Does privilege negate hard work?

Privilege is a complex thing.

I think the reason that so many people have a hard time accepting their privilege is because they feel like it negates their hard work. They’re not comfortable with the realisation that if it wasn’t for certain things about them, they would have experienced life very differently. More often than not having more hurdles to overcome.

Privilege comes in many forms: financial, gender, race, sexuality and religion for a start but there is so much more.

And so if you come under the categories of Middle class, Male, White, Straight and Christian there is evidence to show that you face less barriers. Furthermore, the categories you fit into don’t disadvantage you, for the most part.

It can be challenging for people that feel like they have worked hard to be told that they’re privileged. They’re often the ones that believe in meritocracy and feel like anyone who can’t achieve the same as them must not be working hard enough.

Ironically, it’s often that everyone else has had to work harder.

I think the easiest way to understand this whole thing of privilege is to meet more people that are not like you. That way you actually get to see the what it’s like for other people.

Whether that is not continuing education because they can’t afford it, worrying that their natural hair will be a barrier to employment or even constantly having negative assumptions thrown at them because of their religions beliefs.

The point of all this is not for you to feel bad, the point is to gain understanding and awareness.

Your privilege doesn’t negate your hard work but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

Welcoming normal

I think what many are craving is a sense of ‘normal’, the way things once were.

If you’re lucky, normal might have been just fine but it’s worth acknowledging that that’s not the case for everyone.

Of course the easy thing to do would be nothing and just let things go back to what they were, after all you don’t have any issues.

I think that’s the mindset that limits us and stops progress.

We’re so afraid that better for them means worse for us that we’re willing to let them suffer.

It might not be so explicit in your mind but if you take some time you might realise that’s the reason behind your mindset.