Sunday, 9 October 2011


What is privilege? gives a few definitions ~

1. a right, immunity, or benefit enjoyed only by a person beyond the advantages of most: the privileges of the very rich.
2. a special right, immunity, or exemption granted to persons in authority or office to free them from certain obligations or liabilities: the privilege of a senator to speak in Congress without danger of a libel suit.
3. a grant to an individual, corporation, etc., of a special right or immunity, under certain conditions.
4. the principle or condition of enjoying special rights or immunities.
5. any of the rights common to all citizens under a modern constitutional government: We enjoy the privileges of a free people.
So, basically, as I see it, where one has a relative advantage over another in some way or other.  I have been personally 'privileged' in my life to have the opportunity to have light shone on my own privilege, to be made aware of what relative advantages I personally have over many if not most people in this world.  I am white, male, in good health other than the hiv thing (which doesn't really effect me anymore) and the disability in my legs, a citizen of the First World with all the privileges that entails (I don't have to work if I don't want to). 
But I have other privileges that are perhaps not so outright apparent that with my growing awareness of them, I am imbibed with an incredible responsibility to use them wisely for positive change.  I was raised by and am still the beneficiary of an extraordinarily loving and caring mother.  Something which many people in this world do not have.  And because her nurturing and guidance throughout my life, my mental and musical acuity is quite sharp, and my state of mind is rather sane, now.
I say 'now', because even though I went through harrowing and hellish times with the professor and the following years after being diagnosed with HIV the love from my mother I experienced in my early childhood pulled me through.  But even that hard, horrific time I see as a privilege, for I relate to those who've gone/are going through such times.  I have an awareness that enriches my life now like never before.  I've come to know my privilege, and have discovered I have more than I ever thought I did. 
Privilege as I see it is very relative.  My advice to anyone thinking they've got it tough is to look at their life and see what they do have.  You might be surprised.
"There are people so poor, that the only thing they have is money."