Monday, May 4, 2009

Heres some privilages for you fuckers

The privilege meme is going around. Its great to see how many of you had parents that went to college, or had original art in your home. You had tons of books and generally appear to have a significant amount of privilage. Well except for microXX who was the only person I related too. Most of you have read my little rant on PLS about growing up in a not so picket fences and sunshine area. Well this has reminded mr.sm and I off of alot of shit. So why don't all you try these privileges on:

Every halloween eggs and racial epithets were thrown at your house
Your house was broken into and vandelized with the words Pakis' go home sprayed on the walls
You were called a paki (or other racial epithet) and when you stood up for yourself, you got in trouble.
You are constantly asked if you had an arranged marriage because the 1 punjabi person that the asker knew had an arranged marriage - 25 years ago.
You were told your house and food stink.
You were made to feel ashamed of who you were, because the color of your skin is different.
Because attitudes have changed in the last 10 years, you are the one with issues for still seeing things through a color lense - because that how you treated for 20+ years
In 6 years of research work, you have only met 2 other punjabi persons (or like individual) doing research
People think its OK to make jokes when your ethnic community is in the news - good or bad.

Why don't you think about that.

14 comments:

EthidiumBromide said...

I don't know what it's like to face racial discrimination, or come from a less privileged family, but I just because my parents went to college and I had original art in my home did NOT mean that I lead an idyllic little childhood. Three times while living at home, our synagogue was defiled with graffiti and once my parents garage was spraypainted with swastikas -- for some reason, my family was targeted, despite living on an entire block of Jewish families. The most humiliating part was that we couldn't even immediately change the garage doors, like you can wash off eggs -- we had to leave it up for days and days, because the police were so slow and coming to file a report. A more recent example -- my first year of graduate school, I had an exam scheduled on Yom Kippur, the absolute most religious holiday of Judaism. When the syllabus was released the first day of class, I asked that same day, a month and a half before the exam, if I would be able to reschedule the exam because of the religious conflict. Rather than just say no, the professor looked at me like I had four heads and said that if I wanted to be Jewish, I should have gone to Albert Einstein for my Ph.D. and that there was no room for Judaism at a Jesuit university, so if I planned on missing days for religious holidays, I may as well just save everyone's time and drop out right then.

Just because you come from a family with more money doesn't mean that you are exempt from discrimination.

Juniper Shoemaker said...

Because attitudes have changed in the last 10 years, you are the one with issues for still seeing things through a color lense - because that how you treated for 20+ yearsI totally identify with this one. "Millenials" may be growing up in a colorblind wonderland. I'm grateful, but I'm twenty-nine, I'm mixed race, I'm half-black, I grew up in white communities, and I did not.

Mrs. Spit said...

My ex step father is from India, and I'm well, as white can be. It was an incredible education in the wretched, horrible, filthy things we can do to each other.

I'm sorry. This is one of those moments where I am left deeply ashamed to be Canadian. Deeply ashamed.

ScienceGirl said...

Aw yes, I think I ranted about this one too, maybe at PhizzleDizzle's. I personally think they forgot to include "You never worried about having food to eat the next day" and "You were never afraid to open your mouth and speak."

I am sorry you had to go through all these things in your life; I am also sorry people expect you to just sweep it under a rug.

Mrs. CH said...

I know it must sound trite, but I'm sorry that you had to go through that. It's not something you can just "forget" or "get over", and it sucks that people think you should just be able to do that. I sincerely hope life is much better for your little one.

PhizzleDizzle said...

SM, that really sucks. I'm sorry you had to go through that shit and I hope it has stopped for good. If it makes you feel any better I had a good friend from high school who is Punjabi and she's got a PhD in economics, and she rocks out.

I really hope the next generation doesn't have to deal with the sort of shit you, me, EB, Juniper, and others who have posted about racial shit from their youth had to face. But I do want to reiterate what EB said:

Just because you come from a family with more money doesn't mean that you are exempt from discrimination.
I may have had a lot of bolded stuff on my meme, but like EB, life wasn't roses and perfume just because both of my parents went to college.

Either way, here's hoping Monkey doesn't have anyone call him any racial epithet, ever.

JLK said...

I can never and will never understand what it's like to experience any of the things you described.

All I can do is make sure that my children (when I have them) learn to respect, value, and appreciate all people regardless of skin color, sexual orientation, gender, etc.

All I can do is promise you that I will do my part to make sure that Monkey grows up in a world where he doesn't have to deal with the same things that you unfortunately did.

And I DO promise, SM.

