|“||Προνόμιο είναι να νομίζεις ότι κάτι δεν είναι πρόβλημα επειδή δεν είναι πρόβλημα για σένα προσωπικά||”|
—David Gaider 
Privilege refers to the granted social, cultural, financial, and other advantages (or lack of disadvantages) that a group or individual holding a measure of institutional power possesses as part of their identity. The more institutional power a group possess, the more privileged they are; for any group to be privileged, they must hold institutionally-granted advantage over some other group.
Τα άτομα που είναι προνομιούχα τείνουν να έχουν εμπειρία κατάλληλης (η ακόμα και αποκλειστικής η/και υπερβολικής) αντιπροσώπευσης από τη βιομηχανία, τα ΜΜΕ και τη κυβέρνηση. Τα τυπικά role models σε μια κοινωνία τείνουν να μοιάζουν με τα πιο προνομιούχα μέλη της. Αυτό το είδος της επιρροής και εύνοιας επεκτείνεται στο νόμο και στα σχετικά ιδρύματα; συμπεριλαμβανόμενου, άλλα όχι περιορισμένου σε, ίση μεταχείριση στα δικαστήρια, μια έλλειψη profiling και ένα έγκλειστο η με άλλους τρόπους ένομα ποινικοποιημένο πληθυσμό που είναι δυσανάλογος με τον γενικό πληθυσμό. Άτομα χωρίς προνόμιο δεν απολαμβάνουν αυτά, και πολλές άλλες όψεις της ζωής που ένα προνομιούχο άτομο μπορεί να παιρνει ως δεδομένο εξαιτίας του ότι ποτέ δεν είχε εμπειρίες του αντιθέτου.
It is also notable that very few individuals possess complete or total privilege. Intersectionally, it's common to experience only some avenues of privilege, but not be favored in many other respects. The social, political, and cultural effects of this principle manifest individually for every person's unique advantaged and disadvantaged aspects in society- but people with similar or the same avenues of privilege tend to follow patterns if they live in similar contexts.
Globally, for a variety of reasons including colonialism, the most commonly privileged groups tend to be those with lighter skin, men or those who express more masculine genders, the wealthy or at least upper middle class, members of the ethnic and religious majorities, cisgender people, heterosexual people, members of ruling generations or castes, those who do not have criminal records and the mentally and physically healthy, among others. However, at different levels of analysis or in specific contexts, more distinct groups may be identified.
People who hold the most institutional power in any given society are part of more privileged groups than those that aren't privileged. Thus, in many societies, a white, cisgender, heterosexual man would have more privilege than a black, transgender heterosexual woman. This is the most basic intersectional analysis of privileged and oppressed identities and an important principle of modern social justice study.
Peggy McIntosh popularised "privilege" in her 1988 paper called "White Privilege and Male Privilege: A Personal Account of Coming to See Correspondences Through Work in Women’s Studies". In an interview in 2014 she explained:
|I found myself going back and forth in my mind over the question, Are these nice men, or are they oppressive? I thought I had to choose. It hadn’t occurred to me that you could be both. And I was rescued from this dilemma by remembering that, about six years earlier, black women in the Boston area had written essays to the effect that white women were oppressive to work with. I remember back to what it had been like to read those essays. My first response was to say, “I don’t see how they can say that about us—I think we’re nice!” And my second response was deeply racist, but this is where I was in 1980. I thought, I especially think we’re nice if we work with them.