Voices of #PhysEd: Let’s Talk About Privilege
I have been trying to refine my understanding of privilege lately.
- As a native speaker of English
- As a US citizen/passport holder
Thanks to my education (bachelor’s & master’s), I have had access to
- well-educated Austrian nationals and international residents
- job opportunities in which my language and intellectual skills were challenged and valued
- social circles which include members of both local and international elites,
- infrastructure and services which cater to expats, who typically hold high status positions in the economy and society.
- an unlimited visa and right to work
- access to some aspects of Austrian Social Security system which includes health care.
- I am frequently regarded and approached with friendly curiosity by Austrians and other Europeans.
Perhaps you are white, you have inherited wealth, you are male, heterosexual, you come from a family of successful physicians, lawyers and entrepreneurs – whatever the sources of your privilege – recognize them and examine how they function in your life. One way to do this is to pay attention to voices and stories which are different from your own. Consider what it may mean for someone to live undocumented in the US. Consider what it may mean for a family to have to send its children to school to receive free breakfast and/or lunch. Imagine the circumstances of someone who is illiterate and must find ways to survive in society. Acknowledging that differences matter can go a long way towards cultivating behaviors which at the very least do not worsen others’ disadvantages.