How Privilege Works in the U.S.


How Privilege Works in the U.S.

How Privilege Works in the U.S. H/T Rishona Campbell for finding this image.

The power of the privilege depends on the situation. Which privileges do you think make the most difference most of the time?

Able-bodied Privilege

Able-bodied people will not have their body discriminated against when interviewing, seeking housing, dating, seeking to procreate, and during child rearing. Able-bodied people have full access to all stores, all entertainment, and the ability to shop alone. Able-bodied people are well represented in school media and media in general.  H/T List of able-bodied privileges by Melisa Graham

Asian Privilege

Asian privilege helps to get a call back after job interviews due to the bias that hiring managers have for the well educated ‘model minority‘. Asian privilege helps avoid stop-n-frisk. Asian privilege does not help against fear of Yellow Peril.

Beauty Privilege

Two U.S. immigration laws are written with favorable bias for fashion models, the H-1B and H-1B3 visas. In general, beautiful people are paid 3% to 4% more then people with below average looks. Super model’s yearly salaries are in the millions. Beautiful people tend to be favored in job interviews and in the dating scene. Good looks however, can attract harassment, jealousy, and even being fired for good looks that are distracting (1),(2). There is no law specifically to protect people from being fired for their distractive attractiveness.

Class Privilege

Those born or adopted into a privileged class will be pampered, protected and given success on a silver platter. The only way they can screw up class privilege is if they work on screwing it up with egregious criminal acts for which a good lawyer cannot get them off the hook.

Female Privilege

Female privilege allows reaching for a cell phone without being shot by the police; allows one to get the job at day cares, elementary schools, and babysitting over most men. Female privilege allows touching and hugs without people feeling defensive or getting their guard up.  For more check Mary Dee Wenniger’s list.

“Good hair” Privilege

‘Good hair’ is the prejudicial term for hair that is not kinky. Many with kinky, curly or wavy hair will flatten it to make it ‘good’. ‘Good hair’ allows one to not be harassed for how the hair grows out of one’s head.

Intersecting Axis of Privilege Domination and Oppression

Intersecting Axis of Privilege Domination and Oppression

Male Privilege

Male privilege usually provides a higher income for the same work. You will not be told that you are too bossy, too loud, or too crass. The list of male privileges is long. H/T Barry Deutsch for the long list.

Mixed Heritage Privilege

Mixed heritage often allows blending into two or more cultures without getting the side eye. Although, there may be a lot of annoying “What are you?” questions or “Where are you from?”, when the person is probably meaning to ask “What’s your ethnic heritage?”

Not Being Black Privilege

Helps avoid getting shot deadrun over, or dragged to death behind a truck (1),(2), helps prevent being disrespected, disregarded, degraded and dehumanized. For more, listen for negative biases perpetuated through media and watch the prison-for-profit industrial complex grow through the incessant New Jim Crow.

Wealth Privilege

The wealthy buy their way to success and buy their way out of trouble. See ‘affluenza,the disease everyone would like to have.

White Privilege 

White privilege helps to get a call back for an interview, helps get executive level jobs through the ‘good ol’ boy’ network, helps get sales jobs due to a bias for a ‘non-threatening’ and familiar culture and phenotype; helps with renting housing (even though housing discrimination has been outlawed). In court, helps to get a lesser sentence or no sentence at all. For more, from the famous list, see Peggy McIntosh’s “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack

Intersectionality Kyriarchy Venn Diagram

Simplified diagram shows some of the overlapping identities that we have – showing the complexity and variety of our communities. A more complete diagram would include profession, age, attractiveness, political affiliation, religion, atheism, etc. | Click here to edit diagram.

In Summary

Our communities give us a life with discrimination, disenfranchisement and some privileges. Intersectionality and Kyriarchy are about multiple forms of disrespect and disenfranchisement piling up on an individual.

The opposite of facing the complexities of our interpersonal Venn diagrams of overlapping discrimination and disenfranchisement is ethnocentrismsectarianism, and sectionalism.

To learn about more privileges 

See the list of privileges at Kyriarchy & Privilege 101