Philip Guo (Phil Guo, Philip J. Guo, Philip Jia Guo, pgbovine)

Implicit Privilege

I suspect that my peers and I take more credit for our own accomplishments than we should. We often forget all of the implicit privileges that we enjoy due to products of sheer luck, most notably our genes and childhood environment.

Here are some implicit privileges that I enjoyed throughout my childhood:

  • I grew up in a safe home and neighborhood where I never feared for my safety.

  • I fit in well and excelled in the U.S. public education system because I was well-behaved and academically-motivated.

  • I was never bullied or tormented in school.

  • I was in good physical and mental health throughout my childhood.

  • My family and friends never suffered from personal tragedies or traumas.

  • I had all the implicit privileges that Asian male children enjoy, most notably people expecting me to be good at math and science.

  • I never had to worry about money throughout my childhood. Even though my parents were not wealthy, they earned enough and instilled the proper expectations in me so that I never needed to make sacrifices due to money.

  • Whenever I wanted to buy books or computer equipment, my parents were usually able to give me what I wanted. I would not be doing what I'm doing today if I didn't have those material resources.

  • I had few responsibilities or burdens as a child, so I could spend lots of time focused on my schoolwork and hobbies.

  • My parents are both well-educated and exceptionally smart in diverse ways, especially in dealing with people.

  • My parents saved enough money to pay for most of my private university education.

In sum, I had the privilege of being able to attain my goals through hard work and perseverance. Sadly, most people in the world do not share this level of implicit privilege that many of my peers and I often take for granted.

Privilege is associated with wealth, but money isn't the whole story. Most of my high-achieving peers are not "rich kids" (and would be offended at being labeled as such). However, we grew up with a wealth of non-material privileges such as well-educated, emotionally supportive parents and a social environment that enabled us to realize our potential.

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Created: 2012-03-12
Last modified: 2012-09-04