The Gross National Debt

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Walking all over your privilege

One of my FB peeps, RBA, enjoys telling me I suffer greatly from something she calls "white privilege" and "male privilege."

Mebbe I do. How can you quantify something like that?

Certainly there are things I can do because of what I do. Who I am is far less important in that respect. I run a newspaper, in case you do not know. If I didn't run a newspaper, there are things I could not do.

So look at RBA's statements again. Male? Yup. XY chromosomes to be sure and the requisite other body features.

White? Certainly a lot of people look at me that way. Can't help what other people think and perceive. I don't consider myself white, black, red, yellow or brown. When asked to fill out forms asking for "race" I always check "other" if available. If given a blank space, I write in "human." If my choices are limited, I usually toss a figurative dart.

So perusing FB I found this. Being a sucker for this kinda thing, I took the test. Such pop culture tests are not reliable guides for anything, except a willingness to take these tests. Back in the late 70s and early 80s, Penthouse Magazine had a "personality quiz" in each month's issue. After looking at the pictures, I took the tests. Again, not really reliable, but entertaining nonetheless.

So was the BuzzFeed piece.

I scored a 33, which the test says is "Not Privileged." Ran it again. Same result.

Extremely amused, I looked over the questions one more time. I grew up in the Deep South, poor and farming and blessed/cursed with an insatiable desire to read and learn (at least learn about things I found interesting). I've lived and visited places all over the US. I've been to places most folks never see, done things they'll never do and met people ranging from top politicians and international celebrities to people who live in boxes.

This combination allowed me to not check a lot of the BuzzFeed items. Had I stayed in the South and never left, a lot more of those boxes would have to be checked.

So, am I privileged? In RBA's thinking I am. In mine, I am  and I am not. My privilege comes by way of my work. By my thinking, RBA is far more privileged than I am.

The real question is, does it matter? Yep. It sure does. Which then leads to another statement from Stan Lee: With great power comes great responsibility.

So, if you have privilege, how are you using it?

How am I using it? That's a question I am working really hard to not answer any more. Rather than explain, I try to say "walk with me." Actions speak louder than words, even when walking all over your privilege or my privilege.

So think about it. Are you privileged? If so, how are you using it? Are you satisfied with what you are doing? Is there room for change? Is there a need to change?

As you think, take the test. If you'd like to post your result, do so in the comments. 

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