“Privilege,” or Blessing?

I am a white man who was born with a disability, raised in a good home, helped along the way by family members, friends, and associates too numerous to mention (let alone remember), blessed with a certain amount of native intelligence–but, alas, no mechanical ability–and some natural grit.

I have been met with others’ discomfort, love, bias, friendship, condescension, hope, discrimination, and inspiration. No one gave me anything because I was white, and (although they might have temporarily discouraged me) I did not let those who wrote me off ultimately deter me.

I hope this does not offend you, but I do not consider myself “prvileged.” What an awful, ungrammatical, made-up word, meant to tug at the emotions, obscure real thought, and tell those who are not so “privileged” that someone else still has some sort of power over them, that they really can’t change their situations.

Balderdash.

Yes, I have received certain blessings that, by God’s grace and the help of others, I was able to take advantage of (and that I wish for all). And yet, at any point along the way, I could have given up, saying the deck was stacked against me. But I persevered. Some days, I’m not sure why or how–but I did.

This is not to say that minorities don’t face significant and sometimes severe obstacles. They often do. And no doubt the legacy of racism is a factor, or can be. But it is one thing to note the existence of discrimination, family breakup, dysfunctional communities, poor schools, or dangerous neighborhoods–and another simply to say “white privilege” is the problem.

In the America of 2017, we could use a little more perseverance and a little less complaining about “privilege.” Here’s my advice: Don’t give up. Ask for help. If you look, you will find people willing to provide it–even those of different ethnicities. I did.

Yes, racism is still “a thing” in America, but it is much, much less prevalent than it used to be. Nor is it an impregnable barrier to success today. Almost anything is possible. Just ask Ben Carson, LeBron James, Barack Obama, and Oprah Winfrey. They persevered in the face of many obstacles and accomplished amazing things.

And with encouragement, help, and a little grit, so can you.

Who’s with me?

About Stan Guthrie

Stan Guthrie is an editor at large for Christianity Today magazine and for the Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview. His latest book is God's Story in 66 Verses. He also is author of All that Jesus Asks: How His Questions Can Teach and Transform Us, Missions in the Third Millennium: 21 Key Trends for the 21st Century, and A Concise Guide to Bible Prophecy. He is co-author of The Sacrament of Evangelism. Besides authoring, writing, and editing books, Stan is a literary agent, bringing together good authors, good books, and good publishers. Stan writes the monthly Priorities colum for BreakPoint.org. He has appeared on National Public Radio's €œTell Me More,€ WGN's Milt Rosenberg program, and many Christian shows, including The Eric Metaxas Show and Moody Radio'€™s €œNew Day Florida.€ A licensed minister and an inspirational speaker, he served as moderator for the Christian Book Expo panel discussion, Does the God of Christianity Exist, and What Difference Does It Make?
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