Here's What These Black Men Had To Say About 'Privilege'

What privilege really means.

Black men from five years of age to 50 were asked to respond to one word: privilege. 

A video produced by Cut Video, shows the different emotions and thoughts the word "privilege" evokes from different men at different ages. 

A young mind's perspective.

At the start of the video, the younger participants appear to associate "privilege" with either a rhyming word or a very personal, perhaps literal experience, like having an allowance or playing a game. 

The teenage years.

As the participant group reached adolescent years, the word "privilege" began to hold more weight. Words like "respect," "rights" and "civil rights" came to mind.

The first participant to use the word "White" was the 18-year-old, who explained, "I think of White privilege because it's kind of an underlying thing in our society."

This was not the last time the word "White" was used throughout the segment. In light of recent tragedies like the death of Black Baltimore resident Freddie Gray, racial tensions in the U.S have caused many to evaluate the disadvantages Black people still face — and the privilege that others less affected have.

Andrew Burton/Getty Images
Andrew Burton/Getty Images

A lingering distrust for our system is shown through the more complex responses by some of the men, starting at teenage years to adulthood. The responses show that privilege now has historic context and still holds ties to being "White." 

An adult perspective.

"White privilege, white supremacy," one 48-year-old participant went as far as to say. "White privilege is an invisible steroid that you don't even know you're getting. When I get stopped and frisked, you don't know that you didn't get stopped and frisked."

Not every participant felt this way.

Some men saw themselves as privileged in their own way. Some perceived privilege as being American, having wealth or something that needs to be earned.

The participants in this video show both similarities and diversities in the way Black men conceptualize social ideas. 

There's no one formula of thinking that works for all, but their responses can lead to an interesting conversation of how history and life experiences shape our perspectives. 

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