Understanding Your Privilege: How To Recognize It And What To Do With It

Understanding Your Privilege: How To Recognize It And What To Do With It

It's more important than you think.
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Everyone has heard it at least once: “Check your privilege.” This saying tends to get brushed off as soon as it’s spoken, simply because it is just misunderstood. But I think that, instead of brushing it off, we should be giving it the utmost consideration, as it is highly important to understand what privilege is and how to identify it. When you can do this, you will be better able to empathize with and support people who don’t have it.

So what is privilege?

There are several definitions, but the one most pertinent to this situation is, “a right or benefit that is given to some people and not to others.” In the case of societal privilege, the benefits aren’t necessarily given out, but rather exist as a result of the conditions a person is born into. It doesn’t take much for a person to be underprivileged, but, as lack of privilege often leads to a seemingly insurmountable mountain of closed doors and limited opportunities, it can be exceedingly difficult to overcome. And while it is true that we all have struggles, the types of challenges and the amount of quality resources available to help combat them differs greatly depending on the amount of privilege each person has.

So how do I know what my privileges are?

Now that you know what privilege is, the next step is to identify what privileges you do and do not have. I am going to ask a series of yes or no questions pertaining to the some of the criteria for privilege in America. (This list is not all encompassing; it is merely a sampling.) The more times you answer “yes,” the more privilege you have. Here we go:

Are you white? Are you male? Are you straight? Do you identify as cisgender? Are you financially stable? Are you an American citizen? Are you Christian? Do you have a college education? Are you physically healthy? Are you mentally able?

So what should I do with the privilege I have?

The first thing you should do is understand that it’s okay to have privilege. You didn’t choose to have privilege any more than the person next to you chose to not have it. Your possession of privilege is simply your lot in life, and you certainly have the right to feel grateful for it. However, it also gives you the opportunity to put yourself in someone else’s shoes, and imagine what hoops people have to jump through to be successful if they have to answer “no” to all those questions. It means that they are more looked down on in society and less highly valued as individuals, simply because of their gender, the color of their skin, or their sexual orientation. This is where more privileged people come in. The more privileges you have, the more likely you are to be listened to and taken seriously, so you should use what you have to fight for the rights of the more marginalized, less privileged people. Because after all, more rights for others doesn’t mean fewer rights for you.

This is what it means when you are told to “check your privilege.” You are being told to consider where you fit on the privilege scale in relation to those around you and to care about those who are less fortunate. It is also a call to remember that these privilege hierarchies don’t have to be permanently embedded in the bedrock of society because you have the power to bring in the tide of change.

Cover Image Credit: Global Citizen

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28 Urban Slang Terms Every New Yorker Knows

It's dead ass mad brick out today.
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The New York City youth is greatly influenced by hip-hop culture, and hip-hop culture is continuously influenced by New York City. With the colorful expressions found in both hip-hop and the streets of New York, colorful language is inevitable. The truth is, you're not a real New Yorker if you've never heard these terms before.

1. Whack = (adj) used to describe something that is appalling in nature

"That's whack!"

2. Grill = (v) to stare, usually impolitely; to give a dirty look

"Dude stop grilling my girlfriend, I know her spray tan looks whack."

3. To front/Fronting = (v) to put on a façade; acting like you are something that you are not.

"Stop fronting like you own the place."

4. Cop = (v) to buy

"I'm about to cop some chips, you want some?"

5. Catch these hands = phrase used to initiate a fight

"If that girl keeps grilling me she can catch these hands."

Variations: throw these hands; throw hands; catch this fade

6. Crusty = (adj) used to describe someone who is dirty or trashy

"Girl, did you shower today? Your hair is looking all types of musty, dusty, and crusty."

Synonyms: musty; dusty

7. Lit = (adj) used to describe someone or something that is amazing in every sense

Variations: litty

8. Mad = (adv) very

"Stay away from her, bro. She has mad problems."

Synonyms: dumb; OD; stupid

9. Dumb = (adv) extremely

"This party is dumb lit."

Synonyms: mad; OD; stupid

10. Brick = (adj) very cold

"Damn, it's mad brick out."

11. Tight = (v) to be upset

"Stop running your fingers through my hair; you're getting me dumb tight."

12. Thirsty = (adj) desperate; (n) someone who is desperate

"I didn't tag you in my photo because I don't want any thirsties following you."

Variations: thirsties (n)

13. Buggin' = freaking out; acting up

"My mom just asked me to clean all the dishes even though it's not my turn. She's buggin."

Synonyms: wylin'/wildin'

14. Son = (n) a good friend

"Of course I know him, that's my son!"

Synonyms: B

15. B = (n) a good friend

"What's good, B?"

16. Sus = shady or false

*Short for "suspect" or "suspicious"

"That girl is mad sus for looking at me like that."

17. Dead ass = (adj) seriously

"You're dead ass getting me tight, B."

*Could also be used as follows:

"Dead ass?" = Are you serious?

