Sunday SHort Musings
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Sunday Short #1 – Privilege

Welcome all, I’m going to experiment with a new format of post, the Sunday Short. This will be more personal and reflective, and much shorter than my usual blog posts.

Things I’ve been thinking about this week – Privilege

To begin, let’s check we are all on the same hymn sheet. Like many words, meanings can change or evolve over time.

I believe privilege is defined as an unearned benefit typically gained at birth

Luck Four leaf cloverYeah, I am privileged immensely, being born to white middle class parents in a developed country. I was also lucky to grow up somewhere it didn’t matter how rich or poor or what colour you were, everyone was treated the same. This was all through school and university, there was no special treatment.

But now I’ve spread my wings, I can see this was not the case for everybody. And now I’m in the liberal elite London bubble, and wondering do I acknowledge my privilege enough? At a event at parliament, I was shocked that all the catering staff were people of colour. Hello, does no-one think this is indicative of a serious culture problem?

Nowadays with a different perspective the barriers I see are scary. The public school crowd don’t realise how lucky they are, and some communities have a dearth of aspiration and role models. And when a few people make it from these communities, we assume everyone can. It’s a dilemma, how do we as a society deal with the variation of privilege?

Which brings me on the complexity of the difference between earned and unearned achievements. Where is the line between luck and hard work? And what happens if you got a head start due to privilege? Is your hard work less valid? Do we need to adopt the golf approach and give people life handicaps? What are your thoughts?

Week Review

The Sunday Short will also feature a review of the past week, and some thoughts on the coming week.

Past weekRunner

  • Completed my 6th marathon last weekend. This was bittersweet. Although I’m never a fast runner, I was really rather slow at this one. I’m grateful I finished, but also know I could have done much better if I trained more and dropped some weight. Attempting to turn these regrets into something positive.
  • Successfully managed my first all day fast. This is something I’ve been meaning to try for a while, but never done. And the marathon result gave me the spurn on I needed. Despite a few strange flutters in my stomach at tea time, I didn’t ever feel hungry. I was so delighted I managed to get to this zen like state of contentment. Well chuffed, and happy to publically state I’ll be doing it again next week.
  • I’ve let my Chinese go to the side while I’ve been busy. I need to get back on the wagon and get practising more. If you don’t use it, you lose it.

And the coming week

  • Work, it’s going to be a busy week work wise so I’ll be no doubt working late a few nights.
  • Voluntary work, again it’s a critical week and will take up a lot of time. Not ideal that these both come together, but we are where we are.
  • But then it’s holiday time on Saturday, I’m away for my Easter getaway. This is something I’m really looking forward too, although the forecast is looking cold, so I’m making sure I get some cold weather plans organised.

Over to you

  • What items have you been thinking about this week?
  • Any good articles to share?
  • Has it been a good week?
  • Any plans for next week?

8 comments on “Sunday Short #1 – Privilege

  1. Privilege is an interesting topic and one that doesn’t seem to get a fair debate. Most people are strongly opposed to privileged folks and tend to blame them for having advantages they don’t even have control over. Seems unfair to me, unless the person is a jerk, of course. Bitches Get Riches had a great post on this topic recently: http://www.bitchesgetriches.com/little-princess-intersectional-feminist-masterpiece/

    I like this short form sunday post!

    1. I’m brown and an immigrant. For what its worth, I’ve never felt opposed to folks that were privileged nor do I feel an inclination to blame them. As you correctly point out, they don’t have control over the advantages they have because of being white.

      I think what would help a lot is if privileged folks *realized* they were privileged – because many don’t. That’s all we ask. 🙂

      There is always an undercurrent of color/race and being stereotyped that will not go away any time soon.

      In the end, we can’t control where we’re born but we can control what we do, how hard we work to be successful – privileged or otherwise.

      Apologies if this comment offends anyone.

      1. Thanks for stopping by and commenting, your point is really insightful – that people need to realise they have privileges others don’t. And we can’t control these things, but we can control how we act, and acknowledge it.

        PS have no idea why your comment would offend anyone.

    2. Thanks prosperlyway, yeah I liked that Bitches Get Riches post, but didn’t love the film as much as the writer!

      Agreed jerks are jerks, that’s interesting you say people are opposed to privileged folks – I always thought it was the opposite! It certainly gets you jobs and higher wages here as we’re saying in the gender pay gap.

  2. I had a working class upbringing, growing up in a little town where the majority of folk who worked were employed at the local steelworks, factory or high street shops. Unemployment however was relatively high in the area as I recall a lot of the schoolkids had free school lunches.

    My siblings and I were the only non-whites in our state school. However, we were treated the same as everyone else, which enabled us to do well and all go on to uni.

    We were also able to do this because we were privileged to have parents who put food on the table, clothes on our backs, encouraged us to study and provided us with a stable home to grow up in.

    Not everyone is so privileged so I count myself very lucky.

    Anyway, congrats on the marathon completion – always admire people who run them as it’s not something I would ever attempt!

    1. Hi Weenie – I’m realising we do far better in the UK than the US on this, as I remember everyone being treated reasonably equally at school despite different levels of prosperity of their parents. I think it took me ages to realise what people getting free school meals actually meant, I thought I was unlucky not getting a special ticket for my lunch.

      Thanks for the marathon congrat, we’ve all got to have our mad indulgences!

What do you think?