Am I the only one sick and tired of being called ‘white privileged’ and that I don’t deserve to have my voice heard because of it? It seems as if I should be ashamed of who I am and what ideas I have to make the world a better place. Conservatives are often scared to speak up about this subject. It’s at the forefront of the work I am doing. I think it deserves more attention than what leftist campus vocabulary makes it to be. Privilege to me means we have been given great gifts, whether they be intellectual, artistic, etc. We are responsible to use them to produce goodness for others. Privilege as a negative idea is a hot topic right now. Because of this, I would love to shed some positive light on it. 

Sometimes confronting privilege is uncomfortable. 

Coming to actualize the privilege one comes from is always a challenging process, even a never-ending one. Beginning with the fact that we all have in some unique way, some type of privilege, we begin to realize the absurdity that is intersectionality. It’s weird to infinitely regress into the ‘privilege points’ culture. Before, we used to just count our blessings and express gratitude. Is this political culture convincing conservatives that there is something inherently wrong with the country they were born into, the culture they grew up in, or the languages they speak? We all have special talents and abilities, some more than others. We are not born into a perfect world of equality; our differences make us exciting. By discerning what gifts we’ve been given, we can more properly confront the idea that privilege is negative, but the whole process of doing so is like shaking the hand of discomfort and openly allowing it inside. Either way, let this be a challenge to overcome.

Sometimes confronting privilege is infuriating.  

Not only is actualizing our own privilege uncomfortable, but it can make one outright angry, especially in political circles. Firstly, however, we have American privilege. It was music to my ears when one of my Mexican coworkers told me, “Just to be born in America is such a privilege.” The shame culture around identity politics is destructive to American ideals. To be told we are at fault for any of history’s greatest evils destroys incentive to try and amend them. My identity is uniquely my own, worked at and still in constant discovery. There are so many stories and life challenges I have overcome and still face. With the narrative of, “you’re white and therefore at fault,” I’m discounted. I’m not at all saying this is the dominating culture, but this type of identity-politics-shaming does exist. I’ve gotten angry at how good I have it. I think of all of the amazing opportunities I have, my own self-starting personality to make them happen, the great, loving people in my life, and burning passion for my future career. Why doesn’t everyone have such a deep desire to make a difference? Why doesn’t everyone want to create fun opportunities and learn? 

Sometimes confronting privilege is exciting.  

It’s so easy to get mad feeling isolated in any of these ways, but of utmost importance to serve with our hearts and do our absolute best. Maybe we feel guilty for the great blessings we’ve been given, but then how do we assuage that feeling? By using them to help others, of course. The process of reaching high offices or professionalism seems daunting to me in that I want to do things immediately. The truth is that we are already on the front-lines. This does not have to look like directly feeding the poor three times a day or volunteering at the church. No, this can look like studying politics, talking to others, and overall, being activists for the ideas that matter. It is exciting that overcoming the negativity around privilege and guilt can reassure us that good ideas are at work and that our identities are nothing to be ashamed of. If being told that privilege means we do not deserve to speak up, then speak up more to change that narrative. I think it is easy to get absorbed into this type of victim-hood mentality, but critical to get ourselves out of it! 

Overall, privilege is synonymous with responsibility. Whoever tells us that it’s better to give than to receive is spot on. Privilege to a conservative is the gift of self, independent of government or cultural coercion to do so. It takes a well-versed and well-read conservative to stand up for the idea that privilege does not automatically carry guilty weight, but rejoices in the ability to provide our gifts to others. 

Kelly H