The loss of privilege | Thomas Owen | TEDxAuckland

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Thomas Owen’s research examines what happens to people during the process of privilege loss. The privileges attached to age, race, gender, physical and mental wellness, sexual orientation, languages spoken, and citizenships held - among others - are often invisible to us until we lose them. So how do we respond when a relative balance of privilege changes in our lives? How do we experience privilege loss?

Privilege is unevenly distributed in societies, and its particular rules of advantage and exclusion are constantly being contested and changed. We all have some experience of privilege and have experience of losing it too. Similarly to grief, we do many things. We get angry, we deny it, we deflect it, we blame others, we mourn it, and eventually at some point, we accept our privilege loss and adjust to it.

His research involves an invitation to all people to share their stories of privilege loss, in order to help build a collective tool kit to manage the loss well. To share your story, contact Thomas at @

Thomas Owen is a teacher, author, filmmaker and advocate for peace, social justice, and an end to arbitrary inequality. Thomas teaches Intercultural Communication and Global Crises and the Media at Auckland University of Technology, and wrote the book ‘Patents, Pills and the Press’ about global HIV/AIDS. He lives in Auckland, New Zealand, and The Yukon, Canada. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at
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