Author Topic: How poor was your family when you were a kid?  (Read 13609 times)

onlykelsey

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Re: How poor was your family when you were a kid?
« Reply #50 on: October 13, 2016, 08:48:30 AM »
My family was not poor.  I was raised by my mom (with my sister), and although her wages weren't high we had incredible health insurance and the neighbors/cousins babysat us until we started school so she could work.  In today's dollars, she earned about 35K yearly pre-tax in a medium-high cost of living area, but had very low-cost childcare, health care, and a small pension, so it wasn't that bad.  We did qualify for reduced price .30 cent lunches at school most years, but never free lunch, and we certainly never went without food.

GrumpyPenguin

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Re: How poor was your family when you were a kid?
« Reply #51 on: October 13, 2016, 02:08:37 PM »
Grew up watching my parents put themselves through college, living on tight budgets with one parent working at a time.

Brother and I grew up to be pretty successful.  I think it's the partial Asian American privilege. You all know that Asian American privilege is even greater than White privilege right?! Oh Snap. But it's true according to the statistics.

uppy

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Re: How poor was your family when you were a kid?
« Reply #52 on: October 13, 2016, 04:32:56 PM »
This website sums up pretty well how I feel about the term white privilege, I don't think I could say it any better: http://occupywallstreet.net/story/explaining-white-privilege-broke-white-person
I don't necessarily agree/or disagree with anything else on that website though.

Maybe true for the states?  What if everybody is white though? Then you dont have privilege  your just the same as everybody else.
Where I grew up almost everybody was white.

Yes, I am just talking about the US, because that is where I grew up. For instance I don't think there is much of an advantage/disadvantage in the US based upon gender (This was not the case even a decade or two ago). But there are certainly countries where women are not equal. I asked my wife last night if she felt that she had been dis-advantaged in life because she was a woman. She replied that actually she had been able to use it to her advantage because she was able to get scholarships and grants that she would not get if she was male. However, she was born into a middle class family with lots of connections and financial stability. Most of the people she knew growing up were doctors and lawyers. She is certainly somebody who I consider to have been born somewhat privileged. If she had been born poor her answer may have been different because people tend to confuse skin color or gender with other factors like poverty or lack of education, or culture, or speaking a different language.

It's not just in the US. This is true in Asia, in India, on a relative scale from "light" skin to "dark" skin when it comes to ethnicity. Even in Africa, darker skin color is most often thought of as lower on the ethnic and social ladder, and is regularly discriminated against (or is the target of outright genocide).

It's one thing to say you are disadvantaged compared to the people around you. It's another thing to deny that being white has certain privileges that you can never have as a person of color. (Or, put another way, being a person of color has certain disadvantages specific to their skin color that a white person will probably never experience).

Here's another bomb I'm about to drop on those of you who are unfamiliar with this stuff. It's impossible to be racist if you're black.

I'll just wait and see what kind of outrage that little nugget inspires.

onlykelsey

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Re: How poor was your family when you were a kid?
« Reply #53 on: October 13, 2016, 04:56:11 PM »
This website sums up pretty well how I feel about the term white privilege, I don't think I could say it any better: http://occupywallstreet.net/story/explaining-white-privilege-broke-white-person
I don't necessarily agree/or disagree with anything else on that website though.

Maybe true for the states?  What if everybody is white though? Then you dont have privilege  your just the same as everybody else.
Where I grew up almost everybody was white.

Yes, I am just talking about the US, because that is where I grew up. For instance I don't think there is much of an advantage/disadvantage in the US based upon gender (This was not the case even a decade or two ago). But there are certainly countries where women are not equal. I asked my wife last night if she felt that she had been dis-advantaged in life because she was a woman. She replied that actually she had been able to use it to her advantage because she was able to get scholarships and grants that she would not get if she was male. However, she was born into a middle class family with lots of connections and financial stability. Most of the people she knew growing up were doctors and lawyers. She is certainly somebody who I consider to have been born somewhat privileged. If she had been born poor her answer may have been different because people tend to confuse skin color or gender with other factors like poverty or lack of education, or culture, or speaking a different language.

It's not just in the US. This is true in Asia, in India, on a relative scale from "light" skin to "dark" skin when it comes to ethnicity. Even in Africa, darker skin color is most often thought of as lower on the ethnic and social ladder, and is regularly discriminated against (or is the target of outright genocide).

It's one thing to say you are disadvantaged compared to the people around you. It's another thing to deny that being white has certain privileges that you can never have as a person of color. (Or, put another way, being a person of color has certain disadvantages specific to their skin color that a white person will probably never experience).

Here's another bomb I'm about to drop on those of you who are unfamiliar with this stuff. It's impossible to be racist if you're black.

