Privileges & Changing The World: STORYTIME

Since the day I was born, I have been taught to recognise that I am a privileged white female with probably one of the safest (not so much in this current moment in time) and most sheltered life anyone could lead. 

This has always confused me to whether or not it was a good thing or bad thing.

Obviously I am aware that it is incredible and I am eternally grateful to have been given my life and wow I cannot put into words how lucky I am.

However I have also been brought up to also almost feel guilty for being as privileged as I am. 

To feel guilty for leading a life that I did not chose in the first place (however if I could choose, obviously I would pick without hesitation) simply because other's who also couldn't choose have it worse than I ever could; this is a weird internal confusion to have
Why do I feel guilty for something I can't help? Isn't that ridiculously stupid?

The reason for my internal confusion is purely down to being told by teachers, media, friends and family over and over again throughout my life that others have it worse. This is obviously what has fuelled this confusion.
I have no doubt that there are people who have it worse and in no way do I wish to seem like a spoiled brat, because this is not where this feature is going I can assure you.

So I am going to stop rambling and instead tell a story.

A teacher conducted a powerful yet simple exercise to teach his students about social mobility and privilege. He gave each student a piece of paper and asked them to crumple it up into a ball.

He then moved the bin to the front of the classroom.

He told his students this: "The game is simple, you all represent the world's population. Everyone in the world has the chance to become wealthy, to become upper class, to be educated, to be happy, to be healthy.

To achieve this, all you have to do is throw your ball of paper into the bin whilst sitting in your seat.

The students at the back of the room automatically called that the exercise was unfair. It's obvious that those at the front have a better chance of achieving the goal of the exercise.

Everyone took their shots, and as the students at the back pointed out, mainly those at the front (not all) landed their ball of paper in the bin. Only a few at the back made it.

The teacher concluded: "The closer you were to the bin, the better your odds. This is what privilege looks like. Did you notice how the only ones who complained about fairness were the ones at the back?"

"Those at the front of the room were less likely to be aware of the privilege they were born into. All they can see is the bin and their goal, not rows of students in front of them obstructing it.

"Your job, as educated students, is to be aware of this particular privilege you have. To do your best to achieve great things, all while advocating for those in the rows behind you."

I think this educator did an excellent job to teach kids the fundamental issue in privilege that some people maybe failing to see or want to see.
Furthermore discussions like this need to continue so that people are aware when the game is rigged to get the message across that those nearer don't necessarily realise how hard it is for those further away.

It's important to remember that the geographic location of your seat represents where you start out NOT where you end up. Your seat represents your current situation and things you can't change.
No one says that you can't move your seat up eventually.
Everyone has factors they're unable to change. All you can do is figure out how to shoot from where you are and the best way to do it by changing the rules of the game to work in your favour.
There are going to be people/things that block you. You will have to take that chair and lift it over your head and walk between other people's seats. That's not impossible but it's hard, kids may stand up, block you and say no; "you can't come up here" or being physically unable to move due to disabilities. Not everyone can lift a chair.

The fact still remains that if you started in the back, you started in the back and nothing can change that.  Even if you moved your seat to the front, you had to work harder to do so and that probably took you longer too. What people at the front row also fail to realise is that when you start at the back row, you are often taught that you will never make it to the front.

You know what's really interesting about privilege? The people who benefit from it the most are usually the ones who deny that it exists or not aware of it.
 This is about acknowledging that some people do start at the back. Gaining an ounce of humanity, empathy, conscience and thinking that maybe instead of shooting from our chairs alone; we should work towards a society where everyone gets taught how to aim and throw, a chance to walk up to that bin, making the bin bigger for all and being more accessible to everyone.
 Life isn't fair but I think if you're privileged enough you can at least attempt to make it that way and should try.

People should realise privilege exists and what it means for the underprivileged.
Privilege is a good thing, and should be used to create for good of everyone, to work together to even things out so that everyone has a chance.

Privilege is unearned, that is not to say that it is undeserved.

 Let's use our privileges to aid those less privileged. What you have to work with is not nearly as important to as what you do with it.
Why should those things ever be hard to reach for anyone who is trying?

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  1. 'Privilege is unearned, that is not to say that it is undeserved.'
    I honestly think this is the best thing I've read in ages. The fact you've actually tackled this subject sort of amazes me because I know I would never be able too, never mind as well as you just have! Its so difficult now to distinguish wether or not being privileged makes you look, feel or act one way or another, especially towards other people, and I am so glad you wrote this!
    Have a fantastic week lovely,
    Bethany x

  2. Lovely post! :)

    I would like to invite you to my blog! I would be so happy if we support each other on Bloglovin, GFC and Facebook!
    Do it and let me know! xx

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