Let's Check Our Privilege

By Daniela Ramirez

In the ride towards social justice many of us, especially those who fall victim to many injustices, may instinctively victimize ourselves before considering our own privileges. Though it is important to remind others to check their privileges, we must also remind ourselves to check our own. In the fight for progress in society we must acknowledge these privileges in order to strive for equality. Privileges exist within and transcend between ethnicity, race, financial status, gender identity, and sexuality. Minorities are more prone to lack in privileges yet we must still recognize those we may have over others. How are we to expect change if change doesn't start with us and our attitudes?

Growing up female and Hispanic, you somehow have it engraved into your mind that you're at a disadvantage. However, I did recognize that my family wasn't as financially stable as others. Despite this, however, I was born on American soil, making me a citizen. My parents are both legal residents as well as my family that lives in the United States. I did not have to undergo the fear of possibly being separated from any of my family members due to deportation. As a young child I remember family friends being deported and separated from their wives, children, or husbands due to not being able to not attain legal residence in this nation. I'm fortunate to have had my family with me my whole life and for this I'm eternally grateful. In spite of our financial instability my family always somehow found a way to make meets end. I realize this is not the case for everyone. I'm not the only person who's lost their house to foreclosure and won't be the last. By continuing to see far too many homeless faces in the streets, I am reminded of how fortunate I am to even have a home.

I'm a girl, and while that may present a lack of privileges in itself, I still attest that I have many. My cisgender identity has automatically handed me a free ticket away from ridicule and oppression that many non-binary people face. I've never been faced with discrimination over my identity as I identify with the sex that I had been born with. Also pertaining to the topic of identity is sexuality. By identifying as a heterosexual cisgender female I also become less subject to discrimination. In light of recent events I would like us all to acknowledge the oppression that the LGBTQ+ community continues to face today.

Unfortunately, the topic of religion has even become a source of privilege despite the tolerance this nation preaches. Islamophobia has found its place in far too many areas. Muslims at times are denied service in private businesses and are mocked for their culture. Not only this, but certain religious holidays aren't recognized as such and therefore do not give people exemption from work to practice their religion on these days. Now, the idea isn't to just convert them and be done with it; it is to recognize the obstacles that we must help these people surpass and actually help them.

Becoming aware of our privileges is a step needed to push for the inclusion of minorities in all aspects of society. It isn't meant to result in self-loathing or to be interpreted as a way of being antagonized. It is a way that we begin to give thought to things that are commonplace to us and may not be to others. It is a way to find our responsibility in making the lives of other easier in the journey to a better society.