Nutrition - Children who don't have the expectation of regular meals can suffer from anxiety and spend more time employing survival skills to get their next meal, rather than spend time concentrating on studying and learning. The brain needs fuel in order to function properly and when there is no food, there is no fuel or energies to sustain a developing and thinking brain. It is a privilege to have enough nutritious food to eat without having to think about it.
Education - Education is not equal across the states, or even within the same cities. Parents know which school is better for their children based on safety and finances. No parent would ever place their child in a run-down school if they had better options available. Finishing High School is a privilege many students take for granted while those who live under different circumstances may see Middle School as their last years of education.
In the United States, privilege is equated with money, because almost every aspect of our lives is in the private sector and the private sector operates on profits. Public schools in under-privileged neighborhoods receive less financial backing than schools in more affluent neighborhoods. These schools may not have enough space or textbooks for all their students. Some don't have desks or chairs to accommodate all the students.
There are children that go to schools that are completely unfit for human beings; the bathrooms have no lights, no water and have not been cleaned in years. This is happening right now in the United States.
Outside of the United States, we have 40 or 50 children in one room sitting on a dirt floor and leaning against each other attempting to pay attention to the one teacher that travels miles on foot every week to deliver a lesson to the eager-to-learn students. Malawi, Africa is a good example of what happens in poor countries.
Location - People looking to buy a home are always told that the most important feature of the home is its location. A good location means that the house will retain its value, the school system is better, the roads are maintained, crime is low and most of the neighbors have well paying jobs.
In the end, privilege in the United States revolves around financial resources that fund the quality of the most basic human needs. It is money that provides safety in neighborhoods. Good jobs provide stability to communities and help fund education and growing opportunities for future generations.
Race - We have all heard about racial inequality, and as painful as it is to understand and accept, it is a fact that neighborhoods that are primarily African-American or Hispanic suffer from having less resources available to them. This lack of resources impacts their educational opportunities in a negative manner and, in most under-privilege neighborhoods, there is no accessibility to fresh food, which is taken for granted in more affluent neighborhoods.
Gender - Women in the United States make less than men. New legislation known as the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama on January 29, 2009 amends the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that required equal pay for equal work but had a 180-day statute of limitations. While this is good news, women are still struggling to earn as much as they need to because many opportunities are still considered a male-only territory.
Women-only positions tend to pay less, but we have seen that when both genders work in the same field, doing the same job traditionally held by one gender, disparities become narrower and income increases. For instance, male nurses were unheard of 20 years ago, but now, both genders are nurses and salaries have gone up across the board. This benefits the workers, their communities and their families, which in turn benefits the school system and the government. Other countries understand this a lot better and have made sure that basic needs, such as education and health care, are treated as human right and not a privilege.