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Why It’s Important to Understand and Recognize Privilege

I’m sitting in my oceanography class, ten minutes to go, and this girl behind me (who mind you has been yapping the entire time), starts to get angry at the professor for not letting us leave. As much as I don’t want to be sitting here for an hour and 15 minutes listening about oceanic crust and marine sediments (hey, maybe I did learn something), I thought this girl was being a, excuse my language, b---h. She kept complaining about the teacher and how he was incompetent and taking up her time.

All I could think was that hey girl, you're the one paying thousands of dollars for this class, basically paying this teacher's paycheck, so really he's doing you the favor...and then that got me thinking more. We all are lucky enough to be sitting in a college class, which means we all have the available finances to actually go to college. Most people don’t have that privilege. So, what’s the important word here? Privilege. We all have it, but do we really understand and see what our privileges are in our own lives each day? This girl didn’t. Do you?

I think a world where people recognize the privileges society allows them to have, would be a better place because there would be less ignorance and possibly less racism, sexism, all those awful “isms.” I try my best to see my privileges, and yeah there a lot of them while I sit here and type on my laptop in my cozy dorm room.


Now that’s a small number. Be aware that you’re in the minority here.

I really don’t understand why people just don’t get it. An unarmed black man was shot and people still go around thinking “white privilege” isn’t a thing anymore. People hashtag first world problems, while there are people in the world starving to death. I'm sorry but your phone dying is not a concern to society.


Really Bill O’Reilly? Come on guys, look hard at your life and think about how the color of your skin actually effects you.

But, there are many other types of privileges that people have as well. Like I said before, I have the privilege to go to college, so there can be class privilege. These privileges do not all exist in a vacuum though. A person’s identity has many parts to it - their race, sex, class, etc., and these all work together to create their entire identity.

So, maybe next time, check your privilege, bro. Realizing what you have will make you much happier, instead of holding onto that negative energy.

Photo Credit: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

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Carson McGrath

U Mass Amherst

Carson McGrath is in her first year at the University of Massachusetts. She is studying English and Journalism and hopes to one day write professionally. She is a triplet and loves the color orange, sushi, and Audrey Hepburn.
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