Tuesday, February 4, 2020

20 Conversations for 2020 Challenge -- Conversation #4 Privilege

Conversation #4: Can you define privilege? Can you explain heterosexual privilege?

Provoke a Dialogue about Straight Privilege

The coin analogy video definitely watch it.

I'm not going to make any friends with this post, I can tell already. But I have recently been reading The Seven Necessary Sins for Women and Girls with the #edurobookgroup and I'm not sure if making friends is a goal for me anymore. A quick shout out to Tricia Friedman (@FriedEnglish101) for organizing and facilitating the book group. Thank you!

So in short, yes and yes... But I want to start by defining what underprivileged is to me. The video of the coin analogy does a good job of explaining the concept of privileged and underprivileged, but it does really drive into the damage the is done. In ancient China, there was a form of execution called Death by a Thousand Cuts. In and of itself, each cut wasn't deadly because the cuts were shallow; each cut caused pain, but not death; however, the totality of the thousand cuts caused death. A slow, lingering, painful death. Being underprivileged is like being executed by the Death by a Thousand Cuts.

I was lucky to be born a white, heterosexual male in the US. I am the definition of privilege; however, with that said, I am also from a rural community in a state that I have often referred to as part of the Third World of America. The Third World of America, as I define it, is comprised of the large rural areas in many western states. They communities have few economic opportunities and are mostly comprised of working class people. The term Third World as gone out of vogue in the current political climate for understandable reasons. The term stigmatizes Developing Nations and carries a load of stereotypes, which is exactly the reason why I insist on using it.

I grew up around blue collar ranching, farming, and logging families. Bigfork, the town I'm from originally, is a small community on the north end of Flathead Lake; the south end of the lake is in the Salish & Kootenia Reservation. Because the people I grew up around were hardworking people, who struggle to survive in an economy that is well below the national average, conversations about privilege are frowned upon. Speaking of privilege stinks of elitist jargon to many from my state. When my friends back home think of privilege, they think only of wealth, not of race, ethnicity, or sexual orientation. In their day-to-day lives, they really don't see it. And to be honest, I really didn't either growing up. I knew that many of Native friends struggled even harder than most of the white people around me, but there were "reasons" for those struggles. And the few openly gay people who did exist in my town were "tolerated." It really wasn't until I moved to Korea that I started to understand privilege and how it really plays out in regular daily life. If you have never lived in a community where you are a visible minority, I highly recommend it, because it will teach you things. Uncomfortable things; painful things; true things.

So let's move on to heterosexual privilege, because whether you want to believe it or not -- it is a thing. Please check out the slideshow and read each slide carefully and really stop and think about each one. As a traveler, the slide about not having to be afraid if my life style will be accepted when I travel was the one that really gets to me. I cannot imagine (I have not had to imagine) feeling worried if my sexuality was going to be a problem when I travel. Let that really sink in for a minute. That is the Death by a Thousand Cuts you are feeling, my friend.

No comments:

Post a Comment