I AM PRIVILEGED – Sanford Begley

*A PSA before the post: I’m at Denver comicon all day today and certainly tomorrow.  If you’re out there, come see me at the Wordfire booth -Sarah *

I AM PRIVILEGED – Sanford Begley

I am privileged. This is true, but not in the way the left thinks. The other day I disagreed on social media with a woman about another program to take from workers and give to parasites. She said that she had been middle class and was now poor and I couldn’t understand because I am privileged. I thought about it and replied that she was right. That answer is the seed of this post. Many of you are even more privileged than I, but I’m going to tell about my privilege now.

I was born in Appalachia in the middle of the twentieth century. Well it was the middle of the twentieth everywhere else, in most of Appalachia it was still somewhere between the nineteenth century and the mid twentieth. Many places were still using “coal oil” lanterns and indoor plumbing was rare. I was an adult before living in a house that had an indoor toilet. Central heat was a coal fired stove in the middle of the living room and a wood stove in the kitchen. Being the first one up in zero weather was an adventure. Could you start a fire before the cold started to hurt?

Many people I knew, much of my family in fact, lived in what were known as tar-paper shacks. This was a wood frame covered with the tar paper used by roofers for waterproofing. I believe I was privileged enough that I never lived in one myself. I’m not sure, we followed the jobs and work was hard to come by then.

I remember one of my aunts lording it over the rest of the family because she married a farmer who had a pump in the kitchen, right on the sink. The rest of us carried buckets from an outside well or a spring. I remember being impressed, it had such shiny red paint.

For these reasons I had a privileged childhood. I worked like the rest of the family and we were mostly comfortable with what we had, that is privilege. More importantly I am intimately aware of what real poverty is. Not the wealth that they try to claim is poverty today. I know what real poverty and hunger is. I am privileged!

I was transplanted from Appalachia to southern OH when it was time to start first grade. Naturally I spoke with a hillbilly accent, though I didn’t know it. And just as naturally my teacher and most of the school administrators despised me for it. You see, hillbillies were the lowest of the low in the early sixties. Stupid, lazy, and thieves the lot of us. Had someone called a “Colored” student anything bad they might have been censured for racism. Not so those worthless hillbilly trash. I note that with the exception that “colored person” is not acceptable, that has not changed. I am privileged!

 

I also am privileged to come from a broken home in the days when it was a disgrace for a woman to be a divorcee. The only time I saw my father as a child, I was 18 months old and he was in jail. I have no idea what he was in jail for, nor do I have any memories of the event. That is privilege. I don’t hold it against my father by the way, I know there were controlling vindictive people in his family and my mother’s who wanted to break both of them. I got that kind of privilege too, the one where you cannot trust your family because the less sane ones ran things.

I was raised by my mother and my step-father. He is a different kind of man in many ways. He did teach me one thing that I will forever love and honor him for. He taught me that love and family is who cares for you, blood be damned. That is a real privilege.

As a hillbilly who had hearing problems due to experimental medicine that saved my life, I never lost the accent, though it mellowed to southern instead of pure hillbilly by adulthood. This meant that I always stood out, not in a good way, among my classmates. I was also better able to learn, remember and test on that knowledge than most among my age group. So much more that I was an outcast in school. I was bullied by the best. So I am privileged to know that a few taunts online don’t qualify as bullying. Bullying involves bruises at the least.

I was from a family of working poor. Thing is, they refused to remain poor. On working class single earner wages my family bought land and built a modern home by the time I graduated from school. There was no one in my family that knew about High School graduation before me, how to enter college, let alone pay for it was a mystery we had no clue about. All the news said was that there would be no financial aid for me and so, with the guidance counselors in my school being those who went into education to avoid the VietNam war I had no clue how to go to college. This was also a privilege

With no other way of paying for school I fell back on the poor man’s hope. I enlisted in the army. My time of service was technically VietNam era, though there was never a chance of my going to Southeast Asia. I did get the privilege of not wearing my uniform when on leave because there were plenty of those who thought all soldiers were myrmidons and it simply wasn’t wise to antagonize them. After all, we know what happens to a G.I. who causes trouble in the civilian world. Things have changed, though they seem to be heading back that way.

While in the army I had the privilege of being told that I had too many advantages so women and minorities got first choice of jobs and promotions, whether they qualified or not. That is white privilege as I understand it. After getting out I was told I was not qualified for any veterans groups because I didn’t serve in a time where it was important.  I am privileged!

So with all this I still managed to climb almost to the bottom rung of middle class. I have found love, friendship, and a voice in the world. Damn right I’m privileged!  Hardship makes you stronger.

152 responses to “I AM PRIVILEGED – Sanford Begley

  1. Well said, sir.

    Thank you for taking the time to write all of that down.

    My father grew up the son of a rail road man, not much higher up on the “food chain”, and I suspect the first of his family to graduate college. (I’ve never asked him, but his father and grandfathers were rail road men.) He paid for his college by going through ROTC and working summer jobs.

    While I have never known ‘want’ or ‘need’ the way you have, we have been lower-middle class my entire life. We were a military family in an era that had no love for the military. We’ve had just enough to not be hurting but never enough to get everything we needed. Or as my sister phrases it, just enough to put you above the bar for assistance. I learned to make due with second hand things, or got last year’s model in the scratch and dent section. New? Nope. Save for months just to get something that only costs $100.00. My play clothes and many of my toys were my older brother’s hand-me-downs. Any wonder I’m still a Tom-boy?

    Privileged? Not in the way *they* mean it, but yeah. I learned to “make do”, to patch things up, to be patient, to learn to say “No, I don’t really need that”. I learned to put my family, and their needs, first. I was privileged to grow up in a Southern Military family where I learned to not think of myself first: not to think that I was entitled to anything.

    • sanfordbegley

      Yep, and it is arguable whether you were lower middle class or upper poor, that is a funny line that is never easy to see

    • BobtheRegisterredFool

      My family has often been short of money for buying the latest toys, so we mostly didn’t bother. I did once spend maybe ten years thinking about getting a particular flavor of electronic toy. I eventually earned enough money that I could spare some for an older model bought used. Still have it, still works.

    • We were a military family in an era that had no love for the military.

      I am not sure the nation has ever had much actual love for our military. We like spending on ships, planes, tanks and trucks because that money gets into civilian wallets, but historically our military personnel (especially the enlisted ranks) get hind teat, all the more so now that “entitlement” spending sucks up so many dollars.

