The Problem With Privilege…

Howdy, howdy!  Any time something awful happens in the world, after the initial shock wears off, there seems to be an uptick in talk about “privilege” among my Interwebz friends.  I don’t know why.  Awful things happen because people suck, not because they’re privileged.  But still, the debates arise.  Normally, I avoid these conversations and keep my opinions to myself because, frankly, my opinion doesn’t really matter and doesn’t mesh with most of my friends’ opinions.  So, instead of joining the debates on Facebook and Twitter (which almost always devolve into name calling), I thought I would share my thoughts about privilege and my experience with it here.

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I, in fact, do not like to live dangerously, but here it goes

I actually really hate it when people start throwing around the word “privilege.”  It’s not because I don’t believe it exists, but because I don’t believe it’s an insult to the people you’re calling privileged.  Nor is it something to be ashamed of.  A privilege is a good thing.  According to the OED, a privilege is “a right, advantage, or immunity granted to or enjoyed by an individual, corporation of individuals, etc., beyond the usual rights or advantages of others.”  Why would anyone in their right mind be ashamed of that?  Granted, not everyone has earned these benefits, but be honest… if you received some kind of special treatment from other people, would you feel guilty?  I don’t, and I get a lot of special treatment (cripple privilege is very much a thing).

The word “privilege” is, however, an insult to everyone you’re not including in it.  I’m white, which comes with its own set of privileges according to the people who bandy that word around.  I’m also female, crippled, and not entirely heterosexual.  All of which, according to these same people, make me somehow lesser in the eyes of others.  Don’t get me wrong, these people will tell me that I’m just as good as everyone else, just as good as a straight, white, able bodied male, then they turn around and say that the male has more privilege (read: is treated, and thus viewed as, better by others) because of the way he was born.  That’s a contradiction.  I’ve had this conversation before (oddly enough, never with the straight, white, able males because I’ve never met one with the gall to insinuate I’m lesser to my face) and I really want to tell people to make up their damn minds.  Are we equal or is he (the so-called privileged guy) better?  You can’t have it both ways.

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I also dislike calling people privileged just because they got certain genes, because it gives them a kind of power they don’t deserve.  Everyone deserves respect and courtesy, but that’s because we’re all humans.  Treat people the way you want to be treated until they give you a reason to treat them differently.  Don’t give them special treatment then call them privileged, because at that point they’re just accepting what others are offering them.  Now, if they demand to be treated better than everyone else, they’re entitled asshats.  Entitlement is different from privilege.  Entitlement means they’re assuming they’re special.  Privilege means you’re assuming they’re special.  At least, that’s how I feel about it.

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This is what I think of when they talk about privilege.

I know this post will piss people off, but it’s just my own thoughts.  “Privilege” isn’t something we should feel bad about having.  It’s something that is given to us by other people and it can be taken away.  All the word really does is reinforce the idea that some of us are lesser because of genetics, which is stupid and hurtful.  I think a better phrase to describe people who think they’re privileged is to say they have an unhealthy “sense of entitlement.”  That’s all.

Feel free to share your thoughts or comments here or on my social media pages!

Writing Challenge Q&A: My Day

Hello yet again!  This is the second to last installment of the Writing Challenge Q&A for anyone who’s wondering.  Today’s topic is courtesy of my beautiful and crafty friend, Angela Wilson.  She makes some really neat stuff, so if you’re in the New Brunswick area of Canada and spot her at a craft fair, check her stuff out!  She chose number 15 (bullet-point your whole day).  I will do my best to describe my usual day.  I’m not really that interesting, so I do basically the same thing every day.  I actually started that Daily Goal Calendar that I mentioned trying out, so here’s a visual of my April!

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It turned out to be really helpful.

So, a typical day goes something like this (please note that the times are approximations):

Noon ’til two – The process of getting up.  This includes waking up, switching from my mask to the mouthpiece on my ventilator, a face cleaning, bathroom duties, making sure my Minion knows Dad and I are alive, transferring to the wheelchair, a cleaning followed by deodorant, getting dressed, and teeth brushing.  It takes anywhere from an hour and a half to two hours depending on if we (we = Dad who is my caretaker and I) rush it.

Two ’til three-thirty – The breakfast routine.  I check my email, try to post on all of my author pages, and play mindless games while Dad cooks breakfast and sets up my drink and whatnot.  Eating usually takes 45 minutes or so (long enough to watch an hour long DVR’d show while fast forwarding through commercials).

