Privilege Meme

Watershed posted this on her blog recently, and I thought it sounded neat, so I’m going to do it too. I think I’ll get a pretty high score, because I was raised in a solid middle class home, and I’ve only gone down in class since leaving my parent’s home.  I thoroughly expect to go back up after I finish my schooling and Husband’s business plays itself out.
Watershed asked for credit to be given to the authors of the exercise:

This is based on “From What Privileges Do You Have?,” an exercise about class and privilege developed by Will Barratt, Meagan Cahill, Angie Carlen, Minnette Huck, Drew Lurker, Stacy Ploskonka at Illinois State University.

Like watershed, I have made bold and green for those which I answer yes.

1. Father went to college And he was at Duke, so check plus here.

2. Father finished college

3. Mother went to college

4. Mother finished college

5. Have any relative who is an attorney, physician, or professor. Yes, but not one I’ve ever met. Only a slightly more distant relative that I’ve heard of, because he won a Nobel Prize.

6. Were the same or higher class than your high school teachers

7. Had more than 50 books in your childhood home

8. Had more than 500 books in your childhood home. I don’t think so, but it may well have been over 300, so I could be wrong.

9. Were read children’s books by a parent I only remember mom ever doing it, though.

10. Had lessons of any kind before you turned 18 Oh yes. 3 hours a week in private figure skating lessons. Another hour of private choreography lessons to go with that. And 3 or 4 more hours of group classes, both on-ice (power skating or edges) and off-ice (ballet, jumps, calisthenics, cardio exercise).

11. Had more than two kinds of lessons before you turned 18. If you count other group lessons and extracurricular activities from my younger years, before skating was my one and only, there was also soccer, tap dance, gymnastics. And the girl scouts.

12. The people in the media who dress and talk like me are portrayed positively. They are, however, nearly always much thinner.

13. Had a credit card with your name on it before you turned 18. Got my first credit card at 18, I think. But it might have been late part of being 17.

14. Your parents (or a trust) paid for the majority of your college costs. But there were many things that all of my ivy-league peers’ parents paid for that my parents did not. They stopped buying me clothes except as presents, they didn’t pay for most of my food after Freshman year, and senior year I had to take out a non-federally subsidized 20k college loan. I also had the max in federally subsidized aid every year. Overall if you add it all up I’d say they paid for the majority, but it might only be the plurality if you include grant money from the school that paid for parts of my tuition.

15. Your parents (or a trust) paid for all of your college costs.

16. Went to a private high school. Nope. And I hope to send my kids to public school. If we’re still in NYC, that may not work for grade school, but I will want them in a public magnet high school before I’d want them in private high school.

17. Went to summer camp. Not usually things that were called “summer camp” or that involved sleeping away from home, but my intense summer skating training program was essentially a training camp.

18. Had a private tutor before you turned 18. Never needed one.

19. Family vacations involved staying at hotels. Occasionally, for Disney land or greater family events. Our yearly vacation was at a time-share that we owned. I imagine that counts as yes.

20. Your clothing was all bought new before you turned 18. We didn’t have close family friends or relatives who had a girl within more than 5 years of my age, so it wouldn’t have been an easy option, but my mom loved to shop so I had a lot of clothes growing up. I have much, much less now. Especially jeans. I tend to have 2-3 pairs of pants at a time nowadays, and usually at least one of them will need some sort of mending. I really could afford to have more pants, but it’s not a priority I suppose – I’d rather buy electronics than clothes.

21. Your parents bought you a car that was not a hand-me-down from them. For the first year after I got my license I shared with my mom the Ford station wagon. Then my parents bought me a used Toyota Corolla, and I began driving myself to all my skating. My mom was then able to take on a better paying job because she didn’t need to be constrained by my chauffeuring needs. They didn’t buy my brother a car that wasn’t a hand-me-down until he was going to college.

22. There was original art in your house when you were a child. Nothing famous, but we had some paintings that I remember touching the texture of the oil brush-strokes. Just two, one in the master bedroom and one in the den.

23. You and your family lived in a single-family house.

24. Your parent(s) owned their own house or apartment before you left home. But we did move to a smaller house before I left home.

25. You had your own room as a child. Not always though. My brother and I shared a room until he was 10 and I was 8.

26. You had a phone in your room before you turned 18. I never had a house line in my room, but I got a cell phone at 16 when I started driving myself sometimes.

27. Participated in a SAT/ACT prep course. Didn’t need one.

28. Had your own TV in your room in high school. But we had two family shared tv’s, one of which was in the playroom. So we weren’t all fighting over one tv, either.

29. Owned a mutual fund or IRA in high school or college. My parents were always very financially responsible with whatever their income level was, and some of this was instilled in my brother and me. My brother opened an IRA before he even got to college! Despite the fact that Husband and I have a hard time managing our spending impulses but a low drive for the high-paying jobs that we could both attain if we wanted to, one thing we did right is that I began putting some of Husband’s and my money into a mutual fund and some into a Roth IRA I think during my senior year of college.

30. Flew anywhere on a commercial airline before you turned 16. We did drive to our family vacation, but we took planes based on frequent flyer miles from our credit card spending (which my dad promptly paid off each month) for special things like family weddings or deaths. Once or twice we flew to FL to go to Disney.

31. Went on a cruise with your family. And no international trips either. I never left the US until I did so on my own.

32. Went on more than one cruise with your family.

33. Your parents took you to museums and art galleries as you grew up. We had a family membership to the Boston Museum of Science. I loved it, and my brother did too. Every July 4th we’d go into Boston and spend the day at the museum, go to a show in their OMNI imax theater, and then spend the evening on the roof we’re we’d watch the fireworks while they played the Boston Pops. Now that I think about it, it was one of my favorite family traditions.

34. You were unaware of how much heating bills were for your family. My dad would turn the heat down a lot to save money, but my mom always turned it back up and I got the impression he was just being stingy.

Ok, so I got a 25.


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