Recently, Reddit user u/vianneyal posed the question, "What is something people don't realize is a privilege?" The thread quickly went viral as users shared the things that so many of us take for granted as we go about our day.
Here are some of the most thought-provoking responses:
1."Sewers. A literal city of tunnels you never see, draining and moving water in and out of your town/city, completely hidden from view. It's a fucking luxury, and you'd be surprised how much of the world doesn't have that while the rest of the world never even thinks about it."
"This. I once worked on a First Nations reserve with no potable water. Everyone had these big containers you dropped off at a water station, got filled, then carried back home. Not only did it suck to lug heavy containers of water back to your house, it also sucked to have to constantly watch how much water you have and plan when you need to get a refill, as they only refilled your containers on certain days of the week."
3."Buying groceries without having to carefully consider prices."
4."Having access to dentists in childhood."
"The worst is when your parents know you need regular dental care, but they're too poor to take you every six months. My parents bit the bullet and took us in for a checkup (and a few inevitable fillings) every 3–5 years."
5."Having your own room/space. A lot of people — and especially families — around the world have to share living spaces."
6."Hot showers. I was homeless for a year and a half, and there was a time I blew $50 on a motel room specifically to take a hot shower. I remember pulling off my cold wet socks and just collapsing in the hot water, sobbing. Felt like all my problems went away immediately."
7."Having the freedom to focus on things like hobbies or finding your passion instead of just basic human needs, like keeping a roof over your head and food in your stomach."
"It’s hard to be creative when stuck in survival mode."
8."Getting as much sleep as you need."
9."Having a pet. No matter your socioeconomic status or location, having a pet means you have that much extra space, time, and financial freedom."
10."Being able to quit a job without fear of losing financial stability."
11."Having your parents to fall back on for help or advice during adulthood. I've been estranged since I've been 16. Life ain't easy navigating the world alone."
12."The other night, I decided to change my bedding randomly and realized how lucky I am to be able to swap to another clean set on a whim. Clean laundry, multiple blankets... Those things make me feel rich. A lot of people don't have a clean, safe bed to sleep in."
13."Going to school."
"Too many people take education for granted."
14."I noticed that I was privileged with eating to my taste. My dad told me how in Mexico, they ate what they had. It was rural farm life. He continued to eat that way even living here in America. He would buy me and my sister whatever we wanted and make eggs and beans for himself."
"Poverty and hunger do that to you. I eat leftovers and ration my food. We are a family of three: two adults and one toddler. And we have a massive pantry; we have enough dry food to last a family of five a whole year... I never noticed it until someone pointed it out, and I remembered being hungry as a child."
15."Driving a vehicle."
16."Weekends off. I think about this every Saturday when the gardener comes to mow. He brings his son to help him. My kids are sitting in their PJs working on coding projects, while his son is out helping mow lawns. That is his kid's Saturday off school vs. my kids'."
"The danger is that someday, if my kids become programmers or whatever white collar job, they will look back and say, 'It's because I worked hard to gain these skills,' taking for granted the privilege of the time to do it."
"Especially with people dying in heat waves these days. There is no escape from a deadly heat wave. It’s a luxury, but I wish it were a standard thing."
18.And finally, "Travel. There are a lot of privileges within that broad category, too. Men can sometimes travel alone to places that women might feel unsafe visiting. People in the LGBTQ community are sometimes at greater risk than others. White people are sometimes treated better as tourists than people of color."
"In school, I had rich friends tease me for never leaving the country, and I felt SO much shame. Looking back, I realize money-wise, it was never even an option. Wasn’t so obvious when I was a kid."
Can you think of something that many people don't realize is a privilege? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.