What Is Privilege?

What Is Privilege?

Privilege and luxury are not synonymous.

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I see the word "privilege" thrown around quite often. From my time spent being raised in Delaware County to my time spent as a student in the predominantly-white, upper-middle class area of West Chester. I've seen family, friends, coworkers, customers, classmates, even professors, use it in the wrong context. Privilege is a misconception, so I'll take a few minutes to explain what it is and is not.

Privilege is not the idea of owning luxury. It's not asking your parents for a brand new Range Rover for Christmas and getting it. It's not your parents providing money for a spring break trip to Cancun. It's not walking around sporting Polo Ralph Lauren or the finest brand names. It's not having a mansion-sized house in a well-to-do neighborhood. It's not spending your Saturdays golfing at a local country club. It's certainly not having life handed to you on a silver platter. No. Let's rewind a bit.

Privilege is simply having the necessary resources to survive. Water. Food. Shelter. Having clothes on your body. Having a place to come home to at the end of the day. Privilege is having what billions of others cannot afford. And I don't mean yachts and sports cars. I don't mean AirPods and iPhones. I mean basic living necessities. Being satisfied that, at the absolute worst, you have the tools to survive another day. That's what privilege is.

What do I want you to do? I want you to acknowledge your privilege. Acknowledge the fact that you have the opportunity to get an education. Acknowledge the fact that you have a family that serves as your support system, both emotionally and financially. Acknowledge the fact that you have a warm bed to sleep in. Most of all, acknowledge the fact that you don't have to worry about money every second of the day. Acknowledge the fact that you have options. Options in living your life to the fullest potential.

While you're at it, be grateful. Hug your parents randomly. Tell them that you appreciate their sacrifices. Soak in the good moments. In the bad moments, it could always be worse. The worse is an everyday reality for some. Happiness isn't about getting what you want all the time--it's about loving what you have.

Love what you have. Acknowledge your privilege.

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On June 22nd I Celebrated My 22nd

*Insert cliche Taylor Swift song "22"*

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It's about time I turn 22. I've been told that after your 21st birthday, the years begin to fly past you in a blur. I don't know if I agree, but I can definitely say that I don't feel 22. Sometimes I look around at all the people who are freshmen in college, or juniors in high school, and I begin to reminisce about when I was their age. One thing getting older does do is make you a skeptical, cynical person.

I've thought a lot about my birthday as another day that I get to eat cake because let's face it, I'm not really here for anything else, except maybe a shot. I remember celebrating my birthday when I was younger was much different from what it turned into after I turned 20. Back in the day, I would celebrate my birthday with a pool party. Pizza, chips, cake, and soda. A few balloons and candles and that was it. I'd only invite my closest friends and we'd have so much fun.

I miss that kind of birthday. The kind you pick out an outfit for days prior, the kind you get so excited for and can't sleep, the kind that makes you feel special. It doesn't feel like that anymore. What it feels like now is, "welp, there goes another year." This line is also applicable to New Year's Eve, but we'll cross that bridge six months from now.

My birthday is pretty uneventful. It feels like the spark is gone, the excitement is gone. I wish I could feel happy that I'm turning 22, but I also know that it's just a reality that we all get older and things like birthdays begin to feel strange. You're faced to realize that you're supposed to have gained another year of experience and intelligence in the aspects of life, but it's almost like you feel the same.

It's safe to say that this has been a bit of an existential-crisis-themed birthday, but I'm just a little scared of getting older. I think we all reach a point where you realize you aren't invincible anymore. It's time to see what's in store for the future, what your career goals are, where you plan to move to after graduation, how to eat better, and how to feel like you've reached your full potential. It's a bittersweet moment in my life, but I'm ready to see what's next.

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Poetry On Odyssey: The Light That Is Manhattan

A poem about anticipation.

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Almost there.

The subway station is cold and narrow

But the staircase is just ahead.

No more corners, maps, or the like,

Just the light at the top of the stairs.


They say this city is filled with dreams.

Desires that may not even exist yet.

Dreams that have yet to be achieved,

or so the glow in front of me says.


The wonder builds as the ambiguous light at the top of the

Subway station stairs get brighter.

These steps are a two way street of

Excitement up

Fulfillment down.


May this light soon turn into

Roaring streets

Calm corners

Tranquil parks, and

dreams obtained.


The bright light I see in front of me is the glow of the city.

32 steps and I'm home.

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