|Because contrary makes me happy...
||[Jan. 3rd, 2008|01:35 pm]
I'm not doing the privilege meme. Nope. Although I am grateful to it for helping to spread the word that there is no "d" in that word. Sigh of relief. Anytime someone wants to do a meme that involves the phrase "a lot"...I do encourage you. |
And "reins of power", because if I see "reigns of power" (MSNBC, The Independent (London))one more time. This one is getting so bad that now I see references to "grabbing the reigns"...augh.
I can't do the privilege meme because everyone is and well, I am the type of person who folded up all of her Polo shirts and tucked them in the bottom of the drawer and patiently outwaited "Preppy" until I could wear them again.
But I also can't take it because my Mom comes from impoverished Mayflower era gentry (the streets in City Island, NY, tend to match the names in her family tree) and my Dad comes from hardscrabble immigrants who, in their native lands, were farmers, but were savvy enough to come to America, buy a lot of land to start farming and discover that there was more of a living to be made developing it. Not that they stopped farming. Because the only thing more pigheaded than a Dane or a German is a German/Danish cross. It would be self-indulgent to stop dressing in overalls, heading out for milking and spending the afternoon canning the rest of the tomatoes. My mother's people...well, we still have our pickle forks and our oyster dishes. Although if eBay had been around several decades ago, I suspect they would have been long sold.
I was extremely privileged, not because my parents were wealthy; but because they were frugal and worked hard -- from digging in furniture cushions for a dime so that we could afford some envelopes of Kool-Aid to not having to worry about taking care of my parents as they age because they've put enough aside and done enough estate planning that while I'll worry a lot about them as they get older, it won't be financial worries.
I was also privileged in that both of my parents were readers and learners and placed a high value on learning. Reading is what you do to occupy your time. That's what all those shelves in the house are for, not for clutter. Going to museums, zoos, aquariums are what you do on vacation -- the amusement park is just a guilty pleasure. There was no question that I was going to college -- just like my grandmother and great-grandmother...or because my father was the first person in his family to go. And although they paid, I was expected to help.
More privilege: my brother and I never had a phone or television in our rooms or had a car bought for us...not because they couldn't afford it (because by then, they could) but because it showed lack of moral fiber. (We're big on rules, us Mayflower WASPS and German-Dane crosses) Sure, I had horses and I competed on the show circuit -- but I couldn't get leather boots until my feet stopped growing. And I trained my horse myself. And things like saddles and helmets were birthday and Christmas gifts.
And I grew up in a town where the kids across the street were serious old money and had trust funds and travelled internationally at the drop of a hat, went to the kind of private schools where you have 25 people in your grade. And the kids next door, their family abandoned their bedrooms during the winter and everyone lived downstairs in the living room and kitchen because they couldn't afford to heat the whole house. So, I grew up knowing that I had it good --- but not as good as some.
The biggest privilege I have, though, is that I was always loved and my parents generally believed that any and all of my accomplishments were fabulous and that I could do anything if I put my mind to it. (Ah, if only I would APPLY myself....hey, it wasn't TOTALLY idyllic...all that moral fiber and guilt can get heavy. But a burden worth having, for all the other stuff.)
I'm a very lucky person, I know. I didn't have half the obstacles that many people have had to overcome. (Oh, don't worry -- I've left out the grandparents drinking themselves to death, the Dad who was so busy working hard he was never home, the...whatever.) I try to be grateful for that.
Of course, that also means that if you've scored higher on privilege than I have...you'd better be gracious, because the only thing worse than an asshole is a PRIVILEGED asshole....
Edit: now that I have stopped laughing at myself, I've gone back and spelled "privilege" correctly. Although now even THAT looks wrong. Snort.
See, there's another privilege I have -- my family taught me that, really, there's is humor in everything. Especially when you're being superior..supireor..supearier...su....damn.