I'll just wait and see what kind of outrage that little nugget inspires.

I'm pretty sure I'll regret responding to this, but I"m not sure that's quite true.  When I lived in Texas, for example, I had the strange experience of both white and black Americans trying to engage me in public racist shaming of Mexicans (usually folks that I assume were immigrants or guest workers, not so much Mexican-Americans).  I was used to other white people trying to talk about how lazy that mother using food stamps in line in front of us must be, but it was jarring for me to be engaged by black people in similar ways with respect to Mexicans.  I think for your statement to hold, black would have to be the lowest rung in all areas of the world.

GrumpyPenguin

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Re: How poor was your family when you were a kid?
« Reply #54 on: October 13, 2016, 07:48:22 PM »
Here's another bomb I'm about to drop on those of you who are unfamiliar with this stuff. It's impossible to be racist if you're black.

I'll just wait and see what kind of outrage that little nugget inspires.

Ha, I'll bite too. That statement is logically false.

A "racist" is one who has "a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race," or alternatively "racial prejudice or discrimination."

There is logically nothing that prohibits any particular race from having such beliefs.

MMMaybe

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Re: How poor was your family when you were a kid?
« Reply #55 on: October 14, 2016, 09:34:29 AM »
Quote
Here's another bomb I'm about to drop on those of you who are unfamiliar with this stuff. It's impossible to be racist if you're black.

I'll just wait and see what kind of outrage that little nugget inspires.

Hahahahahaha. Whoever believes that rubbish, has not seen much of the world, clearly. Hahahahahahaha.

uppy

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Re: How poor was your family when you were a kid?
« Reply #56 on: October 14, 2016, 03:56:51 PM »
Here's another bomb I'm about to drop on those of you who are unfamiliar with this stuff. It's impossible to be racist if you're black.

I'll just wait and see what kind of outrage that little nugget inspires.

Ha, I'll bite too. That statement is logically false.

A "racist" is one who has "a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race," or alternatively "racial prejudice or discrimination."

There is logically nothing that prohibits any particular race from having such beliefs.

:) I'm glad (in some ways) to see people are getting upset. I admit it was a provocative and imperfectly-worded statement, but actually, it is true in a lot of ways.

I think for your statement to hold, black would have to be the lowest rung in all areas of the world.

That is true and it's why I admit it was imperfectly worded. Others have probably stated this concept much better, but the gist of it is this: A person can't be racist in the direction of power.

By which I mean, when you're talking about "isms" you're not talking about individual actions or experiences, you're talking about global trends. When you say so-and-so is "being racist" you're saying that person is upholding a trend seen throughout the world. All of the "isms" have implied victims. In sexism, the victim is always female because men, globally, have more power than women. So no, a female cannot be sexist either.

In racism, the victims are always people of color because globally (not individually), they are the ones who are disrciminated against, not white people.

The reason my statement was provocative and kinda ass-hatty -- despite the fact that it is technically true -- is that it comes down to semantics. A black person can essentially be racist towards a white person, but because of what the "isms" are all about -- who has the power in the world -- they are not truly being racist but they are being prejudiced.

This would be just as bad if the power dynamic on a global scale were not tilted the way that it is. But it is, so it's not. Even though prejudice is terrible, it is not as bad as racism, which, as I said before = prejudice + power.

Now I'm going to bow out of this discussion because I feel I've said my piece and some will agree and some will disagree, and that's reality. I've pulled the thread off topic to the extent that I felt compelled. Apologies for that, OP.

Cpa Cat

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Re: How poor was your family when you were a kid?
« Reply #57 on: October 14, 2016, 04:36:12 PM »
I grew up thinking we were poor. We certainly lived at or below the poverty line. There was no money for any extras. Our clothes were from the thrift store. I remember my mother crying over emergency expenses. She gave up her car because she couldn't afford it. When my bike was stolen, there was no money to replace it and a friend gave me an old used bike.

But I have a different perspective now that I'm an adult.

We never went on welfare, because my father paid child support without fail, so we couldn't.

My mother chose to go to school and was a student until I was 19 years old. Ours was poverty of choice. My mother's dream was to get a PhD. She lived a true MMM lifestyle to make that work on basically our child support and a little part time TA'ing.

When I was older, I realized that my father would have replaced my stolen bike if I had asked him - but I was discouraged from asking. I was told that he would never agree to pay for anything. My father unexpectedly paid for my college housing, and offered to pay for more. I suspect that I was discouraged from asking for anything from him because my mom was afraid he'd criticize her for not getting a real job. I actually grew up resenting him because I thought he was secretly making us live in poverty while living with his "other family" - but really he was just hanging in the background as a safety net.

