Why “position of privilege?”

In recent years I’ve become more and more aware of how my life situation differs from many others. Simply put: I speak from the most favored and entitled perspective on planet Earth. Just consider some of my attributes:

  • white
  • male
  • straight
  • cisgender
  • middle-class
  • born and raised in the wealthiest country on Earth
  • born and raised in a stable, loving home
  • highly-educated, by an education my highly-educated parents paid for
  • naturally gifted at, and interested in, a field of study that happens to be effortlessly lucrative (math and computer science)
  • first language: English, the language all academics must communicate in
  • never had a health problem science couldn’t easily solve
  • never had to worry about food insecurity
  • never even exposed to drugs that can be addictive
  • never had a spouse who cheated on me or left me
  • never had a child in trouble with the law
  • never experienced a war, either as combatant or civilian
  • never been drafted to the military
  • never physically, sexually, or even verbally abused

Shall I go on?

If there’s any bonus modifier that the big RNG in the sky was dishing out, it came up a nat 20 for me.

I don’t feel guilty about this exactly, but I do recognize it’s a dangerous place to start thinking from. In my life experience, things come pretty easy. Problems are small. Bailouts are natural. Choices are numerous. The most difficult thing I ever have to deal with is some petty jealousy over some other privileged person.

It took me nearly 50 years to truly realize that this is not what everyone, or even most people, experience. Many have to work hard for what simply fell into my lap. They face barriers and prejudices that I will never even know exist. What may seem to me a bare-bones minimum existence will require, for them, a diligent fight to obtain and then to keep. And when I say “for them,” I mean around 95% of all people who have ever lived.

All the musings on this blog will come from this vantage point. It’s the only one I have ever known. I realize that this will make me embarrassingly — and at times, even offensively — tone-deaf to those who don’t have those privileges. Please correct me. I’m here to learn as much as to speak.

I am also a follower of Jesus. What would He want me to do with these numerous, unearned gifts, anyway? My hunch: to invest in those who are less privileged, so that they can more easily achieve their goals and so the playing field can be a bit more level. To do this not in a patronizing way, but in an empowering way. And all without virtue signaling! To anyone who’s less privileged than me (which is almost everyone), please help me figure out how to do that.

– S

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