Basic human decency should not be a privilege.

I have heard discussions about privilege in the context of “it is my privilege that I can talk back to police and not be injured as a result.” But in what universe should it be a privilege to be treated with basic dignity and respect? Yes, it is good to be aware of, but let’s ensure that we realize this is a basic right. Privilege may exist, but it should not exist in this context.

Merriam-Webster online defines privilege as “a right or immunity granted as a particular benefit, advantage, or favor.”

My privilege is something I have that others do not. I had the privilege of an amazing private high school education because my grandparents provided it to me. Conversely, I had the privilege of significant financial aid to help me go to college because my parents made so very little. And I am pretty sure I have gotten at least one job that I would not have gotten if I had more melanin in my skin. The list goes on…

These are good things to be aware of. However, as we consider change and what to do about my privilege, what if we change the paradigm within which we think?

Getting a good education and having a way to earn a basic income should not be a privilege.

Of course there will be no world where some do not have privilege over others, but perhaps there could be a reality where opportunities grow, not at the expense of people with certain privileges, but instead creating more decency for all.

In other words, we can recognize our privilege and work to lift others up without lowing our own basic opportunities.

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