An important part of participating in any sort of struggle or fight for justice is checking any sort of privilege you might hold. Everyone has some sort of privilege – whether it’s race, class, your ability (both physical or mental), etc and checking that usually means realizing the ways in which you benefit from some social institutions that disadvantage others.
Sam Dylan Finch wrote it perfectly in an article about checking privilege that:
When someone asks you to “check your privilege,” what they’re really asking you to do is to reflect on the ways that your social status might have given you an advantage – even if you didn’t ask for it or earn it – while their social status might have given them a disadvantage.
I have plenty of privilege – much of who I am involves power within the US. I’m white, middle class, college educated with no debt. I’m able bodied by societal standards and English is my first and only language.
And the thing about learning about privilege and oppression is that all of those identities that have power within the US, the ones that make it so the police are in fact here to protect people like me among other things, is that if I do want to participate in destroying the status quo, I will be uncomfortable. But my feelings don’t matter because the importance of black lives.
Checking your privilege is going to be uncomfortable; it’ll be awkward and weird and you’ll probably make a few mistakes. And all of that is okay – hell for me, it’s expected. No one is born a revolutionary. But learn from your mistakes, ask yourself why you’re uncomfortable, do a hell of a lot of reflecting and even more self education.
There are so many places to start but some include:
- How to Be a White Ally from Black Millennials
- Becoming a White Ally to Black People in the Aftermath of the Micheal Brown Murder – Janee Woods
- How to Be an Ally if You are a Person with Privilege – Frances E. Kendall, Ph.D
- 4 Ways to be an Ally to People with Invisible Disabilities – Sara Whitestone
- Examples of Straight Privilege – Erin Tatum
- Privilege 101: A Quick and Dirty Guide – Sian Ferguson
- On Male Privilege, (transcript of video) – Jamie Kilstien
- 25+ Examples of Western Privilege – Sian Ferguson
- What is White/Male Privilege? (video with closed captioning) – Marina Watanabe
- The Straight, Ablebodied, Cis, Rich, White Man’s Burden