What is Privilege?

What is privilege?

The dictionary defines privilege as a special right or advantage available only to a particular person or group. Most people think of privilege as something you are born with such as your race, where you live, how much money your parents or their parents had. Growing up in a very wealthy white neighborhood as a far from wealthy kid I noticed the kids going to my school had shiny new cars, expensive clothing, and parents with jobs as lawyers or company owners. The abundance of wealth there influenced me to think that money is privilege. Having more than what you need. However, living in and around villages in Mexico where the income gap is so large that, according to Business Insider, the richest 10% make 30 times more than the lowest 20%, who don’t make enough money to put food on the table, has shown me that having privilege is so much less than being wealthy.

The people here work so hard to survive. The minimum salary is just 70 pesos (4 dollars) here, and for jobs that in America pay 50,000 USD a year Mexicans make just 12,000. So many people sell fruit and vegetable in the market, or work in convenience stores to provide for their families. Or they spend hours making selling home made sandwiches for just 10 pesos (50 cents) each. So many children can’t afford to go to good schools because the good ones are a luxury only the wealthy can afford. If you look out the bus window when you enter towns you can see fully furnished new houses and then next door a hut made of cement blocks and a tarp for a roof. 


Privilege is three warm meals a day and a roof over our heads. Privilege is being healthy and having help if you are sick. It is feeling safe in your home and surroundings. Privilege is not having to drive down the highway with young children and baby on the back of a moped. Privilege is education. Privilege is shoes on your feet and clothing on your back. It is knowing you can have a bright future. It is clean water and showers, and people who love you. Yes, having money is a privilege but real privilege is having the things that we so easily take for granted. The things that so many people don’t have.