Reflection on Privilege: Sumaiyya Stephens

I am a quintessential black girl, and these are my views on economic privilege. What does it mean to have economic privilege? There are three ways it can be attained: access, resources, and identity. Access is granted through education and services. Resources, like money and networks of people, build opportunities for success. Our identity, our race, and our gender define who we are and how others see us. All of these things combined create the perfect environment for economic privilege to occur.

Some people struggle to get an education, yet we take it for granted. Many students complain about going to school every day because they are too tired. Meanwhile, there are people who wish they could have these things but can’t. Education opens up many doors including those for advancement in college and careers.

Money. The more you have, the more you can get. There’s really nothing else to it. However, money is not the only resource we have as humans. Humans themselves are resources. Growing up, I have come to realize the importance of building connections with others. Connections mean access—access to important information and programs that will later on become beneficial to you.

The biggest, and perhaps most critical, factor of economic privilege is identity. With identity comes power or powerlessness. Who are the most powerful? White heterosexual men. Not that it is intended, but white privilege does in fact saturate our society. These people are provided with certain advantages that people of other races and genders do not have.

I want more for myself. I am going to college. I imagined it, and I’m achieving it. Being a young African American and soon-to-be graduating female coming out of PHS means a lot. People don’t expect much from you. Back in tenth grade, I received a very good grade on a test, and I remember a classmate asking me, “Sumaiyya, how did you get that grade? That’s not fair.” And now, two years later, after reflection and introspection, I understand privilege differently.VanguardEddieCaiFinal

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