Thoughts on Privilege


The news these days has got me thinking deeply about my upbringing, education, opportunity, and privilege.

I was born into a middle-class family in America, not rich by our own standards but by those of the majority of the world. My parents raised me to be rich in values and in an ethical character that sought to understand the plight of others and serve those less fortunate than me. I was consciously put into an outstanding school district, where I began my journey of understanding the world around me, questioning my reality and being exposed to realities different from my own; albeit lessons learned from within a sheltered bubble of safety.

So in safety, freedom, and comfort, I studied world literature, which exposed me to the horrors of dehumanization and genocide through books like ‘The Kite Runner’ and ‘Things Fall Apart’. The next year in my Beyond Tolerance course we studied the Holocaust and the lessons there were to be learned from it.

Later as an undergraduate student of the humanities, I would study Asian philosophy, ethics, peace studies, women and gender studies, psychology, and sociology.

Another layer of privilege and education was added as I embarked upon my international bachelor’s degree program. I have studied culture and worked first hand with beautiful, intelligent people from all over the world, people who are no different than me, people, human like me.

I know not everyone is blessed with this kind of life education. But my peers and I, we are in the minority of people in this world who will actually fulfill their most basic human needs and beyond that, experience self-confidence, personal growth, education.

Those who are familiar with Maslow know I am speaking of the fourth level of his hierarchy of needs, and the time will come now or in the near future for you to reach the final plateau; to self-actualize.

What does that mean to you? To have the newest car? To travel the world? Or to use your education, privilege, and opportunities in life to enable others to experience the same?

So friends… if you are asking yourself, “What should I do with my life?” and an answer isn’t coming easily, try asking a different question:
“Who can I serve?”

 

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