Skip to main content

Privilege and Entitlement

I have referenced and shared the Wheel of Privilege and Power so many times over the past few years with multiple groups.  Minority, marginalized and intersectional groups already get it.  White people my age (50's) and older have to try a little harder to understand this and take it to heart (or a lot, or at all). 



The closer you are to the center of the wheel (or center of the universe as it seems some people see themselves), the more privilege you have, and you have fewer (if any) obstacles to overcome to show up for an event, a job, belong to a friend group, get an interview, access education etc.  

Equity deserving groups

The closer to the outside edge of the wheel (or margins) you are, the more challenges you have to overcome just to show up for the same event.


Intersectionality is where you are affected at the same time from more than one category that puts you at a disadvantage in society, which responds with oppression, discrimination, domination, colonization.  This is more common to be multiply marginalized than to just be marginalized by one category.  To learn more, Google Intersectionality.  The term was first used by Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw in 1989.  

Scenario 1 - privileged

So if you are a rich white heterosexual cis man born in Canada with a university degree, a stable job, above-average income, owns a home, is in good physical and mental health, who owns a home and is bilingual in English and French, you're probably doing well in life.  Is it because you "grew up with nothing, rolled up your sleeves, worked hard, and walked backwards uphill in the snow to go to school?"

Scenario 2 - multiply marginalized early in life

In contrast, if you are a Black queer disabled trans woman born in Sudan who came to Canada as a refugee to escape violence and poverty, speaking only a little English, only to end up with depression, anxiety and flashbacks from PTSD, living out of a shelter, couch-surfing, just fired from 3 part time jobs for being late once, now doing sex-work to survive because you can't get a job interview, are you "just not working hard enough?' Maybe that's too hard to imagine.

Scenario 3 - acquired disability and disadvantages later in life

Imagine that you, a white person born in Canada, finished high school, got married and now have 2 kids, a house and a dog.  Good?  Now you turn 45, get cancer and can't work.  After chemotherapy you are left with such severe brain fog and your body is disfigured from multiple surgeries so your a-hole spouse leaves you.  Your kids won't talk to you because you 'selfishly' won't (can't) watch the grandkids while they work or go out with friends.  You just learned that you are Autistic and have ADHD so you are beginning to understand why you may have had relationship difficulties with others due to different thinking and communication styles, but you're alone and devastated and have been admitted to an urgent mental health and addictions facility because you are having thoughts of unaliving yourself.  

Recognizing privilege

DEI stands for diversity, equity and inclusion as an intentional effort by the majority group in society to create space and policies to allow those who were not born with the same privileges to obtain equitable access, to be included, and to embrace diversity. 

I never want to hear from an entitled rich white person again that DEI stands for 'didn't earn it'  It does not.  

I never want to hear from a white person in a leadership position of power that it's 'reverse discrimination that makes it hard for him to get a promotion' to create conditions for someone who is multiply disadvantaged to be able to show up and work and thrive.  

Learning Resources:

This Wheel of Privilege and Power is my first go-to when beginning to bring awareness of privilege to other white people in so-called Canada.  I invite you to see my Linktree for other learning opportunities:

About me:

My name is Michelle Christoffersen.  My pronouns are she/her and they/them. I'm a white queer cis autistic woman in my 50's. My great grandparents were European settlers from Ireland, England and Norway. I was born and raised in Mohkinstis on Treaty 7 land. I want to amplify the perspectives of multiply marginalized and intersectional groups I volunteer with including those who advocate for the needs of the 2SLGBTQ+, Autistic, and Indigenous rights.  


  1. As a person pretty much in the centre of the wheel, I try to remember it comes from winning the birthright lottery, and not from any special quality within me. I try to be mindful that others have not had the advantages I have. I try to push other people in the centre of the wheel into understanding that there's nothing special about them. There's a great video where some kids are about to have a foot race, and the teacher says the winner gets $100. But then he changes the starting conditions, and says, 'take 2 steps forward if both parents are still married. Then, take 2 steps forward if you grew up with a father figure at home. Then private education. Then access to a tutor. And so on. There are other videos similar to this that use different questions, but same idea.


Post a Comment

Thanks for stopping by. Please feel free to leave a comment if you like.