Privilege and oppression negatively affect people’s social culture and mental health. Today, the authorities make multiple efforts to eliminate this problem since society strives for consciousness. It means transparency in the relationship between effort and reward, regardless of other factors. However, the problem has been forming for many years; therefore, it is difficult to liquidate it. The book “The Souls of the Black Folk,” written by W. B. Dubois became the founder of the concept of privilege (Kendi, 2018). The author describes the thoughts and feelings of a black man who reflects on the impact of racial discrimination. Oppression is the antonym of indulgence and is expressed in many aspects of social life. To sum up, privileges are rights or favors given to an individual or group to get undeserved benefits. Well-known examples of the term are social class, skin color, sexuality, religion, and gender. For a clearer understanding of the problem, the essay will address the above aspects and provide a personal example of infringement and individual reflections.
The division into social classes is closely related to discrimination based on skin color. For a long time, the black population has been deprived of everyday life joys. In history, this begins with slavery, which formed the foundations of life in the ancestors’ heads. The group has to face inequality and pressure today since the socio-economic factor has not reached perfection yet. This state of affairs exacerbates the political situation since people form communities in a struggle that does not always pass without casualties. For example, the Black Lives Matter movement created rallies across the country and made people suffer. Social classes still exist today; most often, the division is based on financial indicators. The problem is shared in groups of teenagers; they can bully a person because of the family’s average or low financial situation. Social oppression based on skin color or material status does not correspond to the aspirations of modern society.
Religion and sexuality are every person’s choices, which do not suggest harming other people. It means that a person may be what he wants and believe in what he prefers. Religion is a complex topic since there are many disagreements about principles, behavior, and morality. It is related to the policy regarding national holidays. In the United States, freedom of belief is enshrined; hence, citizens of an unpopular religion are forced to celebrate holidays on weekdays. Additionally, religion sometimes contradicts medical laws; for example, Christianity prohibits blood transfusions, even with the threat of death. Such a policy may be incomprehensible to liberals because their rules suggest saving a person’s life by any means. Separation based on sexuality still occurs because most people pay attention to physical appearance. For example, when hiring two candidates with equally relevant education and achievements, the more attractive outward image is more likely to be given preference. Another illustration is fashion trends, which can make a person feel reproachful from the outside. The equality of religion is quite challenging to ensure because of its peculiarities; however, sexuality should not give any privileges.
Gender discrimination is the most common phenomenon even in developed countries. It consists of the superiority of men over women and dates back about 6,000 years. Men were considered hunters and earners; therefore, they were judged as more powerful and intelligent creatures than women. Later, the concept received a multidirectional development, which went so far as to exclude women’s merits from history. Today, even in democratic and egalitarian societies, sexism is part of social institutions such as the family, health care, religion, and education. In addition, it is reflected in politics, economics, and art. The most common example is women’s work; it is more difficult for them to find a job because companies are afraid that the candidate will go on maternity leave or take vacation allowance because of children’s illness. Another illustration of this topic is career growth because many believe that women have limited rationality of actions. This type of discrimination was present in my experience of studying in high school, which I will describe in detail further.
Our high school received a grant from the state for leadership education courses. The additional classes provided an opportunity to gain invaluable knowledge, which in the future would be helpful both in everyday and work activities. The prize meant only one winner, the student with the best grades, athletic achievements, and social work involvement. I was immediately interested in this offer since I was the best student in the class. However, the organizers wanted to equalize the children’s chances and gave two weeks to think about participation and a year to improve the performance of all comers. Only five people wanted to take part in our class, one of which was me. A week later, a boy from another school was transferred to our group, and everyone immediately liked him. He previously studied well, was an athlete, and was interested in social help; hence, he also filled out an application for participation in the competition. The details of my behavior and his likewise play a role, and they will be illustrated next.
I immediately suspected him of being a rival; therefore, I tried even harder, spending all my time studying, taking sports classes, and helping others. He also did not lag and tried his best because the prize was valuable. I noticed that the teachers and the school administration like him because the professors have a somewhat biased view besides the “teacher-student” relationship. Educational institutions strive for equality on the legislative side; thus, the teachers did not show their unique attitude to this boy openly. For example, once he said that he dropped his homework in a puddle, the notebook got wet, and he can not pass the task. The professor replied with a smile that he could bring the work another day. This conversation happened after class, he stayed in the classroom to talk to the teacher, and I was the last one out; that is why I heard. The practice and school policy do not imply such loyalty; therefore, I found it outrageous, but I decided to keep silent because I liked the teacher.
A year later, it was time to compare the competition results and identify the winner. The new boy and I scored the same number of points, but there needed to be only one winner. In this case, the tournament conditions meant the teachers’ advice and their choice of two applicants. At this point, I began to worry because, over a year, I saw how teachers gave him privileges based on their priorities. The result was announced by the director a week later. My feelings were justified, and he became the winner. I did not try to find out the reasons because I realized that the leader’s role in the minds of society is unconsciously attributed to men. My mind was spinning with the realization of injustice and the old ideals of society, such as patriarchy. I knew that there was nothing I could do about it now, and I began to feel terribly morally from despair. I can say that came the moment of emotional decline; consequently, the desire to investigate and strive for a better life has disappeared. My example shows how much discrimination affects the psyche.
In summary, privilege and derogation are various forms of discrimination, and they are not a factor suitable for modern society. Through my story, I have shown how injustice can affect one person. It is just an isolated case on which my future depended, and after all, this happens massively every day. Unfortunately, it prevails at a large-scale level and does not allow the world to develop and get better. Nowadays, by trial and error, some countries, primarily developed ones, have taken a gigantic step in the fight against the problem. I think that the issue solution of religious discrimination is the most challenging, and total success will not be achieved ever. All other forms can and need to be corrected by changing the worldview of people. For example, if the director gave me an objective reason why they chose the boy as the competition winner, I would feel it differently and would not be morally destroyed. Such cases occur every day in large numbers; therefore, the oppressed part of society cannot live a complete life.
Kendi, I. X. (2018). The Soul of W. E. B. Du Bois. The Paris Review. Web.