Not too long ago, two friends were over and they were absentmindedly peeling old cheese off a pizza box on my counter and I commented that we can give them real food and to stop being gross. Friend A said that to him this was real food, because when he can recall being little and eating the greasy cardboard from a pizza box that he found in the garbage because he was so hungry and there was no food.

Friend B nodded along and said that he remembers doing the same thing because his mom was mentally ill and sometimes wouldn't buy food because she refused to leave the house. The kids would steal her cash and order pizza. But when the cash ran out, the pizza box was what was left.

I never had to eat cardboard because I was hungry. I always had food to eat. The discussion made me realize that as a kid, I had no F-ing clue what it meant to be poor.


dodojojo

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Re: How poor was your family when you were a kid?
« Reply #58 on: October 14, 2016, 07:42:05 PM »
Mainly below the line poverty poor.  It was mixed because we were immigrants and in the old country, my mom grew up relatively well off (father was self-made business, home had domestic servants, etc).  But in the US, my mom was a single parent without education and language skills who worked in the service industry.

I knew we didn't have much but we always had food and enough for me to concentrate on going to school.  There was stability as my mom always paid the rent and bills on time.  Almost everyone around us were in the same boat so it was just normal.  I do remember though once I visited my best friend's house.  She lived far away from our school out in the suburbs.  She enrolled in oiur school using her local grandmother's address as it was close to her dad's business and I guess they wanted the convenience of granny providing childcare after school.  So I had visited her at her grandmother's home which was nearby.  But one time, her dad drove me to their suburban home and I remember it was eye-opening.  Looking back,it wasn't like they lived such a luxurious life, they were probably at the time, pretty middle-class.  But I was silently in awe they actually had a house.  They had a proper living room, dining room, and a second floor with multiple bedrooms.  At the time, I was sharing a room with my mom and brother.  She had her own bedroom with actual furnishings. I slept on the floor on a mat that was rolled up in the morning and put away in the closet.  My mom sub-let the apartment's living room to an old man.  Their living room had a large color TV, we had a 13 inch black and white one.  I could go on and on. Remembering it as an adult--seeing how the 'other' half lived quietly popped my perspective of normal.  And the fact that a regular middle class family was the other half to me shows how low my expectations of being "well off" were.

Sadly, I have to admit the visit changed our friendship. We were still friends and there was never a blow-up (our friendship ended as we went to different junior high schools), but the dynamic of our friendship was different.  Maybe I was envious or felt an inferiority complex but something changed.

oldtoyota

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Re: How poor was your family when you were a kid?
« Reply #59 on: October 14, 2016, 09:04:02 PM »
All this talk about white privilege is weird. I prefer to use the term advantage. Different people are born with different advantages or dis-advantages in life. Some of the variables that can advantage or disadvantage a person are: family wealth or education level or social status, skin color, gender, height, weight, attractiveness, and intelligence. In my opinion the education level of the family you are born into is the biggest factor in determining how much advantage you have in life over your peers. This is probably closely followed by how intelligent the person is and then by how wealthy their family is. I think height, and attractiveness are big advantages too. Gender is a big factor, but it is not clear to me that one gender has an "advantage", at least in rich western countries. Men may tend to go into higher paying professions, but women tend to work less hours and at less dangerous jobs, and take time off to raise kids, which is hard work, but unpaid. Also, since men and women tend to marry, their incomes are really shared as a family. I think one of the least significant advantages/disadvantages is a persons skin color. An attractive, intelligent black women born into an educated wealthy family is MUCH more advantaged than an attractive intelligent white women born into a poor uneducated family.

So, I guess skin color is really superficial compared to all the other factors in somebodies life. Right? At some point you have to accept the cards you have been dealt and take ownership of your life. I was born into a poor, uneducated family, with substance abuse issues. Nobody in my family went to college. At some point in my life, maybe around the age of 16 I decided to stop feeling sorry for myself and blaming the world around me. Even though I had terrible grades in high school I worked my way through community college and then into a decent university and got a STEM degree. I am well on my way to FI. There is no way I would be where I am at if I thought of myself like a victim of society. A closely family member of mine still plays the victim card, and doesn't realize that where she is in life is 100% due to her choices. She is now homeless.

So statistically groups with certain skin colors do better in life, so what? Statistics can be really misleading. That doesn't mean anything to the individual. It really doesn't help to attach victim labels to whole groups of people just based on trivial things like skin color or gender.
Oh my gosh, you are kidding right?

Just because you "think" it's not a real thing, and it doesn't matter?  Statistics, studies, people who actually study this for a living and are experts... you don't believe them because it doesn't "feel" right?

