Power and Privilege

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Power and Privilege: Centennial Woman of Colour

Power – the ability to direct or influence the behaviour of others in one’s favour.

Privilege – a special advantage granted or available to a person or group of people reinforced by society’s morals, values and structures.

Do you possess power or privilege? Does everyone have some level of power and privilege? Should everyone possess power and privilege?

Is power wielded because of privilege or are some wielded by power because they lacked privilege?

How is power manifested? Is power diminished by universalism?

Is privilege earned, inherited or bestowed through connection to power?

Is power relative or absolute or are there continuums of privilege and power?

If privilege and power were spectrums; where would you fall?

What personal characteristics influence the level of power and privilege that is possessed, inherited, earned or wielded?

How do race, class and gender impact the amount of power and or privilege earned, possessed or wielded?

As human beings stripped of all material, biological and geographical boundaries do we possess equal amount of privilege and or power or lack of same?

In death, are privilege and power transferred or are they retained for the afterlife?

Picture this: 1714, North Carolina, USA; Liverpool, England and Port Royal, Jamaica lived a woman of African descent:

How much power and privilege did she hold? Could she wield power or possess, earn, or inherit privilege?

Did she own her body, her thoughts, her children or even the clothes on her back?

Could she influence the actions of those who claimed that they owned her body?

In other words, what power could she wield?

Even if she was a house slave; did she possess privilege?

1814, Montgomery, Alabama, USA; London, England, and Spanish Town, Jamaica lived a woman of African descent:

How was power and privilege implicated for such a woman?

She could be traded; bought and sold like chattel;

Her children could be sold or bartered like the pigs and the cows in the pen;

They were denied the essentials of life even the opportunity of being children.

Who looked out for the interests of her children?

Did she possess, inherit or earn power and privilege?

1914 USA, Britain, Jamaica lived a woman of African descent;

Was she free to exercise full citizenship? The right to vote, freedom to live where the hell she desires?

Was she free to pursue a profession of her choosing or was she stuck in the kitchen and the garden?

Was she free to educate her children to achieve their highest potentials?

Could she vote, pay taxes, run for public office or exercise patriotism for the country she called home?

Did she possess, inherit, and earn power and privilege?

2014 international woman of African descent:

Is she still shackled to the past? Why is she still over-worked, under-paid, marginalized, overlooked, criticized, ignored, passed over for promotion?

Who cares how she feels when she sees her sons being pigeon holed - imprisoned, and killed by those who should protect them?

Who cares how she feels when her daughters are enslaved and denied the opportunity to achieve their potentials?

Can she exercise power and privilege in changing the course of her life or is she rendered powerless and oppressed?

Does she possess, inherit or earn power and privilege? You bet!

2114, woman of African descent:

Will she be completely free of scrutiny, blame, prejudice and stereotypes?

Will she have complete liberation from the gendered/racial division of labour?

Will she be an equal player in the boardroom as well as in parliament/congress?

Will she see her children ‘not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character’?

Will she rest assured that those who serve and protect will indeed do so?

Will she possess, inherit or earn power and privilege? You bet!

Written: December 2014

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