You’ve Banked It Already, Now “Check” Your Privilege

You’ve Banked It Already, Now “Check” Your Privilege

Female merchant writing, Meissen porcelain sculpture

You’ve banked it already, now “check” your privilege: an 18th-century European merchant woman surrounded by abundance, doing her accounting. Let’s hope she is planning to write a number of checks paying that abundance forward. Image by Andreas Praefcke of a Meissen sculpture in the Reiss-Engelhorn Museums, Mannheim, Germany.

Clarity and Abundance Help You “Check” Your Privilege

Many will tell you to check your privilege. In this post, RAISING CLARITY punningly encourages you to “check” your privilege with clarity and abundance that are actively anti-racist and anti-classist.

A lot of people feel conflict about embracing the version of abundance of capitalist culture. It feels icky. And there’s a good reason: that “abundance” is rooted in division: us/them, have/have-not. It tells us we can be abundant if we are willing to identify with the haves–and thus give up connection to the have-nots.

But it’s a lie. Divisive “abundance” is not abundance. Abundance means “flow.” You can certainly increase the flow of what you  receive, but you can’t control it.  You can only open to it more.

Abundance means opening yourself more to everything: suffering, an understanding of oppression, sadness–as well as goodness, truth, beauty, luxury, love, and time. (For example.)

Deepak Chopra’s book Creating Affluence, used as directed (five pages/day), has shifted my consciousness from divisive, binary thinking to wholism. (I recently gave a copy to each member of RAISING CLARITY’s seasonal manifestation group, which inspired one person to inspire this post.*) I can vouch for the truth of Creating Affluence. And that truth is consistent, in my understanding, with this blog post on abundance that helps heal the world, not destroy it.

RAISING CLARITY on Privilege

But first, if you haven’t read our 2018 post explaining how we see privilege, you probably should.

Basically, we are anti-binary. In anything. Including abundance.

When you examine the binary of privilege, you see a whole lot of -isms that helped you. You see other -isms that hurt you. You see yourself within a web of harms and benefits. Everyone exists in this web.

If you see yourself in the web, you are far more likely to accept your privilege, and move on…to action helping others as well as yourself become embedded in more desirable ways in the web. Because until we die, the web is where we live, the world of physical form, material desires, and what’s typically (though not at RAISING CLARITY) understood in such a limited way as abundance.

RAISING CLARITY ON “Deserving”

Second, you should know that we have serious issues with the whole notion of “deserving.” When you examine the binary of “deserving,” you immediately come to the shadow side of that word:

Deserving is used to divide the world into people who deserve–and those who don’t deserve–whatever it is you are talking about. And what could you be talking about that others don’t deserve?

Now that we have made short work of two important sources of bulls–t on the journey to peaceful, ethical relationship to money and  raising money, we move on.

You’ve Banked It Already, Here’s How to “Check” Your Privilege

Here is how to make peace with your abundance and everyone else’s:

Write a check.

You can not remove your privilege by wishing it away, self-hatred, or staying mired in guilt and shame. Acknowledge it. You have banked it already!

I often speak of myself as wealthy; I live on a baseline salary of $1440/month. My embrace of my wealth is unusual; the Financial Times I read each week often notes that no matter how much money someone has, they almost never describe themselves as wealthy. And the Times are talking about people with great wealth by anyone’s measure. Acceptance is an early step toward change.

Let’s notice our privilege–and pay it forward. Every time you are tempted (or taunted) to enter the shame spiral about your privilege, pay it forward in money, thought, prayer, or deed.

You can act on an individual level, and/or an infrastructural (local, regional, global) level. For example, reparations are dear to my heart. Michael Eric Dyson suggests that white people can start Individual Reparations Accounts, and how we might use them. I have done this. I use mine in many ways, including this Reparations Facebook Group where white people can offer services or contributions in response to requests by people of color. For guidance on giving money, click here.

I also act at infrastructural levels to try to end the systemic injustices of our culture. Feel free to comment and share what you do, or would like to know more about doing.

Don’t attach to your privilege or disprivilege.

We are not our looks, youth, glory, smarts, money, etc. Some kinds of privilege we could lose tomorrow. (This is why white people are so upset if we are treated “unfairly” by people of color; we thought being white was a permanent guarantee of fair treatment.) Others, such as whiteness, will be with us til the day we die.  Accepting our circumstances of privilege and disprivilege help us see they are nothing we have earned. (See “deserving,” above). This, by the way, is my primary spiritual practice.

Don’t attach others to their privilege or disprivilege.

Do the same for others as you do for yourself: notice, accept, witness: this is nothing that the other person has “earned.”

Do not hate rich people. It is too easy: what are you projecting?

Do not idealize poor people. Oppressed people will not oblige you by remaining oppressed.

Everyone wants a good life. How do I know? Because I know the ways I am oppressed. I am actively working to change them. I know others are doing the same.

The thought manifests as the word, so our first step might be to watch our mouths: whom do you call “wealthy?” (Yourself? Why not?)

Who do you limit and dismiss (fundraisers, I’m talking to you) with the gross generalization, “they have no money”? (This is usually an excuse for over-focusing on rich people and then resenting them for it, rather than being inclusive of everyone we know and working with what we have.)

As You “Check” Your Privilege

While you go after what you want, make sure you are not creating a world which will make it impossible for others to go after what they want. Be a class traitor, a traitor to whiteness, a traitor to the limited capitalist view of abundance–and you will be ever more loyal to the Beloved Community.


*If you read this blog regularly, you know that inspiring a blog post means receiving a free half-hour of moneycoaching or fundraising consulting.  Send me your blog post requests, ideas, and questions to be answered, and if they inspire a post, receive our thanks with a free half-hour of coaching or consulting. And let me know if you want to be invited to join our manifestation group next year.

4 Comments
  • Dena
    Posted at 13:54h, 12 December Reply

    Thank you Beth. So much to think about here. I look forward to more discussion with you.

  • Marissa
    Posted at 08:19h, 15 December Reply

    Wow, Beth thank you for this post and all the links out to other posts. So incredibly insightful and thought-provoking. I’ve been thinking lately about how Jesus’ message (I don’t know if you recall, but I had a Christian upbringing and then studied Mediterranean religions in college so I’m quite familiar with that spirituality) historically could very well have been a warning/response to/exhortation to live beyond consumerism, given the Roman empire creating the first ever consumer society… applicable because Jesus also speaks about how no one deserves “salvation,” it is a gift from G-d… and who knows, maybe that was always meant as a general approach to take to life. I feel I have learned much in the way of new mindset towards my own privilege after contemplating the thoughts here. Many, many thanks! Talk soon.

    • Beth
      Posted at 16:17h, 15 December Reply

      Marissa, I think Jesus was an amazing advisor about money as well as abundance. Here is a post I wrote inspired by Matthew 13:12 (and a newspaper article):
      https://www.raisingclarity.com/church-gives-away-money-to-raise-money/
      If you search on “Jesus” in this blog, you’ll find a lot of posts, in fact. I’d be quite curious to read you on this, as on anything. You know I take a real interest in your thinking.

  • Pingback:How I Practice Reparations for Peaceful, Ethical Money Flow - RAISING CLARITY
    Posted at 11:16h, 15 June Reply

    […] Right now, it’s very hip to be antiracist. That’s surely better than the opposite, but as you can tell, I’m into what is sustained. This is not my first post on reparations, it&#821… other, also very […]

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