We spent the last week in Woman’s Studies talking about inequality and privilege. This was the one week I didn’t actually do the reading prior to discussion, so it was a bit interesting to me. She told us her story and then had us write down a list of our “privileges” whether they were more of a disadvantage or advantage. I set my sheet up in two columns and was just going through my life and adding things I thought appropriate to each column, some things I was born with or into, some changed in my life and some I didn’t even think or know about, because I hadn’t seen this handy little circle chart but here’s what I put:
Affluent aka upper middle class– Well my parents are and they are supporting me so I live an upper middle class lifestyle
White-color of my skin when I was born, real pale
American, been here long time- not a new immigrant, no accent, no one questions me
Speaks English– brought up to speak English, also understand Spanish, Italian , ASL & a little French but I’m praised for the English I put no effort into learning not the years of study for the others
I was able to work for a little bit- this is a privilege in-spite of my disability
Intelligence/learning comes easy- access to education, in college, educated
Privilege disadvantages on right
Dysfunctional family– my childhood was chaotic and I have not a clue how to raise a family because I never saw a good model but because they were so good at hiding it society thought we were a model family
Mental illness-severe mental illness starting at age 10 that has required all kinds of treatments including the highly stigmatized ECT “shock therapy” and hospitalizations
Gay– I finally came out at age 28 after battling a lot of homophobia in my family and in religion, not to mention living in a heterosexist society
Sexual assault– something not often talked about but it changes how you see the world and how you feel about your body and control over it
Personality clashes with parents– I think this is typical of most youngsters and now I’m not even sure why I put it on there. But I didn’t want this to be an “edit”
One privilege I see on the chart that I did not put on here because I hadn’t read it is age. I’m 33 and at community college it’s not too young or too old really, when I transfer in the fall though I think I’ll be on the disadvantage side because of my age being older than the typical state/UC college student.
Feedback in comment section would you like to read more on this topic?