In a world awakening to social justice, recognising privilege’s responsibility is key. Through education, empathy, and advocacy, we dismantle barriers for equity and inclusion, urging collective action towards a thriving society.

In a world that is becoming increasingly aware of the importance of social justice, equity and equality, it is crucial to recognise and acknowledge one’s privilege and the fact that with privilege comes responsibility.

Privilege can be defined as advantages or benefits afforded to certain individuals or groups based on their identity or social standing. It is essential to recognise that privilege is not inherently negative; rather, it becomes problematic when it leads to ignorance or denial or lack of interest in the challenges faced by others.

Privilege, whether it be based on race, gender, socio-economic status, or other factors, often shields individuals from the harsh realities faced by marginalised communities.

Privileges can both be earned or simply inherited.

For example, individuals born into affluent families may experience economic privilege, while those belonging to the majority racial or ethnic group may benefit from racial privilege.

People born in a certain social economic stratum, with opportunities for healthcare and education easily accessible, may be a privilege that is not earned and therefore taken for granted.

Similarly, a born cisgender, heterosexual might make one unaware of the challenges that people from the LGBTQ community might go through while growing up, or while trying to gain employment or renting an apartment as adult couples, or of the privileges that come along with legally married life such as inheritance, adoption and social recognition of relationships.

Sometimes privilege is earned. People who have emerged as leaders, opinion makers through their hard work, merit or by being at the right place at the right time and taking the opportunity.

Privilege operates on both an individual and systemic level. Individually, privilege may manifest in the form of better access to opportunities, resources, and a sense of entitlement. Systemically, it is ingrained in institutions and societal structures that perpetuate inequality. The recognition of one’s privilege and leveraging it is the first step towards fostering empathy and inclusion.

In a world awakening to social justice, recognizing privilege’s responsibility is key. Through education, empathy, and advocacy, we dismantle barriers for equity and inclusion, urging collective action towards a thriving society. This perspective has been shared by Sonica Aron, Founder of Marching Sheep.

The danger of privilege lies in its ability to create a distorted worldview for those who possess it. Individuals who enjoy privilege may be shielded from the discrimination and systemic barriers faced by others, leading to a lack of empathy and understanding. This lack of empathy can perpetuate harmful stereotypes, discriminatory practices, and hinder progress towards a more equitable society.

For example, for societies where gender norms might not be very stark, for women from such countries to empathise with their colleagues who come from countries where gender norms still insist on familial values becomes difficult. In a world where teams are becoming more and more cross-cultural, this lack of understanding and empathy, can lead to lack of growth opportunities for women from certain cultures.

Or statements like, “We are living in the post-modern world of the 20th Century, why are we still talking about inclusion of women, or issues faced after maternity or marriage? The world is so past that.” Simply because there may be a section of women, by age, geography, industry who may not have experienced these challenges does not mean these issues do not exist.

Privilege-induced blindness can manifest in various ways, such as downplaying the struggles of other people, dismissing the existence of discrimination, seeing them as a weakness or an excuse for inability to perform or succeed, or calling people from minority groups unambitious, lacking determination, overlooking the systemic disadvantage they have to overcome just to get by.

On the other hand, it could also lead to an unparalleled sense of self attributing their own success solely to their effort & talent without acknowledging systemic advantages which paved a relatively easy path and access to education and related growth opportunities.

This ignorance can perpetuate inequality and hinder collective efforts to address social issues.

Intersectionality is a concept that highlights the overlapping and layered construct of social identities. Gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity and race, culture, education, generation or age, work experience and many more dimensions intersect to create a unique identity.

Understanding how these different dimensions bring forth privilege and leveraging our privilege to build an inclusive world is key to our own success, along with the success of those around us who might need our ally ship. Being a man in most societies is a privilege.

Overlapped with sexual orientation, a gay man is likely to have lower privileges and lesser opportunities and even more so for a gay man with disability. Intersection of gender with economic strata, religion, race etc. can further impact privilege.

Breaking the cycle of privilege-induced blindness requires intentional efforts to acknowledge and challenge one’s own privilege. It also requires using one’s own privilege to amplify the voices of those who don’t have that privilege. Here are some steps individuals can take to foster awareness and promote positive change:

Take the time to educate yourself on issues related to privilege arising from different dimensions of one’s identity, be it gender, race, colour of skin, social status, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, disabilities and so on.

Read literature on the historical genesis of discrimination, engage in conversations with people from diverse backgrounds, and stay informed about current events and developments. It is good to be proud of one’s own identity, but harmful not to be respectful and empathetic of those around us.

Actively listen to the experiences of those who face discrimination. Do not invalidate their experience or curb the voices by negation or false positivity. Acknowledge that discrimination happened.

Use your privilege to amplify marginalised voices and support initiatives that promote inclusion. Participate in events and forum. Leverage your social media. Influence your network circle. Remember to pass the mic instead of speaking on behalf of the minority when they are already in the room.

Reflect on your own biases. Consider how your privilege may influence your own perceptions and interactions with others. Be open to challenging and unlearning past beliefs.

Simple reflective questions like-who do we socialise with in our personal life and why? What is the composition of our friends’ circle? Who do we socialise with at work and why? What festivals do we celebrate – at home and at work? Who do we all wish and greet? Who do we avoid interacting with? Do we know our neighbours? Candid answers to many of these will make us come face to face with our own biases.

Addressing our privilege can be uncomfortable, particularly unearned privilege, but it is necessary for growth. Engage in conversations about privilege and discrimination, even if they are difficult, and they make us question or probe into hard-wired beliefs. Be open to learning from others and be willing to confront your own misconceptions.

Use your privilege, your voice, your influence to advocate for systemic change. Support policies and initiatives at work, at societal level, at community level to promote equality and challenge discriminatory practices. Be an ally to those who might be ignored or on the side-lines, who might be invisible or marginalised.


Our privilege need not be like blinkers that blind us to the inequities faced by others. Instead, it can be a platform from which we actively work towards creating a more equitable and inclusive society. By acknowledging our privilege, understanding its implications, and taking meaningful action, we can contribute to dismantling systemic barriers and fostering a world where everyone has the opportunity to thrive.

It is a collective responsibility of all to inspire inclusion and all we require is genuine intent and little courage to start with!

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