Floyd and Towards a More Useful Definition of Privilege

What I think is the best way of understanding privilege is what you get to overlook in your day to day life that other people don’t get to. I remember I used to tell students about taking late night bike rides in Beijing and how freeing that is to experience, biking through a massive empty city. Then one of my students, a TA told me she tried that and was sexually harassed to the point she felt deeply unsafe probably by a guy that I would have just waved to and smiled. I never considered the danger because of my privilege. People who want to stand and talk to me don’t understand how that causes me great pain because of my medical condition that they themselves don’t suffer from.
Many white Americans don’t understand what if feels like to be black in America. Afraid of the very things that are supposed to be there to keep them safe. The idea of privilege should not be a tool to make others feel bad but instead to better understand the trials and tribulations of those people who are not ourselves. This right now is a great time to listen to those people who have different life experiences than ourselves.
It is hard to put yourself in someone else’s shoes if you don’t understand exactly what being in their shoes entails.

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