Victim & Villain

Inclusive Leisure Services by John Dattilo stereotypes “people of privilege”, lumping those who meet their definition of “privileged” into one ignorant, insensitive, selfish group of people who seek to oppress and harm others because we are incapable of caring about anyone other than ourselves. People of privilege, according to this book, are “oblivious to life experiences and living conditions of other people” and “fail to recognize their shared humanity.” (Dattilo, 2017, p. 6)

This is counter-productive to the book’s goal of fostering a sense of inclusion and does not take into account that those of us who are “privileged” and “advantaged” use our privilege and advantages to help others whether financially or through community advocacy and volunteer efforts. Just because someone is privileged does not mean they are “interested in continuing [the] existing [oppressive] systems.” (Dattilo, 2017, p. 8)

When “privilege” has such a negative connotation, to apply this definition to broad categories of individuals simply because they are white, wealthy, or otherwise “privileged” is not only offensive, but counter-productive to fostering inclusion. Negative over-generalizations about any population only furthers the divide between people, fostering a “them” vs. “us”; “privileged” vs “oppressed”; “advantaged” vs “disadvantaged”; “victim” vs “villain” mentality. How can we hope to foster inclusion when we are repeatedly being categorized as operating on opposing sides?

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