Understanding Social Privilege

"Privilege exists when one group has something of value that is denied to others simply because of the groups they belong to, rather than because of anything they’ve done or failed to do. Access to privilege doesn’t determine one’s outcomes, but it is definitely an asset that makes it more likely that whatever talent, ability, and aspirations a person with privilege has will result in something positive for them.”
Peggy McIntosh
Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack

Intersectionality and Privilege

What is Intersectionality?

The complex, cumulative way in which the effects of multiple forms of discrimination (such as racism, sexism, and classism) combine, overlap, or intersect especially in the experiences of marginalized individuals or groups.

In 1989, Professor Kimberlé Crenshaw was one of the first researchers to use the term "intersectionality" as a way to explain the oppression of African-American women.

What is Privilege?

A right or immunity granted as a peculiar benefit, advantage, or favor.

It's important to remember that a person is made up of many identities. This means that the person's privilege can vary based on those identities. For example, someone may be privileged due to their race or ethnicity, but due to their sexual orientation, they lack the same privilege as a peer that falls into that same race or ethnicity, due to society's biases towards their orientation.

Kimberlé Crenshaw on Intersectionality

In the following video, Kimberlé Crenshaw covers intersectionality from a student perspective in the classroom; this same concept can be used to look at intersectionality in the workplace and how that impacts an employee.

So you want to talk about race book cover with "talk about race" emphasized in a call out block.

Recommended Read: So you want to talk about race

In "So you want to talk about race," Ijeoma Oluo covers privilege, intersectionality, and other key topics that are important to general Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity conversations. Through her thoughtful nonfiction storytelling, Oluo also covers various marginalized groups, including race, gender, marital status, and disability.