We are all privileged if we try hard enough
White privilege has been the subject of a lot of discussion during this election period. I have some thoughts on this subject since I do feel that I have been privileged since birth. I am, of course, also white. First of all, I feel privileged because I was blessed with loving and God-fearing parents who were faithful to each other until my father’s passing just months before their 55th wedding anniversary. I was therefore privileged because I was raised in the church and taught to fear God and treat others as I would want to be treated. I was privileged because my parents taught me at an early age the importance of doing each and every task to the best of my ability, the value of hard work, and to respect authority whether it was a policeman, a teacher or even an older adult. I was privileged to have parents who impressed on me the importance of furthering my education after high school or learning a marketable skill.
My family was poor since my dad was a factory worker and my mom was a stay at home mom. We lived in a rough factory town until I was 7. We then moved to the country where we grew a truck garden and raised animals to supplement the family income. For the first five years on the farm we had no running water. That meant I had the privilege of knowing what an outdoor privy was and how to take a bath in a galvanized wash tub. I was privileged to be given the responsibility of raising and taking care of farm animals to earn money for college. I was privileged to learn that as long as I was living under my parent’s roof I had an obligation to do my part to support our family and that the world did not owe me a living.
I was privileged to have a father who taught me how to fix things. I worked alongside him doing plumbing, roofing remodeling etc. I was privileged to start working in a service station when I was 14 and learned to do what the boss told me without complaint. I had the privilege of working my way thru college as a waiter, dishwasher, busboy, short order cook, carpenter, farm worker and switchman on the railroad.
I was privileged to marry my wife of 55 years in my senior year and by working for a common goal she helped me graduate without a student loan. After graduation, I felt privileged to serve my country for 23 years in the United States Air Force. After serving in many countries in Southeast Asia and Europe, I felt privileged to be a citizen of the United States of America, the land of opportunity for everyone who has a dream and the discipline to pursue it.
Not everyone will have all the privileges I had growing up but if you have a vision and you keep striving for it the color of your skin does not matter. Brown, black, or white privilege is available to everyone in this country if you are willing to work for it. I really think it a disservice to all races for politicians to use the subject of “white privilege” to create racial tensions. Jerry Miller, Dentsville