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Exposing Privilege

Updated: Apr 28, 2023

I have been thinking alot about privilege, both its presence and impact in the world. Some folx argue that privilege doesn’t exist and everyone is born to the experience of a level playing field. This, my friends, is a lie. I know that may sound harsh, but it is true. This lie is born out of the depths of rugged individualism. This ideal asserts that not only are we are all born on the same level playing field, but if each individual just works hard enough, long enough, good enough, whatever enough, then everyone has the same shot at success (at least success as it is defined by the larger society). So this so called “success” is solely determined by the amount of effort one asserts. I am just going to call bull**** on this. This lie, unfortunately, has also crept into our spiritual understandings. We shout at the top of our lungs “everyone creates their own reality”….yes…and….where as it is true that we are powerfully creative beings who can rise above terrible situations and create magical and powerful things, it is also true that we don’t create in a vacuum. The culmination of all the thought in our collective awareness out pictures in very real ways, and for very real people. We see this in every aspect of our world. With this understanding, the bumper sticker version of “Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life” can often overlook the very real experiences of people and assert blame instead of empowerment. The more we believe the lie that privilege is not a real thing and bootstrap mentality in the only answer, the more we perpetuate the frameworks and systems that create inequality and injustice, and a general glossing over of their impact because we are afraid to look our own privilege in the eye. If we ignore the power that privilege currently has, we discount the very real experiences of individuals in our world. The playing field is not level. We can no longer trade this fact for the allure of rugged individualism. The fact is it just doesn’t add up to anything remotely associated with the truth. But all is not lost. The amazing part of our creative ability is once we come to a greater awareness of something we can begin to move, adjust, reevaluate, and recreate. With a new found awareness we simply can’t go back. We cannot return to a place of unawareness. This knowledge must catapult us forward in ways that acknowledge we have both the power and opportunity to create something different in our world. A world that truly works for all.

Rev. Ryan

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