fauxklore (fauxklore) wrote,

The Privilege Meme

This is from Firecat but originated at a blog having to do with Quakers and social class. The idea is that the more of these things you can say yes to, the more privileged you are. I thought it more interesting to comment on the actual items than to just do the list thing. The bolded ones are the things I can say yes to. Behind a cut due to length.

Father went to college.
Father finished college.
My father went to (and completed a B.S. in civil engineering at) City College of New York at night. He graduated when I was 3 and that had a big impact on our lives, as it meant a better paying job and a move to suburbia. CCNY was, by the way, tuition free at the time and was always referred to in our house as "the Harvard of the proletariat." I suspect that the fact that my parents used words like "proletariat" is probably the biggest indicator of social class in this.

Mother went to college.
Mother finished college.
Mom went to Hunter College for one year and then transferred to CCNY. She dropped out when she was pregnant with my brother. That's how things were in the 1950's.

Have any relative who is an attorney, physician, or professor.
So engineers are not high class enough?

Were the same or higher class than your high school teachers.
I suppose we were pretty much the same class as most of my high school teachers.

Had more than 50 books in your childhood home.
Had more than 500 books in your childhood home.
I have no idea how many books there were in my childhood home, though I am sure it was more than 50. My father was big on Book of the Month Club and, especially, The Mystery Guild. We also went to the library weekly.

Were read children's books by a parent. Well, we were read to, though not necessarily children's books. The claim is that Dad read to us from textbooks because: 1) he thought it was good to read to us, 2) he had to study anyway, and 3) we were too young for it to matter what it was he was reading. So, I got read to out of things like Principles of Cost Accounting for Engineers. This may explain a lot about me.

Had lessons of any kind before you turned 18.
Had more than two kinds of lessons before you turned 18.
I took piano lessons (as did my brother) off and on for years. I took ballet (via classes arranged by the local PTA) for 6 years. Hebrew school probably also counts as classes. And I took viola in school (instruments were rented, fairly inexpensively) and took modern dance class in high school as part of the extracurricular sports program. A lot of this reflects the opportunities available in the town I grew up in, which were surprisingly varied for such a small town.

The people in the media who dress and talk like me are portrayed positively.
I'm not sure there are people in the media who dress and talk like me. In work mode (i.e. wearing a suit), I'd say yes. But this question has more to do with current status and not privilege growing up.

Had a credit card with your name on it before you turned 18. My parents didn't really use credit cards much themselves and I think it was fairly uncommon for teenagers to have them in my youth. My first credit card was from the Coop (Harvard-MIT) store while I was an undergrad.

Your parents (or a trust) paid for the majority of your college costs.
Your parents (or a trust) paid for all of your college costs.
My father created his own (fictitious) foundation which provided scholarships and loans that paid for most of our expenses. (I had some small scholarships that paid for books and part time jobs for pocket money.) Since Dad believed you can't carry a joke too far, he even had stationery printed with his name as President and treasurer of the foundation and Mom's as Vice President and secretary and sent us annual letters indicating that our grants and loans had been renewed for another year.

Went to a private high school.
I did spend one summer at an NSF program at the Loomis-Chaffe school.

Went to summer camp.
The thing you have to know here is that socialist camps are cheap because they save money by having kids do work around the camp.

Had a private tutor before you turned 18.
I had no need for tutors. I did tutor other kids, sometimes for pay.

Family vacations involved staying at hotels.
Do weekends in the Catskills count? We stayed at motels on the handful of "real" vacations we took.

Your clothing was all bought new before you turned 18.
Most of my clothing was bought at rummage sales and thrift shops.

Your parents bought you a car that was not a hand-me-down from them.
My parents never bought me a car. I didn't have a car until I was 27 and moved to Los Angeles.

There was original art in your house when you were a child.
Mostly we had lithographs, but my folks bought a couple of Morris Katz instant art pieces. And my Mom had a neighbor who painted copy a jigsaw puzzle picture of Mount Vesuvius. I think it's still in her living room.

Had a phone in your room before you turned 18.
My parents didn't approve of the concept and money was cited as a reason.

You and your family lived in a single family house.
Your parent(s) owned their own house or apartment before you left home.
After we moved to the suburbs when I was 3.

You had your own room as a child.
Yes, but if I'd had a sister, I'd have had to share.

Participated in an SAT/ACT prep course.
Again, not something I would have needed.

Had your own TV in your room in High School.
No, but I sometimes used to go downstairs and watch the second TV (which was mostly used by my Dad to watch football while my Mom watched other stuff).

Owned a mutual fund or IRA in High School or College.
Uh, I had a saving account in a bank.

Flew anywhere on a commercial airline before you turned 16.
We went to Israel when I was 15, which was the first time I flew. My brother was 16, so obviously I am more privileged than he is.

Went on a cruise with your family.
Went on more than one cruise with your family.
I suspect the Circle Line cruise around Manhattan doesn't count.

Your parents took you to museums and art galleries as you grew up.
I am convinced that I was dragged to see every bloody mummy in the greater New York metropolitan area. I preferred the taxidermy at the Museum of Natural History. I think we went to smaller local museums a lot more and I distinctly remember the Whaling Museum in Sag Harbor.

You were unaware of how much heating bills were for your family.
I certainly can't put a number on them, but I know my folks complained about them and believed in putting on a sweater before turning up the heat.

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