I am extraordinarily privileged. I use this word, with precise intent, rather than the term blessed, to describe my good fortune because I recognize that my privilege rests fully on the prejudices put in place by the men who founded this country.
Some may dispute this point. However, the fact that my husband and I have been able to consistently push through hard times to build a life of relative comfort, filled with opportunities - absent of overt obstruction, bias, discrimination, or injustice, and I don’t have to worry constantly that my adult children will be harmed (or killed) while going about their daily lives - is all the evidence I need to prove my argument.
I freely admit that I am also incredibly blessed with a family and friends who love me, natural creative talents, and a perseverant (stubborn) personality.
See the difference? My privilege is based solely on my skin color, my ethnic and religious heritage, and my sexual orientation, as well as my social status as the daughter of an educator, while my blessings are grace bestowed by the Universe. I get them no matter who I am, who I love, where I am from, what I believe, my profession, how much I earn, or who my ancestors were.
I can understand where it can be confusing. Life is a struggle, even for those of us who were born with advantages. We consistently see those who hold great privilege regarding the world (everyone and everything) as theirs for the taking as a God-given right (blessing). To this, I can only say, entitlement is a dangerous ideology.
Privilege, I believe, comes with an immense responsibility to everyone and everything in the world who have little or none.
Indeed, we are all humans with human emotions, failings, and frailties, myself included. Nevertheless, I am adamant about making a difference by using my privilege to help those who don’t know justice or equity – the people who don’t have a natural voice in our society, simply, because of who they are – by offering compassion and empathy, by listening carefully, by using my skills to benefit all who need it, and by calling out bigotry in all its forms. And, most importantly, by modeling this philosophy to the young people I spend my days with.
I should clarify – my privilege does not allow me to develop and implement plans by charging in and taking over – it doesn’t give me authority over other’s decision making – and it certainly doesn’t make me a better person. I am not looking to foster the “White Knight Syndrome.”
As I see it, the only way to remove the prejudice, discrimination, and hatred that is deeply embedded within our culture is to systematically lift those who experience all those things with kindness and unfailing support so they can effectively do battle with all the biases and injustices that hold them down. No, we can’t fight for them. We can, however, fight alongside them.
T'is the season for developing learning plans with each of the DRC kids. This is one of my favorite parts of my job. I get to have in-depth conversations with "my" kiddos, listen closely, make suggestions, and get excited with them about all of the opportunities available to each of them. This past week I learned that we need a few resources from our community to make some of their dreams come true. Within minutes of posting a list on social media, this past week, a piano was donated! Thank you, Maria Morrison!
We are currently looking for:
- Old electronics to be taken apart
- A blacksmith who would be willing to work with a teen who wants to learn how to forge Viking tools.
- Math teachers
- French, German, Italian language instructors.
- carpenters to help students with woodworking projects
This list will continue to grow as I meet with more students.
Water, Woods, & Wild Wonders - News