Tuesday, March 13, 2012

American Privilege

I came across this post by a blogger named Mira on American privilege (privilege used in the sociological context, similar to white privilege) wanted to share it with those who follow my blog or who are contemplating studying abroad from the US to elsewhere. I think it's really important for people to be aware of the privileges awarded to them (oftentimes unjustly and due to past and ongoing discriminatory behavior) in society. Once you're aware of these sorts of privileges it makes you more aware of your actions and interactions with others especially while traveling. It also helps you improve your relationship with new people, surroundings, and culture. I have posted some of the bullet points the writer listed about privileges awarded to Westerners and Americans.

Here are some common ways of displaying American privilege (note that some of these apply to Western privilege in general):
  • Seeing your nation as “default” – it is normal, everybody else is “different”.
  • Assuming your cultural norms are universal.
  • Not knowing what is like to have war in your homeland.
  • Expecting people in other countries to speak your language when you travel abroad.
  • Assuming everybody knows, or should know, your culture (even things like the “American Idol” contestants).
  • Assuming nobody else has any of the technological advantages you have – like not knowing how to use a computer or even an oven.
  • Believing everything you see on the news, even though it is told from the American point of view and is not a universal truth.
  • Assuming everybody wants to live in America, since it is the best place to live (even without universal health care).
  • Seeing people from other countries as inferior to you, even if they are highly educated and successful.
  • Having plenty of movies and TV shows in your language, full of people from your country, showing your culture and way of life.
  • Becoming famous or successful much more easily even if you suck at what you do.
  • Assuming everyone on the Internet is American.
  • Believing everybody else wants to adopt the American way of life. If they do not, there is something wrong with them. If they do not, America is going make them.
  • You can take the liberty of shortening or changing people’s names if they are hard for you to pronounce.
  • Believing America is fair and free. Everybody else lives in a mess.
  • Assuming everybody wants the USA to help them.
  • Seeing the USA as the best nation there is and being confused when others feel the same about their own countries.
  • Being confused about people who do not like the USA or those who think it is not perfect. They must be jealous!


  1. ritamynita, this is angieMarch 22, 2012 at 10:33 AM

    "assuming everybody wants the USA to help them" muahahaahaha.