Since starting my work as a Peace Kids and Respectful Relationships Facilitator AND engaging in awareness about gender-based violence I have come to learn a lot about privilege. I have long felt privileged but I had never understood it like I do now (this in itself is a result of being privileged). As a caucasian cisgender* male, growing up in a fairly wealthy family, being well of body, and Canadian, I am able to check off most of the boxes that designate me with privilege in the world as it currently exists.
The world is not an equal one for all (though in my heart of hearts I wish that it could be and it should be). I liken privilege to that of currents in water that make it easier for some and harder for others to move. Unless one experiences going against the current it is impossible to know what it is like. The only way to gain understanding is to ask those who might be experiencing “going against the current”. Ask those who are cis-female or identify as non-heterosexual, people of colour, not as able-bodied, or those who live in cultures other than “mainstream Western culture” if they experience the world as equal. They may share their story. Listen well and ride out any discomfort you may feel. It is well worth the effort.
*Cisgender: (often abbreviated to simply cis) is a term for people whose experiences of their own gender agree with the sex they were assigned at birth.
Photo Credit: University of San Francisco