Sick and tired of "check your privilege" bullshit. I invite each and every one of you to tell your story of "privilege," whether here, or on your blog or another site.So here goes.
Grandparents, on both sides, left Italy between World Wars. My dad's folks left earlier, as children; my mother's folks left later as adults. My grandparents on my mother's side immigrated only a few years before we entered WWII, just before my uncle Carmine was born.
Grandparents on Dad's side were farmers, with my grandfather becoming a machinist and my grandmother a seamstress. In the post-WWII era she worked in a factory until Dad was born.
On mom's side, her father was a police officer in the city. Her mom didn't work, and the family of five lived in a three-bedroom apartment.
Bear in mind that none of the grandparents grew up learning English. Dad's folks had it easier, coming to the US as kids and being more able to pick up the new language. Mom's folks had to learn on the fly, and both of her parents talked with a thick accent their entire lives.
Dad graduated high school and took classes in Boston until he decided that it would be a better life to become a MA state cop. Mom worked as a secretary at a local manufacturing plant until I was born. They built a modest three-bedroom ranch on land my father's parents gave them, and mom stayed home once I was born.
I went to a state college because, well, it's what I could afford. I put myself through college, with some help from my grandparents, my parents, and scholarships and student loans. I worked every weekend at the local grocery store for money to get through the week, and two or more jobs over the summer to cover expenses as needed for the following year. I graduated - the first person in my entire family to receive a Bachelor's Degree - and went onto graduate school.
Not a lot of privilege there, that I can see. One time, in my early 20s, I got into a discussion with a friend (who was black) about getting pulled over for no reason. I started recounting the number of times I'd been pulled over for no good reason (taillight out; failure to signal; window tint too dark; etc.) and realized it was close to two dozen. I had nothing handed to me, expected nothing, and worked for what I wanted.
To insinuate that I got where I am now simply because of my "privilege" is downright insulting. I - and the rest of my family - have worked damned hard to get where I am. My folks worked damn hard to get where they are, and to be able to help their kids wherever they could. My sister, FWIW, is an attorney in Boston - she put herself through law school, also without any of that special privilege except perhaps being damned smart.
I guess it's easier to bleat out "privilege" than to admit that sometimes people get where they are through hard work. It's easier to pretend that there's some vast conspiracy perpetrated by a sinister cabal of similarly-pigmented folks rather than face up to the fact that sometimes you have to make your own luck.
Or, that you make your own privilege through plain ol' hard work...
That is all.