Reflecting on Privilege

Entering into the upcoming holiday season, it feels a bit like a time of excess and I am having an extreme negative reaction to it this year.  Maybe it has something to do with the fact that our inclusion conversation this month at work was around class and I’ve been reflecting on the ways in which class plays out in the world.  Last week was privilege week on campus as well, which has had me thinking a lot about the many privileges I hold as an educated, straight, white, Catholic woman, who earns a salary, has reached an age where (for the most part) people take me seriously, and who is currently physically-abled.  In fact, on the big eight, I don’t have think about privilege much, because I have it.

Despite, or because of, this, I feel even more compelled to be thoughtful and reflective of my privileges.  I am grateful that the student affairs staff of which I am a part takes time each month to discuss these privileges and integrate aspects of the Social Justice Training Institute into our regular practice.  Yet, despite the few days leading up to these discussions, I know I don’t take enough time to reflect on my privilege.  Far too often, it is easier to think about the ways in which I see myself as one-down, rather than one-up in the world.

So, instead of thinking about the ways that I am one down in the world, although I do not intend to ignore those feelings, I am working to do a better job of paying attention now, or panning, what is going on around me and the feelings I am having connected to this.  Each day that looks different, but today, as I have spent some time walking to work to pick up some things I had left there yesterday, I was especially conscious of my physical abilities and the warmth of my coat as winter approaches.  These can be small considerations; yet, I am highly aware that even the most micro things need to be recognized.  Otherwise, it’s too easy to write them off.

This whole post feels a little superficial, but, we need to start somewhere and being conscious is the first component of noting privilege and making a positive change.  So, moving forward, I’m hoping to write and go further in-depth, but this is one step.


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