Focusing on privilege as opposed to oppression has been a mostly comfortable experience for the author. Many of the items on it were not particularly controversial or difficult to accept, and the author went over their boxes without difficulty. The insinuation that some of these privileges are not available to all was slightly uncomfortable, but the author has faith in society and its continued improvement. The exercise was also somewhat entertaining and enlightening, as some of the questions caused them to rethink matters from a new perspective and find unexpected privileges (or lack thereof). However, overall, the experience did not make a powerful impression on the author.
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It is important to remember privilege as an aspect of one’s identity to ensure that the progress mentioned above takes place. People’s experiences should not be dismissed because they do not align with one’s own. Instead, they should be taken into account and investigated thoroughly, with the underlying causes addressed over time. Discussing privilege is especially important because it does not often feature prominently in one’s life. As such, privileged people may assume their advantages for everyone implicitly, failing to recognize the differences between them and the less privileged. To avoid such misconceptions and the damage they may cause, people should be aware of their privilege.
The existence of multiple identities has a significant effect on how people should treat each other. It is impossible to know one’s experiences of privileges and oppression in their entirety, and, therefore, judgments should not be made based on those characteristics. Instead, people should be judged on their character, which one comes to know by observing their actions. Martin Luther King’s (1963) quotation of the Declaration of Independence in his famous speech, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,” comes to mind. One should view others as equals, not presume to speak on their behalf, and treat them as one would treat oneself in a similar situation.
One notable type of privilege that has not been considered in this checklist is location privilege. It implicitly assumes that the person responding is in America, a logical assertion given the nature of the assignment. However, if the author were to move to a majority of countries on the planet, they would lose a substantial portion of their privileges. Moreover, when compared to the oppression in those countries, American lacks of privileges, both factual and self-reported, often seem minor. Without taking these locations into account, one’s perceived benefits are diminished, as most people around them have the same privileges. Even when one has unusual privileges, they can often ignore it by referring exclusively to some part of their advantages that is lacking.
When leading, one should be mindful of their privilege in all of its aspects. Different advantages are interrelated and can enhance or mitigate each other, and the entire picture has to be considered. One cannot represent a group based on some privilege or lack of it if they do not have the same experience of that privilege due to compounding factors. With that said, privilege is not the sole determinant of leadership. To achieve results, both at the author’s campus and in intercampus collaborations, it is essential to have a leader who is competent at their job. They should listen to advice from the people they are representing and make decisions based on their judgment.
King, M. L. Jr. (1963). I have a dream. American Rhetoric. Web.