I made a valiant attempt to do 75 days of posting honoring my mom and 27 days of Thanksgiving Thanks posts, but…life, job, family all got in the way! LOL How do I become a full-time blogger? I guess I go on sabbatical…1.5 semesters and counting…Until then…
I have read several friends’ posts and a few articles this month on privilege. Most of these authors write about one’s ability to complain about having a name misspelled on a Starbucks cup, complaining about a commute to work (in a car), or complaining about all the SPAM messages on one’s tablet, etc…Peggy McIntosh made popular the notion of naming, acknowledging, discussing, deconstructing, and then doing something about privilege. McIntosh started with the BIG one, white male privilege. Other scholars followed suit with able-bodied privilege, Christian privilege, heterosexual privilege, etc. As I used each of the privilege worksheets in class with my students and facilitated discussions I became increasingly uncomfortable with my own privilege. What? A woman of African descent has privilege?!
The first time I said it out loud in class my students looked at me oddly. After all I had allowed them to follow that typical pattern of thinking in which we only view women and people of color as oppressed individuals. Which is one perspective and depending on who, what, where, how, and why that vulnerable oppressed persona may fit. As I write this blog I am waiting to hear the Grand Jury decision on officer Darren Wilson, who shot Michael Brown. I am 44 years old and I feel as if I have sat-in-waiting many many times before…so, I fully acknowledge that there is still a great amount of oppression for youth, men, and women who have brown, red, yellow, black skin; accents; unacceptable documentation; not enough resources….
AND another reality of 2014 is that many people who have the life I have had and currently have, also have much privilege. I grew up with more than enough resources. I have an advanced degree. I have a full-time job. I am heterosexual, born in the U.S., and am able-bodied. Yes, I am a proud woman of color. I have many challenges based on those two identities – separated and combined. But at the intersection of all of my identities, I am privileged. Primarily because I can use my socioeconomic status to combat what comes my way based on biological sex and race. I am thankful that I have enough privilege that I can Code Switch and take action. It’s often exhausting work and sometimes I refuse to do it. But mostly I acknowledge my privileged statuses, and use them when and as I can to combat the isms. I’m also attempting to make our 4 y.o. son aware of his privileges…that’s another blog!
Today I am very thankful that my momma raised an aware, proud, activist Black woman! Thanks momma! Privilege comes with responsibilities.