Quotes About Privilege

Quotes tagged as "privilege" (showing 1-30 of 185)
John Green
“Oh, I wouldn't mind, Hazel Grace. It would be a privilege to have my heart broken by you.”
John Green, The Fault in Our Stars

Molly Ivins
“Margaret Atwood, the Canadian novelist, once asked a group of women at a university why they felt threatened by men. The women said they were afraid of being beaten, raped, or killed by men. She then asked a group of men why they felt threatened by women. They said they were afraid women would laugh at them.”
Molly Ivins, Molly Ivins Can't Say That, Can She?

Bret Easton Ellis
“The better you look, the more you see.”
Bret Easton Ellis, Glamorama

Dwight D. Eisenhower
“A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both.”
Dwight D. Eisenhower

Brené Brown
“What separates privilege from entitlement is gratitude.”
Brené Brown

Noam Chomsky
“Responsibility I believe accrues through privilege. People like you and me have an unbelievable amount of privilege and therefore we have a huge amount of responsibility. We live in free societies where we are not afraid of the police; we have extraordinary wealth available to us by global standards. If you have those things, then you have the kind of responsibility that a person does not have if he or she is slaving seventy hours a week to put food on the table; a responsibility at the very least to inform yourself about power. Beyond that, it is a question of whether you believe in moral certainties or not.”
Noam Chomsky

Carter G. Woodson
“History shows that it does not matter who is in power or what revolutionary forces take over the government, those who have not learned to do for themselves and have to depend solely on others never obtain any more rights or privileges in the end than they had in the beginning.”
Carter G. Woodson, The Mis-Education of the Negro

H.L. Mencken
“Equality before the law is probably forever unattainable. It is a noble ideal, but it can never be realized, for what men value in this world is not rights but privileges.”
H.L. Mencken

John Green
“I came to the conclusion a while ago that there is nothing romantic or supernatural about loving someone: Love is the privilege of being responsible for another. It was, for a time, what kept me going: Each morning, for a little while, I got to feel the weight of the yoke on my back as I pulled the ancient cart of my species.”
John Green, Zombicorns

Michael Ondaatje
“Why are you not smarter? It's only the rich who can't afford to be smart. They're compromised. They got locked years ago into privilege. They have to protect their belongings. No one is meaner than the rich. Trust me. But they have to follow the rules of their shitty civilised world. They declare war, they have honour, and they can't leave. But you two. We three. We're free.”
Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient

Bell Hooks
“Privilege is not in and of itself bad; what matters is what we do with privilege. I want to live in a world where all women have access to education, and all women can earn PhD’s, if they so desire. Privilege does not have to be negative, but we have to share our resources and take direction about how to use our privilege in ways that empower those who lack it.”
Bell Hooks, Homegrown: Engaged Cultural Criticism

Michael S. Kimmel
“To be white, or straight, or male, or middle class is to be simultaneously ubiquitious and invisible. You’re everywhere you look, you’re the standard against which everyone else is measured. You’re like water, like air. People will tell you they went to see a “woman doctor” or they will say they went to see “the doctor.” People will tell you they have a “gay colleague” or they’ll tell you about a colleague. A white person will be happy to tell you about a “Black friend,” but when that same person simply mentions a “friend,” everyone will assume the person is white. Any college course that doesn’t have the word “woman” or “gay” or “minority” in its title is a course about men, heterosexuals, and white people. But we call those courses “literature,” “history” or “political science.”

This invisibility is political.”
Michael S. Kimmel, Privilege: A Reader

James Baldwin
“Any real change implies the breakup of the world as one has always known it, the loss of all that gave one an identity, the end of safety. And at such a moment, unable to see and not daring to imagine what the future will now bring forth, one clings to what one knew, or dreamed that one possessed. Yet, it is only when a man is able, without bitterness or self-pity, to surrender a dream he has long possessed that he is set free - he has set himself free - for higher dreams, for greater privileges.”
James Baldwin, Nobody Knows My Name

Benedict Cumberbatch
“I had the privilege of being able to choose, or at least have the opportunity to work at, being anything but an actor.”
Benedict Cumberbatch

Mildred Armstrong Kalish
“Without knowing it, the adults in our lives practiced a most productive kind of behavior modification. After our chores and household duties were done we were give "permission" to read. In other words, our elders positioned reading as a privilege - a much sought-after prize, granted only to those goodhardworkers who earned it. How clever of them.”
Mildred Armstrong Kalish, Little Heathens: Hard Times and High Spirits on an Iowa Farm During the Great Depression

