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Jay Lake
Date: 2008-01-02 13:20
Subject: [meme] Privilege
Security: Public
Location:Nuevo Rancho Lake
Tags:lj, meme, personal
The list is based on an exercise developed by Will Barratt, Meagan Cahill, Angie Carlen, Minnette Huck, Drew Lurker, Stacy Ploskonka at Illinois State University. The exercise developers ask that if you participate in this blog game, you acknowledge their copyright.

If you post this in your blog, please leave a comment on this post. To participate in this blog game, copy and paste the above list into your blog, and bold the items that are true for you. If you don't have a blog, feel free to post your responses in the comments.

Father went to college
Father finished college
Mother went to college
Mother finished college
Have any relative who is an attorney, physician, or professor
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
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
The people in the media who dress and talk like me are portrayed positively

Had a credit card with your name on it before you turned 18
Your parents (or a trust) paid for the majority of your college costs
Your parents (or a trust) paid for all of your college costs
Went to a private high school
Went to summer camp
Had a private tutor before you turned 18
Family vacations involved staying at hotels
Your clothing was all bought new before you turned 18

Your parents bought you a car that was not a hand-me-down from them
There was original art in your house when you were a child
Had a phone in your room before you turned 18
You and your family lived in a single family house
Your parent(s) owned their own house or apartment before you left
You had your own room as a child

Participated in an SAT/ACT prep course
Had your own TV in your room in High School
Owned a mutual fund or IRA in High School or College
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

ETA: As several people have pointed out, a number of these are time bound. I'm from the beginning of the tv/phone in your room generation, for example, and there were no consumer cell phones when I was a kid. Besides that I went to boarding school, so even the very wealthy kids I knew didn't have stuff like that in their rooms.

Likewise, I didn't participate in an SAT prep course because my entire high school life was very high end college prep. Ditto why I never had a tutor, I was already a straight A student when I bothered to do the work, at one of the top high schools in the country.

So to some degree the meme doesn't reflect some of the realities of my privilege.

On the other hand, I wasn't at private school because of class or financial status -- it was far, far beyond my parents' means -- but because of academic excellence and an employment-related substantial subsidy granted to my father due to my family's peculiar living conditions overseas.

So the meme also doesn't reflect some of the realities of my privilege in the other direction, either.
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russ: watchmen
User: goulo
Date: 2008-01-02 21:39 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
"The people in the media who dress and talk like me are portrayed positively"

I thought Hawaiian shirts were generally portrayed as tasteless and kitschy by the media.
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User: joycemocha
Date: 2008-01-02 22:06 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Unfortunately, some of these would be no for me just because of my age. TVs in the room were not among the norm for teens my age--even the affluent ones.
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2008-01-02 23:35 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I am beauty incarnate. Or in carnal. Or in the canal. Or something.

Oh, look, BBC World Service is on!
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User: joycemocha
Date: 2008-01-02 22:13 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Oh yeah. I did this over in my blog as well.
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miki garrison: kiss
User: mikigarrison
Date: 2008-01-02 22:18 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I did it on mine.
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Kate Schaefer
User: kate_schaefer
Date: 2008-01-02 22:42 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Okay, Jay, I did this.

I don't usually lock my entries, but I did lock this one, because class is a touchy, touchy subject.
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User: 19_crows
Date: 2008-01-02 23:00 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I did it too, but I got it from somebody before I saw yours.
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User: frabjouslinz
Date: 2008-01-03 00:29 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Ok, put one in my blog, too.
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lt260: Twin Towers
User: lt260
Date: 2008-01-03 00:51 (UTC)
Subject: Privilege?
Keyword:Twin Towers
Posted on my journal with appropriate credits.

I have to agree with a few of the comments: what constitutes privilege is subjective. There were several of these items that have nothing to do with privilege and a whole lot to do with what was going on in the community during my childhood. As a for instance: Had lessons of any kind before you turned 18. Yes, I had lessons. Music lessons were highly encouraged while I was in 4th-6th grade. The lessons were available at a greatly reduced price, via the school, so my parents signed me up to learn how to play the clarinet. I can also remember self-defense and swimming lessons at the YMCA. Should this count on the same level as equestrian lessons or debutante training? Are they on the same level as those lessons costing ten times as much (or more)? And how about the flip side: would these lessons be legitimately considered privilege compared to the ghetto kid getting swimming or dance lessons at the Boys Club?