Anonymous said...

much props for putting this out there. i'm panjabi, in my mid-30s, grew up in the states and can identify with just about all of your points (except my parents had their tires slashed). i also had the added "privilege" of nobody in my family understanding my decision to go into research versus medicine. BTW, it was a nice surprise to find out you were panjabi after reading your blog for a bit. i just started as an asst prof in the states so now you (kind of) know three panjabis doing research!

Stephanie Zvan said...

Thanks for writing and sharing this, SM. Every time I see that meme go around, I think it should end with "You can't think of at least five things that really, really need to be on this list but aren't."

chall said...

I'm sorry for all that. Sounds really bad.

I grew up in a very different country so I never answered the meme since it would never answer any of the "discrimination" questions really.... like the fact that it was common that if your parents were academic, mainly you'd guess they were leftish and didn't make much money. If they were workers, they had more money but no books in the house... and other more generalisations than that.

Overalll, I hope that I can and have taught the kids in my families and sourroundings not to fear things that aren't "exactly like you", which is imho why people scream all those abusive shit at you.

Fear and shortsightedness.

Cath@VWXYNot? said...

I am so, so sorry for what you and your family went through. No-one should ever go through that. I have never experienced it myself, and never will. I've been with my Sikh friend (her and her sister were the only non-white kids in my whole school - that's just the way my town was back then) when she was on the receiving end, and I saw how it affected her and her family. (I was bullied for years in high school, mostly by the same people, but I know it's not the same thing).

There are several reasons why I did not do this meme:

1) the cultural specificity that Chall mentioned. A lot of the questions have totally different meanings outside of North America.

2) even the parts of the list that were relevant to me seemed pretty dumb

3) I would have bolded A LOT and I was worried about just this kind of reaction to how priveleged I was/am.

I can draw an analogy here to money. My husband and I had not one cent of financial help from our parents when buying our house. That's fine - my parents' money is their money, they worked damn hard for it, and when my Dad told me a few years ago that they plan to spend every last penny of it and not leave anything to us, my response was "good for you, which country will you be visiting first?"

We are though friends with 2 couples who received substantial help from their parents. Like 6 figures. Only 1 couple annoys us. This is because they have absolutely ZERO idea of the fact that they got lucky. The other couple acknowledge it, are actually quite embarrased by it, and they're very generous hosts and friends. But the others... they complain when other people say they can't afford stuff (ski trips etc), they have no concept at all that they might just have been handed an advantage that other people don't have.

I took full advantage of the priveleges I was given, and I know just how lucky I am. I do think about these things. That's why I vote the way I do (or rather would if I could) - I think as many kids as possible should be given the same advantages. Does that make me a fucker? Really?I think I can understand why the meme pissed you off so much, but I think it's a wee bit unfair to take it out on people who did a blog meme using a predetermined list that they'd seen elsewhere. Many of the people who did the meme were quite critical of the things that were on the list...

ScientistMother said...

Juniper - I don't how you talk about these race issues all the time, I have found it to be way to emotionally draining

Mrs. Spit - thank you for your kind words. I wish I could say it was only Canadian or only white folk that behaved badly toward other... unfortunately, its seems to be a very human characteristic

ScienceGirl - The original meme hadn't upset me that much, I found somethings frustrating and other true. This post was more about what is happening in Ontario. But I did think that perhaps a question about domestic violence etc should've been on there.

Mrs.CH, it does not sound trite. It sounds very sincere and thoughtful. thank you.

PD - I did actually grow up quite privilaged, according to the meme. I don't talk about this stuff alot because I though things had changed. Apparently they have not.

JLK - thanks!

Anon - woohoo there are three of us now! Welcome, I wish this wasn't the post that made you post your first comment. Hopefully you will comment on some of my more light hearted rants :)

Stephanie - I don't think that when Dr. A originally posted it, she meant it to be a meme. I think she had meant it as a way for those of "privilege" to see how others may have not be. But yes there are many things I could add

Cath - You made me cry. I really really didn't intend for my readers to think I was referring to them as fuckers. I was referring to the general upper class power holders. Those idiots that have treated that poor Korean boy so poorly. It was people like them that did not stand up for me, or others that are / were bullied. I hate those bullies.

Cath@VWXYNot? said...

Dude! Sorry!

After reading your comments on the other post, I now see the inspiration for this post a lot better. (I had clicked on that link the first time around, but due to its position in the post I didn't get that that was the primary motivation).

microbiologist xx said...

Even though I know this kind of shit happens to people all the time, it still surprises me when I hear or read about it. I hope that your son never experiences these things.

Oh...Just to add to you count, there are three people of Indian decent working in my lab, but I am only sure one of them is Punjabi and she is totally awesome.