      We sometimes pay lip service, and many of us civilians have great respect for the services, but when it comes to voting we aren’t enough.

      • Good point.

        But the 1970’s were a bad time for military, even AF officers. 😦

      • Given we haven’t had any Kipling in a bit I’ll take the opening.

        Tommy

        I went into a public-‘ouse to get a pint o’ beer,
        The publican ‘e up an’ sez, “We serve no red-coats here.”
        The girls be’ind the bar they laughed an’ giggled fit to die,
        I outs into the street again an’ to myself sez I:
        O it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “Tommy, go away”;
        But it’s “Thank you, Mister Atkins”, when the band begins to play,
        The band begins to play, my boys, the band begins to play,
        O it’s “Thank you, Mister Atkins”, when the band begins to play.

        I went into a theatre as sober as could be,
        They gave a drunk civilian room, but ‘adn’t none for me;
        They sent me to the gallery or round the music-‘alls,
        But when it comes to fightin’, Lord! they’ll shove me in the stalls!
        For it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “Tommy, wait outside”;
        But it’s “Special train for Atkins” when the trooper’s on the tide,
        The troopship’s on the tide, my boys, the troopship’s on the tide,
        O it’s “Special train for Atkins” when the trooper’s on the tide.

        Yes, makin’ mock o’ uniforms that guard you while you sleep
        Is cheaper than them uniforms, an’ they’re starvation cheap;
        An’ hustlin’ drunken soldiers when they’re goin’ large a bit
        Is five times better business than paradin’ in full kit.
        Then it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “Tommy, ‘ow’s yer soul?”
        But it’s “Thin red line of ‘eroes” when the drums begin to roll,
        The drums begin to roll, my boys, the drums begin to roll,
        O it’s “Thin red line of ‘eroes” when the drums begin to roll.

        We aren’t no thin red ‘eroes, nor we aren’t no blackguards too,
        But single men in barricks, most remarkable like you;
        An’ if sometimes our conduck isn’t all your fancy paints,
        Why, single men in barricks don’t grow into plaster saints;
        While it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “Tommy, fall be’ind”,
        But it’s “Please to walk in front, sir”, when there’s trouble in the wind,
        There’s trouble in the wind, my boys, there’s trouble in the wind,
        O it’s “Please to walk in front, sir”, when there’s trouble in the wind.

        You talk o’ better food for us, an’ schools, an’ fires, an’ all:
        We’ll wait for extry rations if you treat us rational.
        Don’t mess about the cook-room slops, but prove it to our face
        The Widow’s Uniform is not the soldier-man’s disgrace.
        For it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “Chuck him out, the brute!”
        But it’s “Saviour of ‘is country” when the guns begin to shoot;
        An’ it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ anything you please;
        An’ Tommy ain’t a bloomin’ fool — you bet that Tommy sees!

        • No, the one you want is this one:

          The Last of the Light Brigade
          1891

          There were thirty million English who talked of England’s might,
          There were twenty broken troopers who lacked a bed for the night.
          They had neither food nor money, they had neither service nor trade;
          They were only shiftless soldiers, the last of the Light Brigade.

          They felt that life was fleeting; they knew not that art was long,
          That though they were dying of famine, they lived in deathless song.
          They asked for a little money to keep the wolf from the door;
          And the thirty million English sent twenty pounds and four!

          They laid their heads together that were scarred and lined and grey;
          Keen were the Russian sabres, but want was keener than they;
          And an old Troop-Sergeant muttered, “Let us go to the man who writes
          The things on Balaclava the kiddies at school recites.”

          They went without bands or colours, a regiment ten-file strong,
          To look for the Master-singer who had crowned them all in his song;
          And, waiting his servant’s order, by the garden gate they stayed,
          A desolate little cluster, the last of the Light Brigade.

          They strove to stand to attention, to straighten the toil-bowed back;
          They drilled on an empty stomach, the loose-knit files fell slack;
          With stooping of weary shoulders, in garments tattered and frayed,
          They shambled into his presence, the last of the Light Brigade.

          The old Troop-Sergeant was spokesman, and “Beggin’ your pardon,” he said,
          “You wrote o’ the Light Brigade, sir. Here’s all that isn’t dead.
          An’ it’s all come true what you wrote, sir, regardin’ the mouth of hell;
          For we’re all of us nigh to the workhouse, an’ we thought we’d call an’ tell.

          “No, thank you, we don’t want food, sir; but couldn’t you take an’ write
          A sort of ‘to be continued’ and ‘see next page’ o’ the fight?
          We think that someone has blundered, an’ couldn’t you tell ’em how?
          You wrote we were heroes once, sir. Please, write we are starving now.”

          The poor little army departed, limping and lean and forlorn.
          And the heart of the Master-singer grew hot with “the scorn of scorn.”
          And he wrote for them wonderful verses that swept the land like flame,
          Till the fatted souls of the English were scourged with the thing called Shame.

          O thirty million English that babble of England’s might,
          Behold there are twenty heroes who lack their food to-night;
          Our children’s children are lisping to “honour the charge they made –”
          And we leave to the streets and the workhouse the charge of the Light Brigade!

  2. And I am ‘privileged’ to have had an upper lower-class upbringing that resulted in me trying to use the Army to pay for college and doing permanent damage to my legs. I was prescribed to walk with a cane ‘whenever i need it’ two weeks before I turned 21.

    The woman you were talkign to is, likely, a victim of Obamanomics and doesn’t even realize it.

    • sanfordbegley

      Nor would she admit it if she did

    • The kid who was waiting in line with me at the class six store the other day– getting dad a nice bottle of Kracken for his birthday– is 22, and he broke his back.
      He laughed about it, went through two deployments, and the Army broke it for him doing some stupid team-building PT at home.

      • well… fat guy + company commander in AIT that liked to run… 10+ miles commanders runs (often 14-16) on Fridays did in whatever else damage wasn’t done in basic…

        I still get ticked at how the PFT was aimed for a runner’s physique and somehow they wondered why lots of people with good PT scores couldn’t lift the equipment we had…

  3. I wonder how many of our “poor” have to use an outhouse in the winter? My maternal grandparents did not have an indoor flush toilet until I was a sophomore in high school. I have very vivid memories about sitting in a clapboard outhouse with cold wind driving snow through the gaps in the walls. Also of getting stung on the ass by wasps in the summer……..

    • There’s some places in Alaska that I know do still. Did when I was growing up there! No wasps, though, ouch.

