My Beautiful Wickedness


Stealing an idea from Martini Ministry
January 8, 2008, 10:21 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

A meme…thought it would be interesting to do this “privilege” meme for myself and then for my kid. You see, I worry sometimes that in trying to prepare her to be a citizen of the world, I’m actually creating a child with some massive blind spots to her own entitlement. I know that the difference between our raising will eventually lead to a bit of a gulf politically between us — I just hope that’s not too painful for us.

Here’s mine (since this is administered usually to college kids, I’ll bold the statements that were true for me before I went to college — obviously, since I am a prof now and am married to a prof and fly around the country to conferences, I’ve zoomed upwards in privilege by this assessment’s measure)

If your father went to college before you started
If your father finished college before you started
If your mother went to college before you started
If your mother finished college before you started
If you have any relative who is an attorney, physician, or professor.
If your family was the same or higher class than your high school teachers
If you had a computer at home when you were growing up
If you had your own computer at home when you were growing up
If you had more than 50 books at home when you were growing up
If you had more than 500 books at home when you were growing up
If were read children’s books by a parent when you were growing up
If you ever had lessons of any kind as a child or a teen
If you had more than two kinds of lessons as a child or a teen
If the people in the media who dress and talk like you were portrayed positively
If you had a credit card with your name on it before college
If you had or will have less than $5000 in student loans when you graduate
If you had or will have no student loans when you graduate
If you went to a private high school
If you went to summer camp
If you had a private tutor
(US students only) If you have been to Europe more than once as a child or teen
(International question) If you have been to the US more than once as a child or teen
If your family vacations involved staying at hotels rather than KOA or at relatives homes
If all of your clothing has been new
If your parents gave you a car that was not a hand-me-down from them
If there was original art in your house as a child or teen
If you had a phone in your room
If your parent owned their own house or apartment when you were a child or teen
If you had your own room as a child or teen

If you participated in an SAT/ACT prep course
If you had your own cell phone in High School
If you had your own TV as a child or teen
If you opened a mutual fund or IRA in High School or College
If you have ever flown anywhere on a commercial airline
If you ever went on a cruise with your family
If your parents took you to museums and art galleries as a child or teen
If you were unaware of how much heating bills were for your family

Now, here’s my daughter’s:

If your father went to college before you started
If your father finished college before you started
If your mother went to college before you started
If your mother finished college before you started
If you have any relative who is an attorney, physician, or professor.
If your family was the same or higher class than your high school teachers
If you had a computer at home when you were growing up

If you had your own computer at home when you were growing up
If you had more than 50 books at home when you were growing up
If you had more than 500 books at home when you were growing up
If were read children’s books by a parent when you were growing up
If you ever had lessons of any kind as a child or a teen
If you had more than two kinds of lessons as a child or a teen
If the people in the media who dress and talk like you were portrayed positively

If you had a credit card with your name on it before college
If you had or will have less than $5000 in student loans when you graduate
If you had or will have no student loans when you graduate
If you went to a private school
If you went to summer camp
If you had a private tutor
(US students only) If you have been to Europe more than once as a child or teen
(International question) If you have been to the US more than once as a child or teen
If your family vacations involved staying at hotels rather than KOA or at relatives homes
If all of your clothing has been new
If your parents gave you a car that was not a hand-me-down from them
If there was original art in your house as a child or teen
If you had a phone in your room
If your parent owned their own house or apartment when you were a child or teen
If you had your own room as a child or teen
If you participated in an SAT/ACT prep course
If you had your own cell phone in High School
If you had your own TV as a child or teen
If you opened a mutual fund or IRA in High School or College
If you have ever flown anywhere on a commercial airline
If you ever went on a cruise with your family
If your parents took you to museums and art galleries as a child or teen
If you were unaware of how much heating bills were for your family

Now, true…she’ll never have her own TV in her room or probably will have her own phone; SAT/ACT prep is a waste of money; and I have no idea what a mutual fund even is. But still, the differences between where she is right now and where I was are just…well, cause for pause as I reflect on the ways I’m fulfilling the duties of parenthood and what kind of person I’m helping her to become.

