Structurally the US (and much of the world) was organized to
serve and support
White skinned, Wealthy Men.
The perks of the culture are directed to open a vast array of opportunities for people decreed to be white men and, in many cases, to withhold benefits or actively thwart others.
Some of us were born “with silver spoons in our mouth.” For those for whom the system is set up to serve and favor (people like me), it can be hard to see the power inequities of this arrangement. All of our education, professional training, cultural stories, most novels/magazines, are arranged to tell a single story from this privileged position (sometimes insinuating that everyone is included in the perks). Instead, the inequity is hidden in plain sight.
While white skin, maleness and wealth offer the most societal power, privilege is complicated by the fact that most of us have some characteristics that afford privilege (able bodied, cisgender, heterosexual or college-educated, for example).
For those who aren’t in one of these privileged categories, societal injustice is easier to spot. The complexity deepens because we humans tend to internalize oppressive beliefs and values. For example, most women I know struggle with low self and body esteem, internally caught in the degrading cultural lies about women. Waking up to see the full extent of the dynamics of patriarchy and racism is needed by everyone.
But there is one additional factor that complicates this cultural setup.
This privilege is gained within an oppressive and unjust system.
Whether you are awake to it or not, holding a privileged place and receiving benefits within a system built on injustice has a horrible present and generational impact on one’s soul and body.
A few years ago, I was listening to
Sweet Honey in the Rock’s song “I Remember, I Believe.”
Singing along as the Black women wondered how their ancestors survived slavery,
suddenly it dawned on me …
I don’t know how MY people
We can’t keep living in a world of inequities and vast disparities without it continuing to destroy our communities and our earth. In the end, the current hierarchy serves no one.
My life, this website and the work of so many of YOU, is aimed to bring spiritual and social transformation at the personal, communal and systemic levels.
Read more about Resistance to a Diversity of Insights.
Here is a blog post with a bit more about privilege:
“I Can’t Believe It Happened Here”
If you want more information about the unequal distribution of privilege, now and historically, here are a few good starting places: The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson, The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander, Timelines of American Women’s History by Sue Heinemann, A Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America by Ronald Takaki and Howard Zinn’s classic People’s History of the United States.