privilege comes in many different forms and facets. i’m just gonna start by saying that even though my body and my actuality in this real world may not sit well with everyone, i still find privilege in everything that i have the opportunity to engage in.
whether that be sitting here writing. having somewhere to live. being able to eat what i want (well, for the most part because these thighs right now? honeyy). there are things that i am inherently privileged to do because of my current status.
however, this forces me to think about a child’s privilege, especially when children from different ethnic backgrounds experience a variety of lived experiences.
the other day, i was on the train and lemme tell you – i was already freaking out. if you know me, i don’t do public transportation much if i don’t have to. there’s so much energy you have to contend with because of the variety of people around you and not knowing them, and NY is packed so…break out into insta-sweat because my anxiety is flaring up. eventually i find the opportunity to sit down and i notice this mom and her two sons who are dressed up in what looked like some knock-off ComicCon outfit. that wasn’t happening this weekend in new york right? anyways, the youngest is literally wanting to climb on everything. like literally make this train car his jungle gym.
did i mention that this train car was packed? like, penis in my face while i sit and wait to travel all the way back to brooklyn type packed because i was sitting down? she tells him multiple times not to climb on stuff…but of course, you know he does. and this isn’t even the ‘lemme climb on the rail and not bother anyone’. ….
this is the “ooh, i’m climbing on this seat and stepping on this woman’s purse in the pursuit of height!” type climbing. of course, he’s made to move…..and at this point the car has thinned out a bit so he goes to the other side of the car without his mother and is just bouncing all over everything.
i’m not even going to ask you to guess the race.
anyways, i had a moment to flashback because whilst rolling my eyes hard at the debauchery ensuing next to me, i thought about what it would be like had that been my family at that age.
all i know is monique would have snatched my hand real quick and told me ‘DIDN’T I TELL YOU TO SITAND STILL THE FIRST TIME’ and jungle gym time would have been a wrap. but i started to go all super-deep because that’s what my brain does…
yes, parenting plays a part in this but i think about when we all are taught to learn about privilege and how it affects how we move in this world. i graduated from tami roman’s school of ‘this is who the fuck i am’ and i have realized that if i want to make something my own, i will make sure that that’s what happens. i know there are parameters to making that happen in some instances, but are there true guidelines and who decides them?
how do we know what we are owed? when do we actually pay attention to crossing the line into territory where our privilege runs out? why does this young boy get to do whatever the fuck he wants, and i just have to sit there and watch in an annoyed manner, looking at this boy’s mother like ‘if your boy steps on my shit, we gon’ have some heat!’? when does that get established in us?? are we able to reframe our level of privilege and upward movement on our own terms, or is it always going to be created on someone else’s terms and language?
i’m in a space these days of owning my fucking space. i have the privilege to be alive, and i will do what i please how i please in the sake of living my life to the fullest the way it deserves to be. i have the privilege of having an education to ensure that i’m able to further my own intelligence, but also lend to others when necessary. i have a privilege to make decisions in life that i sometimes may feel anxiety around, but know that it’s my choice.
i know that some people have natural privilege that they will never be able to explain. that’s something that they have the ability to take advantage of. there’s no changing that. but, on the other side, have you ever reflected on the goodness of choice? that’s a privilege that never goes away. if we could go back in time and tell ourselves that this world is ours, and actually show us how much of the world actually is, we would be unstoppable as dreamers. you may have to dig a little deeper for your dream, but you have the privilege to figure out what that is, no matter where you come from.
it’s a privilege to have a dream, and it’s up to us as humans in order to determine when we make those dreams come true and how much of a privilege it is to invest in said endeavor. yes, we experience spaces where sometimes we are overlooked for reasons that are out of our control. but hey, i always believe that those times where things don’t work out, as lessons. they teach us what we want and what we don’t want, who wants us and who may not. and also it teaches us how to move forward in a way that potentially could be the same or differ based on the situation.
i just want to encourage you to use the privilege you have to do what you want today and forevermore, and continue to accomplish whatever the fuck you feel like.
it’s your right.