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Privilege. March 5, 2008

Posted by phledge in family, fat, health, medical school, osteopathy, paganism, phlegm.
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I’ve recently had several experiences that all have a common theme, and I wonder why. On a recent thread at Kate’s House of Terrorist Donuts I realized that I am at once coming from a place of privilege and coming from a place of minority. I’ve read some awesome posts all over the place about different types of privilege, and I’ve been involved in some activities at school that are trying to raise consciousness as well. So here’s a little bit about my story.

I am a fat, married bisexual female Pagan who has chosen to become an osteopathic physician instead of a “real doctor.”  I am, however, a white, middle class, graduate-educated child of WASPs who are able to help me financially through school.  I have no physical disabilities and I cannot begin to understand developmental disabilities, but I do have a mental illness.  I know I take for granted the fact that I am “passable” in terms of my sexual identity, and in fact there are very few people in my circle of loved ones who know about my ability to fall into erotic love with women.  I am a Unitarian Universalist and thus have a supportive group dynamic within a religious environment, so I can, again, “pass” and say that I go to church on Sundays when people ask me what I do on the weekends.  My mother committed suicide, and my uncle is in prison for federal child pornography possession, but I have an aunt who lives in a $1.6 million dollar home and an uncle who owns golf courses and private jets.  I have the luxury of driving to school every day, but feeling guilty for a couple of reasons:  not everyone has a car, I should do better for the environment, and it would be better for me to walk or ride my bike because I hardly get enough exercise as it is.  I have the luxury of feeling guilty for stupid reasons like those.  Whenever I feel hopeless or despondent, I try to remember how good I have it, and gratitude is definitely one of the antidotes to depression but it doesn’t change the fact that a lot of people have it way worse than I can even fathom.

All of this is part of me, and part of how I am able to interact with others.  I guess it’s just the consciousness, the awareness that even as a chasm separates me from other peoples’ experiences, there is a commonality, a humanity that brings us all together.  I like that.

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Comments»

1. JoGeek - March 6, 2008

Great post! I think it’s interesting in any discussion that threatens to turn into “my oppression is bigger than your oppresion” to point out that something like 99% of the population has something about them that isn’t socially acceptable, for which they will be judged by others. Some peoples’ differences are criticized more audibly or violently than others, but everyone feels some pressure to conform to something against their inclinations.

On the other hand, just having the CHOICE to “pass” in many cases is, as you said, a privilege. People don’t have to know I’m not Christian unless I choose to let them. The power of choice in this case is still power, wheras I don’t have any choice in whether people know I’m fat.

The policy of living as best you can and being grateful for what the universe provides you has always been a good way to operate, regardless of what’s stacked against you.

Namaste’

2. J-mob Falcon Football - November 4, 2008

thats a good way to let put your feelings, just stay strong


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