A White girl’s guide to privilege

Photo courtesy of Toby Morris, from his comic “On a Plate” | Guest Writer Brittany Wells introduces her op-ed series, “A White girl’s guide to privilege.” She explains the types of privileges she thinks readers should be aware of.

I am a White, upper middle class, educated, able-bodied, Christian and cis-gendered woman who prefers romantic relationships with men.

You can probably say the same about at least one of those elements of privilege. What do these elements of my identity mean? It means that I have varying degrees of privilege that affect the way I interact with the world, and you do, too.

If you’re reading this article, I can assume at least one fact about you, and that is that you can understand this text and thus are to some extent literate. Given that Newswire’s primary audience is the Xavier community, you are likely completing or have completed secondary education. You were and are also on the receiving end of countless resources to assist your success.

Here at Xavier, we have teachers, resident assistants and librarians who care about us, as well as career coaches, counselors at McGrath and so much more. These are very good privileges to have and shouldn’t be taken for granted.

Our duty, as citizens of the world, empathetic people and members of a Jesuit community, is to ensure that marginalized people gain access to those same levels of privilege.

This is the pilot article for a potential series entitled, “A White girl’s guide to privilege,” an interactive exploration of my own biases. The series will include interviews with staff and students at Xavier discussing their experience with privilege or lack thereof compared to the privilege I benefit from and having transparent dialogue about what I, or any person of privilege, can do to contribute to the movement toward equal opportunity for all people. Not sure which layers of privilege you may be benefitting from right now? Take this quiz to see if articles in the series might be relevant to you.

  • If you’ve never had to take a test to prove your U.S. citizenship.
  • If you’ve never been told you shouldn’t wear revealing clothing because it will draw unwanted attention.
  • If you received support from your high school counselors to attend a college of your choice.
  • If you got a job interview or were hired because a family member knew someone in the organization.
  • If you entered this space today without thinking about whether or not the building was accessible for your abilities.
  • If you had family financial support to pay for college applications, college-prep tutoring or majority of your tuition and fees.

Brittany Wells is a first-year Montessori education major and a guest writer for the Newswire from Cincinnati.