Written by Nicole
Last year and this one has been the year of social justice. Folks from all walks of life have been calling out every inequality issue known to man. Additionally, people of color have demanded that white people use their privilege to right the many wrongs they and their ancestors have instituted. And while white privilege may be the most common and far reaching privilege, it’s by no means the only one. There are a whole host of privileges out there, and many of them can be tapped into by black women across the board. What do I mean? Here are a few privileges black women can and should use in their favor.
“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” is a nice platitude, but if you are seen as whatever is deemed “conventionally attractive” on that day, that is a privilege. Beauty is currency, and there is nothing wrong with using your good looks as a tool to get ahead. And if you add a few accoutrements, such as makeup, hairstyles, or even a nip here and a tuck there, more power to you. However, since the parameters of what is considered beautiful perpetually changes, be sure to have a few other tools at your disposal too.
As I no longer talk about weight on this platform, I’ll keep this one very short. Thin people are viewed more favorably on the global stage. If that is something you want to or are able to do, by all means, go for it.
There are so many privileges that result from being smart. There are obvious ones, like financial gains for the next big idea or invention. But there are other ones too, like being able to strategize any number of situations in your favor. Smart privilege does not necessarily mean you need to be a rocket scientist by day and a neurosurgeon by night. Book smarts can only get you so far. There are loads of people with advanced degrees who aren’t too bright. It just means you are able to be analytical of situations and play the game of life to win.
Stop me if you’ve heard it before. “You talk white”. “Oreo”. “Stop trying to be a white girl”, and on and on they go. Proper elocution, diction, and an expansive vocabulary can go a long way. There is a reason why some black people have and use a “phone voice”. It doesn’t have to be fair or “right” for it to be a privilege. Use it!
Though you may have some gripes with the land of the free and the home of the brave, I’m sure you can understand that being American comes with a wealth of privileges. There is a reason that thousands, or maybe even millions, of people risk life and limb every year trying to reach these shores. As black women though, though it may be counterintuitive, we may have to go abroad to reap the full benefits of this privilege. I have heard countless stories of black women going abroad and getting the 5-star treatment they deserve, simply because of their nationality. Of course, as with anything, you must be discerning – use your Smart Privilege to navigate as best you can. Travel the world and see what’s out there!
Life may not be fair, but that doesn’t mean you should just sit there and let it happen with no effort on your part. Not because other groups may have more privilege than you means you shouldn’t make the most of privileges you yourself have. Additionally, if you have any of these privileges, you don’t have to use their benefits for any or everyone. Life is a competition, and you have to play to win.
What other privileges do you have that were not listed here? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Disclaimer: This blog was written by me, Nicole, and my ideas are not necessarily reflective of Christelyn Karazin or other writers on this platform.