Why yes, yes you are privileged. We all are to some degree, depending on who you are, where you live, what you want and a host of other variables.
There’s never enough conversation about the role privilege plays when it comes to getting ahead in life. Too many people believe it has no impact and live in a bubble of privilege, unable to fathom the possibility. To me, it seems ludicrous to think otherwise–how can anyone “make it” without benefiting from myriad factors such as the generations before, gender, racial bias, socio-economic status, and more? Is it possible to “make it” without any type of advantage? By having an unwavering dream and strong work ethic? Are those that “make it” an anomaly who give false hope about what’s really possible?
The tricky thing about privilege is that it is often individually evaluated and defined against personal experiences and agendas. The notion is perpetually misunderstood and even when it appears as if it’s been properly considered, there’s always a way to understand it further, to push further, or consider more. It’s a complex notion worthy of ongoing dialogue and self-reflection. But first, we have to all agree on baseline understandings of the concept and that starts with each of us acknowledging who we are as individuals, our surroundings, circumstances and environment and then weighing those factors against what’s being pursued.
A new quiz created by the Ford Foundation–“What’s Your American Dream Score?“–highlights how privilege at its most granular level impacts chances of success. If you take the quiz it will feel overly simplistic. However, it will force you to consider things you most likely have taken for granted and force you to contemplate privilege from its most basic understanding. I scored a 63 which showed that many factors in my life have worked in my favor, not to my surprise. While many things have helped me along the way, this privilege works in tandem with bias. The reality is, it’s virtually impossible for people to not have any bias about anything–it’s a human quality–and so with that comes factoring in the role of privilege.
Finding a solution to the fight for all types of equality will take many lifetimes and have multiple layers. Being aware of the fundamental origins of privilege and accepting that it impacts everything is a universal first step in the right direction if we are going to truly make long-standing inroads. If you are someone who still doesn’t grasp how the basic facts about someone impacts success, you need to go back to the drawing board, take this quiz, and reconsider the factors in your life that may have impacted your accomplishments.