COLLEGE PARK, MD –
Privilege-sharing is back on the docket this morning.
The most common reaction to those that attempt to share their privilege is rejection. Sharing privilege is work – for the giver and the recipient.
As we all know, once work is required most of us will attempt to skirt it. If we were honest about that reality there wouldn’t be much of a problem.
The issue arises when people are not willing to simply admit that they are not up to the huge task of getting to work on improvements for themselves, to admit that they don’t value getting better that much.
Whenever privilege-sharing and visions for improvement are on the table, they are usually rejected and resisted because people are content living under their current delusions.
To improve necessitates acknowledgement of shortcomings in a person’s or community’s status quo. And even after the necessary acknowledgement, there is the requirement to take action to fend off that status quo’s insidious elements.
For the majority of people who will choose to avoid the acknowledgement and required action, they will not admit they are doing so to avoid the sacrifice and potential loss of status they fear will come to them if they share or receive privilege.
Many of us will not admit that we are comfortable with the going ego-conceptions of nobility and societal worth, that we like things the way they are. We are used to perceiving meaning and success in a certain way and are loath to get used to something different – even if it’s better.
Instead, many of us will reject and resist those that attempt to share their privilege and help guide the way to individual and collective improvement. This rejection and resistance comes in many forms: alienation, humiliation, intimidation, slander, and, if the person or people trying to improve with us are effective enough, violence.
Furthermore, all of this rejection and resistance will be done under the pretext of upholding tradition and respect for forefathers and values.
What is one to do when they would like to share their privilege and work with their kinsmen to improve together, but they are rejected and resisted?I contend that the answer is to keep sharing with whoever is willing to work together. Slowly but surely, that group of people will grow larger and larger. Then the group will be too formidable to reject or resist.
That’s the easy part.
If we are to follow in the footsteps of our Messenger, peace upon him, the answer is to keep on giving. Former detractors must be absorbed as comrades. This is privilege-sharing par excellence.
Sharing privilege from a position of relative weakness is a great feat, but sharing privilege from a position of relative strength is the true gut-check.
Dropping the underdog crutch many of us lean on to keep us going in the face of opposition is a big step. It’s removing the training wheels.
Making room for those who previously rejected a mission and a gift of privilege-sharing is the culmination of the struggle – it’s the point where privilege has fully been shared.