August 27, 2014

Mostly society talks about the disadvantaged.

Mostly society doesn’t talk about unearned privilege. Like I always say: I’m a white, heterosexual, well-educated, affluent woman. I win except for gender… because it’s a disadvantage to be a woman in every country in the world (including the USA). But as a white, heterosexual, I still win. And I think that’s appalling. This is not the world I signed up for…where unearned privilege wins.

Of course, lots of people (most?) with unearned privilege don’t notice it. And don’t want to talk about it.

Examine your own unearned privilege. That’s something we talked about at Saint Mary’s University this summer. And Leonette shared this great piece with her cohort (#24) after we all went home. So what’s your level of privilege? Take the test.

And, thanks to Cathy in cohort 23, for sharing this Facebook page: I need some white privilege! Brilliant. Read it.  Unearned privilege includes race/ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, etc.

And, another reminder about unearned privilege: Read Peggy McIntosh‘s work. Read my piece, Philanthropy’s Moral Dilemma.

P.S. Maybe you’re wondering what privilege has to do with nonprofits and governance and fundraising. LOTS! Creating a board with diverse people who need to get along and work together effectively. Recognizing and acknowledging privilege helps. Connecting with donors and understanding their feelings and interests…listening to their stories…hearing their anger and fear and hope and…

Filed under: Social Commentary

About Simone Joyaux

A consultant specializing in fund development, strategic planning, and board development, Simone P. Joyaux works with all types and sizes of nonprofits, speaks at conferences worldwide, and teaches in the graduate program for philanthropy at Saint Mary’s University, MN. Her books, Keep Your Donors and Strategic Fund Development, are standards in the field.

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