To support my sweetie, and with encouragement from another fFriend, I'm posting my responses here to an exercise about looking at privilege.
Here's the relevant information for you to know:
1. This exercise is based on one developed by Will Barratt, Meagan Cahill, Angie Carlen, Minnette Huck, Drew Lurker, Stacy Ploskonka at Illinois State University (see the "looking at privilege" post in the above paragraph, for additional links).
2. The exercise's developers hold the copyright and have given permission for it to be posted, with links, on the Quakers and Social Class blog. They ask that those of us who participate in this blog exercise acknowledge their copyright, which I'm doing here.
3. If you cut-and-paste this exercise on your own blog, please leave a comment on the relevant post, pointing readers to your own post.
4. Copy and paste the list below into your blog (or as a comment in the relevant post), remove my own personal comments, and bold the items that are true for you. My own replies are below.
The ExerciseNOTE: I have bolded so many of these items (27-1/2 out of 34) that I am indenting the ones I have experienced to make them more visually distinctive from those items I didn't experience. --Liz
Father went to collegeHad a credit card with your name on it before you turned 18
Father finished college (and law school)
Mother went to college
Mother finished college
Have any relative who is an attorney, physician, or professor (father, uncle, cousin)
Were the same or higher class than your high school teachers
Had more than 50 books in your childhood home
Had more than 500 books in your childhood home (I actually don't recall books except for children's books and my father's tax books)
Were read children's books by a parent
Had lessons of any kind before you turned 18
Had more than two kinds of lessons before you turned 18 (art, tennis, swimming)
The people in the media who dress and talk like me are portrayed positively (???) (though these days, some wealthy characters in the media are portrayed as greedy)
Your parents (or a trust) paid for the majority of your college costs
Your parents (or a trust) paid for all of your college costsWent to a private high school
Went to summer campHad a private tutor before you turned 18
Family vacations involved staying at hotels (eh-hem: NOT hotels but a family-owned vacation house)Your parents bought you a car that was not a hand-me-down from them (No, but I used the hand-me-down family car for a year or two when I was an upperclassman at college. And the three kids shared a used car, purchased by my folks, once we were all old enough to drive.)
Your clothing was all bought new before you turned 18
There was original art in your house when you were a child (a small Picasso, a small Calder print; plus much original art from my grandmother and family friends)Had a phone in your room before you turned 18
You and your family lived in a single family houseHad your own TV in your room in High School
Your parent(s) owned their own house or apartment before you left home
You had your own room as a child
Participated in an SAT/ACT prep course
Owned a mutual fund or IRA in High School or College (Eh-hem: My parents and grandparents had invested in equities and savings bonds for me and my brothers, not mutual funds or IRAs). . . . . . . . . . .
Flew anywhere on a commercial airline before you turned 16
Went on a cruise with your family
Went on more than one cruise with your family
Your parents took you to museums and art galleries as you grew up
You were unaware of how much heating bills were for your family
In going over this list, it strikes me that I could have bolded nearly all of the remaining items, meaning that my parents had the means to provide a television for me, a phone, a credit card. I think my parents--especially my mother--had a sense of appropriate boundaries around what young children, adolescents, and teens should or shouldn't have access to.
It's also clear to me that I have to work very hard to see past the privileges I myself grew up with and learn from people who experienced the world differently from how I did. For example, I had unknowingly internalized the message that a wealthy person can have a great deal of control in a relationship by controlling the flow of money. Eeew!
At the same time, I found myself drawn to television shows that had a message about caring for one another (e.g. Little House on the Prairie). As an innocent child, it appears I didn't aspire to be wealthy and control money: I aspired to be a person with a kind heart and a gentle, moral lifestyle.