When you’re accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression.

-Author Unknown


This is the most powerful definition of privilege I’ve found. It’s a reminder that having privilege doesn’t mean power must be sacrificed but instead shared.

12 thoughts on “The Definition of Privilege

  1. This is a marvelous view of privilege. Interestingly and unfortunately, the oppressed can play an important role in their own demise as well.
    When you’re accustomed to oppression a sense of “entitlement” (as a result of society owing you for this situation in life) can diminish clarity in perception. Rather than respecting one’s peers and uniting to reveal this oppression, a sense of entitlement shifts the focus on self gain at the expense of others also oppressed.

    Addressing privilege and oppression (in my opinion) needs support within EACH group to identify factors contributing to this division as well as integration to identify solutions to this problem.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for your response, Dr. Jonathan. I understand the reference to oppression in this quote as being that those who are privileged sometimes feel as though sharing equality is infringing on their rights in some way. For instance, in male privilege, a man may feel that women’s equality is taking something away from a male’s sense of authority.

    Also, if you are referring to the underprivileged as oppressed, and a certain sense of entitlement within the underprivileged, I have also seen this to be true, but only rarely. More often, I have seen that many strive just as equally as those with more opportunity, sometimes harder, yet systemic barriers create an uphill battle. What do you think? I agree that everyone should be a part of advocating for equality. As always, I appreciate our discourse.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I think your point is well taken. I also wonder whether my opinion is based on limited exposure and a biased picture the media often portrays. Your explanation about the underprivileged probably conveys a more accurate picture (“striving with greater barriers and uphill battles.”) My exposure to the underprivileged in a health care clinical setting has more often proven my beliefs, however, it didn’t fully take into account the other (possibly more meaningful battles) they were facing.

    Thank you for opening my eyes to new possible realities. With such limited personal exposure it is clear (to me) an unfair and unreasonable bias may exist. It is time to introspect and open myself to different possibilities. I appreciate you sharing your perspective with me.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you for your honest reflection! It takes great humility to be able to say that what you’ve experienced may not paint the whole picture. People are often so locked into their views that exchange of ideas isn’t possible. So wonderful that we can have these conversations.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Gina!

    Even “The Quote Investigator” was unable to find out who first said this now famous quote. He did find out something about the people who helped popularize it, though. http://quoteinvestigator.com/2016/10/24/privilege/

    It is very difficult to see one’s own privilege, in my experience. Also, for whatever reason, people can get quite defensive and plunge themselves into denial if their privilege is pointed out to them — just as if they are personally responsible for having been, say, born a White male in America.

    Hats off to Dr. Johnathan for being willing to reconsider his opinions! You don’t see that very often!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I have so much respect for Dr Johnathon. It takes great humility to truly listen and consider a different perspective. It’s a beautiful thing to see!


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