Thursday, May 7, 2009

Fear of my privilege

Often mentioned last semester and a bit this semester through out discussion was privilege. There are all sorts of privilege: heterosexual privilege, white privilege, male privilege. We also discussed how to claim and become aware of the privilege that we have. Now this is a terrifying concept for a little girl from Fort Worth, TX who attended a high school of less than 800 people total. Claim my privilege? What the hell is that supposed to mean? I'm a troubled teenager, who has all these personal problems, terrified in a new place all alone! Yeah... I'm gonna have to call myself on the crap. I have an amazing family, go to a great school, and have friends that love me; once I became aware of how melodramatic I was I started to actually consider what my privilege was and how I can become aware of it an claim it.
To start, I am a heterosexual, white female. In the blandest way that is my description. But two of my description words carry a huge amount of privilege. And I am terrified of it, mainly because the truth is no matter how supportive I am and no matter what effort i put in I will never know what it means to not carry those privileges, i can never actually say "I understand" and completely mean it.
My white privilege is obvious in the most blatant way, I am a white female. I have few stereo types about me, I don't have assumptions made about me simply because of a slight variation in my skin pigmentation.
I also carry heterosexual privilege but in a less obvious way. I will never carry a sign that says "strait" in the same way that my white privilege is on my face, in the most literal sense. I will never have to worry about walking down the street with my lover/ partner and people will whisper or stare at us, when I choose the person I want to spend my life with we will be able to legally marry in courthouse and in a ceremony.
I will never actually know the oppressions of not carrying these privileges. I won't have these oppressions and it scares the hell out of me to call myself out on it and realizing it is my turn to stand up and do something. I actually am not sure what I will be doing just yet to really stand up but telling myself I will is the first step. Here I go.....

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