As we struggle to recoup from lost wages, and additional ever mounting medical expenses, and even more expensive groceries, I have had my own privilege on my mind. It’s been a nagging (and at times gut sinking) thing to wear. We want to all believe we earned our privilege, but likely we didn’t. Our privilege was assigned to us at birth by the class, race, and gender written on our birth certificates.
I am a white, over educated, cis-gendered female who is married to a white cis-gendered man. That’s a lot of privilege in one sentence. We also own our home.
I came from soup kitchen poverty, from food stamps, from spotty health care, unstable housing, and an immigrant “bootstrapping” mama, who in today’s political climate could not have accomplished what she did.
Today, we live a barely middle class existence that is soaking wet in privilege.
What privilege looks like when you tiny human is sick.
Privilege looks like this.
- I was provided enough time home with my tiny humans during their early years to know them better than I know myself.
- The confidence to know something is beyond toddler behavior.
- The ability to have a comfortable and flexible job to leave work at any time for doctors appointments.
- The ability to pick your pediatrician.
- I own a reliable car to drive to every appointment, and they are all over the state.
- I speak the same language as our physician.
- I have the education to know how to speak their ‘expertise’ language (so much privilege in owning an education).
- I have the ability to pay for co-pay after co-pay. (Kinda… it’s a lot, but access to credit is a privilege.)
- We have employer provided health insurance.
- I have a cell phone to make endless phone calls.
- I have access to the Internet to Google every number I need to call.
- I have been trained at a top tier institution how to research to find all of the information I need.
- My dad is a lawyer, and could quickly dictate the lines we needed to use to navigate health insurance.
- I have been trained on how to coordinate large projects and implement change. (more education privilege)
- I am white, speak English, and own nice clothes, which means providers listen to me, and I’ve been trained to be professional.
- I know how to advocate. (education privilege)
- I can access any grocery store I want to, because I own a car.
- I can (for the most part) buy whatever we need at that grocery store.
- I do not need help buying food.
- I have an amazing support system.
- There are two actively involved parents in my home.
I doubt this list even scratches the surface at the amount of privilege I own. I sometimes get angry at the traces of poverty left on my skin. They are present in terrible teeth, student debt, and a lack of any real savings. They are present in the absences of a realiable white collar network to tap into for opputtunities. I do still sometimes get angry at my own poverty, history or not.
Yet, I’ve worn my privilege loud through this Celiac journey. I have never been afraid to get angry to find care for my daughter. I’ve never been afraid to ask for help. I have been more informed than physicians at most apppointments, because I can read and research. That is an anstonishing amount of privilege.
I’m owning all my privilege, or trying to. Truthfully I share this journey to hopefully help even one soul find what they need.
Next steps are to figure out how to provide our local food pantry with safe food options for children in need.