“Privilege does not mean you’re rich, a bad person, have had everything handed to you or have never had challenges or struggles.  Privilege just means there are some challenges and struggles you won’t experience because of who you are.”

from “Why does privilege make people so angry?” by Franchesca Ramsey

Privilege. The word itself sounds like an elegant dinner party, a room full of silver spoons and velvet cushions. Yet, it’s not about being rich. It isn’t a measure of your wealth, it’s not a judgment of your moral compass. Privilege is not the invisible hand that feeds you silver spoons, nor is it the unseen force that eradicates your trials or tribulations.

Understand this, privilege doesn’t come stamped with an ‘evil’ tag. It doesn’t make you a villain in a world that craves heroes. The spotlight of privilege doesn’t beam on you because you’ve never faced a storm or fought with the thunder. We all have our challenges, we all know the dance of struggle and resilience.

Instead, privilege is like the wind at your back when others face it head-on. It’s the unnoticed, quiet companion, guiding you past certain obstacles without you even realizing. It’s about not feeling the sting of certain thorns, simply because of the garden where you were born.

It’s the unseen, silent buffer that absorbs some shocks life might throw at you, based on your skin color, your gender, your sexual orientation, your birthplace. It’s not about never facing a hill, it’s about not having to climb certain mountains others are scaling.

Privilege isn’t about guilt, it’s about understanding. It’s recognizing the invisible stepping stones that have been laid out for you. It’s about using that knowledge—not to cast shadows—but to build bridges. Because in the rigorous race of life, your track might have had fewer hurdles. And acknowledging that? That’s the first step toward a more inclusive, empathetic world.

Stephen Boudreau serves as VP of Brand and Community at Virtuous Software. For over two decades, he has helped nonprofits leverage the digital space to grow their impact. To that end, Stephen co-founded RaiseDonors, a platform that provides nonprofits with technology and experiences that remove barriers to successful online fundraising. He is an avid (but aging) soccer player, audiobook enthusiast, and the heavily-disputed UNO champion of his household.

Copyright ©2023 Stephen Boudreau.