      • When I was a child one of our relatives in PA had a house with an outhouse and the ‘running water’ was because they ran a pipe down to the house from the spring house further up the hill.
        As a child I thought it was cool. As an adult I would never want to live that way.

        • We were privileged…we had a flush toilet in addition to the outhouse, which was just beyond the smokehouse. But we also had kerosene lamps for the not-infrequent times the electricity went out, along with lots of big tubs to fill with water for such times (and electric pump on the main well, but a hand pump outside too).

      • My grandmother’s place outside of Fairbanks still has an outhouse and we get yellow jackets up here. Of course, things are getting easier, there is actually power lines going out there now, was only gas lanterns when my uncles built the place.

    • Hey, I was rich. We had an OUTDOOR flush toilet. (Portuguese climate allows this.)

    • sanfordbegley

      Thunder mugs, yes even in daytime if it is cold enougn

      • I was at the grandparent’s house when Apollo 12 was on the moon in 1969. While sitting in the outhouse it hit me that I was using an outhouse while Conrad and Bean were walking on the lunar surface….

        Talk about cognitive dissonance……..

    • sabrinachase

      What IS it about outhouse wasps? I didn’t get stung, but when I felt little insect legs where no insect legs should be I think I broke the sound barrier on launch.

      (Besides outhouses, my roughing-it creds include knowing how to “go behind a bush” without irrigating my shoes, and using an actual chamber pot. There should be merit badges for these skills…)

      • knowing how to “go behind a bush” without irrigating my shoes,

        One advantage us guys have over the gals…..Peeing outdoors is not a problem….. 🙂

        • One of the few feminist rants I ever liked was a woman discussing this very problem. Her line was something like, you put a tree in the living room, and all the guys will automatically know what to do.

        • Try crapping. It’s much more fun 😛

          • And wiping with a cotton plant leaf, Nice and soft when the plants are about 3 ft tall……

            • As long as you recognize the plant. One of my Boy Scout compatriots wasn’t paying proper attention and used poison oak one time.

              One. Time.

        • Peeing outdoors is not a problem.

          Even more privileged, if you’ve ever worked in the public service industry, peeing indoors is not a problem.

      • My aunt/godmother finally figured out what poison oak looks like after spending a week at the lake while we dug a new outhouse. She says that was one of the longest weeks of her life.

      • We’ve taught two of our girls so far. 😀 The only problem is they’re a little loose on the “you can’t do that in town” thing…..

      • Used chamberpot first six years of my life. You didn’t go out at night, even though we had a full bathroom outside the kitchen…. in the patio.

      • I still do the behind the bush part. My bladder can no longer handle five hours and the paper routes take five to six, including driving from home to where the company car is kept and then back, depending a bit on weather and some other things.

        How many jobs are there, now, where you don’t have access to indoor toilet for hours at a time? Truck drivers, my job, what else?

        And yep, quite familiar with outhouses.

        And the dug pit version when camping in the middle of nowhere too, from working in Lapland back in the day. No proper bushes in that area, the pits were dug behind a rock outcrop – when seen from the camp, but fully in sight from other directions. Fortunately you generally saw maybe one or two other people or groups there besides our crew during the whole summer, but anyway. And once the damn border guards flew over in a helicopter right when I was using it, when it was that camp which was close to both the Norway and Soviet Union border (it was the 80’s).

        So, pit between two skinny small birches, a pole tied to them so you had something to sit on when going, except I was always worried the pole might give if I actually sat on it so I usually quite didn’t. 😀

    • Victor Belenko defected from the USSR in 1976. He was a Soviet inteceptor pilot, an officer in the elite branch of the Red Air Force, and highly privileged by the standards of Siberia, where he was from.

      He talked about his CIA handlers driving him through Georgetown, which he thought was some kind of Potemkin village. He craftily asked, if those were real houses, where were all the outhouses? He flatly refused to believe that every single-family-residence had its own indoor plumbing.

    • A work colleague’s wife grew up on a Missouri farm without indoor plumbing until the year she and her sister left for college. Her dad’s in his early 90’s and still working the place, but he got rid of the small herd of cattle three years ago, as they were getting to be too much to handle on his own.

      A local friend the other day mentioned that when their family decided to install indoor plumbing, mom was initially against it (“You want to do *that* inside the house?!”), but was fully reconciled to the notion (and the convenience) after the first heavy snowfall that winter.

      • I remember retrofit homes with the bathrooms built as an addition, even through there was ample space to make one enclosed. Know of one, built later, that was. Had to shovel particle board out of it one morning (part time job in construction).

        We had indoor plumbing, originally served by a shallow well and pump, later by a deep well. My grandparents had an outhouse. Our church had a large outhouse, built above a steep slope. That worked out nicely. Maybe roughly half had outhouses back then, with shallow wells, and some still drew water with a bucket. Remember one well that got a moccasin in it. At the time didn’t realize the moccasin had to be eating something to stay in it so long.

        Let’s see . . . heating was a single space heater. Cooling was electric fans (there’s a reason some older homes locally had outlets under the windows). In more than a few homes, a single fireplace provided heat.

        There were folks worse off than us, and folks better off. Never really thought about it. Outhouses and spigots on the porch the only source of water just was. Later learned other parts of the US had it better, but that was there. This was our part of the world. I often rode in a mule drawn wagon and thought nothing off it, and was run over by the same once. The kids hear that story, and think I’m as old as the hills.

        • Pa told me of the time my grandfather told him of sledding down the street and across a main street:

          “Wasn’t that dangerous?!”
          “Dangerous? How?”
          “You could’ve been hit by a car.”
          “There weren’t any cars.”

  4. I grew up in a home my parents owned. To start with it was a 35 foot trailer, then when I was three or four they built half a house, attached to it. I was around ten and old enough to help when they pulled the trailer out and built the other half of the house.
    I never thought of it that way at the time, but I was homeless for a while after moving out. I crashed at friends places, occasionally spent a night in my truck, and stayed for a time in a condemned trailer house where we crawled in and out through the window, because the sheriffs department had nailed the door closed, and to remove the 2x4s from across it would have made it too obvious that someone was living there. I grew up, got my act together, and moved on. Some people would probably consider me homeless for the next several years of my life, also. I spent five days a week living out of a hotel my boss rented, until he decided we were doing enough out-of-town work (in the same area) that it was cheaper for him to rent a house for the crew. I lived in that house for two or three years, being the only unmarried guy on the crew, I had no burning need to go “home” on the weekends. Throughout all of this I saved my money, or at least enough of it, I cringe at some of it that I blew when the boss was paying all my living expenses. I bought the place I have now, bare land, and quit my job, I moved here in a 16 camp trailer with no working plumbing, and lived in that the first summer while I built my house, and worked five days a week.
    Throughout it all the only “government assistance” I have ever taken was unemployment benefits a couple winters. Which in certain careers was considered part of your wages, you worked 9 months a year and the boss paid into unemployment, you drew unemployment for the other 3. I became self-employed quite a few years ago and find it much more convenient to simply save a portion of the money I make while working, to carry me through the times I’m not, than to give it to the government and then beg for a it back when I need it.