Tell that to my college roommates brother, who was Italian but "dark", and got pulled over ALL THE TIME by Police.  Racial profiling.
Tell it to the black people who still are still only likely to make as much  money, with a college degree, as a white guy with a high school diploma.
And gender bias, are you living under a rock?  I can tell you as a woman in a man's world, gender bias is alive and well.  "Women take time off", "women work fewer hours", "women work easier jobs".  Fuck that.  I DON'T and I DIDN'T.

Being white is the biggest advantage.

Sounds like a white person talking.

freeedom

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Re: How poor was your family when you were a kid?
« Reply #60 on: October 15, 2016, 04:02:58 AM »
Single father. I grew up in my grandmothers boarding house. My father rented a room that we shared. So, pretty poor.

gggggg

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Re: How poor was your family when you were a kid?
« Reply #61 on: October 15, 2016, 06:21:05 AM »
I'd say we were solidly middle class. Both parents worked decent jobs, split level house, two cars, I was in paid sports and activities. They still were pretty frugal; I mostly wore hand me downs. Ate lots of mac and cheese and ramen when I was younger; rarely ate out, or went to the mall. They did manage to stay out of debt (besides mortgage). Nowadays, I'd say my parents are worth around 1.5 mil, give or take.

GrumpyPenguin

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Re: How poor was your family when you were a kid?
« Reply #62 on: October 15, 2016, 07:43:08 AM »
:) I'm glad (in some ways) to see people are getting upset. I admit it was a provocative and imperfectly-worded statement, but actually, it is true in a lot of ways.

I think for your statement to hold, black would have to be the lowest rung in all areas of the world.

That is true and it's why I admit it was imperfectly worded. Others have probably stated this concept much better, but the gist of it is this: A person can't be racist in the direction of power.

By which I mean, when you're talking about "isms" you're not talking about individual actions or experiences, you're talking about global trends. When you say so-and-so is "being racist" you're saying that person is upholding a trend seen throughout the world. All of the "isms" have implied victims. In sexism, the victim is always female because men, globally, have more power than women. So no, a female cannot be sexist either.

In racism, the victims are always people of color because globally (not individually), they are the ones who are disrciminated against, not white people.

The reason my statement was provocative and kinda ass-hatty -- despite the fact that it is technically true -- is that it comes down to semantics. A black person can essentially be racist towards a white person, but because of what the "isms" are all about -- who has the power in the world -- they are not truly being racist but they are being prejudiced.

This would be just as bad if the power dynamic on a global scale were not tilted the way that it is. But it is, so it's not. Even though prejudice is terrible, it is not as bad as racism, which, as I said before = prejudice + power.

Now I'm going to bow out of this discussion because I feel I've said my piece and some will agree and some will disagree, and that's reality. I've pulled the thread off topic to the extent that I felt compelled. Apologies for that, OP.

Meh, I think we just disagree on what the term "upset" means.  I'm not upset, just pointing out a logical fallacy in the statement.  The absolute terms and phrases that are being stated, "impossible" and "can't be racist" are clearly false, used, as you say, purely to be provocative even though it appears that you know they are false.  In many ways, you'd agree that's the definition of troll, no?

[troll: make a deliberately offensive or provocative online posting with the aim of upsetting someone or eliciting an angry response from them.]

Metric Mouse

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Re: How poor was your family when you were a kid?
« Reply #63 on: October 15, 2016, 05:48:04 PM »
[troll: make a deliberately offensive or provocative online posting with the aim of upsetting someone or eliciting an angry response from them.]

Reminds me of a few posters on this site, and the threads they've started attacking popular presidential candidates.

Zikoris

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Re: How poor was your family when you were a kid?
« Reply #64 on: October 15, 2016, 06:11:52 PM »
Hmm... lower middle class maybe? My dad was a teacher and my mom did some part time office work here and there, but mostly not. They bought a house that was a lot more expensive than they should have, which ate up most of their money. I didn't do any sort of paid activities like sports or whatever, but I don't remember ever wanting to either. Me and my sister both started working in our early teens in order to buy the luxury stuff that our parents couldn't afford (video games mostly). We used the local library a lot, bought all our clothes at thrift stores, and rarely went to restaurants.

The logging trips were something I imagine a lot of people don't experience. Our house was heated with oil, but also had fireplaces. One year the price of oil skyrocketed, so we went to the bush every weekend with a chainsaw to go logging. It was good exercise - I actually put it down in the exercise log my PE class made me do. That must have confused the hell out of my teachers - "Logging, Saturday the 12th, 6 hours".

clarkfan1979

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Re: How poor was your family when you were a kid?
« Reply #65 on: October 15, 2016, 08:58:54 PM »
Probably at the median when my parents were married for the first 7 years of my life. Below the median from when they were divorced 7-12. Above the median when they both got remarried 13-18.

