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My Favorite Definition of Privilege

By Tim Hjersted / filmsforaction.org
Jul 31, 2016
4
My Favorite Definition of Privilege

My favorite definition of privilege is 'thinking something's not a problem because it's not a problem to you.'

This is embodied most poignantly to me by the fact that most people in our culture consider activism to be optional- something they can take part in or not, like bowling or biking, rather than something essential or necessary.

The thing that I see uniting many people across privilege and oppression intersections is the cultural tendency for individuals, when facing a personal problem, to seek individual solutions, not collective ones.

This is just a large part of the population - whether privileged and insulated from so many problems, or oppressed and just trying to get by and survive within the logic of the system.

This belief in seeking individual solutions seems to be the reigning ideology in our society.

I'm thankful for the people who are rejecting this logic - both the underprivileged who become activists as a matter of survival as well as the privileged, who have enough empathy to fight for a cause that may not directly impact them. They see that belief is illusion. The suffering of others does impact them and it compels them to action.

Long story short- kudos to everyone who chooses to be an activist and rejects the ideological hegemony of Western society, which benefits from us all being apathetic.

All power goes to the people that see their personal happiness and security is bound up with all people meeting their common needs for happiness and security.

Our liberation will come from personally recognizing this truth within ourselves.

When facing a problem or seeing others face a problem - we don't just worry about individual fixes - we seek collective ones.

There is unity in recognizing that your problems and my problems are one and the same.

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Films For Action is a library for people who want to change the world.

 

Our mission is to provide citizens with the knowledge and perspectives essential to creating a more beautiful, just, sustainable, and democratic society.

Films For Action was founded in 2006 by a few friends in Lawrence, Kansas, after realizing how essential healthy media is to a healthy democracy.

Over the last 15 years, we've reviewed and curated over 1,000 free documentaries and 4,000 short films, plus over 150 pay-per-view documentaries, spanning 34 topics related to changing the world.

During this time we've been able to reach tens of millions of people - not by owning a TV network or spending truckloads of cash on advertising, but because millions of awesome people keep sharing 'films for action' with their friends on social media - in particular, our 850,000 supporters on Facebook and 70,000 site members. 

One of the coolest things is, thanks to our patrons, our library is ad-free and 100% supported by member donations, while 99% of our library is free to access and always will be. The pay-per-view films on our site, of course, help support the filmmakers, and 90-100% of the revenue for PPV films hosted by us goes to the filmmakers. 

To thank our $5/mo patrons, we partner with filmmakers and distributors to provide free access to a growing number of films that are normally pay-per-view. With just 20 highly curated films at the moment, it's basically a very, very tiny Netflix for world changers, but its main function is to support the library as a whole.

If you'd like to know more, want to help out, or you're a filmmaker looking to collaborate, feel free to get in touch!

Cheers,  Tim Hjersted