I Am Privileged
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Politics and Activism

I Am Privileged

The Struggle of Being a White, American Male

I Am Privileged

If I was a fat, gay, transgender woman with a Jew-fro and a mental retardation who was paid significantly less than my male counterpart, I wouldn’t have to stress about offending anyone; However, I am a slender, white male with very little student debt brought up in a loving household that didn’t give a shit about Catholicism. In a word: privileged.

Still, I complain.

I suffer from a mild form of anxiety that leads me to believe that people should feel sorry for me. I secretly smoke cigarettes covertly hidden in a travel mug under the back latch of my 2004 Honda Element, which my parents handed down to me. My teeth are beginning to stain. Luckily I have decent dental insurance.

I’ve never worked in the fast-food industry, nor do I plan on handling a spatula. Plus, my unkempt hair from my prolonged stints without showers would probably start a grease fire.

I could potentially coast four years on my savings living in a small apartment above the Jac & Do’s pizza joint in Tiffin, Ohio without the burden of employment. Or five months in a studio in Upper Manhattan. Or an eternity at my parents’ house.

But that’s not going to happen.

Currently, I’m a fourth-year undergraduate studying English with a focus in Creative Writing at a recognized school that is hosting the first presidential debate of 2016. Unfortunately, I’ll have to be in the general vicinity of a bigoted, faux-conservative that made a brief cameo in a movie starring Macaulay Culkin. Though I am literate, it took me ten minutes to come up with the previous sentence (eight of which were dedicated to the correct spelling of Macaulay Culkin). My typing lacks speed as a result of my hindered hand-eye coordination and my eyes are weakening because I read too much. Luckily I have decent vision insurance.

I have a wonderful girlfriend with the prettiest brown eyes and overall pleasant nature. Foremost, she puts up with me and supports all of my creative decisions even if they are deemed unachievable by bitter folks who wish they could have pursued them when they were younger. Fortunately, to the elderly and not-yet-retired, I am labeled as one of the ‘young people.’

I have time. I have literally nothing but time. Yet, as Aaron Barrett of the 90s, ska-punk band Reel Big Fish belts out in the song, “All I Want is More”: all I want is more (I later researched the meaning behind these lyrics and deduced that they barely apply to my situation. Despite having the ability to insert a more applicable song lyric, I, unapologetically, decided to bide my time conducting more pertinent business, aka eating Funyuns and smoking a cigarette).

I take most everything for granted. It’s second nature. I’m trying to work on it. Not much progress as of late.

It’s just how my anxious brain works. I’m wired to believe that everything is wrong and nothing I do is right. I internalize numerous thoughts and emotions because it’s difficult for me to look someone in the eye when asked if they look like they didn’t gain thirty pounds. Or that they did. Or that they didn’t drunkenly fondle a homeless man last night at the bar for a Facebook post. Or that they did.

It was one time, okay?

Am I the only one whose neurons fire like this? Of course not. But I like to think so. I’m an advocate of thinking I am different. That I am the only ‘me’ out there; however, let me emphasize: I’m not.

Thinking is bad.

We think too much and don’t do enough.

But sometimes we just need to.

We waste precious energy worrying that things won’t get better or hoping that they do. When in reality, it’s the actions that we take that make the changes.

But maybe that’s just grade-A, cliché bullshit.

Despite having bad acne and a terrible haircut, I am a 21-year-old white American male. And I am privileged.

I may believe I have the answers to all of your problems, but it’s difficult for me to face the cold reality that I don’t.

I’m not aware of your situation. Your financial state. Your criminal records. Your collection of Polaroids evoking strange, spine-tingling chills because of your history of bad haircuts. Hell, I don’t even know you. Why do I believe that I have the authoritative word? That everything you’ve done up to this point has been faulty? Maybe it has. But that’s up for you to decide.

Perfection in my eyes may be chaos and turmoil in yours.

Someday, the smoking will probably catch up to me. My lungs might explode. Maybe I’ll get cancer tomorrow. Who knows. With my family’s wellness history background, it wouldn’t surprise me. Maybe I’ll get in a car wreck tonight that’ll require me to work at McDisgusting against my will to pay for the damage. Or maybe I’ll stop being ‘me.’ But the fact of the matter is, I will never stop living my life as a privileged white male.

It may seem unfair. It may seem unjust. It may seem like any other word that describes this exact situation. And for that, I sincerely apologize.

I wish you could, whomever you may be, walk a mile or three in my Chuck Taylor’s. For all I know, you could be a privileged white American male like myself; however, for those of you who are not, I will gladly lace up my shoes on your feet. We’ll trade for a while. However long it takes for me to realize that I have a great life. That things could be much worse than not having to worry about whether I’ll have enough cash to pay for food or rent. That I won’t be ostracised due to the color of my skin. Or that I’m not happy with the way things are.

I may complain, but that doesn’t mean I’m not content. I do have a great life. I know that now. It’s amazing how much a person can grow in just the short amount of time that it takes to write an essay.

Take from my words what you will. My hope is that you’ll examine your life for what it is truly meant to be. And though we can’t change who we are, we can mend ourselves to be someone we like a little better tomorrow.
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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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