What Do You Do With Your Privilege?
This post was written by Annie Zhu, fellow Ethical Writers and Creatives member and founder of the blog Terumah.
“Privilege” is a word you’ve probably come across in social justice spaces. White privilege. Gender privilege. Class privilege. Heterosexual privilege. Financial privilege. Christian privilege. Geographical privilege. Able-bodied privilege. Language privilege. Pretty privilege. Thin privilege. Height privilege. And so on.
Everyone in the world should have the same rights and privileges, but they don’t. Is this unfair? It certainly seems so.
But the truth is, when you have more than others, you’re meant to share it.
Are you rich? Great! More money to be circulated in the world that can be used for good.
Ridiculously good-looking? More eyes are on you, so get ready to lead by example.
Super smart? The more you know, the more you can help or teach others.
In a position of power? More people will listen to you, so prepare words of inspiration to uplift those around you.
If you don’t know why you have more than someone else, never apologize and never feel guilty. We’re all born with different gifts that others may lack. You’re meant to have them because you’re meant to do something with them. With privilege comes responsibility. We’re all here to help each other.
The universe wants you to receive. It’s your birthright to have good things and to be happy. The more you’re able to receive, the more you can share. This way, we become more like the creator, who is constantly sharing with us.
We’ve all heard of rich, famous, beautiful people who seem to have every advantage in the world but are still miserable. Perhaps they haven’t found the right outlets to share yet.
Ways to Share
First, be aware of your gifts. Count your blessings, even for the so-called little things. If you have a roof over your head, you’re better off than 1.6 billion people in the world. If you never go hungry, 795 million people aren’t as fortunate. I don’t take for granted that I have access to clean water, electricity, and fresh air. I have a healthy body that allows me to walk and travel with ease. If you can read this with your eyes, that is a miracle you probably take for granted. It’s good practice to give thanks to three things in your life every morning.
Second, look for ways to share, starting with your community. Many people think they need to fly to a third-world country to volunteer when a difference can be made in their own backyards. Find a cause that’s near and dear to your heart or an organization you benefit from. You can share your time, your money, or any other creative ways specific to your talents.
Be smart about how to share. Make sure those you’re sharing with are open to receiving from you. When donating money, check organizations such as Charity Watch (US) or Charity Intelligence Canada to verify that the charity is legitimate and where your money will be going. I like to donate to charities that teach a man how to fish.
This month, I’m donating to Fred Victor. Because I live in downtown Toronto, I’m constantly in touch with homeless people and those with mental health and addiction issues. Fred Victor helps my neighbours experiencing poverty and housing instability in a variety of ways, from offering shelter to help with job hunting. Next month, I’ll be donating to the Toronto Public Library.
If you’re in doubt about how to share, ask your higher self or the creator. Sharing can feel uncomfortable at times, but ultimately fun and fulfilling.
The holidays are upon us, so this is the perfect time to look for new ways to give. Give without expectation. Give because you want to. Give because it’s your privilege.