‘Privilege’ heightens sense of responsiblity

By Alondra Gallardo, Opinion Editor

I do not want to live in a country or world where every human does not have access to basic human rights, therefore, I recognize the benefits I was born into.

No one has to remind me of the advantages I have had in my life and I don’t have to be asked to use it as a voice for those who have not had the same advantages because I know it is my responsibility to do so.

Everyone is tired of the word “privilege” getting thrown around these days, and those who are privileged get offended and feel attacked when it is.

For example, this country’s system was established and is maintained to benefit white people and it discounts and alienates those who are not a part of that group.

Often white folks get mad and say it’s not their fault that they are white. Apologizing for your white skin won’t do anything. It is time to stop getting defensive, listen and become responsible for your privilege.

According to dictionary.com, privilege is a special right, advantage or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group of people.

Given the fact that I was born in the United States, my Mexican family members see me as “too American” and I never really seem to fit in with them.

I feel at times that I am a privileged Latina because of my absent accent, my citizenship and my easy access to education.

I feel like the primary reason I am privileged is because my light skin is closer to the girls on television with blonde hair.

The majority of what you see around you is white. In Spanish soap operas, sure they’re speaking Spanish, but their skin complexion is not dark and their hair is not in its natural texture.

On television it is not normal to see a dark-skinned woman or man with a natural afro.

When you do it is automatically pointed out as if it were a bad thing.

It is rare to see someone on television who lives with a disability as an everyday character on a show. It is infrequent to see someone speaking English with an accent who is not looked down upon.

In children’s books and movies, you mostly only see the one-sided stories starring the lives of perfect white children who are capable and able to do whatever they desire.

I do not face the same discrimination or oppression as someone who does not carry the same complexion as mine.

However, my privilege only goes so far.

My first and last name doesn’t sound right, or rather, white. I grew up speaking another language and I have been raised in another culture.

Privilege and oppression comes in various different forms. Being privileged doesn’t mean you haven’t faced struggles or that you have not worked hard for what you have.

It doesn’t make you a bad person, but it also doesn’t make it right for you to deny your privilege.

If it makes you uncomfortable speaking about it, rather than shutting it out, use it to check yourself and acknowledge the inequality.

That discomfort may come from a lack of understanding of what privilege actually is.

Recognizing advantages and using them to uplift marginalized people should be the founding principle we all strive to live by.