Types of Privilege – Part Two

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This is absolutely overdue, but better late than never.

Today, I’m unpacking five other forms for privilege. Be sure to check out the first part of this blog post here where I deconstruct a few other forms of privilege. With research I’ve collected great samplings from articles that also deconstruct forms of privilege. Links can be found below.

It is important to remember that those who are privileged in one way may be under privileged in another. And for this reason, we must always reassess the roles we play in the narratives of privilege and discrimination.

Christian Privilege and Religious Privilege: This is a form of privilege I only recently discovered, being that it was always assumed -based on heritage alone- that I was a Christian. This type refers to a set of advantages given to those of the Christian faith over other faiths, or no religion at all. As a person with Christian privilege, you will be given a day-off from school or work to celebrate your religious holiday; majority of the political candidates will share your faith; and you are less likely to be considered a “terrorist” or “extremist.” I would 198% call Westboro Baptist Church an extremist group, but most people simply refer to them as “crazy.”

  1. You can expect to have time off work to celebrate religious holidays.
  2. Music and television programs pertaining to your religion’s holidays are readily accessible.
  3. It is easy to find stores that carry items that enable you to practice your faith and celebrate religious holidays.
  4. You aren’t pressured to celebrate holidays from another faith that may conflict with your religious values.
  5. Holidays celebrating your faith are so widely supported you can often forget they are limited to your faith (e.g. wish someone a “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Easter” without considering their faith).
  6. You can worship freely, without fear of violence or threats. A bumper sticker supporting your religion won’t likely lead to your car being vandalized.

See More here: It’s Pronounced Metrosexual 

Religious Privilege will refer to the advantages acquired from belonging to the dominant faith of a culture. Consider the way in which “alternative” faiths are depicted in media as bizarre, magical/mystical or strange. For example, Voodoo is incredibly misrepresented in our media as this overtly elaborate practice with “zombie” practitioners focused on casting death spells. The media, of course, leaves out the beautiful rituals of Voodoo and the word – Voodoo – itself, now has ridiculous connotations.

Everyday Feminism has an article I particularly like:  Don’t Believe in Christian Privilege? These 15 Examples Will Leave No Doubt

Socio-Economic Privilege aka Social Class Privilege: This tends to be one of the most “traditional” privileges, and it links social class with access to opportunities. It does not mean you come from a super-rich family, it means you can afford things you tend to overlook. Chances are if your parents went to college you will too. Having access to these advantages is a privilege and typically class privilege and educational privilege go hand in hand.

Educational Privilege: This includes having access to higher education and access to higher paying jobs. Here’s a shameless-plug: in my piece Doctor’s Notes Against Intolerance I explore the ways in which the prefix “Dr.” in the Western world adds credibility to a Doctor’s Note. The fact that another person can vouch for my experiences is an advantage. Also consider the “Lab-Coat Effect,” which refers to the way a white lab coat gives more credibility to its wearer.

Read More on the Lab-Coat Effect here

Ability Privilege: this form refers to the advantages affixed with being able-bodied and without mental disability. As a person with ability privilege, you live in a society that accommodates your every need. There are signs made to communicate with you, public transportation that take you anywhere you need to go, etc. Here are few more examples of Ability Privilege:

  1. You can go about your day without planning every task, like getting dressed or going to the bathroom.
  2. You can play sports easily.
  3. Public transportation is easy for you.
  4. Air travel is relatively easy for you.
  5. Others don’t get frustrated with you in public for needing special accommodations or holding up lines.
  6. You don’t have to worry about others’ reactions to your able-ness.
  7. You have ample role models of your ability to whom you can aspire.
  8. You don’t frequently encounter communication barriers.
  9. Leisure activities like gardening, knitting or woodworking are easy for you.
  10. You can expect to be included in-group activities.
  11. As an able-bodied person, you are well-represented in movies, books and TV shows. Typically you don’t have to rely on others to accomplish tasks.
  12. Others don’t assume you need to rely on them to accomplish tasks.
  13. As a healthy person, you don’t have to think about your daily pain level when planning events and activities.
  14. You can expect to find housing that accommodates your physical needs.

Read more here: 19 Examples of Ability Privilege

As mentioned, ability privilege also relates to the advantages affixed to those without mental disability. “Individuals who are mentally enabled never find their status used as a justification for criminal behaviour in film and television, but we often see mental illness portrayed in exactly such a light.” For example, this garbage film called Split that recently released in Canadian theatres. I haven’t seen it, nor do I intend to, but buying into that ableist bullshit is exactly the problem. As mentioned in Everyday Feminism’s Ability Privilege article, neurotypical Privilege also exists — and with more research I’ll have another post up soon.

I am Socio-Economically, Educationally and Ability Privileged, and for a very long time I was Religiously Privileged.

Check your privilege.

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