Just from the title of this post I’ve already lost half of my audience. Talking about privilege is that triggering.
For the other half, this isn’t an indictment of circumstances you have no control over. I have no intention of making you feel guilt for your gender, ethnicity, sexuality, income bracket or education level. The fact is that the only way I could be more privileged is if I was 7 inches taller and had a penis. I have immense privilege. I’m writing to myself here.
Acknowledging our privilege isn’t about guilt, it’s about empowerment
This week Iowa starts off the presidential primary election cycle in the most wackadoodle way humans could have possibly come up with. It’s not a privilege to stand in the corner of a school gymnasium for hours on end so your “vote” can count. In that way, my mail-in ballot in California looks like a real life dream come true. However, Iowa delegates do have privilege over every other voter in the United States because they get to go first. By the time the primaries roll around for the rest of us the field will be narrowed down to just a few nominees and Tulsi Gabbard. We all know she’s not going anywhere.
Perhaps your privilege comes from having access to clean water when people in Flint, Michigan still don’t. Maybe your privilege is being able to visit your family any time you want when people with relatives on the travel ban list can’t. It could be that your privilege is being able to purchase fresh vegetables locally when urban cities often have food deserts that disproportionately affect the poor. Whatever it may be, if you can acknowledge your privileges you can empower others.
Please, check your privilege during the primaries
There are a lot of lessons from my childhood faith that I’ve happily left behind through deconstruction and reconstruction of what I believe to be true, but one remains consistently foundational to my worldview.
Love your neighbor as you love yourself. That’s the lesson I’ll take with me to the ballot box.
As people of privilege we have the incredible opportunity to help marginalized people who are less privileged than ourselves just by thinking about their needs the same way we’d think of our own and then voting as if we care.
The fact is that my life isn’t on the line. My livelihood is pretty solid no matter who is in the White House. I don’t go to bed afraid for my safety or my future. But many of my neighbors do and they’re the ones I’ll be thinking of when it’s my turn to vote in the presidential primary election. What a privilege it will be to do so.
Heidi is currently obsessed with watching people make bad decisions on TV, being a coastal elite, artificially avoiding any sign of aging, reading feminist romance novels, and getting the biggest laugh at her own expense. She has a husband, 3 kids, a dog and anxiety.