PRIVILEGE. IS IT ME?

Post by Jonathan Penner

Over the past several months, beginning with Charlottesville, I have been reflecting on the use of the word privilege. Particularly white, male, heterosexual privilege. Why? Because unlike my many black, brown, female, and LGBT friends, I fit that description. I am part of what some describe as the most privileged people group on the planet.

So what does it mean? What do I do with that? How do I respond? Or in the words of a close friend:

“What do you do when you realize you are the most powerful person in the room?”

So I decided to start off by asking three questions:
1. Where did my privilege come from?
2. Who has it?
3. Who doesn’t?

Understanding these three helps setup an informed and more effective response.

So where does it come from? Privilege often has a history. There are times when political systems, communal mindsets, and even religious cultures take privileges from one group and give them to another. Other times privilege is purchased or earned through trade or learning. Sometimes privilege, or our lack thereof, is connected to our birth order, our physical attributes, or our geographic location.

So the first step in our response to privilege or our lack thereof is to explore the story:

  • Where did it come from?
  • Was it stolen?
  • Did you earn it?
  • Were you born with it?
  • Was it something that happened in your lifetime?
  • Or is it something that took place over many generations, or even centuries?

Next, who was it given to? Was this a privilege given to you as an individual or was it given to a whole people group of which you are a part of?

Third, who are the individuals or people groups around you that do not have this privilege? How has that affected them and for how long have they lived without this privilege?

Finally, own your part in the story. Is it part of your personal story, your family story, your races story, your countries story, your genders story, or your religions story? Because in the words of Brené Brown:

“The stories we don’t own, own us. The stories we own, we get to write the ending.”

Which takes me back to the beginning. What do you do when you realize you have privilege – not just white, male, heterosexual privilege, but any privilege, be it racial, religious, political, workplace, financial, physical, or other?

Explore the story of how you came to have that privilege. Own your part of the story, which includes the part your ancestors, country, race, gender, or religion played. Then, in light of how you came to receive this privilege, consider how you can use it to benefit and bless all people, particularly those who have been deprived of your privilege.

Because when you realize you have privilege, power, or advantage. When you choose to discover how you came to have it. When you decide to own your part in the story. That is a defining moment. It’s your opportunity to write a brave new ending. It is your chance to restore the beauty of humanity within the circles of your influence – leveraging your privilege for the benefit those around you, tearing down dehumanizing systems of privilege and power, or restoring privilege to those from whom it was stolen.

That’s what you can do when you realize you are the most powerful person in the room.

Soul — October 13, 2017

ABOUT THIS MONTH’S EVENT

LOVE OVER HATE
Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Backpack.

Privilege comes in many forms; race, gender, wealth, physical health, beauty, stature, education, sexual orientation, and religion. While privilege is neither good or bad, what we do with it is. Do we consider it our advantage or opportunity? Do we use it to overpower or empower those who don’t have it? Perhaps the biggest challenge is that privilege is most often invisible to those who have it – and that’s a conversation worth starting.

WHAT IS SOUL?

Soul is a free monthly event host by LIFE+APP mixing something like a TED talk, a live band, an Oprah interview, and an after-party with some great food — creating an environment where anyone regardless of spiritual belief, cultural background or sexual orientation is inspired to take action toward personal growth relationally.


FRIDAY • OCTOBER 13@ 7:30 PM
CHIEF SEPASS THEATRE 9096 TRATTLE ST. FORT LANGLEY

Soul — September 22, 2017

ABOUT THIS MONTH’S EVENT

THE SPACE BETWEEN US
Shifting from Me to We

Healthy relationships are formed when we shift from me to we – creating space for another person to thrive, while they’re doing the same for us. We’re accustomed to seeing the physical aspects of the relationships – the demeanor, mannerisms, the obvious visual cues.

It’s much harder to identify and design the intangible space between us. Yet nothing affects our relationships more than what happens in that space.

Based on the research of John Gottman, certified counsellor Michele Gruenhage will join us to start a conversation about how we can form and shape healthy spaces for relationships to thrive at home, work, school, and in our communities

WHAT IS SOUL?

Soul is a free monthly event host by LIFE+APP mixing something like a TED talk, a live band, an Oprah interview, and an after-party with some great food — creating an environment where anyone regardless of spiritual belief, cultural background or sexual orientation is inspired to take action toward personal growth relationally.


FRIDAY • SEPTEMBER 22 @ 7:30 PM
CHIEF SEPASS THEATRE 9096 TRATTLE ST. FORT LANGLEY

Soul — August 25, 2017

 

ABOUT THIS MONTH’S EVENT

We all make mistakes; sometimes letting people down, breaking promises, procrastinating, saying unkind things, or inadvertently hurting people around us. So unless we’re prepared to change jobs, replace our friends, or even our spouse on a regular basis; learning to make and receive repair attempts is an essential life skill.

This month at Soul, we’re starting a conversation around the anatomy of an apology.

Exploring why, how, when, and when not to apologize. Learning that apologizing doesn’t always mean you’re wrong and the other person is right. Instead it means that you value the relationships in your life more than your ego.

WHAT IS SOUL?

Soul is a free monthly event host by LIFE+APP mixing something like a TED talk, a live band, an Oprah interview, and an after-party with some great food — creating an environment where anyone regardless of spiritual belief, cultural background or sexual orientation is inspired to take action toward personal growth relationally.


FRIDAY • AUGUST 25 @ 7:30 PM
CHIEF SEPASS THEATRE 9096 TRATTLE ST. FORT LANGLEY


 

 

Soul — July 7, 2017

WHAT IS SOUL?

Soul is a free monthly event host by LIFE+APP mixing something like a TED talk, a live band, an Oprah interview, and an after-party with some great food — creating an environment where anyone regardless of spiritual belief, cultural background or sexual orientation is inspired to take action toward person growth relationally.

ABOUT THIS MONTH’S SOUL

  • Why do we so often want forgiveness, yet struggle to give it?
  • Who deserves it?
  • Who benefits from it?
  • Are some things unforgivable?

This month, we’re going to start a conversation around forgiveness and the power it has to release us from the prisons of our own making — leading us toward healing, joy and freedom. Read more

LIFE+APP Master Class Invitation

Starting on June 22 — a 6-week Master Class!

On June 9, the topic for LIFE+APP’s Soul event was Being Known. We explored the basic human need to be seen and understood by each other. On the heels of that event, we are offering a perspective and orientation course.

At LIFE+APP, we’re not just interested in great ideas — we want to put them into practice!

We’re grateful that Twins Coffee in Langley has generously opened their facility to LIFE+APP for this.

Don’t miss this great opportunity to learn about vulnerability, courage, shame and empathy with Sandra Dykstra Counselling Services! Read more