Privilege. Hhmmm. I think it depends on what side of the track you find yourself. And in this nation of many railroads, most of us can look across to the privileged kid on the other side of the track . . .then turn around and stare across the rails at the kid who’s a little worse off by comparison.
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Tim W. Burke: Nosferatim
User: timwb
Date: 2008-01-03 01:13 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I will not post this survey.

I know it is a simplified tool, but there are a few problems that my B.A. brain picked out in a few minutes:

If you are married, add your score to your spouse's then divide by two = When Bill married Melinda, his social status dropped by one-half.
Going to Europe (but not Asia or Africa) under any circumstances automatically broadens one. WWII? Surviving a camp?

"If (my) teachers were of a lower class?"

I mean, this thing is painful to read.

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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2008-01-03 02:42 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Well, sure it's pretty darned imperfect. And if you consider the questions, they mostly boil down to signifiers of money or of parental involvement. Which I find interesting.

We were by no means poor when I was a kid, but our family means were quite modest -- we lived above our class (so to speak) as an artifact of my dad's work and the associated allowances and subsidies. On the other hand, my parental involvement was very, very high. So the survey skews away from my personal experience in a number of ways.
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User: joycemocha
Date: 2008-01-03 02:53 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
One of the other factors in this meme, also, is that the bias skews urban, in my opinion. I can think of several rural questions about horses which would separate out the privileged from the backwoods farm kids:

did your family own a horse?
was the horse registered/have papers?

A more recent version might be:
Do you have a dirt bike?
(high-end dirt bike question vs low-end dirt bike question).

(I can also think of questions regarding land acreage and such that would be more reflective--a very rural kid in, say Wallowa County might not have many opportunities to go to museums other than the local historical museums which are entirely different from what I think the original survey designers meant).
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User: salvador_dalai
Date: 2008-01-03 04:22 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
As a devoted lurker, I'll unlurk for this. I posted one over at my blog. I think it's interesting the level of cussed lower-class identification I found in myself. I was proud of the number of unbolded entries, and a little surprised at the number of bold ones. It just reveals that part of my internal narrative hinges on not being privileged, whereas considered in the cold light of five hundred suns, I do have a fair level of privilege in my immediate radius.

But ditto on the phone/tv timing thing.
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2008-01-03 04:32 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Thanks for de-lurking.
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gvdub: simpsons
User: gvdub
Date: 2008-01-03 04:26 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
So many of the people that I see responding to this meme seem to be fixated on the concept of 'privilege' as being related to wealth and class, and, I think, miss a lot of what this is about. I spoke about this some on my LJ, but a privilege can be a good thing that you can share with others, not necessarily something to make excuses for or search for some way of justifying. An example of a privilege that isn't often mentioned here is unimpaired mobility. I look around sometimes at cons and see the number of fans in mobies and wheelchairs, and think about the privilege of being able to walk up the stairs, something connected to neither class or wealth, yet still a privilege.
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2008-01-03 04:31 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I continue to be surprised at how incredibly emotional this is for people. Some folks are quite fixated on how they struggle or have struggled. Me, I'm mostly thankful. And yes, privileges like mobility and decent eyesight are worth an incredible amount, but that also points up how malleable that term is.
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User: pauljessup
Date: 2008-01-03 14:24 (UTC)
Subject: Didit in mines

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Chang...  just Chang.: Skull - TACKY
User: chang3002
Date: 2008-01-03 22:34 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:Skull - TACKY
Oh, I did it alright. And copyrighted it.

I forgot my swimming lessons. Perhaps because I hated them so much.
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User: carmental
Date: 2008-01-05 17:55 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Yup I posted. From the looks of you had a much more privileged life than I... and yet I grew up with computers... hmm...

Still, pretty nifty...
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2008-01-05 17:57 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Yep, no computers, no VCRs or cable tv, no video games. I may as well have grown up in a sod house on the prairie.
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