Saturday, December 3, 2016

Unpacking Privilege

Photo Composition By Sandy Giordano

Privilege exists even when we think it doesn't. 

Dear Ivan,

You're right.

Love,

Deb

I've got a ton of hardship stories in my back pocket that I've pulled into conversations when faced with someone else's circumstances. In my grubby life collection, I know I've had it bad. But that doesn't give me license to measure mine against anyone else's. Even so, there are times that I've done it anyway.

"They shouldn't...if it were me...why are they so....how can they feel that way...how dare someone say I'm privileged? I don't feel privileged!"

That's privilege.

I'm Mexican-American but look like a tub of margarine.

That's privilege.

I live in suburbia without encountering much violence.

That's privilege.

I live in the United States.

That's privilege.

I'm considered from the outside, a white woman, an American woman.

That's privilege.

My religious beliefs are not targeted by other religions.

That's privilege.

I survived abuse.

That's privilege.

I didn't get lost in my wounding until I died.

That's privilege.

My sexual connection via my love or my identity is not targeted.

That's privilege.

I, nor my family members, are ignorantly accused of being a "societal problem".

That's privilege.

I'm not forced to live under intransigent, institutionalized, and unacknowledged racism.

That's privilege.

I don't have a life-altering disease, nor do my family members.

That's privilege.

I have enough money to buy groceries.

That's privilege.

My husband is a partner and considers me a partner, not a subject.

That's privilege.

I don't live under a dictatorship.

That's privilege.

The country I live in is not under siege.

That's privilege.

I'm not homeless.

That's privilege.

My kids didn't have to walk to school through dangerous neighborhoods.

That's privilege.

I've got health insurance.

That's privilege.

A bank authorized me to take out loans for my kids to go to college.

That's privilege.

After suffering sexual harassment/assault at work I was able to start my own business.

That's privilege.

I had to raise rates and managed to stay in business.

That's privilege.

I choose not to focus on what I don't have, what I may never have.

That's privilege.

Every morning that I wake up and don't have to experience racism, misogyny, abuse, hatred, hunger, loss, illness, financial hardship, danger, or the threat of any of these things, even if I may have previously experienced one or more of these things; I'm privileged. 

As I write these words that are considered "privileges" I have become enraged, which is a frequent state these days. Why the fuck should it be a privilege to eat, remain unharmed, to be able to care for ourselves and those we love, to feel healthy and have access to healthcare, to live in safety and comfort, without the threat of bombs, subjugation, racism, hatred or fear? Why the fuck? These are not privileges, these are inalienable rights and that is the awful truth of our global moment. #ProtestUntilThereIsNoReasonToProtest

May we each try to see the world through the eyes of other people we know and have never met and may our compassion and understanding heal ourselves and our tribe. Peace.






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