Bell Hooks
“Even in the face of powerful structures of domination, it remains possible for each of us, especially those of us who are members of oppressed and/or exploited groups as well as those radical visionaries who may have race, class, and sex privilege, to define and determine alternative standards, to decide on the nature and extent of compromise.”
Bell Hooks, Talking Back: Thinking Feminist, Thinking Black

Howard Zinn
“But by this time I was acutely conscious of the gap between law and justice. I knew that the letter of the law was not as important as who held the power in any real-life situation.”
Howard Zinn, You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train: A Personal History of Our Times

Foz Meadows
“Never having experienced inequality, therefore, the majority of straight white men will be absolutely oblivious to their own advantages – not because they must necessarily be insensitive, sexist, racist, homophobic or unaware of the principles of equality; but because they have been told, over and over again, that there is no inequality left for them – or anyone else – to experience – and everything they have experienced up to that point will only have proved them right.

Let the impact of that sink in for a moment.

By teaching children and teenagers that equality already exists, we are actively blinding the group that most benefits from inequality – straight white men – to the prospect that it doesn’t. Privilege to them feels indistinguishable from equality, because they’ve been raised to believe that this is how the world behaves for everyone. And because the majority of our popular culture is straight-white-male-dominated, stories that should be windows into empathy for other, less privileged experiences have instead become mirrors, reflecting back at them the one thing they already know: that their lives both are important and free from discrimination.

And this hurts men. It hurts them by making them unconsciously perpetrate biases they’ve been actively taught to despise. It hurts them by making them complicit in the distress of others. It hurts them by shoehorning them into a restrictive definition masculinity from which any and all deviation is harshly punished. It hurts them by saying they will always be inferior parents and caregivers, that they must always be active and aggressive even when they long for passivity and quietude, that they must enjoy certain things like sports and beer and cars or else be deemed morally suspect. It hurts them through a process of indoctrination so subtle and pervasive that they never even knew it was happening , and when you’ve been raised to hate inequality, discovering that you’ve actually been its primary beneficiary is horrifying – like learning that the family fortune comes from blood money.

Blog post 4/12/2012: Why Teaching Equality Hurts Men”
Foz Meadows

Alex Haley
“The first time he had taken the massa to one of these "high-falutin' to-dos," as Bell called them, Kunta had been all but overwhelmed by conflicting emotions: awe, indignation, envy, contempt, fascination, revulsion—but most of all a deep loneliness and melancholy from which it took him almost a week to recover. He couldn't believe that such incredible wealth actually existed, that people really lived that way. It took him a long time, and a great many more parties, to realize that they didn't live that way, that it was all strangely unreal, a kind of beautiful dream the white folks were having, a lie they were telling themselves: that goodness can come from badness, that it's possible to be civilized with one another without treating as human beings those whose blood, sweat, and mother's milk made possible the life of privilege they led.”
Alex Haley, Roots: The Saga of an American Family

Robert Anton Wilson
“Privilege implies exclusion from privilege, just as advantage implies disadvantage," Celine went on. "In the same mathematically reciprocal way, profit implies loss. If you and I exchange equal goods, that is trade: neither of us profits and neither of us loses. But if we exchange unequal goods, one of us profits and the other loses. Mathematically. Certainly. Now, such mathematically unequal exchanges will always occur because some traders will be shrewder than others. But in total freedom—in anarchy—such unequal exchanges will be sporadic and irregular. A phenomenon of unpredictable periodicity, mathematically speaking. Now look about you, professor—raise your nose from your great books and survey the actual world as it is—and you will not observe such unpredictable functions. You will observe, instead, a mathematically smooth function, a steady profit accruing to one group and an equally steady loss accumulating for all others. Why is this, professor? Because the system is not free or random, any mathematician would tell you a priori. Well, then, where is the determining function, the factor that controls the other variables? You have named it yourself, or Mr. Adler has: the Great Tradition. Privilege, I prefer to call it. When A meets B in the marketplace, they do not bargain as equals. A bargains from a position of privilege; hence, he always profits and B always loses. There is no more Free Market here than there is on the other side of the Iron Curtain. The privileges, or Private Laws—the rules of the game, as promulgated by the Politburo and the General Congress of the Communist Party on that side and by the U.S. government and the Federal Reserve Board on this side—are slightly different; that's all. And it is this that is threatened by anarchists, and by the repressed anarchist in each of us," he concluded, strongly emphasizing the last clause, staring at Drake, not at the professor.”
Robert Anton Wilson, The Golden Apple