    Yep, I’ve always considered myself privileged.

  5. I was privileged enough to have parents who (on an enlistedman’s pay from the USAF) scrimped and saved so my mother could stay at home with us girls and teach us.

    I was privileged enough to learn how to hunt, fish, trap, and harvest wild food to supplement the house at a very young age. Loved that, and still do some now, although it’s been renamed from ‘eating weeds’ to ‘wildcrafting.’ Much fancier.

    • Been watching the second season of Alone on the History Channel. Premise is ten people are each individually put ashore on a desolate part of Vancouver Island with just a few basic supplies. Each separated by several miles and forbidden from contacting each other or any other people. Each has a sat phone for immediate pickup should they request it, and video equipment to document their adventures.
      Ten episodes in they’re down to five, and the one who’s doing the best is a tiny slip of a middle aged woman who happens to be a marine biologist and herbologist. She fishes, gathers greens, has built a comfortable camp and keeps well clear of the local bear population. She even turned a nice big salmon loose from her gill net because she’d caught one the day before and didn’t need the meat.
      Almost funny in a sad way when compared to big strong guy types who are thinking of tapping out because they’re starving.
      Last one remaining is the winner with a half million dollar prize. Last year’s winner was a very philosophical guy who ate a lot of seaweed and shellfish and lived in a lean-to barely big enough to shelter him from the rain.

      • I’ll have to seek this one out, Back when the ‘Survivor’ series started, one of the tasks associated with my job was teaching aircrew survival on a central Pacific island, I thought at the time that if the producers *really* wanted to impress me, they’d drop their contestants nekkid on a beach, equipped with nothing but a quality survival knife.

        This is why Cast Away resonated with me. The first night on the island, with the coconuts dropping from the trees, broke me up , cuz, been there.

      • Reality Observer

        I’ll have to see whether I can get that one.

        Now, I have to admit that if you dumped me on Vancouver Island, I’d probably “tap out” before the end of the second day. Assuming I didn’t off myself by eating something quite poisonous…

        If they ever do one in the Southwest Mountains, though – I’m there in a heartbeat.

        • kenashimame

          Not all the southwestern mountains are the same, for example compare the Tucson Mountains with the Santa Catalina. Vastly different biomes and you can see one from the other. (I guess technically the foothills of the Catalinas would match the Tucson Mountains)

          If you’re up in the Catalinas, you’d still need to worry about bears, but you’d get no salmon.

          • Reality Observer

            If we have any salmon runs around here, I’d be extremely surprised…

            Upper, lower, I know them both well enough to get by just fine. Or further north, along the Rim and up onto the plateau. (Actually better, that’s where I grew up, after all.)

            Now the Santa Ritas would be a challenge – but for the human predators running around in them, not the wildlife…

      • Last year’s winner was a very philosophical guy who ate a lot of seaweed and shellfish and lived in a lean-to barely big enough to shelter him from the rain.

        Too many people think wealth is how “much” you have. In reality, it is how much of what you have you could do without. It is the surplus that defines the distance.

      • Go lady go!

        (I’d be hopeless, but I can admire.)

      • I could survive quite fine on Vancouver Island, its climate is very similar to where I grew up. First thing I would want to do though, would be to knock all the camera men on the head, so I did have a troop of cityslickers tromping around behind me, sounding like a heard of elephants and spooking everything within miles.

        • Ambvalencia

          Depends what end of Vancouver Island you’re on. The south end is quite populous and the weather is dry and temperate. The worst we have to deal with in Victoria is urban deer defiling the tulips.

  6. You are privileged because you understood that you are responsible for your life and unwilling to blame others for any failures.
    The white privilege mantra is a consequence of 50 years of “The Great Society”, which is as big a failure now as it was at its inception. Since the Progressive utopia seems unlikely to ever happen, it clearly is a conspiracy of white patriarchs that are holding everyone back. I believe it is part and parcel with that ‘Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy’ that Hillary rants about.

  7. I was privileged to use an un-limed outhouse during summer heat in south Texas; privileged to bath in cold water during winter (house didn’t have a water heater); privileged to cut cardboard to insert in my school shoes to cover the holes in the sole; privileged to drop out of high school midway because there simply was no money spare from my single parents income to buy even an extra pair of jeans.
    I was privileged thus because I can laugh with derision at the trust fund babies who rant about my privilege – those who never missed a meal except by mistake.
    And I am privileged to live in a country where, despite all these “privileges” I can still reach for my dreams, cheered by friends who strive for their own.
    Funny thing is, my mother never called the lack a privilege. She called it character building.

    • sanfordbegley

      Funny, our families must have used the same dictionary

      • sabrinachase

        When I was young I thought character was something like those green stamps you would get at the store and save until you could get pots or dishes or other things (remember them?). So I have enough character built up by now to get a mahogany dining set, I think 🙂 Anybody have the character coupon catalog? I never got mine…

  8. I was privileged to discover that someone (nature, society, the Erynies) slapped a sign on my back saying “prey” when I was 13 that I didn’t find a way to remove until I was a senior in High School. I was privileged to discover during my second flying job that if you don’t work, you don’t get paid (bad weather is a [redacted redacted censored]). I was privileged to discover that I got the short end of the genetic stick in a couple of areas.

    And I’ve gotten to see enough of the rest of the world to know just how flamin’ blessed I am to live where, when, and how I do, and that my Years of the Locust have been turned into something much better.

    • I’m still wearing the sign. Its a privilege.

    • Same… The long lasting effects of which are that I am instantly suspicious, and a little uncomfortable, when someone is nice.

      • I get that one…although it has turned less into “what are they about to do” and more into “oh, it is anti-bullying/whatever week already”.

    • Same here.

      I have the privilege of having had parents who first, stuck up for me, two, told me it was never acceptable to be prey, and three, taught me how to goddamn fight back and not be afraid to kill in self defense if I had to. They also taught me what real multiculturalism and real equality was like, and that nobody had the right to treat me like I was less of a human being than they are, because of my skin, or anything else about me.

