What is privilege after all?
Is it something you own
or does it in fact own you?

Actually the privilege you have
exists only by comparison to someone else.
It is not otherwise a thing
in itself.

Yet we have somehow come
to consider it an important and
valuable aspect of who we are.

You may not brag about it
or consciously think you are
better because of it.

But stop for a moment.

Consider all the people and places
NOT on your wish list for trading
what you think you have.

Perhaps you aspire in some way
to "trade up" as it were - might
be difficult to find someone
interested in considering your offer.

So what to do with it?
If you are curious, I would offer that
you might learn to see through
whatever way in which you find yourself
privileged compared to others.

See through to where
you can acknowledge and appreciate
all the myriad ways in which you
and these others are the same

Perhaps slowly, carefully, not all at once,
allow some degree, of reveling
in the extraordinary sameness
you share with them.

This is called connection,
and connection trumps privilege
any day.

photo: linen bobbin lace figure
by Luba Krejči 1966


Filed under Prose and Poetry

2 Responses to Privilege

  1. I really like how you define privilege in terms of relationship, something that “exists only by comparison to someone else”. I heard a powerful comment recently from someone in a monthly discussion group in which I participate, to the effect that he tried to always keep in mind that his privileged life was dependent upon the hard work (and possibly suffering) of countless unknown others whose difficult livelihoods were producing the goods and services that made his own life so comfortable. Would that all of us living our privileged lives could recognize our sameness and our connection with others.

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