GrumpyPenguin

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Re: How poor was your family when you were a kid?
« Reply #66 on: October 16, 2016, 06:11:27 AM »
[troll: make a deliberately offensive or provocative online posting with the aim of upsetting someone or eliciting an angry response from them.]

Reminds me of a few posters on this site, and the threads they've started attacking popular presidential candidates.

Well played ;).

uppy

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Re: How poor was your family when you were a kid?
« Reply #67 on: October 16, 2016, 06:38:06 AM »
The absolute terms and phrases that are being stated, "impossible" and "can't be racist" are clearly false, used, as you say, purely to be provocative even though it appears that you know they are false.  In many ways, you'd agree that's the definition of troll, no?

[troll: make a deliberately offensive or provocative online posting with the aim of upsetting someone or eliciting an angry response from them.]

Provocative, yes. Intentionally provocative, no, but I am glad it got people talking.

False -- absolutely not, as I clarified with my following post. Conceding a point is not something a troll does.

mathjak107

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Re: How poor was your family when you were a kid?
« Reply #68 on: October 16, 2016, 07:12:38 AM »
i was so poor i couldn't even pay attention .

i grew up in a nyc housing project .

Zikoris

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Re: How poor was your family when you were a kid?
« Reply #69 on: October 16, 2016, 11:03:12 AM »
The absolute terms and phrases that are being stated, "impossible" and "can't be racist" are clearly false, used, as you say, purely to be provocative even though it appears that you know they are false.  In many ways, you'd agree that's the definition of troll, no?

[troll: make a deliberately offensive or provocative online posting with the aim of upsetting someone or eliciting an angry response from them.]

Provocative, yes. Intentionally provocative, no, but I am glad it got people talking.

False -- absolutely not, as I clarified with my following post. Conceding a point is not something a troll does.

Uppy, you should realize that there are currently two different sets of definitions for the "ism" terms (racism, sexism, etc) - the ones used by you and a relatively small group of academics, and the ones used by virtually everyone else. The vast majority of people do not feel the need to add identity qualifiers to obvious discriminatory behaviour before calling it racist or sexist. That's reality.

pudding

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Re: How poor was your family when you were a kid?
« Reply #70 on: October 19, 2016, 11:58:31 PM »
We used to eat our cereal with a fork to save milk.

Reminded me of my mom.  She bought cereal we didn't like, so it would last longer.

I buy beer I don't particularly like so I drink less

gp_

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Re: How poor was your family when you were a kid?
« Reply #71 on: October 20, 2016, 11:46:55 AM »
I was thinking about this the other day, I think because I'd been reading about white male privilege.

what was your thought process connecting white male privilege to the subject of this thread, just curious.
 

libertarian4321

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Re: How poor was your family when you were a kid?
« Reply #72 on: October 20, 2016, 06:07:59 PM »
This website sums up pretty well how I feel about the term white privilege, I don't think I could say it any better: http://occupywallstreet.net/story/explaining-white-privilege-broke-white-person
I don't necessarily agree/or disagree with anything else on that website though.

Some interesting points in that article.

Toward the end, it said

Quote
And listen, recognizing Privilege doesn't mean suffering guilt or shame for your lot in life. Nobody's saying that Straight White Middle Class Able-Bodied Males are all a bunch of assholes who don't work hard for what they have. Recognizing Privilege simply means being aware that some people have to work much harder just to experience the things you take for granted (if they ever can experience them at all.)

A couple of points.  First off, many of the folks who throw around the term "white privilege" tend to do so as a bludgeon to cut off any debate they disagree with.  In other words, they are saying "Straight White Middle Class Able-Bodied Males are all a bunch of assholes who don't work hard for what they have," and therefore their opinion doesn't matter.

This is pretty much what "check your privilege" means.

Regarding the second part "Recognizing Privilege simply means being aware that some people have to work much harder just to experience the things you take for granted (if they ever can experience them at all.)"  I think that is more about class than race.  And yeah, I know, white people tend to have more money than any race other than Asians.  But believe me, a black kid who's dad is a doctor DOES NOT have it harder than a white kid who's dad works as an industrial boiler repairman, barely making ends meet.  That black doctor's son will have experiences, and a life of ease, that the poor white kid could only dream of.

I suspect if you asked a rich black kid if he'd rather be black and rich, or white and poor, his honest answer would be the former.

And yeah, I get it, that rich black kid is more likely to be hassled by cops even when he is doing nothing wrong than even a poor white kid.  But it doesn't mean that the rich black kid is inherently less "privileged" overall than a poor white kid.

Seems to me that it might be wise to focus on eliminating the bad racist stuff (like the way police sometimes treat minorities) rather than promoting a form of reverse racism, which is the way the term "white privilege" is often used.

