I’ve had many moments where people have pointed out my privilege to me. I’m hugely grateful to them. Being told that you’re behaving in a way that doesn’t respect other people or is actively discriminating against them is one of the most challenging types of feedback. None of us think of ourselves as racist or sexist — so having that kind of behavior pointed out to us often leads to a crisis where it’s easier to accuse the person we’ve hurt of being wrong then it is to actually change our behavior even if the change is relatively small.
Step 1: Say sorry: For me, apologizing helps me focus on the outcome of my actions and not my own ego or self perception. It helps me remember that my intentions don’t matter — much like accidentally bumping into someone on the street — I may not have meant to hurt someone but I did. Apologizing helps me take responsibility for that action.