|GROWING UP PRIVILEGED (Google photo)|
|PRIVILEGE BEGINS AT HOME|
Sunday, 11:00 AM CDT. 37 degrees F at the ferry dock, 42 on the back porch. Wind variable and calm, the sky mostly cloudy and overcast. The humidity is 83% and the barometer is dropping, now at 29.91", forecasting a damp week ahead.
I was listening to the truck radio yesterday and heard on the news that Army enlistees are being told in indoctrination classes that being a white male automatically made them members of a privileged class. This announced to young men, most of whom had probably joined the service out of patriotism and economic necessity (and I suspect the latter factor predominates). At first, I was incensed to think that not only were they being disrespected and scape-goated, but so was I, being in that racial and gender category as well.
After some reflection my anger abated, and I fully accept, in fact am eternally grateful that I am in that privileged class. Not because I am white, or male. Those are not the privileges I am thankful for. Rather, I am thankful for the fact that I was raised by loving parents, who taught me The Ten Commandments and good manners to boot, all of which I aspire to apply with some degrees of success.
I am thankful they made me go to church and Sunday School. I am thankful that my mother loved books, and that my father taught me to respect the flag and all it stood for. I am thankful that I was introduced to hard work at an early age, and that after my father died when I was sixteen there were suitable male authority figures who took an interest in me, a headstrong, often rebellious kid.
The owners of the gas station where I worked when my father passed away gave me adult responsibilities and plenty of work hours, along with a stern reprimand when I needed it. There were good, kind high school teachers who spent many extra hours patiently imparting understanding and knowledge when I badly needed it.
In college I was indeed privileged to have summer construction jobs that paid enough that I could save for my tuition; hired by businessmen and mentored by tradesmen who had a sense of responsibility for a younger generation, and more respect for higher education than it or I probably deserved.
I was fortunate in my early years at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee that the institution had not yet been hijacked by elitists, and that tuition was still affordable (I was embarrassed and incensed by their offer of a $25 scholarship). And, I was certainly privileged to be in class with veterans returning from the Korean War who were not intimidated by the left-wing instructors we all encountered who did their best to subvert both our loyalty and our freedoms.
During my career I was privileged to have several wonderful mentors who helped me struggle towards my full professional potential.
But my greatest privilege was to marry a beautiful young woman who loved me and had faith in me, who made me a father and ultimately a grandfather, a woman who has been my partner through years of graduate education and a long and sometimes difficult career.
So, I don't mind being labeled as part of a privileged class, for as you can see, I surely have lived a life of privilege.