Monthly Archives: February 2009

Gondar Market – Ethiopia


I especially like the chicken pen in the foreground (pardon the car mirror, although it is an interesting contrast, isn’t it?)

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Not Going to Be Quiet about Privilege

Sometimes I wonder how much I want to tackle the big stuff here. I enjoy posting pics of Blueberry and sharing stories about the big kids, too. But I’m a thinker. I am wrapped pretty tightly even though I often have a calm and easy demeanor. My intimate friends would tell you I’m pretty wired about the things I care about. I can’t make happy over shopping, cooking, cleaning, or a new hair cut. Thus, when I’m not in the grip of managing the day to day events of our busy family I’m exercising my intellect. Recently I have been working on the notion of privilege – specifically, white privilege. Today my work was complicated as I’m over half way through my reading of A Thousand Hills. I cannot fathom how we (and I do mean WE) have continued to burrow into our privilege and ignored events as gruesome and obvious as the genocide was in Rwanda. Dang.

Understanding the idea of privilege is key to discussions of racism, sexism, classism, agism, and any other ism you can identify. My focus is primarily racism, but I think I get to my understanding from a grounding in feminism. I’m a white woman, so this makes sense in terms of my own growth.

The “go to” resource on privilege is Peggy McIntosh’s “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” . I read it for the first time about 20 years ago. I’ve read it over 20 times. I use it when I teach – I have my freshman HS students read this. They’re ready, believe me. Recently, I’ve been having a deep look into my knapsack. And, I’ve been trying to dig deeper into understanding the idea of privilege. I’ve got some resources I’ve been using to help me get it. If you haven’t read McIntosh…READ IT!

I’ve decided to work at blogging about privilege. I don’t want to write a term paper in one entry, so I’m going to do this piece by piece and label the posts “privilege” for easy access. This is for me, for my husband, and for my kids. It is so important to me that we work together in our commitment to be an anti-racist family. I’m not recreating the wheel here folks – a lot of my thoughts aren’t original (very few are, in fact). I’ll be citing the works of others and providing links to excellent and accessible resources. I’m hoping to allow other people to help me learn. You are welcome to learn along with me.

I want to start with a very clear articulation of Privilege provided by brown_betty:
Privilege is not: About you. Privilege is not your fault. Privilege is not anything you’ve done, or thought, or said. It may have allowed you to do, or think, or say things, but it’s not those things, and it’s not because of those things. Privilege is not about taking advantage, or cheating, although privilege may make this easier. Privilege is not negated. I can’t balance my white privilege against my female disadvantage and come out neutral. Privilege is not something you can be exempt from by having had a difficult life. Privilege is not inherently bad. It really isn’t.
Privilege is: About how society accommodates you. It’s about advantages you have that you think are normal. It’s about you being normal, and others being the deviation from normal. It’s about fate dealing from the bottom of the deck on your behalf.

That’s enough for now, even though I’m still in the thick of thinking as I write.

Pretty in Pink

Some Organic and Some Not

Schwartz is a meateater. Twinkletoes and I LOVE this salad; Organic Girl – berries and balsamic. We needed a change from our spinach salad with Annie’s Goddess Dressing. We found it – and we gobble it up with abandon. But Schwartz, he’s another story. The other night I made a beautiful whole wheat pasta dinner with garlic bread and a huge bowlful of salad. I like my pasta al dente – nearly crunchy. But Clementine prefers his pasta cooked. I try to please the masses by cooking the pasta firm but not with too much crunch. My timing was off, as usual. I told the kids to go ahead and start with salad while the pasta finished cooking. Schwartz said, “No thanks, I’m saving my hungry for real food.”

Yeah for our Finn. He continues to show the classic attributes of a 19 year old American carnivore.

A Boy and His Dog

Blueberry and Grace

Yesterday we had the pleasure of a visit from our cousins. Blueberry enjoyed cousins Kat and her daughter, Grace. Grace is amazing – sweet, smart, and darling. How cute – and how precious.
There has been a dearth of family visits for us – for a variety of complicated reasons. So, Kat’s visit made our day. Cute kids run in the family, dontcha think?

Big Horns and Beautiful Boy

This image is one of my favorites.