Category Archives: #blacklivesmatter

How much Privilege do you really have?

 So I have been talking about privilege for many years.  I have gotten into arguments on Facebook and Twitter about privilege.  People almost always come back with (particularly white heterosexual males): “I am not privileged.  I have had to struggle”
Ummmm, okay, so privilege is not about whether or not you have had to struggle in your life.  It is about how society in general perceives you and judges you with regards to things like your gender, sexual orientation, race and financial status.
My friend Tonya posted this Buzzfeed (I LOVE Buzz feed, btw), with questions about privilege and to be honest I think it is a very comprehensive list, so I am going to copy it (and give credit of course) here so people may have an understanding of privilege and how it works. So, How much Privilege do you really have?
Please feel free to share your number (if you are comfortable) in the comments on the blog so it becomes more apparent to all how privilege works.
privilege-definition
Give your self one point for every comment you can say yes to: (I added the stuff in Italics)
1.  I am white.
2.  I have never been discriminated against because of my skin color.
3.  I have never been the only person of my race in a room.
4.  I have never been mocked for my accent.
5.  I have never been told I am attractive “for my race.”
6.  I have never been a victim of violence because of my race.
7.  have never been called a racial slur.
8. I have never been told I “sound white.”
9.  A stranger has never asked to touch my hair, or asked if it is real.
10. I am heterosexual.
11. I have never lied about my sexuality.
12. I never had to “come out.”
13. I never doubted my parents’ acceptance of my sexuality.
14. I have never been called “fag.”
15. I have never been called “dyke.”
16. I have never been called a “fairy,” or any other derogatory slur for homosexuals.
17. I have never tried to hide my sexuality.
18. I am always comfortable with P.D.A. with my partner in public.
19. I have never pretended to be “just friends” with my significant other.
20. I have never been ostracized by my religion for my sexual orientation.
21. I have never been told I would “burn in hell” for my sexual orientation.
22. I have never been told that my sexuality is “just a phase.”
23. I have never been violently threatened because of my sexuality.
24. I am a man.
25. I feel comfortable in the gender I was born as.
26. I still identify as the gender I was born in.
27. I have never tried to change my gender.
28. I have never been denied an opportunity because of my gender.
29. I make more money than my professional counterparts of a different gender.
30. I have never felt unsafe because of my gender.
31. I have never been catcalled.
32. I have never been sexually harassed or assaulted.
33. I have never been raped.
34. I work in a salaried job.
35. My family and I have never lived below the poverty line.
36. I don’t have any student loans.
37. I have never gone to bed hungry.
38. I have never been homeless.
39. My parents (or someone else) pay some of my bills.
40. My parents (or someone else) pay all of my bills.
41. I don’t rely on public transportation.
42. I buy new clothes at least once a month.
43. I have never done my taxes myself.
44. I have never felt poor.
45. I have never had to worry about making rent.
46. I have never worked as a waiter, barista, bartender, or salesperson.
47. I have had an unpaid internship.
48. I have had multiple unpaid internships.
49. I went to summer camp.
50. I went to private school.
51. I graduated high school.
52. I went to an elite college.
53. I graduated college.
54. My parents (or someone else or the VA) paid (at least some of) my tuition.
55. I had a car in high school.
56. I’ve never had a roommate.
57. I’ve always had cable or Direct TV
58. I have traveled internationally.(not military service)
59. I travel internationally at least once a year.(again not for military service)
60. I studied abroad.
61. I’ve never skipped a meal to save money.
62. I don’t know what “Sallie Mae” is. (Or know what it is but have never had to use it)
63. I spent Spring Breaks abroad.
64. I have frequent flier miles.
65. My parents are heterosexual.
66. My parents are both alive.
67. My parents are still married. (or would be if they were alive)
68. I do not have any physical disabilities.
69. I do not have any social disabilities.
70. I do not have any learning disabilities.
71. I have never had an eating disorder.
72. I have never been depressed.
73. I have never considered suicide.
74. I have never attempted suicide.
75. I have never taken medication for my mental health.
76. I can afford medication if/when I need it.(and have a co-pay I CAN afford, even if I think it is too high)
77. I have never been told I’m overweight or “too skinny.”
78. I have never felt overweight or underweight or “too skinny.”
79. I have never been shamed for my body type.
80. I consider myself to be physically attractive.
81. I can afford a therapist.
82. I’ve used prescription drugs recreationally.
83. I have never had an addiction.
84. I have never been shamed for my religious beliefs.
85. I have never been violently threatened for my religious beliefs.
86. I have never been violently attacked for my religious beliefs.
87. There is a place of worship for my religion in my town.
88. I have never lied about my ethnicity as self-defense.
89. I have never lied about my religion as self-defense.
90. All my jobs have been accommodating of my religious practices.
91. I am not nervous in airport security lines.
92. I have never heard this statement: “You have been randomly selected for secondary passport control.”
93. I have never been called a terrorist.
94. Nobody has ever tried to “save” me for my religious beliefs, or my sexual orientation
95. I have never been cyber-bullied for any of my identities.
96. I was not bullied as a child for any of my identities.
97. I have never tried to distance myself from any of my identities.
98. I have never been self-conscious about any of my identities.
99. I have never questioned any of my identities.
100.  I feel privileged because of the identities I was born with
I originally thought I scored a 30, but I actually scored a 31.  Which is a bit better but not by much!
I believe my score is only 30 because as a JEWISH, WOMAN in a SAME GENDERED relationship who has also struggled financially as a SINGLE MOM, I cannot get as many points as if I could remove one of those labels.
This also brings up intersectionality.  Look how many words in the above sentence  are bold.  I could also add OVERWEIGHT to those categories……I have many “adjectives” that describe me…. that is what intersectionality is in a nut shell.  We are many things, not just one, and each one of those adjectives, (or intersections) forms how we view ourselves and how society as a whole views us.
Please feel free to comment about how this made you feel if you are comfortable.  Until we start having a discussion about privilege it will be more difficult to remove these labels that cause separation in our society.
#womenslives  #blacklivesmatter

