Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Privilege Meme

I saw this over at RESEARCHERS from Dr. A. and was inspired to remind myself that I have had a fucking good life, and I deserve this time of "trial" in terms of job search. It will put hair on my chest. How privileged was I? We weren't rich in any way, but I didn't lack for anything, and my parents deprived themselves quite a bit so we could have what we had.

The items that apply to me are BOLD

1. Father went to college

2. Father finished college

3. Mother went to college

4. Mother finished college

5. Have any relative who is an attorney, physician, or professor

6. Were the same or higher class than your high school teachers

7. Had more than 50 books in your childhood home

8. Had more than 500 books in your childhood home

9. Were read children’s books by a parent

10. Had lessons of any kind before you turned 18

11. Had more than two kinds of lessons before you turned 18 see above (soccer, piano, *edit - I forgot swimming)

12. The people in the media who dress and talk like me are portrayed positively (what people? growing up there were like no asian people on TV, and if they were asian, they were men doing kung fu)

13. Had a credit card with your name on it before you turned 18

14. Your parents (or a trust) paid for the majority of your college costs

15. Your parents (or a trust) paid for all of your college costs

16. Went to a private high school

17. Went to summer camp (once a soccer day camp, another time a sleepaway camp for gifted kids)

18. Had a private tutor before you turned 18 (this is not a sign of privilege in my culture, but a sign of shame)

19. Family vacations involved staying at hotels (sometimes - often we went camping but also we'd stay at places like motel 6 sometimes)

20. Your clothing was all bought new before you turned 18 (Just about, some homemade though)

21. Your parents bought you a car that was not a hand-me-down from them (it was $800, woot woot!)

22. There was original art in your house when you were a child

23. You and your family lived in a single family house

24. Your parent(s) owned their own house or apartment before you left home

25. You had your own room as a child.

26. You had a phone in your room before you turned 18

27. Participated in a college entrance exam (eg. SAT/ACT) prep course

28. Had your own TV in your room (and neither will my kids, no matter how much money we have)

29. Owned a mutual fund or IRA in High School or College (I think my mom started one for me in college? I am not sure.)

30. Flew anywhere on a commercial airline before you turned 16 (several times to visit the "land of my ancestors", also to move across the country)

31. Went on a cruise with your family (in college)

32. Went on more than one cruise with your family

33. Your parents took you to museums and art galleries as you grew up. (Not many, but a few times)

34. You were unaware of how much heating bills were for your family. (In warm climes, heating bills are a non-issue)

From "What Privileges Do You Have?", based on an exercise about class and privilege developed by Will Barratt, Meagan Cahill, Angie Carlen, Minnette Huck, Drew Lurker, Stacy Ploskonka at Illinois State University. If you participate in this blog game, they ask that you please acknowledge their copyright.

Bottom line, I had a pretty sweet childhood. I also have a selective memory, I apparently remember childhood much more fondly than my sister, and when I am reminded of shit that happened, I just go "oh yeah"...so shit happened but I DON'T REMEMBER IT!!! I'm kind of glad I'm that way.


microbiologist xx said...

I did this one too. :)
I thought the tutor one was kinda funny. While, no, there was no budget for a tutor in my family, there really wasn't a need for one and I probably would have been in trouble if my teachers recommended I have one (not if I had a real problem, but you know what I mean). Maybe they are referring to a private foreign language tutor or something. ;)

PhizzleDizzle said...

Yeah...some of them I found interesting. The tutor thing for sure, and the TV thing - like most of my friends growing up had the same level of privilege but none of us had TVs in our room, not because we couldn't afford it, but our parents would not have stood for it.

It's making me thing how interesting it is to have these conditions that correlate with privilege under some subcultures but not all.

microbiologist xx said...

Yeah, your right, the TV was strange too. While I absolutely did not grow up remotely privileged, I did have a TV in my room, but it was just the old family TV, nothing fancy.

Cath@VWXYNot? said...

Yeah, this is a tough one for me to answer too, because I was born and educated in the UK. So technically the government paid for most of my university degree... but my parents paid almost all of the rest (I did have jobs every summer and some other vacations). But that is a much smaller outlay than for an equivalent degree in the States.

Toaster Sunshine said...

I wasn't sure if I could count having a TV in my room as a privilege if it was just being stored there*. Made a nice shelf.

*Got put there when I was on crutches and never left.

ScienceGirl said...

Ditto on the tutor :)

The spread in the world is so large I don't think this meme even begins to cover it. I was no less privileged than those around me, but I can barely check a third of what you checked. I think that puts people that didn't at least grow up in a building with a foundation and electricity completely off the chart!

Jenn, PhD said...

I'll try to find the time to do this one today... it's a good exercise, to focus on the good things.

Mrs. CH said...

Some of those don't make sense to me - like the TV one (I'm like you where my parents could have afforded it, but didn't like the idea).

Also, the cruise questions were a bit off to me. We went on plenty of family vacations (where we had to fly somewhere), but my family just isn't into cruises. The first one I went on was on our honeymoon, and I doubt I'd ever do it again!

Interesting though!

PhizzleDizzle said...

You know what I think would be a better question than several of those (MCH - yeah, what's the deal with the cruise thing? Is that really the realm of the privileged?)...

Did you have a computer in your home when you grew up?

Did you have access to the Internet?

And if you're born in 1985 or later (not it), did you have access to broadband?

I think those are huuuge indicators of privilege in a way that some of those questions are not.

Any other suggestions? It might be interesting to put together a different meme.

Mrs. CH said...

PD, those are more valid questions to me too. I recently did a survey with statistics Canada, and they asked questions related to this:

Did you eat fresh fruits and vegetables on a daily basis?

Was your family able to eat out at a sit down restaurant at least once a month? (not necessarily DID you, but were you ABLE to)

Were you able to buy birthday/holiday gifts for friends and family?

Did you have suitable clothes for all occasions, or had the opportunity to buy some if needed?

If a small appliance broke (TV, toaster, vacuum cleaner), was it easily replaced?

I guess it all depends on your definition of privileged as well. To me though, these questions are more logical!