Looking at Class Privilege

My brother is incredibly observant and articulate. I asked him to share some observations about patterns and behaviors that he notices in people with class privilege. Below is a potent list of what he’s seen in himself and in others. If you have class privilege, I invite you to sit with these and see how your body responds as you read them. Particularly notice the ones that make you feel uncomfortable. As Dante Bryant says, “People are not conscious unless they are made uncomfortable.”

  • People with class privilege almost always have “blind spots” that are too close to their reality, so even the most progressive will dismiss a topic out of reflex.
  • They battle with guilt over their privilege and resentment to those making them feel guilty for something they “earned”.
  • They have a habit of dehumanizing people they think they are helping. It’s the same attitude used to treat an adopted rescue animal as opposed to talking to equals.
  • People with privilege struggle differentiating what it means to “do good deeds to feel better about themselves” and what it means to “do good deeds because you genuinely care about the people you’re supporting or working with.”
  • People of privilege are often willing to comment on a community they work with as an outsider, but rarely ever willing to become part of that community in any meaningful way.
  • They have a habit of maintaining their progressive views as it relates to the outside work they do, but abandoning them fully if it interferes with their ability to financially prosper.
  • People of privilege are often times willing to begrudgingly accept institutionalized injustices when they don’t affect them. Many progressive liberals will fight (with action) harder over an unfair cable bill or a family dog being exposed to danger than police brutality or predatory voter suppression.
  • They value shareable social content on injustice often times over actionable work in a community.

Artwork by Chris Johnston

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