Privilege: Why it’s bad for philanthropic work confronting systemic injustice
In a recent Nonprofit AF blog post, Vu Le states that the more privilege people have, the more likely they are to complain about the lack of solutions proposed. He calls it "solutions privilege,” "the privilege of expecting solutions that would align with one’s worldview and not challenge one’s privilege."
Le says that the people who complain about the lack of solutions tend to have a certain degree of privilege: white, men, college-educated, higher income, able-bodied, in positions of power, etc. Acknowledging he is also prone to it, he says that "the inability to register solutions that we do not agree with," "the inability to see the irony of complaining about people complaining without offering solutions, while also not offering solutions" are some of the ways in which privilege manifests:
"'Solutions privilege' helps maintain the status quo and keeps systemic injustice in place," Le writes. He then adds:
In order to address injustice, those who benefit most from it have to be able to see it, understand our roles in perpetuating it, accept that it’s our responsibility to address it, spend enough time to really grasp it, examine our conscious and unconscious biases that might prevent us from registering certain solutions to it, and trust that the people most affected by injustice would have the most effective solutions and support them to implement these solutions.
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