Anyway, I guess this is getting kinda sorta off topic, so I'll end this.

BlueHouse

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Re: How poor was your family when you were a kid?
« Reply #73 on: October 20, 2016, 07:10:52 PM »
This website sums up pretty well how I feel about the term white privilege, I don't think I could say it any better: http://occupywallstreet.net/story/explaining-white-privilege-broke-white-person
I don't necessarily agree/or disagree with anything else on that website though.

Maybe true for the states?  What if everybody is white though? Then you dont have privilege  your just the same as everybody else.
Where I grew up almost everybody was white.


Have a look at Ireland and the laws put in place to keep Catholics from renting, joining the Army, serving in Government, and much more.   Here's a great description of one party using laws to keep down another:  The Penal Laws were, according to Edmund Burke "a machine of wise and elaborate contrivance, as well fitted for the oppression, impoverishment and degradation of a people, and the debasement in them of human nature itself, as ever proceeded from the perverted ingenuity of man.

This contrivance can exist across race, nationality, gender, origin, just about any distinction that man can identify or invent. 

shelivesthedream

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Re: How poor was your family when you were a kid?
« Reply #74 on: October 21, 2016, 02:57:07 AM »
I've always thought that "privilege" was always implicitly preceded by "all other things being equal". Sure, white privilege exists, but not to the exclusion of every other facet of someone's life. So a white doctor's son is more privileged than a black doctor's son, all other things being equal. Surely no one ever claims that a white girl on benefits and living in the back of beyond and kept home from school by her abusive single parent is more privileged than a black doctor's son? So if the black doctor's son starts hawking around about white privilege, the aforementioned white girl can hawk right back about male privilege and class privilege and education privilege and city privilege and whatever.

I *think* that this is what intersectionality is about - that any given privilege does not exist in a vacuum. Which is a fair point. I've got all the white, RP, privately educated privilege you could want, but I'm a woman. My female disadvantage can't be looked at by itself to cry some "woe is me" story because it co-exists with all the other stuff. And no matter how much female disadvantage I might have, I can't deny that a black woman or a working class woman or a lesbian woman probably has more disadvantage.

I will agree that many people do talk like "Straight White Middle Class Able-Bodied Males are all a bunch of assholes who don't work hard for what they have". I often feel ashamed of my privileged background because I do feel like people discount much of the hard work and struggles I have had in my life next to the enormously privileged birth and upbringing I have had. However, that's kind of my problem because life is not some kind of privilege/disadvantage competition. It's not my fault I was born white and middle class, any more than it's anyone else's fault that they were born anything else.

But we do need to recognise that just because everybody is white doesn't mean they're all the same. It's like a privilege equation where there are lots of inputs (for race, class, gender, disability, sexual orientation, etc etc) to determine the outcome. And maybe in different places the weighting might be different, but you can only really look at one kind of privilege with the caveat "all other things being equal". Which I why I hate the phrase "check your privilege" because it implies that you KNOW that everything else between you and the alleged privileged person is equal, and you can never know what their personal history is. Maybe we could change it to something less aggressive, like "privately consider the possibility of your privilege"...? :)

pudding

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Re: How poor was your family when you were a kid?
« Reply #75 on: October 21, 2016, 09:09:04 PM »
I've always thought that "privilege" was always implicitly preceded by "all other things being equal". Sure, white privilege exists, but not to the exclusion of every other facet of someone's life. So a white doctor's son is more privileged than a black doctor's son, all other things being equal. Surely no one ever claims that a white girl on benefits and living in the back of beyond and kept home from school by her abusive single parent is more privileged than a black doctor's son? So if the black doctor's son starts hawking around about white privilege, the aforementioned white girl can hawk right back about male privilege and class privilege and education privilege and city privilege and whatever.

I *think* that this is what intersectionality is about - that any given privilege does not exist in a vacuum. Which is a fair point. I've got all the white, RP, privately educated privilege you could want, but I'm a woman. My female disadvantage can't be looked at by itself to cry some "woe is me" story because it co-exists with all the other stuff. And no matter how much female disadvantage I might have, I can't deny that a black woman or a working class woman or a lesbian woman probably has more disadvantage.

I will agree that many people do talk like "Straight White Middle Class Able-Bodied Males are all a bunch of assholes who don't work hard for what they have". I often feel ashamed of my privileged background because I do feel like people discount much of the hard work and struggles I have had in my life next to the enormously privileged birth and upbringing I have had. However, that's kind of my problem because life is not some kind of privilege/disadvantage competition. It's not my fault I was born white and middle class, any more than it's anyone else's fault that they were born anything else.