J.K. Rowling
“And many prefer not to exercise their imaginations at all. They choose to remain comfortably within the bounds of their own experience, never troubling to wonder how it would feel to have been born other than they are. They can refuse to hear screams or to peer inside cages; they can close their minds and hearts to any suffering that does not touch them personally; they can refuse to know.”
J.K. Rowling, Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination

Alan Lightman
“Human beings consider themselves satisfied only compared to some other condition. A man who has owned nothing but a bicycle all of his life feels suddenly wealthy the moment he buys an automobile...But this happy sensation wears off. After a while the car becomes just another thing that he owns. Moreover, when his neighbor next door buys two cars, in an instant our man feels wretchedly poor and deprived.”
Alan Lightman, Reunion

Harley King
“Service to others in their time of need is a privilege and an honor.”
Harley King

F. Scott Fitzgerald
“Aristocracy's only an admission that certain traits which we call fine - courage and honor and beauty and all that sort of thing - can best be developed in a favorable environment, where you don't have the warpings of ignorance and necessity.”
F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Beautiful and Damned

Anthony Liccione
“We are all dust passing through the air, the difference is, some are flying high in the sky, while others are flying low. But eventually, we all settle on the same ground.”
Anthony Liccione

Junot Díaz
“We all know that there are language forms that are considered impolite and out of order, no matter what truths these languages might be carrying. If you talk with a harsh, urbanized accent and you use too many profanities, that will often get you barred from many arenas, no matter what you’re trying to say. On the other hand, polite, formal language is allowed almost anywhere even when all it is communicating is hatred and violence. Power always privileges its own discourse while marginalizing those who would challenge it or that are the victims of its power.”
Junot Díaz

Laura Schroff
“If love is the greatest gift of all-and I believe it is- then the greatest privilege of all is to be able to love someone.”
Laura Schroff, An Invisible Thread: The True Story of an 11-Year-Old Panhandler, a Busy Sales Executive, and an Unlikely Meeting with Destiny

William S. Burroughs
“Nobody's busting into YOUR apartment at three in the morning, are they? Well, then don't worry about what they're doing in South Korea and places like that. It's like the standard of living. Are you content to achieve your higher standard of living at the expense of people all over the world who've got a lower standard of living? Most Americans would say yes. Now we ask the question, are you content to enjoy your political freedom at the expense of people who are less free? I think they would also say yes.”
William S. Burroughs, With William Burroughs: A Report From The Bunker

Criss Jami
“The eye of true equality often seems to have some degree of disrespect for the supposedly accomplished, privileged high and lofty to the supposedly accomplished, privileged high and lofty, although in reality, it's simply irrespectiveness.”
Criss Jami, Killosophy

Michael S. Kimmel
“Take a little thought experiment. Imagine all the rampage school shooters in Littleton, Colorado; Pearl, Mississippi; Paducah, Kentucky; Springfield, Oregon; and Jonesboro, Arkansas; now imagine they were black girls from poor families who lived instead in Chicago, New Haven, Newark, Philadelphia, or Providence. Can you picture the national debate, the headlines, the hand-wringing? There is no doubt we’d be having a national debate about inner-city poor black girls. The entire focus would be on race, class, and gender. The media would doubtless invent a new term for their behavior, as with wilding two decades ago. We’d hear about the culture of poverty, about how living in the city breeds crime and violence. We’d hear some pundits proclaim some putative natural tendency among blacks toward violence. Someone would likely even blame feminism for causing girls to become violent in a vain imitation of boys.

Yet the obvious fact that virtually all the rampage school shooters were middle-class white boys barely broke a ripple in the torrent of public discussion. This uniformity cut across all other differences among the shooters: some came from intact families, others from single-parent homes; some boys had acted violently in the past, and others were quiet and unassuming; some boys also expressed rage at their parents (two killed their parents the same morning), and others seemed to live in happy families.”
Michael S. Kimmel, Angry White Men: American Masculinity at the End of an Era

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