The Purpose of Privilege: Engaging Privilege as a Form of Resistant Capital

  • Toby S Jenkins Georgia Southern University
Keywords: Privilege, Race, White Supremacy, Education, Class


Is privilege always a bad thing? The problem with privilege often lies in its tendency to only be afforded to a select few. This means that on the other end of privilege is the concept of exclusion. But what might be the possibility if we sought for all people to enjoy a privileged life? Is there a new way that we can conceptualize our approach to the concept of privilege? Privilege is truly about providing a firm and positive foundation. It is aligned with positive concepts like benefits, rights, and freedoms. It seems that what we are really working to achieve is an experience where all people are able to live lives of privilege, opportunity, and abundance. The social definition of privilege states that it is a benefit granted under certain conditions. From a social justice point of view, this “condition” is simply being a member of our global society. According to this definition, it seems that everyone deserves privilege as a human right.  And so, the work of educators that are seeking to engineer a sense of social responsibility among privileged students is not to encourage students to discard their privilege. 

Author Biography

Toby S Jenkins, Georgia Southern University

Dr. Toby Jenkins is an Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership, Technology & Human Development at Georgia Southern University. Her work focuses on the utility of culture as a politic of social survival, a tool of social change, and a transformative space of non-traditional knowledge production. She has authored books focused on the evolving ideologies of culture, family, and education in contemporary society. Her individual research projects have taken her to over 20 countries including Greece, Spain, Norway, Italy, Morocco, Egypt, and Trinidad. Additionally, she was heavily involved in student affairs, and has worked with students from over 40 countries as the resident life director for the Johns Hopkins University Office of Summer Programs.

How to Cite
Jenkins, T. (2016). The Purpose of Privilege: Engaging Privilege as a Form of Resistant Capital. Understanding and Dismantling Privilege, 6(1), 59-69. Retrieved from