priv·i·lege: a right or immunity granted as a peculiar benefit, advantage, or favor : prerogative; especially : such a right or immunity attached specifically to a position or an office~Merriam-Webster
A privilege is a special entitlement to immunity granted by the state or another authority to a restricted group, either by birth or on a conditional basis. It can be revoked in certain circumstances. In modern democratic states, a privilege is conditional and granted only after birth. By contrast, a right is an inherent, irrevocable entitlement held by all citizens or all human beings from the moment of birth.~Wikipedia
priv·i·lege [priv-uh-lij, priv-lij] noun,verb, -leged, -leg·ing.noun
1. a right, immunity, or benefit enjoyed only by a person beyond the advantages of most: the privileges of the very rich.2. a special right, immunity, or exemption granted to persons in authority or office to free them from certain obligations or liabilities: the privilege of a senator to speak in Congress without danger of a libel suit.3. a grant to an individual, corporation, etc., of a special right or immunity, under certain conditions.4. the principle or condition of enjoying special rights or immunities.5. any of the rights common to all citizens under a modern constitutional government: We enjoy the privileges of a free people.~Dictionary.com
Simply put, privilege generally means that those that have (or are in a better position to have) possess a preeminent and presumptive advantage over those who have not.
It's this ideology that prompts an irrelevant Hispanic talking head (what's good, Geraldo? Nothing? That's what we thought too) to announce that an article of clothing was somehow responsible for Trayvon Martin's death. Is there anyone who truly believes George Zimmerman wasn't going after Trayvon if young Mr. Martin decided to rock a polo and khakis that fateful day?
It's this ideology that prompts one unfocused movement to try and steal shine from another extremely passionate and focused movement. I'm not sure what the end game is for Occupy Wall Street but I do know that it cannot be accomplished by piggy-backing on the outrage for Trayvon Martin. (For more on this, see @SlimJackson's post today)
It's this ideology that suggests that a police force that did not arrest George Zimmerman should now offer him protection? Someone please tell me this isn't happening. Really, it's the very essence of privilege that George Zimmerman isn't sitting up on the jailhouse right the hell now.
In non-Trayvon related privilege...
Privilege is what buoys a group of right wingers into presuming to tell women what they can and cannot do with their bodies.
Privilege is what allows men (any man apparently) to tell women what they need to do to catch and keep a man.
Privilege is what allows someone to stand in front of a podium talking about taking "their country" back. Whose country?
The funny thing about privilege... and the thing that those that enjoy it seem to forget... is that it can be circumvented, eroded or revoked. Like a credit card. It only works if it's accepted. Otherwise, it's just shiny and useless.
In my fam, we've labeled this The Entitlement Factor. Depending upon who is overplaying their privilege card, we mutter under our breaths "White Entitlement" or "Negreaux Entitlement" or "Blonde Entitlement" or "Deluded Entitlement" - apparently entitlement is what's hot in the streets... again. Though every once and a while, someone surprises you. Check out this post by Sinead O'Connor.
My least favorite thing about some of the Trayvon discourse I've heard is from folks asking, "What if Trayvon were white?" or "What if both parties were black, don't we care about black on black crime anymore?" Who seriously thinks this becomes a story of international interest in either of those scenarios? And why can't we be allowed outrage for this situation such as it is?
BougieLand - must privilege go hand in hind with intolerant blindsidedness? Do you feel over- under- or any kind of privileged? Why or why not? Whose privilege would you like to yank away, never to be returned again? Thoughts, comments, insights....