Since our discussion in class last week about Peggy McIntosh’s article, I have been unable to help but thinking about my privilege as I go about my daily activities. When I spoke in class, I discussed that a significant portion of my privilege came from the town I was raised in. My town was extremely safe, had incredible school systems, was abnormally diverse (but at the same time being white and Jewish put me in the majority), and, in my opinion, was accepting of all of the different cultures we represented.
However, as a white, straight, cis-gendered, upper middle-class girl at a prestigious academic institution, my only privilege does not come from the idealness of my home town. Additionally, as I grow up and move to different places, although my privilege may change forms or intensities, it will always exist. For example, coming to Vanderbilt, I was surprised to find that the Jewish population at this school was much smaller than it was in my high school. Originally that thought intimidated me as I had always found comfort in being able to bond with most of the people around me because of my religion and sharing with them our culture and customs. Surprisingly, though, I was able to easily find a Jewish community here through the Chabad house and in the sorority I ended up joining on campus. While it was easy for me to quickly find a group of students I could relate to, even though we are in a minority on campus, I can imagine it is more difficult for other minorities to do the same. Again, although coming to a new place where my religion placed me in one of the minorities of students, I was able to quickly find people to relate to and never felt the full effects of marginalization.
Even in situations where we may feel disadvantaged, I think it is always important to look at the ways in which we are able to luckily belong in our surroundings. Doing so will not only make us more self-aware, but it will also make us more ably ready to recognize instances in which our privilege pervades our disadvantages.