"Dead ass!" = Yes.

18. Guap = (n) money

"Okay, this to all of my enemies that seeing me gettin' guap right now." -- Big Sean

Synonyms: Mulah; dough; casheesh

19. Grimey = (adj) used to describe a back-stabber

"I'm telling you, bro. He's mad grimey, don't trust him."

20. You woulda thought = a more exciting way to say "no"

"You woulda thought I was going to let you use my laptop to log on to your shady-ass websites."

21. OD/Ohdee/Odee = (adj) excessive; an abbreviation for "over-doing"

"Man, my professor just assigned OD work on BlackBoard."

Synonyms: mad; dumb

22. Wylin'/Wildin' = out of control

"That girl was wildin' last night when she threatened to throw hands at you for no reason."

Synonyms: buggin'

23. Facts = (adj) something that is rooted in truth

"That's a fact, B."

Synonyms: true

24. Snuff = (v) to punch

"I should've never threatened to throw hands. He straight up snuffed me in the throat."

Synonyms: rock

25. Wavy = (adj) used to describe something that is cool or nice

"I’m so wavy in the turbo Porsche, she so wavy in the new Mercedes" -- Ty Dolla $ign

Synonyms: dope, lit

26. Kicks = (n) sneakers

"Where'd you cop those kicks from?"

27. Beef = (n) having a fight or holding a grudge against another person or group of people

"Tommy told me you guys have beef."

28. Ice = (n) jewelry

"Ice on my neck cost me 10 times 3." -- D.R.A.M.

Variations: icy (adj)

Cover Image Credit: BKNPK

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6 Things You Notice When You Transfer From A Community College To A University

Transferring to a university from a community college could be the most stressful and rewarding thing you ever do.

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After spending four years of my life taking classes on and off at a community college in the middle of Michigan and living at home with my parents, I finally decided to make the move and transfer to Eastern Michigan University to finish my degree. I still have a lot of work to do, but making this transition really helped me focus on what I need to do.

Here are the top 6 things I noticed after transferring to a big school from a small community college.

1. No matter how easy it might seem to get everything transferred, it's not.

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Maybe I've just had a bad experience, but everyone I've known that has transitioned from a community college to a university seems to have the same horror stories about the process involved with transferring: and it sucks.

Not only is there a ton of paperwork and appointments to go to with various advisers that all tell you different things, but sometimes the credits (a.k.a. the hard work you've put in at your previous school) just don't transfer for whatever reason. It's stressful, and anyone who says it doesn't have some kind of mental capability or superpower that I wish I had.

2. Students get way more involved.

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A big difference between community college and universities is how spirited the students get! At a community college, people pretty much just go to class and then go home. At EMU, it's all about the eagles! There are so many clubs and organizations to get involved in and sporting events to go to, and it's really refreshing to be around people who love their school! It makes a huge difference and makes you feel like you're part of something bigger.

3. There really is no college town like YOUR college town.

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College towns really are a whole other world. Everything on campus is close together, and there are lots of "spots" in town where students hang out regularly. It's almost like each university is in its own little snow globe that is separate from the rest of the world. And I love it.

Ypsilanti, MI is starting to feel like a home away from home for me, and I know lots of students feel the same way about their college towns. Whether it's weekly trivia nights at the local pizza joint or walking to Insomnia Cookies at 1 a.m., every university has staples that make it unique.

4. You don't see people you went to high school with every day.

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My community college was like part two of high school for me. This is because it was so close to where I graduated, and the fact that it's cheap and an easy way to ease into college. I used to see so many people in classes and in the hallways that I already knew from high school, so it wasn't much of a change and didn't really feel like college. (I'm not by any means bashing people who start at community colleges either, I think they're a great place to start.) Since my university is almost two hours from home, there was pretty much no one I already knew here. New city, new school, new people.

5. The friends you make will be longer lasting with stronger bonds.

Kristin Madaj

This is not to say that I didn't enjoy anyone in my classes at community college. I made a few friends there, but it's a lot different. I pretty much only saw those people in class, and then everyone goes home afterward.

At universities, many people live on campus or near it, so they are around a lot more and have time to hang out. I've made some lifelong friends already this year in my classes and especially in the building I live in. I hang out with my roommates every day, and I see the people who live in my building pretty often too. It's a community where we all have a lot in common, and the friendships are lasting.

6. You have a chance to start all over!

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Because everything is new and different when most people transfer to a university, you have a chance to make a whole new start for yourself! No one knows you or your past failures, no one knows who you dated in high school or what your reputation was. New school, new you!

Bottom line: transferring to a university after being at a community college for a few years can be stressful. It can be difficult and a lot different than what you're used to. But it was one of the best things I've ever done. I'm only one semester in and I've already made so many memories and met so many amazing people! And those people will be there for all of your stresses and bad days. If you're getting ready to make the transition or even thinking about it, I hope you fall in love with your new school and home as much as I did.

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