The Baltimore Riots are about rage, oppression and dominance.

At approximately 8 am on the morning of April 12, a man named Freddie Gray was arrested by two Baltimore Police officers. He was placed into a police van, and although witnesses say he asked for help because he couldn’t breathe, he didn’t receive any medical help.  The police van made 4 stops while driving to the station to book Freddie. When the van arrived at the police station at approximately 9:30 that same morning, Freddie Gray was unresponsive and was rushed by ambulance to a Trauma center, where he died a week later due to complications from a severed spine.

Freddie Gray’s funeral was held on April 25, and following his funeral riots broke out in Baltimore.

I get the riots, I get the anger…. I am angry too!!!

In my opinion, the riots were a response….an angry response…..to Freddie Gray’s death….his murder…….. and nothing being done to the officers who arrested him (murdered him), besides them being suspended from the Police Force while the matter was being investigated.

Photo credit www.huffingtonpost.com

Photo credit www.huffingtonpost.com

I think the Baltimore riots were also about a community being tired of:

being afraid,

not being heard,

being marginalized,

being poor,

suffering.

When looked at in this way, the riots are at the most basic level, about an oppressed group being infuriated and tired of living in a  society that doesn’t think that black lives are important.

On April 27, reporter Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote in an article in The Atlantic, “When nonviolence is preached by the representatives of the state, while the state doles out heaps of violence to its citizens, it reveals itself to be a con” (Coates, The Atlantic). He is speaking about the politicians who were asking young people in Baltimore to remain peaceful and ‘nonviolent’. His point about that being a ‘con’ is well.

In order to understand my perspective I need to introduce you to a word: hegemony.  This is really what is at the base of racism, sexism, homophobia, and every other “ism” I can think of, and a word that needs to be understood.  Once people understand what Hegemony really means, they usually have an “a-ha” moment.

Hegemony is defined as a “cultural dynamic by which a group claims and sustains a leading position in social life” In other words, “hegemony relates to cultural dominance in the society”

In this context it is obvious to see Ta-Nehisi’s point, (which I agree with), that the “representatives” of the state who are asking the people of Baltimore to act in a nonviolent manner are themselves the ones who are the oppressors, and therefore the perpetrators of the violence. Police, who have authoritarian power over society, are group that uses that power in a way that is unequal with society as a whole. In other words, if minorities, and in this case a young black man, is arrested and subsequently dies, the police, while being culpable, are not held accountable, because that does not fit within the idea of “hegemony”, which are the societal standards that are the norm within American culture.

In fact, when a group is disenfranchised, and oppressed, and not allowed to prosper by the dominant group, it is inevitable that the inequality would cause violence. By asking for this group to act in a “nonviolent” way, the state representatives are asking them to be okay with their disenfranchisement and oppression. That is only going to lead to more anger and more violence.

The only way to move forward as a society is to remove the hegemony (and the white dominance) that our society is structured around and create a level playing field for all.

Remove the oppressive institutions, derail racism, and allow access to quality education, safe shelter, and healthy food to all members of the society.

Not just the ones who have enough money to afford those things. If they were accessible to all, society as a whole would benefit, and America would indeed be the world power it claims to be.

I agree with Ta-Nehisi’s tweet about rioting: It is an expression of anger. Some humans riot because their school lost the big game. Others because the State can’t stop killing them.

#Blacklivesmatter #womenslives