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adult privilege checklist

Page history last edited by Neethi 11 years, 10 months ago


[about] [theory: liberationism]  [adult privilege checklist]  [theory: protectionism]  [practical advocacy: best of both worlds]  [ageism: against old and young] 



[adult privilege checklist]



Many social justice movements use the concept of "privilege" to illustrate the rights that certain groups of people are denied, or to indicate that certain groups of people do not face the same difficulties as other oppressed groups. This has historically been used in feminism to explain "male privilege," and the concept has been extended by racial justice advocates to "white privilege", by gender and sexual minority advocates to "straight privilege" and "cisgender privilege," by autistic self-advocates and disability rights advocates to "neurotypical privilege" and "able privilege," and so on. As such, it "privilege checklists" are a very useful model to highlight adult privilege that may remain invisible in a society that has largely not recognized youth as an oppressed group. This is the beginning (in no particular order) of one such list that originated on the National Youth Rights Association forums, a collaborative effort by youth themselves:



As an adult/as a parent, I have the following "privileges," some of them basic enough to take for granted:


1. Others cannot restrict what I can do in my own home, short of breaking the law. If they try, I can object and others will see my objection as valid.


2. I can speak on my own behalf in public forums, and it will be treated as valid. 


3. In the family, what I say goes, and I do not have to justify my demands with logic or compromise.


4. My preferences and prejudices become “values.” They must be respected, especially by (my) children.


5. I can demand that (my) children treat me with respect, which can consist of anything from tone of voice to unquestioning obedience, because I am an adult/their parent. “Respect your elders” is a widely accepted value in my society. If they do not, I can accuse them of not respecting tradition, which is also a widely accepted value in my society - at least in elder-younger relations.


6. The generation gap allows me to discount differences between me and (my) children by turning them into something that the majority of autonomous citizens will laugh at and take my side on.


7. Asking me personal questions, telling me how to dress, and viewing my computer activity is considered invasive to privacy.


8. Censoring what I can see on the internet is cause for collective outrage.


9. My mental capability to make informed decisions, regardless of what is informing them, is respected.


10. I can actually vote on the laws and legislators that dictate what I can and can’t do.


11. As a voter, my opinion is automatically important to legislators who rely on my vote.


12. My body is legally my own to do with as I see fit. No one else can restrict the things I do to my own body. No one else can do things to my body without my permission.


13. There are no laws restricting the times of day I can be out in public and make use of public facilities.


14. If I am capable of driving a car, it is legal for me to drive a car.


15. Even if I am a new driver, I have less restrictions on my driving than youth (regardless of experience) who are under 18 or adults under 21.


16. I can choose to harm myself by drinking or smoking. Youth under 18 and adults under 21 may not choose to harm themselves by drinking or smoking, even though they have bodily autonomy after 18 and could choose to harm themselves by fighting and/or dying for our country.


17. There are no laws telling me that I must remain in an enclosed area under the supervision and guidance of authorities I must obey for the majority of my waking life. My future does not rely on doing work without recompense.


18. I can pay for and use independent living quarters.


19. I can work to earn my own living.


20. The phrase “no taxation without representation” applies to me.


21. The fact that I have a sexuality is widely accepted and recognized in my society. I am allowed to pursue my sexual desires.


22. No person or law can tell me what to study. I may choose my own course of study as relevant to my interests and future intentions.


23. The money I make does not have to be kept under the supervision of anyone else.


24. My access to food and shelter does not rely on pleasing others regardless of what I want.


25. The vast majority of people whose views are represented in public media are on my side of the “adult” age line.


26. All forms of demographic categorization that could disadvantage people on my side of the “adult” age line are considered valid subjects for activism (i.e. gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, age as it affects seniors but not youth.)


27. If I am affected by any of these demographic categorizations, I can pursue activism on my own behalf and it will not be seen as any less valid because I belong to said demographic.


28. In almost all of these cases, there are governmental agencies formed specifically to help protect my rights.


29. In almost all of these cases, the experience of my disadvantaged demographic is considered a valid subject of study in many (and most major) institutions of higher education, and several classes are offered with this focus.


30. I never have to lie to be allowed on an Internet site.


31. Almost all fictional representations of and nonfictional guides to the experiences of people in my age group are actually written by people in my age group, so I can expect a certain degree of accuracy or at least respectfulness in their depictions.


32. It is considered assault to inflict physical pain on me without permission. I have clear avenues of legal recourse to pursue that will help protect me from assault.


33. The people I live with cannot restrict where I go and when, who I talk to, what I spend my time doing, or my access to the outside world.


34. I cannot be given medical treatment against my will. Consent has to be given by either me or a proxy I designate myself.


35. I cannot be sent to any prison-like institution without breaking a law. (See "troubled teen" camps and "behavior modification" facilities, many - if not all - of which are abusive institutions subject to even less restrictions than most prisons. This is a subject that needs an entire movement, much less a mention on a webpage, but some resources are below.)


For more, see this list, which is notably written from the perspective of the child.


This is one of the things on this website that can be considered "always in progress," so comments and contributions are much welcome.


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