But we do need to recognise that just because everybody is white doesn't mean they're all the same. It's like a privilege equation where there are lots of inputs (for race, class, gender, disability, sexual orientation, etc etc) to determine the outcome. And maybe in different places the weighting might be different, but you can only really look at one kind of privilege with the caveat "all other things being equal". Which I why I hate the phrase "check your privilege" because it implies that you KNOW that everything else between you and the alleged privileged person is equal, and you can never know what their personal history is. Maybe we could change it to something less aggressive, like "privately consider the possibility of your privilege"...? :)


Agreed! part of the reason I started my post saying I was thinking of white male privilege is because a couple of times here in Canada I've had white middle class women telling me I'm more privileged than them.  And I start to blow steam out of my ears.

Even to say that men are more privileged than women is not as clear cut as people make it out to be.

96? % of workplace deaths are women and only 4% are men!  Shocking??

Women are 4 times more likely to commit suicide that men?

Men live an average of 7 years longer than women at all stages of life...  are they privileged?

If you get divorced and go to family court theres a 75 % chance the kids will be given to the father!!!!! are the mothers being treated fairly?

Shocking statistics that almost no body knows !!

Really its the other way around. Swap male for female.

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Re: How poor was your family when you were a kid?
« Reply #76 on: October 21, 2016, 09:24:05 PM »
I've always thought that "privilege" was always implicitly preceded by "all other things being equal". Sure, white privilege exists, but not to the exclusion of every other facet of someone's life. So a white doctor's son is more privileged than a black doctor's son, all other things being equal. Surely no one ever claims that a white girl on benefits and living in the back of beyond and kept home from school by her abusive single parent is more privileged than a black doctor's son? So if the black doctor's son starts hawking around about white privilege, the aforementioned white girl can hawk right back about male privilege and class privilege and education privilege and city privilege and whatever.

Doesn't that contradict this:

And no matter how much female disadvantage I might have, I can't deny that a black woman or a working class woman or a lesbian woman probably has more disadvantage.

?

I think "Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack" covers the situation you mentioned - Even the poor white girl has the advantages of:

Being around people who are mostly the same race as her.

Can go shopping alone most of the time, pretty well assured that she will not be followed or harassed.

Can count on her skin color not to work against the appearance of financial reliability.

Does not have to educate her children to be aware of systemic racism for their own daily physical protection.

Not having to wonder if a decision made by an employer/school etc. was based partly upon her race.

Can swear, or dress in second hand clothes, or not answer letters, without having people attribute these choices to the bad morals, the poverty or the illiteracy of her race.

Can be pretty sure that if she asks to talk to the “person in charge”, she will be facing a person of her own race.

etc. etc.


So while class and wealth do offer privilege, certain races will still be disadvantaged in many ways when compared to white people.

VladTheImpaler

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Re: How poor was your family when you were a kid?
« Reply #77 on: October 21, 2016, 09:35:44 PM »
All this talk about white privilege is weird. I prefer to use the term advantage. Different people are born with different advantages or dis-advantages in life. Some of the variables that can advantage or disadvantage a person are: family wealth or education level or social status, skin color, gender, height, weight, attractiveness, and intelligence. In my opinion the education level of the family you are born into is the biggest factor in determining how much advantage you have in life over your peers. This is probably closely followed by how intelligent the person is and then by how wealthy their family is. I think height, and attractiveness are big advantages too. Gender is a big factor, but it is not clear to me that one gender has an "advantage", at least in rich western countries. Men may tend to go into higher paying professions, but women tend to work less hours and at less dangerous jobs, and take time off to raise kids, which is hard work, but unpaid. Also, since men and women tend to marry, their incomes are really shared as a family. I think one of the least significant advantages/disadvantages is a persons skin color. An attractive, intelligent black women born into an educated wealthy family is MUCH more advantaged than an attractive intelligent white women born into a poor uneducated family.

So, I guess skin color is really superficial compared to all the other factors in somebodies life. Right? At some point you have to accept the cards you have been dealt and take ownership of your life. I was born into a poor, uneducated family, with substance abuse issues. Nobody in my family went to college. At some point in my life, maybe around the age of 16 I decided to stop feeling sorry for myself and blaming the world around me. Even though I had terrible grades in high school I worked my way through community college and then into a decent university and got a STEM degree. I am well on my way to FI. There is no way I would be where I am at if I thought of myself like a victim of society. A closely family member of mine still plays the victim card, and doesn't realize that where she is in life is 100% due to her choices. She is now homeless.

So statistically groups with certain skin colors do better in life, so what? Statistics can be really misleading. That doesn't mean anything to the individual. It really doesn't help to attach victim labels to whole groups of people just based on trivial things like skin color or gender.

