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What should we do if we are privileged?

Every day, I ask God to help me be a good steward of what has been entrusted to me.

This includes money, time, talent … and also privilege.

Privilege can be a thorny concept, particularly to those of us who are male, stale and pale. Once we understand that privilege is a thing, it can be unclear what we should do with it. Accidents of history have given us undeserved privilege - now what?

I’m learning - slowly - that stewardship of privilege is a helpful way to look at it. Stewardship on behalf of those who enjoy less privilege.

By no choice of my own, I find myself one of the most powerful people on earth, just by virtue of being

  • white

  • male

  • cis (that is, born the same gender that i identify with)

  • straight

  • married

  • educated

  • English-speaking

  • able-bodied

  • … and I’m sure there are more that I’ve forgotten.

I did not choose many of these things about myself, and yet just by being those things, I enjoy privilege.

Stewardship looks like first of all, simply being aware of the lack of privilege that people don’t have when they are

  • people of colour

  • female or non binary

  • trans

  • LGBTQ+

  • single, divorced, or in a civil partnership

  • non-tertiary educated

  • speakers of English as a second language

  • disabled

  • … and so on.

Basically, the first step of stewardship is awareness. Secondly is beginning to listen closer to the voices of people who aren’t like me. This is good for my growth, and gives the diversity of thought that is essential for a society that is both stable, and innovative. The same is true in business and organisations.

So if you find yourself privileged, don’t beat yourself up over it. But begin to think of it as a resource held on trust, and invest your privilege wisely.

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