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4 Comments so far
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[…] meme at Martini Ministry a few days ago and thought about doing it. Then I saw it again over at bridgett’s, and I really decided that since I’ve got so little to ramble about here, I would give it a […]

Pingback by Lucky Me « Just Another Pretty Farce

If your father went to college before you started
If your father finished college before you started
If your mother went to college before you started
If your mother finished college before you started
If you have any relative who is an attorney, physician, or professor.
If your family was the same or higher class than your high school teachers
If you had a computer at home when you were growing up.

If you had your own computer at home when you were growing up
If you had more than 50 books at home when you were growing up
If you had more than 500 books at home when you were growing up
If were read children’s books by a parent when you were growing up
If you ever had lessons of any kind as a child or a teen
If you had more than two kinds of lessons as a child or a teen
If the people in the media who dress and talk like you were portrayed positively

If you had a credit card with your name on it before college
If you had or will have less than $5000 in student loans when you graduate
If you had or will have no student loans when you graduate
If you went to a private high school
If you went to summer camp
If you had a private tutor

(US students only) If you have been to Europe more than once as a child or teen
(International question) If you have been to the US more than once as a child or teen
If your family vacations involved staying at hotels rather than KOA or at relatives homes
If all of your clothing has been new
If your parents gave you a car that was not a hand-me-down from them
If there was original art in your house as a child or teen (Does it count if it was done by relatives? My dad and my grandfather both did art and hung it in the house.)
If you had a phone in your room
If your parent owned their own house or apartment when you were a child or teen
If you had your own room as a child or teen
(technically, anyway…)
If you participated in an SAT/ACT prep course
If you had your own cell phone in High School
If you had your own TV as a child or teen
If you opened a mutual fund or IRA in High School or College
If you have ever flown anywhere on a commercial airline
If you ever went on a cruise with your family
If your parents took you to museums and art galleries as a child or teen
If you were unaware of how much heating bills were for your family

Gracious. That’s a good exercise. I took the same issue with some of the questions that you did (TV in room/phone in room/SAT/ACT prep./credit card.. those are all parental choices having to do with value judgment rather than actual resources. If you have a TV in every room but your room and the bathroom, like in my house, it probably counts.)

Comment by Magniloquence

… aand then I posted before I finished my sentence.

Anyway, I was saying that although I took the same issue that you did, it really opened my eyes. I’ve always had a struggle with the whole ‘class privilege’ thing, because my family is pretty oddly situated. My parents make a lot relative to the national average, but not much for the area we live in. My wardrobe is about 2/3 hand-me-downs (even now, as a not-living-in-my-parents-house-adult), and we used to have bags of clothes and/or food spontaneously appear on our porch from church members. I took a lot of extra-curricular classes when I was a kid, but many of them were free or subsidized. We had (and have) a lot of electronics and furniture of varying degrees of wow, but a lot (nearly all of the furniture and about half of the big appliances) of that was from gifts from relatives or other non-purchased largesse. I had friends in high school who always had newer clothes and more toys (and more disposable income) than I did, but who I knew had never seen a doctor or a dentist and wouldn’t be going to college.

.. and so on and so forth. It was interesting to be able to chronicle the ways in which that still adds up to privilege, even if it’s really differently situated than I’ve been trained to think about it. (Especially after going to college with kids from vastly richer backgrounds. My college boyfriend’s family owned a large sailboat, a timeshare at Whistler, and absorbed the cost of our ridiculously expensive school without any student loans… and still didn’t bat an eye financially when their daughter broke her neck snowboarding and needed PT and hosue renovations. And he percieved himself as being financially at the same level my family was, because he had to work for his pocket money.)

Comment by Magniloquence

[…] meme.  I’ve seen variants on this go around before, and I think I did it in the comments at Bridgett’s place, but I thought I’d post one here, too.  From Social Class and Quakers, based on an exercise […]

Pingback by Measuring Class Privilege « Feline Formal Shorts




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