Although my parents were very poor when I was young, I’m still a white woman who comes from privilege. Because after my father got his degree compliments of the military, he was able to make a very good living. We moved out of that trailer park to an apartment complex and then to a brick house in an upper-middle-class neighborhood. My college education was paid for and I didn’t have to worry about student loans to pay back.


I never faced any discrimination until I chose to come out of the closet. And that’s when I first heard the word, dyke. Or faced a truck full of red neck adolescents reaching out to push my then-girlfriend and me off our tandem bike. So, maybe I lost a little of that privilege, but here’s the thing, I can crawl back into my closet and step right back on that privilege train. Sure, I can’t do anything about the fact that I’m a woman, even if my breasts aren’t that big, it’s hard to pass as a man. Persons of color can’t hide in a closet. They don’t have the option to hide.


Regardless of laws that are passed to try to protect LGBTQ+ or persons of color, none of that will really make a difference until we as a society face the undercurrent of racism, xenophobia, misogyny, or homophobia. That has never gone away. We are only seeing the outward evidence of it with the current administration because the leader of the free world models it without consequence. It has become our new normal.


This is outrageous to say, but at least these blatant examples are now out there for everyone to see. Maybe they have always been there. I don’t know. All I can say is that plenty of LGTBQ+ and persons of color lose or don’t get the job simply because of the color of their skin or the fact that they are not ashamed to own being LGBTQ+. Fighting back is a mountain most can’t climb without a video proving their case. And, while losing a job isn’t the worst thing to happen to a person, losing one’s life is final. Irreparable harm. We should all concern ourselves with that.


So, how do we attack the undercurrent? Like love, it can be out there for all the world to see, or private and subtle. Most of the time, it’s private and subtle. I think I know it when I see or feel it, but convincing others can be quite the challenge. When I lost my job, there was no doubt in my mind it was because I was an out lesbian. My state has laws to protect LGBTQ+ but the absolute proof would have been nearly impossible to prevail on any type of suit. Thus, I angled for a higher settlement and tucked tail and ran with it.

dark side

My real question, is besides voting in November, marching in protest, examining my own behavior, and being sincerely willing to listen and learn, how do we combat institutional racism, homophobia, xenophobia, and misogyny. If anyone has the answers, I really want to know what they are? We won’t be locked away in our homes forever, so now is the time to know how and when to act. I’m retired. I have the time!


In the meantime, I can certainly write books that perhaps have a subtle impact on the views of that one person. One person at a time…maybe that’s what it takes to change the world.


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6 thoughts on “Privilege

  1. This is another very thought provoking post. Unfortunately, I think anything systemic – as these discriminatory practices are – can only be defeated over time. As can be seen, each generation is becoming more tolerant than the one before it. I believe that happens by way of pop culture. Outcast groups of society are gaining more and more visibility through television, music, movies, etc. Look at how many more non-white people you see in commercials now compared to 20 years ago. Also, the advanced world is more interconnected now than ever before. That too helps to promote change. When acceptance and inclusion are normalized in a way that everyone can see, society – as a whole – will shift towards those ideals.


      1. Even though it seems harsh, the Narcissist in Chief is showing the ugliest side of discrimination and most of the nation appears to be disgusted by it. So he’s inadvertently making people see discrimination for what it is. Also, I don’t believe he’s making this the new normal. I believe he’s an anomaly – a blip on America’s timeline.


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