      That resulted in a 4’8″ Asian chick weighing maybe 75 pounds sopping wet in a cold berserker rage dragging five full grown French adults across the floor as they tried to restrain me from killing the (Muslim) bully who decided it was right for him to push me down a flight of stairs for acting ‘uppity’ and ‘not knowing my place’.

      Oh, and I had the privilege of knowing how to speak English, German and enough French to get into trouble. The knowing how to speak English like a native and German were what got me into trouble. The French kids hated that I didn’t behave like the poor Asian migrants who didn’t know how to speak, hated it that I knew languages that they were still learning, and how dare I know all that before they did, when I should’ve been bowing obeisance to ‘her betters’? The African and Muslim kids hated me for all the reasons listed above, and for ‘getting above myself’ instead of staying back in the ‘place’ they felt I should be.

      I also have the privilege of understanding that better than the bullshit that progs call ‘discrimination’ these days.

      Gotta disagree with Sandford on one thing: ‘colored person’ is considered acceptable today by simply flipping the order of the two words and saying ‘person of color.’ It follows the same idiotic non-reasoning that I mentioned above as passing for ‘discrimination.’

      I refuse to play their game. If they’ve decided that ‘colored person’ is ‘acceptable’ then they are going to see it used.

      • kenashimame

        Unfortunately when my bullying started I had a father who came back from Vietnam with the mindset of “violence never solves anything” (except of course my bad behavior, but apparently corporal punishment wasn’t violent…).

        He also decided that toy guns were inappropriate, so when playing “Cops and Robbers” or “Cowboys and Indians” with the other kids in base housing I either had to use the old finger pistol, borrow a toy gun, or build them out of my erector set. (I did make a passable 1911 and MP-40) Later, after I reached my 30’s, we were attending a gun show and he wondered why he’d never bought me a .22 rifle when I was younger. When I reminded him that he didn’t even let me have toy guns at that age the cogitative dissonance was a wonder to behold.

        • I wasn’t allowed to have toy guns, either. But I was taught gun safety and how to shoot at a young age. Mom believed that toy guns led to bad habits with real guns. We were also taught to never point the gun unless you plan to shoot, don’t shoot unless you plan to kill, and don’t kill an animal unless you plan to eat it. This was very simplistic, obviously, but for a 7 yo (earliest I recall hearing that) it worked.

          • We’re actually ending up there, too. The kids have toy rifles, but they don’t have much fun— constant talking about barrel control and never pointing it at anything you don’t want dead.

            They end up using swords and power rings more often.

            • kenashimame

              My ex and I started by saying “no toy guns”, but then all sorts of gun shaped LEGO creations started showing up; so toy guns became a teaching tool.

              Toy swords too, tip awareness is important when you translate from plastic to wood to live steel.

        • That’s sad. I guess time had smudged his memory. In fairness, my father taught us that we should treat toy guns carefully too, being ‘practice’ for the real thing.

          I remember some of my fondest memories with my father being him setting up his little air rifle for me to shoot little paper targets with. He was ridiculously proud of my being able to obliterate the bullseye from ten meters at the age of three, that I remember him bragging to his fellow journalist friends who’d be visiting.

      • That game I am glad to play if only because it means that the NAACP is the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and is thus by their estimation RACIST!!!!!!!

  9. riteturn / Mac'

    I was privileged. My parents were married and my dad stayed around.
    We lived in rented apartments – often over stores. The sight of a bare light bulb in a ceiling fixture still puts me off.
    When we lived in North Carolina we had a tar paper shack rented. It was on a community well with the other shacks the guy rented. But that froze in the winter. The shack was held up by concrete blocks at each corner and the floor had been made of green boards so they shrank and there were cracks between them to let in the sand fleas. The only heat was a kerosene heater in the living room. However since my dad was a plumber we had hot water – with marked us as affluent with the neighbors.
    My parents didn’t finish high school and my mom’s goals were for me to finish HS and to retain all my teeth. Considering her background this was a good set of goals and ultimately she succeeded.
    They were not perfect people but they never went on the public dole and they taught me a lot of basic things. I can cook. I can fix my own plumbing and electrical things and cars. I can shoot very well in real life not just at unmoving paper targets. I can drive right at the edge of the envelope and live. They were terrible about handling money and addicted to cigarettes. But I can’t fault them for having shortcomings – they still did much better than THEIR parents.
    I will refrain from making political comments other than saying – they never allowed themselves to be treated like slaves.

    • sanfordbegley

      Ahh yes, the able to take care of yourself privilege, insidious how that seem so foreign to so many today

    • retain all my teeth. That sometimes is a harder goal than people realize. It reminds me that I’m going for my 5th root canal Monday 😦

    • Seeing as how parents staying married is comparable to several years of higher education today, you’ll never be able to live down your privilege

  10. My wife’s mother did not have a flush toilet until 10 years ago.

    • I suspect my Mom didn’t have a flush toilet until she married and moved into her own house in 1957. Certainly my grandparents house had an outhouse well into the 1960’2 (66 67?). I remember staying over as 5 year old and having to use a chamber pot. And yes in the summer the outhouse got the most aggressive yellow jackets. The amazing thing is this is a town on shoreline Connecticut not a 90 minutes from NYC. And my Grandparents weren’t the only house in the town without that kind of indoor plumbing.

      King Solomon himself would blush at the luxuries the US/first world poor have…

  11. I was privileged to be punched in the mouth at the age of 19 by a complete stranger. He walked into the tiny, ridiculous pizzeria I worked at, grabbed my shirt and nailed me a dandy. Stoned out of his mind, apparently.

    This encouraged me to enter the world of martial arts, and I never looked back. Now I can live in a trailer or a mansion and not forget who and what I am.

    It also encouraged me to avoid drugs and overindulgence in alcohol. Now I am privileged to be 60 and have all my internal organs still working right. Yay!

    • A friend’s father wanted his headstone to read “Took all his parts with him.” He’d been diagnosed as a brittle diabetic in the 1960s and died about 10 years ago, with all his fingers and toes attached and working, and with 20/20 vision. His wife wouldn’t go for it, but the rest of the little town agreed that that was a truly great accomplishment.

  12. I am privileged to know you folks, even over the Internet. Wish I could spend time with you in person.

    My parents scraped and saved, but I don’t think we ever had hardship. So I think I will avoid doing the equivalent of reminiscing about bad summer bugs in Ohio to somebody who’s fought in Vietnam…. 🙂

    • BobtheRegisterredFool

      Second. Y’all are a good influence on me, that I’d be wise to heed more. I’ve never seen any real hardship.

