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Privilege, Perspective and Poverty at Opportunity Collaboration

This week I am attending Opportunity Collaboration, a conference on poverty eradication. I love the goal of ending poverty.

The conference is structured as an unconference, something I’d only read about but never experienced. This morning, in this rather touchy-feely sort of way that is about a continent removed from my middle-aged comfort zone, we did an exercise outside on the soccer field to visually demonstrate privilege.

imageLast night’s sunset.

The exercise was not scientific but it was highly experiential. We all stood in a row on the goal line at one end of the soccer field. We were asked to step forward or backward, depending upon the question, with forward steps indicating privilege and backward steps representing the opposite (even now I struggle to pick the word that would best fist ta concept.)

As we went through the exercise very quickly the five white men in the group found themselves separated from and ahead of the women. As questions continued to come, further separation occurred. Ultimately, I found myself out front. 

Out of 15 people, I found myself representing the most privileged population. Whether I am objectively in that group or not is beyond the point of the exercise. It worked to make me feel distinctly uncomfortable with my situation, recognizing that much of my success is not attributable to my hard work but to good fortune.

That perspective brought home some things in the context of poverty eradication. Having received much and having received it not due to merit alone but in large part due to my gender, the color of my skin, the place where I was born and even my religion, I owe a greater debt to others, especially those who are different than I am on these and other criteria. 

Now the hard part: how do I go about giving back? How do I go about eliminating the cultural biases that favored me over black women, for instance? 

Please feel free to comment below.

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4 Responses to Privilege, Perspective and Poverty at Opportunity Collaboration

  • one family, one world.

  • People after education, must join in job, and working must, after that saving, home purchasing, married life, children education etc., must spent with in the income, have always, debit card.

  • Trillion of useful trees to be planted (fruit/mango/ apple/coconut) throughout the world to have more rain, agricultural activities, to reduce pollution, heat, have good air, etc.,

  • One sustainable policy for the whole world during the period of 2015 till 2020, 2020, till 2030, 2030 tlll 2040, 2040 till the peiod of 2050, on the subject of education, residence, home along with agricultural land to the deserving family’s, sports, language, food, agricultural implementation, environmental application , eco friendly activities, waste management, total cleanliness, river unification, power, road, social forests etc., etc., . Throughout the world one world, one politics, two / three party system , if a man act unreasonable / cruel / the punishment must be severe and no one dare to do anything wrong. Action only after scrutinising and after experts opinion. Everybody should analyse and work for pro global environment work, calculate world wastage on all action and work and note it in the diary throughout the day what work they have done is it worthy, true and honest, is it driving inner satisfaction, in all what good thing they have performed in the whole day. Developing countries start implementing organic agricultural activities and start exporting agricultural products to the required countries to enable to give employment to the required masses.
    like tirupathi (smart villages) devasam board, also consisting of optimum resident, vast land scape, social forests, (trillion of tree plantation through out the world) gardens school, colleges, industrial park, commercial shops, agricultural activities, godowns, dairy, ponds, reservoir, broad road, all over the world soon. per family particularly the female must be employed so that the family can be maintained well, happy and peaceful ways. each and every village must have a temple, mosque, church’s for peoples prayer purposes.

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