Office Hours Pt 2: Reader Response

All the feedback I’ve been getting from this blogging thing so far has been really overwhelmingly amazing, and I want to take this time out to re-post a comment–well, I should call it a sick POST in its own right :D–that one of my friends from high school took the time to carefully craft. Yesterday I posted about my own experience with privilege and how I feel negatively implicated within it. It’s really important to me that I write solely about my own perceptions and not to try to make my personal experiences representative of anyone else’s views or opinions; while this allows me to avoid distorting somebody else’s life experience, it is limiting in that my views are individual thoughts. Regardless of whether someone else can relate to what I’m saying, it’s nice to be able to post about someone else’s perspective, especially written in their own words.
I went into my professor’s office hours today to tell her that I had put some more thought into what we discussed last week considering white privilege, that I had indeed felt so strongly that I wrote a blog post about it and that sparked a new kind of conversation. Something today that struck a chord with me was her new assertion: in order to bring about any change in the way we view the world, we need to re-evaluate the stories we tell and whose experiences are brought to the forefront as the most important narratives within our society. Being that I alone can’t tell an all-encompassing account of the ways in which privilege functions, I want to let my friend Latiesha take over and tell her side of it, I feel like it’s important for this blog to take into account all sides to every story. She details her experience below as a bi-racial young woman and the consequent challenges she faces, how white privilege affects her.

“A week ago a friend and I actually talked about white privilege. Her women studies class had to read an article on privilege and then did an exercise to see how much privilege they had, based on sex, family back ground, where they grew up, etc. If i remember correctly, there were 12 different categories(types?) that you could score in. My friend scored an 8. And I? A 5. Can you guess what’s stopping me from scoring higher?

The reading and exercise got me thinking about my day to day experiences. The more I thought, the more I could identify where white privilege was evident in my life (mainly because I noticed I didn’t have it).

1) I love to read. I do pretty damn well in school if I say so myself. I’m not particularly interested in rap, hip hop or R&B music (I love country and would kill to meet Hayley Williams from Paramore). For this, and more, I’m “white washed”. The “white girl”. And I think, why? Because of the way I speak and act I’m denied half of who I am? My friends, the majority of whom are white, all have different interests and tastes. Very few of them deal with this. I can’t pinpoint exactly what bothers me so much about it, but it does. I am me. I am neither one nor the other. Who I am and how I act should not negate either half.

2) Magazines, specifically their hair and make up sections. I love make up. Not very skilled with it, but it’s fun. I buy cosmo ( and steal my sisters’ copies of seventeen) and am continuously disappointed. Although seventeen is better with it, barely any of the make up tips or products are marketed to or usable on my skin tone. Bright red lipstick may look beautiful on you, but it looks ridiculous on me. I’d do awful things to find a purple eye liner that would show up on me, but every one advertised is too light. And their hair tips. Beautiful braided buns, wispy up dos, curls galore. But wait. What hair texture is that? Oh. Right. Straight to wavy. Loose curls at most. Definitely can’t do my hair like that. Seventeen did a ” special segment” on ” natural” hair (aka, black). Except a) it wasn’t natural, it was relaxed, b) it was the first time I’d EVER seen any hair styles for black hair and c) why? Why did it take so long? Not everyone reading these magazines is white yet the grand majority of their advertisements and beauty selection is geared that way. Everyone should be able to open a beauty and fashion magazine and find things to help make them feel prettier than they already are.

3) I’m good at my job now, and I hope to be a great child and youth worker one day. But will I have to worry about being accused of getting my job, promotions, etc, because of how I look rather than my abilities?

4) Racist jokes. If I take offense to them, I’m ” sensitive, over reacting, it’s funny!” Hell no. One of my white friends takes offense? The joke is suddenly seen for what it is. Damaging, hurtful, cruel.

I’ve been lucky. I’ve only been slightly discriminated against once (although “lucky” may be the wrong word to use). I notice all this around me but it doesn’t hurt me too badly. Although from how long I went on about the hair and make up, you can tell it annoys me lol. No, I’m not as privileged as some, but so far my life’s pretty beautiful. The fact that any one person is more or less privileged than any other for things that they cannot claim as accomplishments, that they did nothing to earn and were born into is awful and should change. But the more aware if it we become, the closer we can come to changing it. And this doesn’t just go for white privilege. Male privilege, heterosexual privilege, religious privilege, ableism, hell, even ” living- in-a- city- privilege”. Everyone deserves an equal start.”

Well said Latiesha!! Thoughts anyone?

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About The Girl on Bloor

I'm a busy 20-something about town living in downtown Toronto and creating fun, easy recipes for those on the go!
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