Confronting our privilege

Way to burst our happy little bubble, right?

Be honest with yourself for a moment: have headlines, conversation topics, or maybe a flood of social media posts about injustice ever made you feel like I felt — like someone’s raining on your parade? “Dang, I guess I can’t post this happy selfie now.” Or, “I mean, I get it… but why do we have to keep talking about it?”

So back to my fight-or-flight moment.

Someone has introduced a perspective that threatens to take off my blinders, and my insides react like I’m in a war zone. But why?

  • Shame: If I’m potentially wrong about something big, I must be a bad person.
  • Embarrassment: If I’ve been wrong all this time and openly admit it, what will people think of me?
  • Fear of instability & need for security: There’s so much we don’t know. If something that I thought I knew for sure isn’t actually true, my world feels less dependable — and I feel less dependable.

Growth is possible when we lean into the discomfort and see where it leads.

But that requires real work — work that runs counter to our instincts, which compel us to preserve our privilege.

What do I do with that? Do I run away, or do I press deeper?

After taking in the film, I chose to embrace the discomfort, to sit with that reality. I asked myself, what is my response? How should I live — how must I live — in light of that?

Embrace the discomfort. Remind yourself that an idea being under threat is not the same as ourselves being threatened.

In fact, the opposite is true. When we fight or flee discomfort, we forfeit the chance to grow into our best, truest selves. “I’m a person who seeks out diverse perspectives. I listen humbly as I learn from those who don’t share my privilege. I’m committed to growing and deepening my knowledge.” That feels great to say, right? But if fight-or-flight wins, that version of “me” loses.

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Ellie Hunja

Ellie Hunja

I write about parenting, social justice, faith, mental health, embracing autism, and more on EllieHunja.com. I love cheesecake, Motown, and good conversation.