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There’re always eggs, so it’s breakfast!

 Three-thirty ’til six-thirty – New writing routine!  A couple of weeks ago, I started doing “writing stints” with a couple of friends.  It’s like a writing sprint, but without the competitive element.  We start at four (I take care of random small tasks or work on the crossword until then), write for an hour, take a five or ten minutes break to check in, then write for another hour and check in again.  I always avoided things like that because I’m a slow typer and I feel awkward “racing” people, so we decided that we’d set our own goals and simply check in with each other to stay motivated and accountable.  If we feel like it or miss our goals, sometimes we do a third stint.  And we can do the stints separately if need be, then talk about them that night.

Six-thirty ’til eight – Randomness.  There’s not really anything scheduled during this time.  Sometimes I read.  I might work on the crossword.  Netflix is an option.  So is revision (if I have something of my own stuff to look at) or critiquing (if I have someone else’s work to look at).  I also answer emails and texts during this time.  It’s really just for whatever I need to get done.  If all else fails, there’re always mindless games.

Eight ’til eleven – Dinner, TV time, and more randomness.  If we eat at home, dinner is usually pretty late.  Then we watch a couple of hours of TV if there’s anything good on the DVR.  Afterwards, I spend some time randomly checking Facebook or playing games or finishing the crossword or whatever before bed.

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Why does everyone die in my bedtime stories?

Eleven-thirty ’til one-thirty – The process of going to bed.  Another lengthy process that includes a bunch of steps.  Bathroom duties, cleaning, switching from the mouthpiece to the mask on the ventilator and getting everything set, etc.  Basically just reverse the getting up process.  It still takes forever.  Then I talk to myself or Siri until I fall asleep (another lengthy process all on its own).

That’s my usual day.  I told you I wasn’t very interesting.  How about you?  How was your day?

Writing Challenge Q&A: Blessings

Hello, hello once again!  Are you ready for another round of the Writing Challenge Q&A?  Today’s topic is courtesy of another fellow Stonecoaster, Derek Hoffman.  He’s had some blessings of his own recently what with the newest addition to his family and whatnot, so he chose number 12 (“write about 5 blessings in your life”) for me to discuss today.  I totally admit that this topic was way more difficult than it should’ve been, mostly because I’ve been overthinking it.  My original thoughts just seemed uninspired and simple and things that everyone would say.  Then, I realized that none of that matters.  They don’t have to be exciting or complex or unique as long as I’m being honest with myself and you all.  So, here’s a pretty standard list of my blessings, in no particular order.

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My graduating class/faculty from Stonecoast.

1.  If you’ve read my blog posts in the past, you knew Stonecoast (the program where I got my MFA) would be on the list.  It was the first place where I felt comfortable coming out of my shell.  I made some friends for life while I was there.  I miss it a lot, but I’m really happy that I got to experience that kind of community.  Plus, I got to visit the Harraseeket Inn for three winters because of it!  I definitely recommend going there if you get the chance.  Anyway, Stonecoast and the whole experience is something I will always hold dear.

2.  My parents.  It’s overdone, I know, but I have a pretty good reason to include them.  Mom took care of me for 25 years.  Things may not have been great (or even good) between us, but I really do appreciate that she took care of me.  She did everything because I couldn’t do it myself.  When she got sick and passed away, Dad took over.  And even though I probably don’t say it enough, I appreciate him as well.  Plus I get to eat his cooking.  That’s basically a blessing in itself.

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The Minion and I.  I’ve probably posted this before.

3.  Friends.  Yeah, I said it.  Without my friends (you know who you are), I wouldn’t be the delightfully creepy person I am today.  From the early Interwebz friends to the handful of local real life friends to the Stonecoasters, you guys rock.  That is all.

4.  The one really weird blessing that people probably won’t understand is the fact that I’m cripple.  Don’t get me wrong, it usually sucks, but I know myself and I have a pretty good idea of the type of person I would be if I were “normal.”  Let’s just say that I like the person I currently am a lot better.  After all, I’d probably be dead or in jail or at least be a cautionary tale if it weren’t for the crippleness, so yeah.  It’s as good as it is bad.

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I miss my Julia.

 

5.  Pets.  I know it’s hard when we lose them, but I wouldn’t give up knowing any of my animals.  They enrich our lives in so many ways.  They give us unconditional love even when we don’t necessarily deserve it.  Pets are wonderful.

Yeah, it’s not a very insightful list, but who cares?  It’s mine.  What are some of the blessings in your lives?