100% exactly my viewpoint.
I agree that life is the result of personal choices.
I am a white male and I will never ever apologize for that.

human

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Re: How poor was your family when you were a kid?
« Reply #78 on: October 22, 2016, 08:08:06 PM »
All this talk about white privilege is weird. I prefer to use the term advantage. Different people are born with different advantages or dis-advantages in life. Some of the variables that can advantage or disadvantage a person are: family wealth or education level or social status, skin color, gender, height, weight, attractiveness, and intelligence. In my opinion the education level of the family you are born into is the biggest factor in determining how much advantage you have in life over your peers. This is probably closely followed by how intelligent the person is and then by how wealthy their family is. I think height, and attractiveness are big advantages too. Gender is a big factor, but it is not clear to me that one gender has an "advantage", at least in rich western countries. Men may tend to go into higher paying professions, but women tend to work less hours and at less dangerous jobs, and take time off to raise kids, which is hard work, but unpaid. Also, since men and women tend to marry, their incomes are really shared as a family. I think one of the least significant advantages/disadvantages is a persons skin color. An attractive, intelligent black women born into an educated wealthy family is MUCH more advantaged than an attractive intelligent white women born into a poor uneducated family.

So, I guess skin color is really superficial compared to all the other factors in somebodies life. Right? At some point you have to accept the cards you have been dealt and take ownership of your life. I was born into a poor, uneducated family, with substance abuse issues. Nobody in my family went to college. At some point in my life, maybe around the age of 16 I decided to stop feeling sorry for myself and blaming the world around me. Even though I had terrible grades in high school I worked my way through community college and then into a decent university and got a STEM degree. I am well on my way to FI. There is no way I would be where I am at if I thought of myself like a victim of society. A closely family member of mine still plays the victim card, and doesn't realize that where she is in life is 100% due to her choices. She is now homeless.

So statistically groups with certain skin colors do better in life, so what? Statistics can be really misleading. That doesn't mean anything to the individual. It really doesn't help to attach victim labels to whole groups of people just based on trivial things like skin color or gender.

100% exactly my viewpoint.
I agree that life is the result of personal choices.
I am a white male and I will never ever apologize for that.

You had a particular disadvantage you overcame, good for you. I had the same background a family of a "ton o drunks" but I didn;t have to change my name on job applications to get interviews. Yes, I know people who after graduating with a STEM degree like you. Except they got no call backs or interviews ever until they changed their first name on the resume to something more Western. Anecdotal  - maybe, I give you that. I'm reading a lot of victim blaming here.

"oh there's systemic racism stopping people from getting ahead? So what get over yourselves!"

Really?
« Last Edit: October 22, 2016, 08:09:47 PM by human »

Gretamom

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Re: How poor was your family when you were a kid?
« Reply #79 on: October 22, 2016, 11:12:52 PM »
Poor
Memories from childhood:
Sometimes we had food and sometimes we didn't and sometimes I was so hungry that I picked the bugs out of the food and ate it anyways.
Sometimes we had hot water, sometimes I took cold showers, sometimes I tried to stay at a friends house so I could take a hot shower when our heat wasn't on.
Sometimes we had a telephone, sometimes I had to look for quarters in the couch and walk 2 blocks to the payphone.
I had a job at the age of 12 and often had to give my money to my family for bills.
No cable, No air conditioning, no feeling of security.

I don't remember feeling "privileged", but I do remember feeling loved so at least I had that.

I work my ass off so my three kids don't ever have to feel scared to flip a light switch, praying that the light will turn on. 


sol

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Re: How poor was your family when you were a kid?
« Reply #80 on: October 22, 2016, 11:35:55 PM »
My single-parent childhood was poor enough that we went without power or heat once in a while, but not so poor that I ever seriously considered going hungry.  Growing up in the US means there is always food available to you somewhere.

But despite totally qualifying as "poverty-stricken" based on our household income, I never really felt we were that poor.  My public school teachers always expected me to go to college, for example, which is not the case for a lot of kids in a lot of schools.  My house was filled with books.  I was able to participate in recreational activities like school sports, which really poor people cannot (for a variety of reasons unrelated to the cost of doing so).

Years later, I spent a few years traveling third world countries and rapidly realized how fortunate I had been, on all levels.  I never had to use leprosy as an excuse to beg for money on a street corner, like one family in Kathmandu.  I never slept in storefront doorways, like all the orphans on the streets of Nairobi.  Even the poorest people in American cities have it pretty good.  If you had at least one person in your family working a minimum wage job, you're better off than most of humanity.

But poverty, like wealth, is a relative thing.  There is always someone two or three rungs away from you on that ladder, now matter where you stand, but most people are blissfully unaware of it.