- Age and experience
- Being loved
- Being born a socially advantaged gender
- Being born to socially advantaged ethnic group
- Being born to the ‘right’ parents within your group
- Not somehow ending up in the wrong place at the wrong time
- An enthusiastic disposition
- To have struggled and overcome
- The right chance meetings
- The luck of starting a career in a time of growth
- Inherited wealth
- Earned wealth
- Lottery winnings
- Good influences
Privilege is so inevitable and inescapable – so much of it comes from the possession of inherently good things, and so much of it is pure luck – that it can’t be inherently wrong.
The distribution of beauty is unfair, but not immoral.
The problem for society is what to do when privileges or disadvantages cluster and ossify, so that a few key privileges (or disadvantages) lead to having (or not having) most of the others – to impunity or suffering.
The challenge for each of us is to see our privileges clearly and to seek to understand what it might mean not to have them.
The call to all of us is to respond not with guilt but with empathy, and to steward our privilege well – or as Bryan Lorrits puts it, “to disadvantage yourself for the advantage of others.”*