Privilege

La MuseEpisode 55: Privilege, by host, Laura Milkins. Our guest, Sarah Sullivan, tells the story of her depression and how, after living in Hong Kong for seven years deprived of nature and fresh air, kinesiology helped her reconnect to her body and spirit which lead her on a path of wellness. Her soon to be published children’s story, “Frankie”, shares some of this journey.  Sunday, March 26, 2017.

Thank you to La Muse Writer’s and Artist Retreat! http://lamuseretreat.com/ 

If you need to get away to support your creative self, check out La Muse  . If you are short on funds, think about crowd sourcing to raise it https://funds.gofundme.com/dashboard/create,  https://www.kickstarter.com/,  http://www.unitedstatesartists.org . Don’t let money stop you from being the artist/writer you see in your dreams.

For more information about kinesiology from the organization that helped Sarah: http://kinesiologyasia.com/

“Privilege is here, and with privilege goes responsibility.”
―John F. Kennedy

Article about privilege: http://www.channel3000.com/news/opinion/bootstrap-myth-exposed-white-inheritance-key-driver-in-racial-wealth-gap/369764533

and what I wrote on Facebook about privilege:

So true.

I know that individually you may have “pulled yourself up by your boots straps” (or feel that you have), but there are so many hidden advantages to being white. (If you are feeling brave, share your privileges, white or otherwise.)

The first time I was faced with the question of my own privilege was in 6th or 7th grade when a friend of mine (white friend) said, “yeah, but you guys are rich.” I don’t remember in response to what, but I do remember my reaction which was to think “we’re not rich… my mom makes $8,000 a year, we can’t afford heat, my dad’s living in a tailer and selling books door-to-door, and all my clothes are hand-me-downs!” Although my friend was on welfare, they had heat, plenty of food and even had HBO and an Atari (both of which were a big deal to me in the 80s). With no small amount of resentment, I kept thinking, “What does she mean by rich! Why would she think that. She has more stuff than I do.”

But she was right. Over the years, the answer has come to me in bits and pieces… The main privileges we had were resillency and resources. One of the biggest white privileges is that you can make huge “mistakes”, completely hit rock bottom, and still end up back in the middle class. In our worst economic situation, we still had so many built-in advantages.

-We had family members, friends and neighbors who could help out in a pinch.
-We didn’t stay poor. (My mom and I were just talking about how we’ve been at or below the poverty level more than once, but are now solidly, comfortably middle class, and how good that feels.)
-Both my parents and grandparents had college educations.
-My mom kept the house and eventually paid it off.
-My dad got back on his feet and retired comfortably with assets.
-We lived in a town were costs where low.
-We have generations of advantages of income or home ownership.
-Jobs come easily to me. People trust me and give me raises or extra responsibilities because I “present” well. So much of which is tied to my race… height… “attractiveness”… class… education… elocution…
-I don’t make a ton of money, but I know about investments and budgeting. This is also passed down and comes with the privilege of having been allowed to own things going back many generations.
-My family encouraged me to dream big and work hard, and taught by example that that paid off. But, that is the privilege of generations of dreams and work that actually did pay off… instead of being stopped and stomped on. That is practically the definition of white privilege for me.

I don’t know what the solution is to generations of institutionalized racism… but I know that the first step is owning up to your own privilege and practicing gratitude rather than judging others. It is so easy to say “pull yourself up by your boot straps” (I am guilty of thinking this over the years), without really looking at your boot straps and where they really came from and at what cost to other people…

Anyway, feel free to share your own privileges, white or otherwise.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s