I had a pretty normal and movie-esque upbringing. My parents have been married for 25+ years, my sister and I had a fairly close relationship and I was able to do a number of activities providing me with an abundant social life. I went to school in a district that was comprised of 85% white people to 15% other races. I knew I lived a fairly blissful life but I never quite understood how lucky I was that I didn’t really face much adversity in my lifetime.
Upon going to college, my little bubble burst. I realized that not everyone had the same type of life as me and wasn’t always presented with the same opportunities. I started becoming more and more grateful for my family and the stability provided by them. Of course I was aware of the prevalence of sexism and racism, but I can’t say that I had ever really been witness to that first hand.
I started understanding what it meant to be a feminist. Pushing for equality among the sexes and making sure that everyone has the freedom of choice. Choice to be whoever they want to be and make whatever decisions each individual is comfortable with. I just find it so hard to believe that there are so many people out there who don’t and won’t support others personal decisions.
The other day, I was riding the bus to work when I witnessed two events that have me re-examining the amount of privilege I have. Entering the bus, I sat in the middle and heard an argument between two young black women in the front and a belligerent white male in the back. While I’m not sure what started the fight, the man was yelling obscenities at these girls calling them the N word. The bus driver (also a young black woman) gave him a warning which was quickly ignored resulting in him getting kicked off the bus. As we pulled away, he flipped off the entire bus. Nice.
Then as the bus ride began to settle down, we passed a Planned Parenthood that was surrounded by no less than 150 people protesting abortions. It makes me sick to my stomach that an institution that performs as a safe space for women as they’re exploring ways to have safe sex, learning ways to protect from STD’s, and even making some of the most difficult choices about human life, is being looked down upon by thousands of people.
I definitely know I’m privileged. The most important thing though, is that I recognize my privilege. I try my best not to take any situations for granted. I choose to stand up when possible for equality whether it’s dealing with a racist prick from the bus or a sexist asshole. I actually went up to the girls after the bus ride and acknowledged how horrible that was and that they definitely didn’t deserve to be treated they way they were.
All I know is that it’s important to treat people like people, as equals, because everyone has feelings. BE NICE TO EACH OTHER, OKAY?
Does anyone else have additional thoughts on privilege? I’d love to get some more feedback! As always, thanks for reading and check back on Thursday for another Food for Thought post where I interview Mike Hoffman, creator of Bitte Chocolate!