A Response to Privilege

I was casually scrolling through the dumpster fire that is my FaceBook feed this morning can came across a post someone made sharing this video:

“So the lesson is that some people are born into better circumstances than others? That’s not profound, it’s banal. It’s also not exactly hidden to people with this ‘privilege’. It’s also not as important as making good life choices and applying yourself.”

“Is it my fault that over the course of 3 generations my family has moved from peasantry to the 1%?”

“I do not, in fact, accept any obligation to people born in the ghetto or otherwise in difficult circumstances.”

“”Privilege” is merely the latest progressive update on “original sin”.”

And some attempts at a discussion:

“No. you just have to be aware that for some people it is much harder to achieve your standard of living and help to accommodate those who cannot quite reach that level.

“Privilege in this context just means you have certain advantages in life that you may not even be aware of. It’s only a problem when you start blaming others for not succeeding as well as you when they don’t have those advantages. This kind of privilege is something to be grateful for and humble about.
The more traditional version of privilege is “private law.” That’s where you use your wealth and power to make sure that the law for commoners doesn’t apply to you. Because you’re better and deserve to get away with stuff. That’s the territory you stray toward when you get arrogant about your advantages.”

And more negative responses to those statements:

“It’s only a problem when you start blaming others for not succeeding as well as you when they don’t have those advantages. The real problem is the reverse. I don’t see many people asking the government to put a tax on poor people. I do see a lot of demands by ‘disadvantaged’ folk to take what is earned by others.”

I started writing a massive text response (which I will be reproducing below) and I had a moment where I balked–these people won’t change their minds just from my argument, surely not if they are capable of saying such things as listed above. I spoke with my friend who also felt that, while intentions were good, I was mostly doing it for myself (which is valid and probably the reason we get into such comment fights). These people did not seem like the type of people that I could have an actual discourse with, if they seemed to lack any empathy or self-awareness to…frankly…how privileged they sounded.

I think a lot of the ideas of being mindful of privilege have been reduced purely to wealth in this thread, but that’s only one part of it.
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Top 10 Books of 2016

A bit overdue–apologies for that! This past year, I was determined to read more in any capacity. As I mentioned in my post highlighting my 2016, I decided to help myself along by tracking my reading via a GoodReads reading challenge. My goal started small, at just 20 books for the year, and I was able to bump up my goal to 40. It might not make sense to keep raising it after I did it–at that point, any extra books were just a bonus, but I kept moving it just a bit beyond my reach each time to spur me on. However, this backfired a tiny bit in that I tended to favor graphic novels, especially since my library has an amazing selection of new releases. While valid books to read, they are much quicker reads, and as a result 26 of 41 books were graphic novels. Of the remaining 15 books, 8 were non-fiction (which I’d wanted to read more of, and the other 7 were fiction/YA and the Harry Potter play.

Next year, I think I’d be better off setting a smaller goal and keeping it there, so that I’m not tempted to avoid longer books in favor of book count. That’s just counterproductive and a con of trying to game-ify my reading habits. But nonetheless, I read far more than I have in the past few years, partly because I’m not in school anymore, but also, again, because my library is, in fact, the bomb-diggity. I read more non-fiction, particular memoirs, business books/self help/Malcolm Gladwell type books, and books about feminism. I read some educational graphic novels, which I love.

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