Acknowledge your privilege


Sabrina San Agustin

Digital illustration representing the benefit privilege plays in certain situations.

Shahd Abdeljalil, Photographer

Recently, it was deemed unsafe for me to go to a friend’s house because of Islamophobic things her mother had said. The fact that people have the will to presume that I hate America, and discriminate against me just because I wear a scarf on my head came as a big shock to me. I had known Islamophobia existed, but it had never touched me this personally. It was just a reminder of the privilege that other people had.

Privilege is when discrimination is something that you neither experience nor fear.  

My youngest brother does not go to school on days when they have classroom religious celebrations such as Halloween and Christmas. My family is Muslim, and we should not have to celebrate holidays that go against our religion.

Privilege is when you are like everyone else, when you fit in and do not feel like you are different. 

Privilege is usually invisible to those who have it which is problematic as acknowledgment is the first step toward change. Acknowledging that you are privileged and that you have a life easier than others, is the key to the beginning of equality.

Privilege does not mean that the privileged do not work hard, it just means that those without have to work harder.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, men are paid 18 percent more than women.

When stopped by the police, those who are white do not have to fear that their lives might be taken by just one wrong movement.

People who are financially stable do not have to worry about whether or not they will be able to afford their next meal.

Christian holidays are considered national holidays, while other religious holidays are not.

These are privileges.

However, things are slowly but surely improving. The gender wage gap is gradually closing. Those in poverty can now pay less for healthcare. People are recognizing white supremacy as an issue. In Philadelphia, schools now consider Eid, an Islamic celebration, a holiday and take time off. Our school district needs to start implementing changes and acknowledging that not everyone is white, rich, Christian or privileged. Acknowledgment is the catalyst of change and the first step toward closing the gap between the privileged and unprivileged.