  13. The inability to blame others for the sorry state of your life is surely privilege.

    • nope! Can’t blame anyone else.

    • I have actually heard white privilege pretty much defined that way by accident. The argument was whites couldn’t claim achievement because privilege but failed whites didn’t disprove privilege because whites could still screw up their life.

      So apparently white privilege is the right to fail because of your own faults.

  14. The Other Sean

    Reading this post and the comments, I feel really privileged: my family has had indoor plumbing for generations! But my grandparents and parents worked their butts off to get to the middle class. I think the Progressives’ view of privilege is a bit off. A lot of the advantages of what they call “privilege” are nothing more than making good choices in life – though if your ancestors made good choices as well you may need to make fewer to achieve the same advantages. Luck can play a part in this, but often good decisions are the key to being able to exploit a bit of good luck.

    That they consider this a problem is because they’re greedy, envious scum who resent anybody doing better than them. They seek to handicap those who make good choices, or whose ancestors made good choices. Their “War on Privilege” is little more than a vast campaign against responsible decision making.

    • Progressives dream the impossible dream, and have to find someone to blame for their failure.
      Likewise, the biggest horror of my life was I first lived in an apartment with a coal fired boiler/heater. But, even still we have to make our choices. My first ‘real job’ required me to relocate from Virginia to Texas. My Mother, of course, wanted me just to stay at home for free. As I later explained to them:
      All my young life I saw my Grandmother work sewing bindings onto rugs in a little shop downtown. Every Friday, when she got paid, my Uncle would come over and scam her for money to buy beer (and food) for the weekend. At a tender young age, I knew I didn’t want to live off handouts from my Family, so even though I didn’t want to move, I thought it important to start my life and get on my own two feet. I have never regretted it.

    • I was about to write something similar. I apparently have no privilege given we always lived in a sheetrocked inside and siding/brick outside home. After about two we owned it (along with the bank). My dad stayed and after he finished grad school my mom was a stay at home mother until my sister (nine years my junior) was well into school. The only tight times when I was home were during my younger brother’s brief life of two years. Even then the rest of the extended family (grandparents and one aunt/uncle couple on each side) contributed to insulate me from it (as I was the only person in my generation at the time).

      However, the privleges I did have made all the difference. My parents read to me and while I might not get anything I wanted I could always get a book. I had the example of my father getting up in the morning and going to work everyday so I learned doing so was important. My mother took in sewing, grading, and babysitting during my brother’s life to make up for some of his medical expenses. I was held to account for what I did wrong and rewarded for what I did that was exceptional but doing just what was needed was not rewarded (and sometime earned approbation because I could do better).

      In that, especially the last, I am much more privileged than many, many people with ten or more times my wealth. It gives me the freedom to believe in myself and not be dependent on the kindness of strangers.

    • Part of the problem is that, deep down, these people think that “responsible decision-making” is code for “oppressed people and prevented them from making good decisions.”
      In fairness, that’s true in some cases–but in the vast majority of them, at worst you picked up the pieces after somebody else messed it up and didn’t give them the chance to mess it up again afterwards. (Which is, of course, evilbad exploitation, as seen in the case of that notorious scrooge, Mitt Romney)

    • Most of the houses in the valley where I was a little kid had been built by people who were still alive– it was apparently easier to make a septic tank than to make an outhouse, and there were enough springs when stuff was built that switching over to electric wells was pretty easy.

      I would hazard a guess that between Indian raids, random criminals and a lot of sheepherder wagons, plus available wood, our version of tar-paper houses were just never built.

      There are some amazing two-room houses, though; you can tell what the standard length for logs was, because most of the little houses are two cubes right next to each other, at exactly that length.

  15. Larry Patterson

    Thank you sir. My grandfather was a lawyer for GM during the depression. Mom’s father built houses. So I never had the privilege of dealing with what you had to deal with.

    There was poverty where I grew up. On the other side of the tracks, of course. Some of those poor people cared for our house and my brother and I. We had no idea how they lived or what they went through. We were sure we did, but we didn’t.

    But still, I have learned this: “I, even I, turned toward all the works of mine that my hands had done and toward the hard work that I had worked hard to accomplish, and, look! everything was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing of advantage under the sun.” -Ecclesiastes 2:11

    Solomon’s annual income in gold and silver was more than a billion dollars at today’s rates. But he came to the understanding that wealth give’s no real satisfaction, that it’s just like striving after the wind. So he wrote “There is nothing better for a man than to eat and drink and find enjoyment in his hard work. This too, I have realized, is from the hand of the true God, (Ecclesiastes 2:24) Knowing this is real privilege. Knowing how to get by on getting by, as the song goes.

  16. Character building is right… sigh… Well said Sanford!

  17. My mother was privileged to work gathering tobacco on a North Carolina farm at the age of nine. Her wages made the difference as to whether or not her parents and seven siblings had any meat with the pinto beans at dinner. I consider myself privileged to be her son.

  18. The idea that successful culture and attributes are attributable to race is indicative of small-minded thinking.

    Self-reliance, hard work, respect for individual rights, pursuit of happiness (in the Aristotlean sense), establishing the Rule of Law, and upholding more traditional virtues aren’t “white” (or any other color). They are simply what works.

    We see how it’s working out when you abandon successful culture.

  19. Self-reliance, hard work, respect for individual rights, pursuit of happiness (in the Aristotlean sense), establishing the Rule of Law, and upholding more traditional virtues aren’t “white” (or any other color).

    I would point out the first four at least are the very basis of the accusation that POC (as I’ve learned to term them because CP is racist) are “acting white.”

    Despite an utter lack of genetic basis there seems to a determined effort to encourage certain people to not embrace those attributes based on some surface genetic qualities.

    Which, hey, to each his own. I just resent being told it is unfair that people who don’t uphold such virtues don’t get the same results. As one of my favorite internet writers loves to put it, you can choose you actions or choose your results but you can’t choose both.

  20. My maternal grandparents grew up dirt poor in the then-freshly drained swamps of the Mississippi Delta. By dirt poor I mean that my grandmother picked cotton until her fingers bled after coming home from school where she learned Latin, advanced mathematics, English Lit, and Shorthand in a one room school house before and during the Great Depression.

