Here’s a clip from a show I did with Andy Crouch, the Executive Editor of Christianity Today magazine about his book “Playing God: Redeeming the Gift of Power”, and the chapter on privilege.
There has been much written about and spoken about privilege. Is it good or bad?
Let’s begin with a definition.
Privilege:a special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group of people.
So we can see that privilege is a right, or advantage or benefit of some sort bestowed upon some people but not all, through various means.
By the definition, we cannot all have privilege or at least the same privilege as each other. So privilege has uniqueness. I am privileged to be married to my wife Barbara. She granted or agreed to be married to me, and I to her. It is a unique arrangement. I am privileged to be the DAD to wonderful daughters. This privilege comes from the privilege of being married to Barbara. It is a privilege in which I benefit. I “get” to be married to and to love someone I value dearly. I “get” to be the Dad to mu kids. I’m fortunate. I’m fortunate.
Privilege as identified above, is also an obligation. I’ve heard that the word obligation is not received well by some, if this is true I also want you to revisit your idea of privilege as yu read this through.ob·li·ga·tionˌäbləˈɡāSH(ə)n/noun
an act or course of action to which a person is morally or legally bound; a duty or commitment.“he has enough cash to meet his present obligations”
the condition of being morally or legally bound to do something.
a debt of gratitude for a service or favor.
Why am I obliged because of my privilege? Because I’m grateful for it. I realize the all privilege is bestowed or given to me, It is granted to me.
“Back in the day” as the saying goes, when someone gave you a gift the retort was, “much obliged”. In other words I owe you, I am in your debt, if I can ever help you, I will.
Jerry Seinfeld does a great “bit” about waiting in line. (Or as they say in New York waiting “on” line.) In the bit he is making observations about the people in the line, the people serving those in line as their turn comes up. Then all of sudden he realizes what he describes and the best state or place to be in life…… NEXT. Being next is a privilege when you’re waiting in line at the bank, or then food shelf. All of sudden YOU’RE IT!. It’s YOUR turn. This privilege happens to everyone at some point.
I am also privileged in America because I’m white. But being of Irish/French ancestry, my whiteness would mean nothing in Russia. My race would give me no privilege in Nairobi Kenya or Japan. None.
So privilege cannot be attributed to race alone, but sometimes race can be a privilege.
So what do I think about privilege?
I think that privilege, like diversity, is a fact of life.
The point for me is- WHAT I DO WITH MY PRIVILEGE WHEN I HAVE IT?
THAT’s what defines me. Your thoughts? Comment below.