Quakers and privilege

Via QuakerQuaker and Martin Kelley, I found Jeanne’s Social Class & Quakers blog and her blog game on class. As she says,

It’s based on an exercise developed by Will Barratt, Meagan Cahill, Angie Carlen, Minnette Huck, Drew Lurker, Stacy Ploskonka at Illinois State University. . . . The exercise developers hold the copyright but have given me permission to post it here and ask that if you participate in this blog game, you acknowledge their copyright.

Go on over to Jeanne’s blog for a link to the creators, in addition to wonderful comments and links (in the comments) to others who have done the exercise.

Bold items are advantages I received.

  • Father went to college
  • Father finished college
  • Mother went to college
  • Mother finished college
  • Have any relative who is an attorney, physician, or professor.
  • Were the same or higher class than your high school teachers (my father owned a business)
  • Had more than 50 books in your childhood home
  • Had more than 500 books in your childhood home
  • Were read children’s books by a parent
  • Had lessons of any kind before you turned 18 (oil painting)
  • Had more than two kinds of lessons before you turned 18
  • The people in the media who dress and talk like me are portrayed positively
  • Had a credit card with your name on it before you turned 18
  • Your parents (or a trust) paid for the majority of your college costs
  • Your parents (or a trust) paid for all of your college costs (to put it in context, I went to a land-grant institution with no tuition for in-state students)
  • Went to a private high school
  • Went to summer camp
  • Had a private tutor before you turned 18
  • Family vacations involved staying at hotels (the first family vacation we took was the summer before I started college)
  • Your clothing was all bought new before you turned 18
  • Your parents bought you a car that was not a hand-me-down from them
  • There was original art in your house when you were a child (painted by my Grandma Sutton)
  • Had a phone in your room before you turned 18
  • You and your family lived in a single family house
  • Your parent(s) owned their own house or apartment before you left home
  • You had your own room as a child (eventually)
  • Participated in an SAT/ACT prep course (not to brag, but I was my class valedictorian; if I had needed such a prep course, I could and would have taken one)
  • Had your own TV in your room in High School
  • Owned a mutual fund or IRA in High School or College
  • Flew anywhere on a commercial airline before you turned 16 (my mother, sister, and I flew to the East Coast to visit D.C., Philadelphia, and my Aunt Martha in N.Y. state the summer I turned 13; and I flew to Europe for a FFA program the summer I turned 16)
  • Went on a cruise with your family
  • Went on more than one cruise with your family
  • Your parents took you to museums and art galleries as you grew up
  • You were unaware of how much heating bills were for your family (more to the point, I was unaware of cooling costs)

Jeanne adds:

To participate in this blog game, copy and paste the above list into your blog, and bold the items that are true for you. If you don’t have a blog, feel free to post your responses in the comments. Once enough people participate in this little game, I’ll do a Part II post about what all this has to do with Friends. (And you can, in your blog post, ponder what it means to Friends).

Go on over to Jeanne’s blog if you do this exercise, and let her know.

One Reply to “Quakers and privilege”

  1. I haven’t counted up how many of these apply to me, but a lot do. Yes, I’m a child of privilege.

    I liked what your friend said in her comments: “The exercise instructions note that just because you’ve taken a lot of steps doesn’t mean that you haven’t worked hard to get where you are.” So yes, I had a lot of things handed to me as a child, and that’s certainly provided a helpful foundation. Nonetheless, it’s been a long journey to get where I am today.

    The privilege that I did not grow up with was knowing that I was loved. In my 30s, I figured this out — my mother wasn’t out to get me; she just didn’t know what she was doing, not really. And she was the “sane” parental figure.

    Ask me about “feelings kindergarten” some time. I had to work through my physical pain first and then start in on my emotional pain. Both parts of this journey started with the triumphant “I am feeling something. I don’t know what it is, but it is a feeling.”

    So just about all the “emotionally mature” parts of me that you see today were painfully eked out long after it should have “just come naturally”. Anything crabby, nasty, or just plain whacko is stuff I haven’t worked through yet. And all that grey hair? I earned every single one.

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