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Based on everything that has been presented in the course materials so far privilege for me can be summed up as a form of “entitlement” which is based on preconceived social and cultural norms from which a set of accorded “rights” are attributed to a certain class of individuals (Mcintosh 79-82).
Privilege, Dominance, and Race
How privilege works in the context of social norms and behaviors (as I understand it from the readings presented) is that it confers a certain degree of dominance-based on race and sex. For example, a person’s skin color (being white) enables them a far more likely chance to be accepted for a certain job, attain a degree or even avoid being accused of a crime on the basis that their skin color accords them a preconceived social status as being more likely not to commit a crime, have a greater possibility of performing well at a particular job and lastly having a greater chance of integration within a predominantly white campus community.
Privilege and Gender
On the other end of the spectrum, privilege can also encompass aspects related to gender stereotyping wherein males are thought of as being “superior” to females based on their “superior” gender, and as such men should be accorded certain privileges as befits their station (a widely held belief within the Middle East). Commonly held social beliefs regarding women (which are an inherent part of society yet few people willingly acknowledge them as fact) is that they are the weaker gender, lack the physical strength and endurance to live in a “man’s world” and as such are more suited to staying at home and taking care of children. While in the modern-day era women’s rights and equality between genders has ensured that women are accorded the same right as men in the workplace such aspects are superficial in that men are still more “privileged” than women in this regard. Examples of this can be seen in the hiring practices of corporations wherein more men hold senior positions within a company as compared to women are given higher salaries, more benefits and in the end, are presented with more opportunities for advancement as compared to their female counterparts.
In summary, it can be seen that the concept of privilege based on race and gender is an unfortunate fact of society that needs to be changed to create a just and equal “playing field” so to speak for people of all races and genders.
Crenshaw, Kimberle. “Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, hut out of ~ that they and Violence against Women of Color.” Feminist Frontiers. 7. (2007): 431-437. Print.
Devor, Aaron. “Who are We?.” Sex, Gender and Sexuality. 6.2 (2009): 527-534. Print.
Wilchins, Riki. “Gender rights are human rights.” Gender Queer. (2002): 187-191. Print.