    Her future husband had it worse at the time. He used to talk about looking up while lying in bed at night and being able to see the stars and looking down to see the chickens under the house through the floorboards. He and his family picked cotton for fifty cents a bale on his father’s sharecropped land. And when WWII rolled around, he volunteered to fight for that way of life.

    Yes, I’m privileged to be descended from these poor white sharecroppers. They had nothing and literally worked their fingers bloody so that I might not have to. I have nothing but venom and animosity toward these ethnic determinists who have absolutely no place in a liberal society with their ill-informed and misguided notions of “privilege”..

  21. It would be her privilege to read your story, and take something worthwhile away from it.

    Sadly, it’s a privilege she’s almost certain to refuse.

  22. kenashimame

    We live in a society which has lost sight of what poverty (and privilege) actually are. Obesity instead of malnutrition is the food related problem for the bulk of our poor. (The truly destitute are still there, if you squint hard enough and cover your ears to shut out the bleating of the majority of what calls itself poor.)

    I’m privileged to have been adopted by family after being abandoned by my biological mother as a toddler, while my biological father was a guest of the State of Arizona; and get to grow up as an only child Air Force brat. Most of the time we lived in off base housing, but in Grand Forks the base was too far from any developments so we lived on base. The junior NCO family housing on GFAFB were duplexes made from portable buildings with no built in storm shelters. (I’ve Google Earth’d the base, they’ve changed housing on base since then.) Made looking up and seeing a swirling vortex during tornado season interesting.

    (Interestingly enough, living on base was the only time in my childhood that I can remember not being bullied.)

    • We live in a society which has lost sight of what poverty (and privilege) actually are.

      I can identify to month and year when I saw true poverty other than in a picture. August 1982 my family moved from Wyoming to El Paso, Texas. The majority of El Paso is called Juarez and is in Mexico. Coming down the Interstate close to the border I saw a shanty town, actual carboard shanties (when I later worked at the local mall I would see pickups with Juarez plates picking up all large pieces of cardboard out of the bailers).

      That shanty town was bigger than some medium sized towns in Wyoming. It was bigger than Wheatland at the very least.

      It would be years before the reality of what I saw sunk in but, while I’m sure there is some poverty like that in the US, that brought home to me just how rich the USA is eventually. What would be poverty so bad it had to be actively sought out in the US was a norm just one country over.

    • Grand Forks and Minot were purposely chosen to be well outside of town. Not positive about GF, but Minot still has in force the restrictions on building within X distance from the base.

  23. Pingback: What is Privilege Really?

  24. Privilege, eh? Sanford, we could have been neighbors. I remember getting down to the floor to stay clear of the tobacco and coal smoke. Couldn’t go outside, too cold. Stayed in under ten pounds of quilts when I could. I remember outhouses, washing clothes in a tub with a washboard, hanging the sheets outside, the underclothes in, and waking up early to get at the blackberry bushes before the birds did.

    By the same token I never knew how bad we had it, I never knew how good we had it, either. I lost my first childhood friend in my early teens- my parents and grandparents lost friends to cholera, black lung, and a good couple dozen other nasty ways to die long before that. I’ve been shot at, and missed, and punched at, and hit. But I still have all the bits I should have. The only teeth I lost un-naturally happened when I was about seven. I blamed it on a bad spill in the creek, though I doubt I fooled anybody. I’ve broken bones that healed up wrong, and ribs that are uneven because of that, but no really bad breaks. Yet.

    I remember being the only pale faced kid in a sea of black faces, and then years later being the “Mexican” kid in a sea of pasty white. I’ve known the kind of hunger that makes everything look yellow, your head ache, and your hands shake. I’ve been told I’d never amount to anything because of who I was, and where I came from (nine years old). I’ve been spit on and beaten for no good reason other than who I was. I was left for dead once, and woke up covered in my own blood and vomit and other things. Could have been worse.

    I was able to go to college, despite my math grades showing I’d have done about as well guessing at all the multiple choice answers and leaving the long form blank. I got a diploma by working my way through, delivering papers, tutoring other students, and working on a farm outside the city limits, and paid that debt off (no scholarships were offered) just this past year. My folks never finished their college dreams, though Mom at least got her teaching degree after her English. It took them twice as long to pay their debts, too.

    There have been times I succeeded in life only by making every possible mistake beforehand. I’ve known the love and trust of people I love and trust in return, and the respect of those who have earned my respect a hundred times over. I saw death and violent death long before I studied decay. I never had to work in a coal mine with inadequate ventilation, like my grandfather. I never had to drink alcohol because the water was bad, like my great grandad before him.

    Some of these things were a privilege- the family and friends are, definitely. They are my honor to know, and care for. Others, it has been my privilege to own the consequences of my own actions. Nobody shielded me from my mistakes or shortfalls. I like to think I’ve built enough character to be able to tell my godson “It builds character,” these days. *grin* That’s about the only thing it’s good for. As far as that goes, you’re bloody well right I’ve got privilege! But I’m willing to share at least *some* of those privileges, too. *grin*

  25. I can’t say I’ve ever been poor. My parents always provided. I never knew what our finances were, but there were things I wanted and didn’t get, and there were other things I got that seemed outrageously glamorous to my child’s mind. My privilege comes the ethic instilled in me by my family.

    https://westfargomusings.wordpress.com/2014/05/25/my-privilege-comes-from-my-culture-not-my-skin-tone/

  26. Professor Badness

    My Mother grew up dirt poor. Many times the only meat they had was the trimmings she brought back from her job slaughtering turkeys.
    She devised many meals using solely turkey tails.
    I never went through the hardships she did, but she did make sure we understood character, and the value of what we had.

  27. I was priviledged to grow up the son of a man who, by preference, lived his intellectual life in the late 18th century, instead of the (yuck) late 1960’s.

  28. I am a hot house plant compared to the rest of you. Any real poverty in the family was Grandma’s generation; both my parents grew up middle class. I’ve never gone hungry or lacked for shelter.

    • Yeah, me too. One that I wilted when I had to spend a few hot days without air conditioning. I’ve screwed up in ways that should gave had worse consequences than they did. I’m easy to guilt… and yet…!

      • Reminds me of the place I had in college. No A/C, but the six of us kept all our doors and windows open with an electric fan at each end to give a breeze. Amazingly (to some), there was no thievery or lechery of our one girl down the hall. That was probably the most social I’ve ever been.

        We had cats to keep the vermin down and the sound of birds to wake us on the weekends. We talked about near everything over fried spam and farm eggs bartered for labor. It was nice, though I don’t particularly miss it- I like my privacy now in my own home.

