American Privilege

American Privilege

Privilege is something that is so deeply ingrained in our society that we have become blind to how much it tears us apart.
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Welcome to America! Please answer the following questions to determine your level of privilege. Race? Gender? Sexuality? Economic status? Education of your great-great-great grandparents? Make sure you answer correctly because this will be what determines if and how long you live in this country. Also, if your results are undesirable and you end up as one of America’s millions of disadvantaged, you can never mention the fact that you are disadvantaged because you will promptly be attacked by all advantaged members of society.

Privilege has recently become one of the most important topics of conversation in America lately, and mostly it is because so many *cough* privileged Americans have no idea what their privilege even entails. So, here I am, a heterosexual, middle-class, white, privileged American woman, to explain to others what privilege can and does mean in America today.

Privilege is never wondering whether or not your race, sexual orientation or gender will negatively affect how you are treated. Since I am a white woman, who attends a private university and dresses (at least I like to think) semi-fashionably, it is assumed that I come from a wealthy family with highly-educated parents. Because of this, I will never have an employer take a second look at my qualifications, or get a side-eye from a shop clerk. I am not, in fact, from a wealthy family with highly-educated parents, but it is privilege that those things are what is assumed about me.

Privilege is also not knowing what privilege is because you have never experienced anything less. It’s not having to know the story of every gay, black, poor, or disadvantaged person who has been attacked (verbally or physically), or died. Privilege is not having to know those stories because you will never have to worry if you will end up as one of them. When you have privilege, you never have to worry that hard work just won’t be enough. You get to live the American dream, thinking that even if you start at the bottom, you have a chance to get to the top, and things that you have no control over, like the color of your skin or who you love, will not keep you from that.

Privilege takes many forms in American society today, and has since the beginning of our history. The important thing is to recognize that privilege exists, and it is so deeply ingrained in us that we are blind to how much it tears us apart. We cannot be blind to the disadvantages that we as a society allow and continue to talk about unimportant things, like which celebrities are dating. We also cannot just talk about privilege and then not do anything to fix it. Privilege needs to be addressed, not only by the ones that don’t have it, but more importantly by those that do. It’s not a crime to be privileged, it is however, a crime to pretend that you aren’t. We can come together, address the gaps that we allow to grow between us and do our best to tear down the tower of privilege that is blocking out our bright future as a truly united nation.

Cover Image Credit: Human the Movie

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To The Parent Who Chose Addiction

Thank you for giving me a stronger bond with our family.

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When I was younger I resented you, I hated every ounce of you, and I used to question why God would give me a parent like you. Not now. Now I see the beauty and the blessings behind having an addict for a parent. If you're reading this, it isn't meant to hurt you, but rather to thank you.

Thank you for choosing your addiction over me.

Throughout my life, you have always chosen the addiction over my programs, my swim meets or even a simple movie night. You joke about it now or act as if I never questioned if you would wake up the next morning from your pill and alcohol-induced sleep, but I thank you for this. I thank you because I gained a relationship with God. The amount of time I spent praying for you strengthened our relationship in ways I could never explain.

SEE ALSO: They're Not Junkies, You're Just Uneducated

Thank you for giving me a stronger bond with our family.

The amount of hurt and disappointment our family has gone through has brought us closer together. I have a relationship with Nanny and Pop that would never be as strong as it is today if you had been in the picture from day one. That in itself is a blessing.

Thank you for showing me how to love.

From your absence, I have learned how to love unconditionally. I want you to know that even though you weren't here, I love you most of all. No matter the amount of heartbreak, tears, and pain I've felt, you will always be my greatest love.

Thank you for making me strong.

Thank you for leaving and for showing me how to be independent. From you, I have learned that I do not need anyone else to prove to me that I am worthy of being loved. From you, I have learned that life is always hard, but you shouldn't give into the things that make you feel good for a short while, but should search for the real happiness in life.

Most of all, thank you for showing me how to turn my hurt into motivation.

I have learned that the cycle of addiction is not something that will continue into my life. You have hurt me more than anyone, but through that hurt, I have pushed myself to become the best version of myself.

Thank you for choosing the addiction over me because you've made me stronger, wiser, and loving than I ever could've been before.

Cover Image Credit: http://crashingintolove.tumblr.com/post/62246881826/pieffysessanta-tumblr-com

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Dear Nancy Pelosi, 16-Year-Olds Should Not Be Able To Vote

Because I'm sure every sixteen year old wants to be rushing to the voting booth on their birthday instead of the BMV, anyways.

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Recent politicians such as Nancy Pelosi have put the voting age on the political agenda in the past few weeks. In doing so, some are advocating for the voting age in the United States to be lowered from eighteen to sixteen- Here's why it is ludicrous.

According to a study done by "Circle" regarding voter turnout in the 2018 midterms, 31% of eligible people between the ages of 18 and 29 voted. Thus, nowhere near half of the eligible voters between 18 and 29 actually voted. To anyone who thinks the voting age should be lowered to sixteen, in relevance to the data, it is pointless. If the combination of people who can vote from the legal voting age of eighteen to eleven years later is solely 31%, it is doubtful that many sixteen-year-olds would exercise their right to vote. To go through such a tedious process of amending the Constitution to change the voting age by two years when the evidence doesn't support that many sixteen-year-olds would make use of the new change (assuming it would pass) to vote is idiotic.

The argument can be made that if someone can operate heavy machinery (I.e. drive a car) at sixteen, they should be able to vote. Just because a sixteen-year-old can (in most places) now drive a car and work at a job, does not mean that they should be able to vote. At the age of sixteen, many students have not had fundamental classes such as government or economics to fully understand the political world. Sadly, going into these classes there are students that had mere knowledge of simple political knowledge such as the number of branches of government. Well, there are people above the age of eighteen who are uneducated but they can still vote, so what does it matter if sixteen-year-olds don't know everything about politics and still vote? At least they're voting. Although this is true, it's highly doubtful that someone who is past the age of eighteen, is uninformed about politics, and has to work on election day will care that much to make it to the booths. In contrast, sixteen-year-olds may be excited since it's the first time they can vote, and likely don't have too much of a tight schedule on election day, so they still may vote. The United States does not need people to vote if their votes are going to be uneducated.

But there are some sixteen-year-olds who are educated on issues and want to vote, so that's unfair to them. Well, there are other ways to participate in government besides voting. If a sixteen-year-old feels passionate about something on the political agenda but can't vote, there are other ways of getting involved. They can canvas for politicians whom they agree with, or become active in the notorious "Get Out The Vote" campaign to increase registered voter participation or help register those who already aren't. Best yet, they can politically socialize their peers with political information so that when the time comes for all of them to be eighteen and vote, more eighteen-year-olds will be educated and likely to vote.

If you're a sixteen-year-old and feel hopeless, you're not. As the 2016 election cycle approached, I was seventeen and felt useless because I had no vote. Although voting is arguably one of the easiest ways to participate in politics, it's not the only one. Since the majority of the current young adult population don't exercise their right to vote, helping inform them of how to stay informed and why voting is important, in my eyes is as essential as voting.

Sorry, Speaker Pelosi and all the others who think the voting age should be lowered. I'd rather not have to pay a plethora of taxes in my later years because in 2020 sixteen-year-olds act like sheep and blindly vote for people like Bernie Sanders who support the free college.

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