How often have you felt that you have been wronged? Or lamented the general unfairness of life and its amazing ability to single you out? I know I have, on several occasions but I have also over the years realized that this unfairness does not affect everyone in the same way, and the reason for it is one word – privilege. The hierarchical nature of our society ensures that some people, by the very nature of their identity, enjoy certain privileges. If you belong to the upper caste you are privileged, if you are a man you are privileged, if you belong to the majority religion you are privileged, and the list goes on. The danger of privilege is in the fact that it is often invisible to those who benefit from it, and thus usually blinds them. Your privilege affords you certain liberties and opportunities, and this fact often goes unacknowledged.
So, how can we become aware of our privilege? The video below showcases a simple exercise to get an idea of the privilege one enjoys and an individual’s social location. It is a stark reminder of how privilege is an enabler, and why we need affirmative action to bridge inequality. Even though the questions on race in this exercise do not apply in the Indian context, replacing it with ‘caste‘ would not be too different.