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priviledge meme

I've seen this meme going around, but an LJ friend specifically wanted me to respond because she thought I was the most privileged in her social circle. Which is an interesting thing to me.. since I spend a lot of time wishing I had more money or a trust fund, and I really wish I had a family who cared enough to give me Christmas presents.

So the answers below might surprise her.

I will also do a call out to Patri's post on this meme, along with the counter-meme for this. Which basically says that everyone in a first world country is privileged compared to the rest of the nations.

Bold the true statements.

1. Father went to college
2. Father finished college
3. Mother went to college
4. Mother finished college
5. Have any relative who is an attorney, physician, or professor.
6. Were the same or higher class than your high school teachers.
7. Had more than 50 books in your childhood home.
8. Had more than 500 books in your childhood home.
9. Were read children's books by a parent. (I don't remember my Mom doing this. Maybe she did when I was really young.)
10. Had lessons of any kind before you turned 18
(Organ and singing lessons, then on my own I went for drawing, dance and piano lessons. Oh, and a computer and mandarin tutor)
I'm Asian after all.
11. Had more than two kinds of lessons before you turned 18
12. The people in the media who dress and talk like me are portrayed positively
13. Had a credit card with your name on it before you turned 18.
14. Your parents (or a trust) paid for the majority of your college costs.
15. Your parents (or a trust) paid for all of your college costs
16. Went to a private high school

17. Went to summer camp
(summer camp wasn't really a concept where I grew up)
18. Had a private tutor before you turned 18.
19. Family vacations involved staying at hotels.
20. Your clothing was all bought new before you turned 18.
21. Your parents bought you a car that was not a hand-me-down from them.
22. There was original art in your house when you were a child.
23. You and your family lived in a single-family house.
24. Your parent(s) owned their own house or apartment before you left home.
25. You had your own room as a child
26. You had a phone in your room before you turned 18.

27. Participated in a SAT/ACT prep course.
Didn't need one ;-)
28. Had your own TV in your room in high school.
29. Owned a mutual fund or IRA in high school or college.
30. Flew anywhere on a commercial airline before you turned 16.
31. Went on a cruise with your family.
32. Went on more than one cruise with your family.
33. Your parents took you to museums and art galleries as you grew up.
(uhm.. I guess she must've)
34. You were unaware of how much heating bills were for your family.

So, I didn't grow up in the US.. this meme totally doesn't make sense for me. Was I privledge where I was growing up? In Indonesia? Yep.
We had lived-in maids and servants. They cooked and did laundry for us. We had marble floors and swimming pools. A gardener. I never cooked or cleaned till I got to this country. And yet, I like my life now much much better.

Is this meme supposed to make me feel guilty? *ponder*. Nope, no guilt there. I do feel grateful that I had the chances I had, which, in Indonesia, is pretty rare.

I remember when I was a little girl, walking through the alley ways of Jakarta, and all these poor kids would follow me. I was a little Queen.

And yet, when I was 14, I flew to Hawaii and CA on a tour.. by myself. Definitely a rich, and solitary girl growing up.

my family and childhood is pretty fucked up, so when good things happen to me, I'm like.. yeah, definitely needed to balance out my life.



( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 3rd, 2008 11:51 pm (UTC)
I'm going to do a post on this, I think, but the meme comes from a classroom experience who's explicitly stated point is to raise awareness of privilege. It was designed for college classroom, so yes, it is deliberately and intentionally US centered.
Jan. 4th, 2008 12:13 am (UTC)
everything is US centered by default.

well not everything. but you know what i mean. most blog discussions, etc etc.. the US is very US-centric. more so then other countries i think.

Edited at 2008-01-04 12:15 am (UTC)
Jan. 4th, 2008 12:25 am (UTC)
Yes, I agree with that. I'm not sure how that can be changed, though.
Jan. 4th, 2008 08:41 am (UTC)
Get out more ?
A tricky one. USA is a large, rich country far away from any other cultural region. There's Mexico, but it's literally dirt-poor compared to USA, so culture-flow is 90% north-south I imagine, and there's Canada, which however still ain't enough.

Even being as far from that as possible, growing up in a country of less than 5 million people speaking a language that is also spoken by 5 million people, I still have to admit that I never even considered most things here as special in any way before living abroad for a few years. Including the things that really -are- special. (in a good or a bad sense)

I'm positive Ripresa and you are much more able to see USA from the outside too, and not just with the eyes of someone who knows nothing, or close to nothing, about any other possible society.

Read some time back that only 1 in 7 Americans posess a passport. To me a scary illustration of navel-gazing. I actually got into an argument once with some Texan fella that opinionated that various states in the USA are ATLEAST as different in every way as are countries elsewhere, so really, visiting California, Texas and Idaho gives the same cultural spectrum as visiting say Greece, Sweden and Ireland
Jan. 4th, 2008 09:01 am (UTC)
I don't see any point whatsoever about feeling -guilty- about any of these things. You (or me) didn't have all those priviledges because we deserved them, but because we where, essentially, lucky.

But it's also not our fault that others -don't- have them. I see this list quite differently: it should make people feel less smug about their achievements than some often do. Odds are that a large parts of the difference between me and the people say sweeping the streets here in Stavanger is because of the scales being tilted in my favour from the get go, not because of any inherit superiority or because of me having worked all that much harder.

In a global perspective that's even more true, if my parents had been farmers in rural china, odds are I would've been a farmer in rural china too.

Yeah, sure, your own hard work plays a large role in where you are today. Still, a good starting point, good support AND hard work will bring you further than a bad starting point, no support BUT hard work.

As an aside, EVERYONEs childhood is fucked up in some way or other, atleast that's certainly true of 90% of the people I know well enough to know, despite those people too being mostly "priviledged" people.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )