denotes an exclusive right or benefit (Clymer, 2013). When perceivedwithin the context of a social group, the concept privilege can beviewed as a private benefit that is allowed to individuals who belongto a demographic that wields power in society, for instance, whites,males, cisgenders, able-bodied men, and people with adequate mentalhealth. In addition, privilege can also be encompassed within thecultural framework. In this case, privileges or benefits are oftenviewed in an insidious manner. Focus usually shifts from physicalcapabilities to social constructs. Concepts such as money, financialstatus, religion, and overall appearance (eye color, clothing andhair,) are brought to bear. Social privileges exist in many formsthus, gaining an understanding of the common ones is prudent.
Iam a Hispanic male with a teaching experience of over 20 years. Ibelieve I have had the opportunity to view the privilege concept fromdifferent perspectives. To begin with, the Mexican culture upholdsmen as the dominant species in the community. Women, therefore, areexpected to submit to the will of men however, this way of life isrevealed somewhat subtly. For example, when I was young my motheralways sent my sister when she needed something, even when it wasevident that I was not doing anything. When I traveled to Texas topursue my higher education, I witnessed an entirely different scene.I realized that both the white male and the white female wereperceived as equal. Individuals belonging to other races, however,were viewed as inferior to the white race.
Thedominant attitude in the US is that a white person is law abidinguntil he is proven guilty, and a person of color is guilty until heis proven innocent. In fact, a survey conducted in the US revealedthat black people were viewed as drug dealers by a substantialportion of the American population (95%) (Johnson,2013). One of the respondents (Doris) in Alan G. Johnson`s post(2013) stated that systematic, institutionalized racism is gettingout of hand. To back her assertions up, she highlighted the highunemployment rates among African-Americans and the preferenceaccorded to the White candidates because of their color. The sameviewpoint was reiterated by another respondent (Samantha Fuentes),she stated that privilege should not be accorded to an individualjust because he or she belongs to a particular demographic.
Afterreading an article written by McIntosh (2009), I developed anin-depth understanding of the different types of privilege and howthese privileges affect the individuals who belong to the inferiordemographics. My understanding of privilege will help me accommodatethe needs of my students better since my knowledge of the points ofview of different people in the society has been enriched. Forexample, I now understand why the white individuals who have workedhard to earn a high status in society feel frustrated because thecommunity believes that their privileges are unearned. Also, Iunderstand why people in lesser demographics are looking foropportunities to better their lives cannot secure employment. also exists in schools some students may have moreopportunities accorded to them because of their appearances. To avoidsuch biases, I intend to give all my students equal opportunities tobetter themselves. I will also equip my students with knowledge thatwill help them avoid the common stereotypes advanced by thecommunity, for example, thin, religious, racial, passing, and classprivileges. This knowledge will help them downplay the importance ofunearned privileges.
In a recap of the above discussion, privilege can be perceived as anexclusive benefit that is allowed to individuals who belong to ademographic that wields power in society. For example, in the US,society sees the white as being law abiding as opposed to people withcolor. Such stereotypes affect individuals who belong to the lesserdemographic negatively. Knowledge of these types of privilege isnecessary because one can use it to impact change in the community.
Clymer,C. (2013). CharlesClymer: What "privilege" means and why you should be awareof it….Charlesclymer.blogspot.co.ke.Retrieved 12 July 2016, fromhttp://charlesclymer.blogspot.co.ke/2013/03/what-privilege-means-and-why-you-should.html
Johnson,A. (2013). Whatis a ‘system of privilege’? AllanG. Johnson.Retrieved 12 July 2016, fromhttp://www.agjohnson.us/glad/what-is-a-system-of-privilege/#comment-44
McIntosh,P. (2009). White an Account to Spend, 1 – 4.