Hear me out.
Not so long ago I would have argued that joining the military is in no way a privilege. Not when they prey on the underprivileged to entice them into service, and not when most of our wars are fought not by those who decide we should fight them, but by the people already existing on the fringes. Love him or hate him, Michael Moore’s documentary showing recruiting in Flint, MI was pretty close to the mark. You literally sign your life and figuratively your soul away for anywhere from 2-6 years with one signature. You are no longer the captain of your fate. You, and in many cases your family, pack up and move where you are told, with minimal, if any, choice in the matter.
But recently on Facebook I engaged in a discussion that became very heated over Health Care Reform, where a friend of mine insisted that she was not privileged because she made choices in her life that led to her having a stable job and insurance, and that she doesn’t believe that we should just hand out health care when she has had to work for hers. It wasn’t until that moment that I realized that just how much privilege is involved in being able to sign that contract in blood. (more…)
I live a fairly privileged life.
Sure, I have overcome some hardships and bad relationships. I grew up spitting distance from the reservation of one of two tribes that my family belongs to. I was a single mother barely scraping by. I have even been dealing w/ the diagnosing of a fairly debilitating illness for several years now.
But my life is privileged all the same.
I now have a happy marriage, which is privilege all by itself, being that I am heterosexual. We were able to solve some immediate problems in a way that some of my friends and loved ones currently can not. While I identify as a WoC, others don’t see me as such, having inherited a lot of my father’s non Native traits, and I often benefit from white privilege. I was able to secure funds and scholarships to send The Kid to a very nice private school, and I had the time to volunteer to help keep that scholarship. My husband has a secure job (it doesn’t get much more secure than a military paycheck) that allows us to get by on one income, which is good since it is hard to hold down a job w/ my illness and w/ us moving overseas right now.
And that in and of itself is a privilege. I am living overseas on a government dime in a beautiful country that I have always wanted to see. My husband speaks the Native Tongue and is able to help teach me enough to get around. I will also have classes available to me to help me learn more if I want (and I do).
Which brings me around to a form of privilege that I haven’t really thought about too much. (more…)
I know we have only been in country for two days. My initial thoughts on Korea is that, what I have seen, it is beautiful. Perhaps it is b/c I lived on the Islands for so long that it hasn’t really sunk in yet that we are in another country on an entirely different continent. We are still in lodging for the time being, so we are definitely sheltered right now. Things where we are staying are very Westernized, most likely for the comfort of families adjusting to life here. I would say that about 95% of the staff here are Korean, and everyone has been so polite. I am slowly learning little bits of Korean, and I am determined to be functional. I don’t want to rely on my husband to translate for me, and I sure don’t expect everyone to cater to my by speaking English (even though, admittedly, many people here do speak English and would gladly do so). While I stumble through it, the people here in the lodging are very happy to help me and encourage me. It is so weird, b/c it seems as if it would never occur to them that I would attempt to speak their own language to them.
And that kind of amazes me.
Or this time, it was rattling the fucking door.
I work in customer service for a reasonably large company. I am a shift supervisor. I like my job (most days) as much as a person can like a job like this one. It is fun, I don’t have to salute anyone, answer urgent emails from the Pentagon, or compile data that was needed yesterday and asked for today.
I realize that I have job skills that make me over qualified for the job that I have in a manner, but w/ life handing me the things it did these last few years the easiness of it was very appealing. It pays a decent wage (note, I do not believe that if I were on my own that I could live off of this, but it is still a good wage), and has an incredible benefits package, which were I in a same sex relationship would cover my partner as well as the Kid and me. No, I am not using the multi billion dollar education that I received courtesy of Uncle Sam and the US Navy (well, OK, i get to speak Mandarin to a woman every morning, and that seems to make her day since I am the only person who was willing to attempt to communicate w/ her), but that doesn’t mean that I am wasting my potential or not deserving of the right to feeling safe and secure or to be happy. I don’t believe there is anything wrong w/ not wanting to have a job right now that would give me social status in some people’s eyes.
But, it’s a job. We provide a service to customers. And I like it (most days). What I don’t like is the attitude that people in customer service are in a lower station than the rest of humanity and that they should or can be treated as such. (more…)
Because, like I have said before, now more than once, we are dealing not only w/ words and their meanings, which are big and heavy all on their own merits, but b/c we are dealing w/ actual people. Real fucking human beings.
I am sick and fanfuckingtastically tired of the “it’s just a game”, “lighten up”, or “it’s all in fun” being arguments for why the shit like I talked about yesterday is acceptable as a form of entertainment. I am more than tempted to just say “hey, asshat, your privilege is showing” to people who think that as long as it’s just a game and they personally are not causing anyone harm (a fact which i believe is still up for debate), but this time it is coming from people whom I respect, and some of them I love, and w/ some of them I have forged bonds.
And that makes it harder to just point at brilliant posts by incredible writers better than me and tell them to educate themselves. It also makes me realize that the people I know IRL may not have all of the background and enlightenment that I have found via my online community of friends (as I experienced w/ a friend of mine on Myspace yesterday. For some reason it still surprises me when people are unwittingly blind to sexism and misogyny). I will give these people one free pass, and I will point to the wealth of knowledge on Al Gore’s internet *throws poppy petals*. (more…)
while i have been musing on the issue of my own privilege, and trying to understand racism better, i have noticed that it has changed the way i look at things i used to really like. it has put a sort of lens over my view of the world and such.
one tiny way it has changed me is that now i see pop culture differently. i am suddenly sensitive to things such as the way POC are treated in the everyday things we see, like television and music videos. even before i post an “ear candy” post i watch the video all the way through to make sure there is nothing that i think could be objectionable or offensive. case in point, this morning, while i was getting myself ready to head off to the evil place where i keep my paycheck i had the song “Africa” by Toto in my head. this is usually how an “ear candy” post comes into fruition, it’s an attempt to get some 80’s tune outta my head so i can move forward w/ my life.
so i ran over to YouTube and searched for the video. i watched the whole thing all the way through, getting kind of caught up in the tune. i have always liked the song. so, here, i will share. see if you catch what made me decide not to post it as “ear candy” (video after the jump): (more…)
an ongoing series. some day i will count the parts.
Liss over at Shakesville, has a great Feminism 101 up about Sexism being subjective.
how convenient that this should come up today.
but honestly, i have never liked the Matrix movies…but Liss hits the fucking nail dead square on the head w/ this one: (more…)