20 Mar 2017

Privilege Perspectives

            This morning I awoke knowing it was a (relatively) slow day. I had slept in, then lazed in bed for a while reflecting on privilege, both this week and in general.
            Considering the day ahead, I knew I was lazing in a hotel bed, because I'm attending an amazing conference where my voice is heard. I could go for a run at the gym, then enjoy a hot shower and have a healthy breakfast prepared for me. After that, I planned to taxi with friends to a church for worship and lunch, then a UNCSW panel, then evensong and dinner out.
            It would be a privileged day.
            Yet the privilege is more than that: on a personal level, I am a white-skinned cis-hetero educated employed anglophone. I'm a healthy able-bodied middle-aged middle-class food-secure Christian living in a 'developed' country.
            On a cultural level, our privilege is there. Filling our water bottles last week, a friend asked if the tap water was safe... until the media attention of First Nations or Flint Michigan, our culture presumes abundant, affordable water and sanitation. After visiting Ground Zero yesterday, I realise the opportunity to memorialise the victims of a terror attack is not always viable to societies due to issues of safety, expense, &c. A conversation about differences in national health care emphasized variances in approaches to lifestyle choices and circumstances.
            The examples are plenteous; the privilege is there.
            Yet for every example I could name, they have been taken for granted at some point. I take for granted many of my privileged realities: that complaints about electricity costs means I have power at the flip of a switch; that property tax bills mean I have the right to own property; that disappointment in government means I have had the chance to cast a democratic vote... Again, the examples are plenteous.

            This evening, during evensong, I reflected again on today's privilege. I was sitting in another beautiful church, appreciating the time being spiritually fed in worship, enjoying the offering of the choir, giving thanks for the CSW experience, I tried to be mindful of my privilege this day. I hope that I might do this every day; to be grateful for what I have, to be conscious of what I can do with that, and how I can aim to increase rights for all.  With privilege comes responsibility, which can be a privilege of its own: the privilege of service to community.

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