We are all priv­i­leged if we try hard enough

Maryland Independent - - Community Forum -

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

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