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Musings>White Privilege

There is no such thing as White Privilege, but there IS such a thing as Privilege: Parental Privilege. If my parents had enjoyed White Privilege, they'd have had rich childhoods while blacks and Latinos suffered. They grew up in the Great Depression. Everybody suffered. My father was so poor he couldn't afford the 25-cent ticket to the senior prom. My mother was so poor that she never saw a new piece of clothing, just hand-me-downs. Her house didn't have a toilet. The family pooped in a latrine out in the garage.

Happily, though, my brother and I had nice childhoods with every advantage my parents could think to give us, living through us vicariously to make up for what they had done without. THAT is Parental Privilege: that you have parents who love you so much they are willing to go all out for you and have the ability to do it.

That ability didn't come from being white. Dad's first job was building chicken coops in a lumber yard in Oklahoma. He almost put himself through college at the University of Oklahoma, but dropped out after the third year because he couldn't see how having a degree would make any difference. He stayed with the same company all his life until he was the highest employee below the owners. He saved and invested, bought stock and land, and ended reasonably well off.

But there are plenty of minority parents who have done the same thing. Asians especially, but also blacks and Latinos. The real privilege is living in America and realizing you can be successful if you want it badly enough. Plenty of people who didn't have Parental Privilege still made successful lives all on their own. --- Randy Schuyler


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