        I have A/C now that parts of it are almost as old as I am. It takes some maintenance to keep chugging along, but I don’t much mind. Keeps me out of trouble, all this work does. *chuckle*

  29. The last truly poor in my family was 5 generations back in Ireland. Because I can trace 4 generations back, and can’t find the 5th. No one bothered recording the births and deaths among the poor and wretched. That generation is the one that made it here. My g-grandmother on that side had 4 children I know of, one of whom made it to adulthood. And my grandmother was orphaned at age 9.

    Every other family line I can trace back at least 10 generations. And they all had professions of some sort or were farmers. Not dirt poor ones, apparently. I have to assume even those who came here as indentured servants weren’t truly poor, because their parents, births and deaths were recorded for posterity, and records of their existence exist. If records of their existence exist, then they weren’t poor and wretched…

    So I come from a long line of middle class; my family has been middle class pretty much since there was a middle class. I’m sure I knew some truly poor growing up, just didn’t know they were. As mentioned in a long ago post, the first time I saw how the poor (in the U.S.) lived was when I visited 18 and 19 year old junior enlisted, E1/2/3’s, with families and more then one kid, living in shared apartments in Norfolk, and discovered that poor people didn’t have interior doors. Which is still better then how the poor live elsewhere. The Navy enabled me to travel elsewhere and witness that.

    Now my childhood wasn’t perfect by far. My wife swears I didn’t have a childhood. But nothing compared to the tales of woe I’ve read here. But by observing those around me, I learned an important lesson. To live well, you must avoid making obvious bad choices in life. Don’t have to make the best choices, just avoid the bad ones. Don’t become a druggie or alcoholic. Don’t have kids before you get married. Don’t get married until you can afford it. Don’t drink and drive. Don’t establish a criminal record.

    • My family’s managed to stay working class to middle class for a while now.
      My mother’s side of the family was not ever well-to-do, but her father became a commercial fisherman and did well enough to provide for five children.
      Dad grew up a farm laborer from an early age since he posessed Larry Correa’s awesome “Dairy Farmer Privilege.” ( not actually awesome) He’s done really well with that. Three of my brothers are running farms for him now. I managed one myself for a year after my youngest brother upgraded to operating dad’s place. I discovered I am capable enough to make it work, but the never ending pace and need to provide constant supervision will only make me miserable unless I can find some aspect of the job I find rewarding.
      Now I’ve got to see if I can keep the middle class thing going minus servitude to cows…

      • “dairy farmer privilege” reminds me of an article a couple of years back regarding the local university football coach and recruiting players for positions that don’t see a lot of glamorization. He would go around looking at kids from farming/ranching backgrounds because he knew they would be willing to keep pounding their bodies up into the line time after time after time, even if positive results weren’t apparent early on. Because all that hard work early pays off in the 4th quarter when you run that same play, and even though they can see it coming the other side is too worn out to stop it.

        LSS: Long hours of hard work with no obvious immediate gain pay off in the end.

  30. c4c

  31. Let’s face it: mostly, accusations of “privilege” are a way of saying “Shut up! I don’t have to recognize any facts you cite nor any logic you employ! I can disqualify those by virtue of argumentum ad hominem.”

    “Neener, neener!” optional.

  32. On the one hand, I note all the above is very much in line with my personal thinking and experience. My family history had indoor plumbing about half a generation before me on one side and probably about one on the other, and was privileged to have to leave an entire continent due to the fun and frolics going on there one generation back on the one side and average about 2.5 on the other. Family lore has one ancestor running off the local Klan with a shotgun when they arrived to express their disapproval of his marrying a Catholic girl – now that right there is pretty privileged.

    On the other hand, all of the above can’t help be remind me of:

  33. Reading all these stories about outhouses makes me want to tell the one story I have of one. I had one uncle who was, shall we say, well to do. Bought a vacation home somewhere upstate NY. For the life of me, I couldn’t tell you where, though I visited a few times as a kid, and remember spending one Christmas there. (I vaguely remember some of my aunt’s distant relatives lived nearby.) All the kids stayed in the barn for family gatherings. It was remodeled with rooms and heat, but had no plumbing. My uncle had discovered his was the only house in the vicinity that had no outhouse. So he had one built between the barn and house for the kids to use. A brick one. With a small electric heater. And running water and a flush toilet. And he absolutely loved talking about it. Rather strange.

    Not a story of deprivation, but one of outhouses. I have had, BTW, a number of really rich uncles and grand-uncles according to family lore. They all had one thing in common. No children. And their money all went to the last female they were with, whether third wife or caring nurse. IMHO, failure to reproduce made them ultimate losers in life, though they all apparently enjoyed living their life.

    • Best outhouse story I have is my parents and one of their friends went to the lake one weekend. One night ‘Bob’ went to the outhouse, and after a long while comes in asking for a coat hanger. “Sure. Why?” “I dropped my ring.”

      • “I dropped my ring.”

        Friend of mine who uses a metal detector to ;look for old coins checks areas around old outhouses first

      • I knew folk with outhouses when I was wee — we had “country” friends of the family with whom we kids would sometimes be parked. And at summer camp (yeah, i know: #SummerCampPrivilege!) the tents/cabins had no facilities, calling on we campers to use the latrine … an experience I gained much practice at the night we had all you can eat watermelon.

        But the all time best outhouse story is in this introduction to the Dillards’ version of the traditional song Old Blue:


        Remember: “privilege” is just “privy” with a “gee” added.

  34. Reading a few of these entries, it struck me that if a classmate didn’t return to school after the Summer, it was because the family had moved. If a classmate didn’t come to school for a bit during the school year, it was because of illness – and that, temporary. Death happened to old people, and by accident (mother worked in a hospital for a while, so I heard of a few). Privilege of the modern age and modern medicine and good sanitation? Yep.

  35. The thing that I find most offensive about the idea of “privilege” is the notion that all that matters is the color of your skin, your plumbing, who you sleep with, and the first language you spoke. All life experiences are dismissed as irrelevant, no matter how relevant they are to the person in question.

    The result of this regime is that you have upper-middle-class black lesbian woman who is “less privileged” than a poor white hillbilly who still doesn’t know how to adjust, despite being lower-middle-class now for a couple of yours.

    And it ignores the plight of the rich man with a terminal illness, who can no longer provide for his family the way he used to, because he simply can’t handle the pain. Death does not by any means respect “privilege”, nor do many challenges in life.