What is Privilege? Overcoming Bias and Discrimination.
Lately there is much talk about certain groups having “privilege” over other groups due to race, gender, sexual orientation, etc. Google defines privilege as “a special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group of people.” There is even a video that demonstrates this concept. Yes, even in the United States, where I feel privileged to live, certain people have advantages over others. This has been true for as long as the U.S. has been in existence. According to this video on privilege and the unconscious biases that we all have, I would be labeled as “disadvantaged” and would be near the starting line without much of a head start. I am a Hispanic female with what many would consider a “disability.” (I was born without my left hand.) I was also raised by my single mother until the age of nine, when she married my adoptive father. I think this video is missing some key points that would serve to empower and elevate those without “privilege.”
There are better predictors of future success than attending private school or growing up with a father figure in your home, such as staying in school and waiting to have children until you are prepared for it. Having impulse control and independence (emotional intelligence elements) and positive unconscious programming as a young child are also strong predictors of success. Were you told that if you work hard, you can achieve just about anything that you set your mind to, or that you will never be able to get what you want in life because there are too many obstacles holding you back? Were you told that you were smart and had unlimited potential, or were you told that you will never amount to much? Did you have at least one caring adult in your life as a child that loved you, believed in you, and made you believe in yourself? I think this makes all the difference. This is what sets apart those who are held down by the glass ceiling and those who break through it. Watch a video that proves this point.
Luckily, even though I was born with certain “disadvantages,” I was surrounded by people who loved me and sent me positive messages growing up. I never believed that anyone or anything would hold me back. As a result, I never experienced being held back. I always focused on what I could achieve and overcome, so I experienced achieving every goal that I set for myself. Stephen Covey said, “We see the world not as it is, but as we are.” Do NOT let anyone or anything define who you are, what you can achieve, or what you can have in this life NO MATTER WHAT.
If your unconscious programming is holding you back, work to unpack negative beliefs and replace them with positive ones. We are our own worst enemy when we believe that we can’t do something, or that someone will stop us from getting what we want. We are all running our own race, and we can all successfully cross the finish line regardless of our starting point, as long as we have or work to acquire the knowledge, skills and abilities necessary. Race, gender, sexual orientation, etc. have nothing to do with what we can have and achieve. What we believe, we will experience. Change your thoughts, and you will change your actions. Change your actions, and you will change the results that you experience in life.
“I was raised to believe that excellence is the best deterrent to racism and sexism. And that’s how I operate my life.” – Oprah Winfrey
“The greatest discovery of all time is that a person can change his future by merely changing his attitude.” – Oprah Winfrey