Understanding your own privilege is a very important step to discovering yourself as well as the world you live in. It’s easy to forget how good we’ve got it sometimes. But that is why I am sharing this video with you today.

Most of us will finish school. Soon the world of possibilities will open up and we will have the chance to make something of ourselves. The chance to be who we want to be, to make a difference and contribute to society.

All the different pathways and opportunities that we have are a direct result of what we were given at the beginning of our lives.

Do not take that privilege for granted.

 

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