Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Whose Privilege

Help me work through this. I’ve always been intentional on remaining down-to-earth. Don’t get me wrong I do not come from riches nor rags but rather a more modest background. But I’ve always been encouraged to seek education and a future my ancestors would be proud of. Furthermore, I’m highly educated and down-to-earth. The importance of me repeating down-to-earth is because too often people who achieve any sort of status or growth forget or deny their heritage. Personally, I’m grateful for the ups and downs of my heritage for they made me who I am. And will help me to relate to all persons no matter my social status.
Sooo..lately I have been getting irritated beyond belief. I am to the point where I get headaches and shut-down in the midst of group discussions. What is it that irritates me so? On two different occasions in the same location persons have disrespected me, for the lack of better words. Occasion one (I can’t reveal a great deal due to privacy but just try to follow), keep in mind that I am of African descent and woman.  

Occasion one, a self-proclaimed white, clergy, male looked at me, used no words, but pointed and directed me as if I was unable to understand the English language in which he speaks with others.  Immediately I noticed all these symbols and expectations being thrown at me and I was pissed; instantly! Only for him to follow with another unspoken act that undoubtedly  stated, since I don’t trust you I’m going to do this....so you will know exactly what this nonverbal conversation was about and that I have power over you.

Second incident, several colleagues and I were conversing about religion in a public area. No one was in view that we could have possibly disturbed except for one white male. This male came over, leaned on a rail and stated, “Hi, you all have four choices, 1. Take this conversation on religion to the atrium downstairs, two: go back into your classroom and talk, or three: don’t have the conversation” Either he never said the fourth choice or I was to livid to hear it. The preface to his suggestion was, others are trying to write papers and they are complaining about the noise level.  I find that so interesting on multiple levels, as originally stated I saw no one else around to complain, two his comment “this conversation on religion” and more importantly when he had is conversation last week in the public area about not dating Muslims, while offended, I didn’t complain.  

So there are my two examples that drove my blood pressure out of the roof.  And I’ve been really trying to better understand the depth of my anger. Is it because I see and often become oppressed because of while male privilege or is it because I’m privilege. Is it because I’m losing my edge on being down-to- earth? Fact is because I’m able to speak out on injustices or things I don’t like makes me privileged. But in this case, which is it? Will you help me out?