Part of a conversation overheard at Starbucks: “You’re a white American male with a college degree. The world is your oyster – don’t ever forget that!”
I’ve been thinking a lot about privilege lately.
Well, not just lately. I overheard that conversation at a Starbucks in Washington, D.C. more than a year ago, and it still haunts me. The Oxford Dictionary defines privilege as “a special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group”. Simply put, privilege has to do with how groups in society accommodate and cater to you.
I think most people are well aware of racial and class privilege, but I don’t see the same level of awareness of male privilege, at least not in Christian circles.
Over the past few months I’ve had several conversations with male friends who disagree that they are “over-privileged” in their communities of faith, even though they may agree that women have often been at a disadvantage. I had been praying and mulling over how to break through this impasse when I came across an anonymous post, “A Definitive Guide to White Privilege”. There are a lot of these posts floating around, but this one had a lot of examples that I think are also true of male privilege. I took the liberty of rewriting the list from my vantage point as a woman in the church.