So many privileges
Some while ago I enumerated my privileges elsewhere.
There are all the usual obvious ones:
- Within the range of medically-healthy body weight and height
- Of comfortable material means
I realize I have other privileges that are not often enumerated.
For example, my childhood was:
- … in a physically safe place, without war, pollution or (much) violent crime
- … at a time and in a place where educational opportunities were widely available
- … in a powerful, rich nation that dominates global culture
- … in a home with two married parents, who were:
- … stably employed
- … without substance addictions
- … careful with money
- … fair in their discipline habits
- … generous with praise, love, and basic material attention
- … parsimonious with toys and gegaws that would spoil me
- I speak English, natively
- … with an accent and idiom that “sounds like TV”
- … which is the predominant language in my community
- … and the accepted mode of speech among my international peers
- I had a largish extended family in near geographic proximity.
- I come from a time and place where destructive behaviors were socially unacceptable.
- I’m married, uncontroversially (i.e. to a woman). This is important, for men. Married men get mulligans that single men, particularly single young men don’t. We are assumed to be “safe,” where young men are not.
I (like most people) often forget these non-demographic privileges. The “normal” of my life maps closely to normative behavior as we receive it in the culture, popular or otherwise. It isn’t just that I’m white/straight/male/cis/able … it’s that I grew up with a wide net of material and emotional support. I occasionally need to remind myself of this, for example in a conversation with another white/straight/male/cis/able dude who’s working out his father issues. I don’t have father issues because my dad was there and he never beat me and he took me on nature walks and is a great dad all around.
These privileges color a lot of my emotional temperment. I can afford to be the Zen Guy With Perspective when a work confrontation won’t trigger unresolved childhood abandonment issues.
I am not a believer in luck or providence. I believe the universe is random and uncaring, and that good things flow solely from our efforts, collectively, to create them. I am the happy and largely unacknowledged recipient of many good things.