What is Privilege?

In this bulletin, we will be discussing the topic of Privilege. You’ll be able to find sections including definitions involving privilege, history, videos, articles/handouts, statistics, and questions to ponder.


DEFINITIONS

Privilege: Unearned access to resources (social power) that are only readily available to some people because of their social group membership; an advantage, or immunity granted to or enjoyed by one societal group above and beyond the common advantage of all other groups. Privilege is often invisible to those who have it.

Social Power: Access to resources that enhance one’s chances of getting what one needs in order to lead a comfortable, productive and safe life.

Target or Oppressed Identities: Social groups that are negatively valued, considered to be inferior, abnormal, or dependent and given limited access to resources and social power. 

Agent or Privileged Identities: Social groups that are positively valued considered superior, independent, or “normal” and have access to resources and power.

Christian Privilege: The unearned access, resources and social status systematically given to Christians at the expense of other religious and nonreligious individuals, cultures and institutions.   

Class Privilege: The unearned access, resources and social status systematically given to upper-middle, upper, rich and owning class individuals at the expense of working and poor class individuals. 

Heterosexual/Straight Privilege: The unearned access, resources and social status systematically given heterosexual/straight individuals at the expense of lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer and pansexual people. 

Male Privilege: The unearned access, resources and social status systematically given to men at the expense of women. 

White Privilege: The unearned access, resources and social status systematically given to white people at the expense of people of color. 

Adult Privilege: The unearned access, resources and social status systematically given to adults (between age 25 – 55). 

Temporarily Able: The unearned access, resources and social status systematically given to people who are physically, psychologically, cogitatively and intellectually able at the expense of people with a disability (physical, psychological, cognitive or learning). 

Cis Privilege: The unearned access, resources and social status systematically given to cisgender people at the expense of trans* people. 

Cisgender: An individual’s self-perception and expression of gender is the same as their biological sex they were assigned at birth.


VIDEOS

Dear White People- Racism Insurance Coverage for White Privilege (White Privilege)

'White Boy Privilege'

A Tale of Two Schools (Class Privilege)

Imagine A World Where Being "Gay" The Norm & Being "Straight" Would Be The Minority! (Heterosexual Privilege) 

33 Reasons Why It is GREAT to be Christian in the US (Christian Privilege)  

Your Privilege as an Able-Bodied Person 

STRAIGHT PEOPLE PRIVILEGES

What is Thin Privilege? 


STATISTICS

  • Cisgender and Straight Privilege
    • 35 states have no laws against employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity 
    • 26% of the United States employers would not promote a qualified gay individual 
    • 83% of all transgender people report verbal abuse because of their identity or gender presentation
  • White Privilege 
    • In New York City, 80% of the police stops were made towards Blacks and Latinos, and 85% were frisked, compared to the 8% of Whites
    • African Americans are 33% more likely to be detained than Whites and being faced with felony charges 
  • Male Privilege
    • 1 in 2.5 women are victims of sexual assault in their lifetime 
  • Class Privilege
    • Two-thirds of all income growth that occurred between 2001-2007 went to the wealthy class

QUESTIONS TO PONDER

  • What social identities (race, class, sex, gender, sexual orientation, age, ability, religion) of yours hold privilege in the United States? 
  • How do you currently use your privilege? Who benefits? 
  • Are you willing to use your privilege to educate others who ALSO have your privilege but are unaware of it?
  • What’s your first memory of your privilege? Is it easy for you to recognize your privilege in everyday situations? 

ARTICLES

How to talk to someone about privilege who doesn’t know what it is  

19 Examples of Ability Privilege 

30 Examples of Christian Privilege

30 Examples of Cisgender Privilege

30 Examples of Middle- Upper Class Privilege

30 Examples of Heterosexual Privilege

30 Examples of Male Privilege

17 Examples of White Privilege

Peggy McIntosh’s – White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Backpack   

20 Example of Age Privilege


RESOURCES

11 Facts About Racial Discrimination​

Heterosexism

19 Unique Classism Statistics​

Transgender Law and Policy Institute Resources