Some thoughts on personal privilege

I did not grow into adulthood wealthy, but I was privileged.

– I was born white and male

– My parents were not wealthy when I was young, but they were committed to each other.  They were college educated and encouraged their children in whatever personal interests we had. I followed a career path they did not understand. Rather than object they found money to expand my undergrad training so they were comfortable that I had a backup plan. My own goals worked out and the breadth of my preparation ended up being a benefit throughout my career.

– I found a lifelong partner who supported me and who shared professional interests that magnified whatever personal talents I had.

So many struggle because they do not benefit from such privileges. They deal with discrimination because of irrelevant personal characteristics that are of no consequence. They mature in an environment of turmoil or hardship that was not of their making. They miss out on a break here or there that may have eventually resulted in great opportunities. They are unable to connect with someone who allows them to achieve far more than they would have on their own.

I take some credit for the successes of my life. I also realize that pretty much every possible break went my way.

This time of Thanksgiving should be a time of reflection. We seem to be in a time of great turmoil and a willingness by many to ignore life’s privileges. I hope the inequities generated by privileges are not overly magnified by the political decisions now being considered.


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