Friday, September 18, 2009

Thinking about privilege

Yesterday, I posted something about the "just world theory" over on my meditation blog. To state it in the simplest terms possible, this is the notion that we all get exactly what we deserve. It is, in fact, the belief system behind "blaming the victim".

Today I happened to come across a blog that interests me very much. It's called "Life in Montage" and the author recently offered us a post entitled "I am a product of privilege" with which I very much agree.

Here're just a few little snippets:

I know this. I’m not sure how many others do. It is common for Americans to think of themselves as “blessed”: they are blessed with loving parents, a safe home, or beautiful children.
It is providence, not privilege, so many believe. And providence is just.
How do you tell someone, who has likely indeed worked hard, who likely indeed has made good choices in their life – how do you explain to someone why no one can take complete credit for their successes in life? That we are all caught up in a larger system which, as a colleague of mine puts it, largely determines our options and opportunities from the start? Pride takes quite a hit, in a situation like that; and the American psyche is nothing if not built on pride.

I want to recommend that you click through and read the whole piece. It's quite short so it won't take up much of your time. But it's truly thoughtful and beautifully written.

I also find it extremely difficult to get it through some people's heads that the rich are subsidised by the infrastructure of this country -- an infrastructure that is largely designed to their specifications. They are also subsidised by the unaturally depressed wages of the poor.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this. This is an ongoing arguement between me and my niece's husband, a "self-made," six-figure success story. He just could't understand why my clients at my previous job (many of whom were welfare moms) couldn't just "bootstrap" themselves up like he did. I was forever pointing out to him that at least he was born into a family that, even if they had to sacrifice a bit, could and would go the trouble to buy him boots.


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