The Good Place actor just pointed out how you can be privileged far beyond your bank balance.
When we think of ‘privilege’, most of our minds probably steer towards the obvious: wealth, education and power. The situations we are born into. We think of trust funds, university educations, and corner offices. But the truth is privilege comes under many guises.
And now, Jamil is back at the wheel, raising the idea on social media, calling on her followers to talk more about the various privileges they possess. “The discussion around privilege tends to make people defensive because they don’t understand their,” Jamil wrote.
She continued, “Privilege is not always about wealth, education and power. Sometimes it is purely the *absence* of discrimination. That is a privilege in and of itself. See also: slim privilege, pretty privilege… Being called privilege isn’t an insult, it’s just a note that you have more than others and it your duty to recognise that and stand with those who do not have that same privilege; those who are being actively discriminated against.”
Jamil’s words raise another distinction here: the difference between equality and equity. The former assumes that everyone is starting from the same place with the same barriers and the same support, and therefore advocates that everyone should be treated equally.
However, it fails to address specific barriers facing individuals, which, as Jamil points out, can vary from sexuality to looks. Equality provides a blanket solution to an individual problem.
On the other hand, equity addresses the discrimination faced by the individual to ensure that everyone has access to the same place.
As Jamil suggests, privilege can be hard to dismantle as it tends to trigger our defence mechanisms. Nevertheless, it is important as it is only by identifying our individual privileges that we can start to dismantle them in order to achieve equity across the board.