Questions #18, 19, & 20: Got privilege? Uncomfortable? Doing anything about that?
(This post is part of a series for July 2013 entitled “Question Month.” Read the intro to the series here.)
My Facebook post earlier today:
“Question Nos. 18, 19, and 20: I’ve been throwing the word “privilege” around a lot lately in several different contexts. How are you privileged? Does it make you uncomfortable or do you feel deserving? Do you feel the greater one’s privileged status, the more one should work to benefit others?”
So. How am I privileged? Let me count the ways.
Pale skin in a paleface-centric society.
Born into middle class family.
Raised in comfort in safe suburban environment by loving, highly educated parents.
Not skimped on the actually-near-vital, so-called “extras” in life: books, music lessons, sports, vacations, camps, pets.
Highly educated via first Montessori, then top-notch public schools, college, and graduate school with only minor student loan debt.
Only one world-shattering tragedy (losing my mom at age 13). A reasonable amount of smaller painful experiences.
Met future husband early in life (age 18) — this lends a sense of stability and continuity through life’s many changes as well as the practical benefit of sharing living expenses, cars, chores, etc.
Successfully and happily self-employed, currently lower middle class and financially stable with a likelihood of increased status over time.
Able to plan children and conceive with relative ease (almost instantly with Owlet, after 8-9 months or so with Platypup).
Own a house due to both Thor and I having received money from deceased relatives (my mom and his aunt), good credit scores, a wonderful realtor, a creative mortgage broker who masterfully wrangled two undesirably fragmented self-employed incomes into qualification for our loan, and impossible timing regarding market prices.
Young (30 is still young, right?) and physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy.
Surrounded by supportive family and friends all along the way.
Does it make me feel uncomfortable? Other than the obvious comfort of living a privileged life, yes, I struggle with the knowledge that others do not share in the above list to varying degrees.
Do I deserve it? Only in that I didn’t squander my massive head start. Otherwise, no, of course not, no more than the next guy.
And obviously, if you have any familiarity with me or my blog you know, yes. I honestly believe the greater one’s privilege, the more one ought to do to level the playing field.
My greatest privilege: family.