Welcome to my World

Welcome to the domain different--to paraphrase from New Mexico's capital city of Santa Fe which bills itself "The City Different." Perhaps this space is not completely unique but my world shapes what I write as well as many other facets of my life. The four Ds figure prominently but there are many other things as well. Here you will learn what makes me tick, what thrills and inspires me, experiences that impact my life and many other antidotes, vignettes and journal notes that set the paradigm for Dierdre O'Dare and her alter ego Gwynn Morgan and the fiction and poetry they write. I sell nothing here--just share with friends and others who may wander in. There will be pictures, poems, observations, rants on occasion and sometimes even jokes. Welcome to our world!

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Another Diatribe--"White Privilege"

Do not lecture me about “White Privilege”.  First, I did not ask or choose to be born to Caucasian parents. It was the luck of the draw and has not gotten me much if anything in the ‘privilege’ department anyway, right from day one. As long as I can remember, and that is from about age four to this day, three months short of my seventy-fourth birthday, I have lived mainly in ethnically mixed neighborhoods and followed a lifestyle very much the same as did my neighbors, be they Black, Latino, Asian, American Indian or ‘white’.  (By the way we are all immigrants, even the American Indians who came from Asia eons ago, so lay off that bit too.) We shopped at the same stores and I often drove cars older than theirs. They usually had a larger TV and bought more ‘stuff’ for their kids than I did. While I was employed by the US government, I worked alongside people of all races and ethnicity and never got a promotion or an honor/award ahead of any of them. Upon retirement, they got the same pensions for their grades as I did.

Yes, I got a college education. That happened simply because I was a decent student and made better grades than most of my contemporaries so that I was valedictorian of my high school class and when I finally started college, four years later, I got a scholarship and a Pell Grant which paid for most of my schooling. I also worked twenty hours a week the last year while doing my graduate work. I completed work for both a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree in four years and several summer sessions and went to work the Monday after completing requirements for the latter on the previous Friday.  I had no time or money for a trip to the continent or even a short vacash to Ft Lauderdale or a Colorado resort in the summer. If I had any advantage there, it may have been that my parents were also college educated—although much of their lifestyle and behavior did not indicate that—and that they read to me when I was small and encouraged—with however much force they felt necessary—that I excel in my school work.  There is nothing to say a parent of any minority child could not do the same and many do,

The fallacy of the whole “White Privilege” meme is that people of western European ancestry are deemed somehow unfairly gifted so they are all automatically upper middle class or higher and can always go to college, usually get a ‘position’ (as opposed to a mere job!) in a family owned firm and live the life of Riley. In the 1950s they had the darling little house with the white picket fence, the 2.5 blonde and adorable children, the spotty dog in the front yard and all the latest and nicest gadgets and labor saving devices in their home. They got a new car every year and ---well, I almost gag over this blatantly false depiction.  I was old enough in the 1950s to look around and know just how false this was! At least 75% of the Caucasian Americans were several notches down the scale from that.

From Colonial times on there have always been those who have come to be called “white trash.” (1)  They make up a majority of the Caucasian people resident in the US and have always been a very slight notch, if any, above the people of various other races and ethnicity, most of whom they worked alongside and suffered the same hardships and ill-treatment. Even then there were only a few who either came to the New World with money and aristocratic backgrounds or had the kind of clever and manipulative power to come out on top of every deal until they had bought and fought their way to that upper tier. The rest had little or no property, earned their meager living by working for the wealthy folk and struggled for every morsel and bit of gain. The so called American Dream has always been a lie—yes, it was possible to rise above your station of birth and some did but it was not probable—not then, now or ever.

This very situation is why we are where we are today. This group ,which Spiro Agnew labeled “the Silent Majority” have been at best ignored, and at worst, insulted, maligned and taken advantage of by the “Establishment” who look coldly and condescendingly down their noses at this “basket of deplorables.” They’re the unwashed, inbred, drunk or drugged up redneck, hillbilly, white trash, who have never been considered a minority, deserving of all care and goodness since they were so badly damaged and deprived by the “Privileged” Whites. It does not matter whether those in power are leftist or right wing, Democrat or Republican, Liberal or Conservative, They are really just so far apart they bump asses on the backside of the political spectrum circle!! A huge group of their fellow humans who are accidentally also of western European stock do not count.

Anyway, in the campaign of 2016, this mass finally got damn good and mad, sick and tired of everybody cutting in ahead of them on the line to anything. (2) One candidate took notice of them and told them—true or false—exactly what they wanted to hear.  The major part of this group are the people who have gotten their hands dirty, dug in the mines, kept the trains running, worked the assembly lines, toiled on small or larger farms to feed the nation and much of the world, and struggled along without ever saying very much. They just did all the bloody work!! Traditionally they voted Democrat as their parents and grandparents had because allegedly the Democrats were “the party of the people.” That hasn’t worked so well the last few decades because this mass is no darling for the peace, love and everything-free-for-everyone group. Maybe people of color, exotic refugees from foreign places and the ever-growing welfare class have more pizzazz, sex appeal or just make better poster kids.  

And damn it, I totally understand where this disaffected mass were coming from. Yes, they’ve been sold a bill of goods and it is not going to have the happy ending they hoped for so they will still be mad in four, forty or probably even more years. They will keep trying to find a fixer for their plight.

WTF is “white privilege” anyway? Is it just being too flappin’ dumb to somehow get in there and get yours? Is it some kind of conspiracy or black helicopter plot to keep the white trash in their place? None of them know the whys but they have revolted this one time and if even a little bit of it works, they will be back.  Count on it. Meanwhile you can take this guilt trip you are trying to put on me and many others and shove it right up your collective ass. A hell of a lot of us are NOT going to buy it. If this life is privilege, you can have it. Maybe next incarnation we will all return in some other racial or ethnic form and see how that works. This current one sure sucks.

1. White Trash by Nancy Isenberg ISBN 9780670785971, Viking Books
2. Strangers in Their Own Land by Arlie Russell Hochschild ISBN 9781620972250 The New Press

1 comment:

  1. I could not have said it better! I too had a dream to go to college, but until I'd worked and saved for fifteen years, I could not afford it. I next paid for my daughter's education, and although I had a degree, seemed to go to the back of the line in the job hunt. I'll stop here as I've often said, "I know my place, and it's at the back of the line." So, like you, I'd like to know what the heck is 'white privilege' anyhow.