No Man’s Land: A Visual Reminder of Privilege

Hat tip to Nikki Wiarda for posting this video today. Here is a complete list of the questions that were asked.

I remember doing this exercise in our church youth group growing up and being a little embarrassed to be behind my peers sometimes. I grew up in a church that was, I think, pretty wealthy and pretty white. I’m Asian and so that whole “where do I land with privilege” thing is a real question for me. Knowing that you have more privilege than others sort of makes you feel ungrateful when you look at the disadvantages that are dealt to you. Sometimes that can lead to not standing up for what is right because it’s nowhere near the negative experience that someone else may have had.

We forget that making things better in small ways can stack up to make things better in big ways. You can’t change a person’s mind with a single, verbose tirade against their beliefs. But you can plant a seed of “I never knew that” which can lead to a great awakening for them.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to realize that being behind my peers in that exercise should never have been a cause of embarrassment for me. My experiences have made me the empathetic and equality-minded woman that I am today.

And for that, I am infinitely grateful.

One comment

  1. Jack · August 8, 2015

    That’s odd, I too had a day where my life was redefined from the perspective of another chap’s virtual world. The Chinese proverb telling of a butterfly wing moving air into a storm thousands of miles away is true. I grew up in a four room apartment above a dry cleaning store. There was no rear yard so the dog stayed inside with the family. Four city buses ran by the front door and if you listened carefully it was easy to tell which direction they were traveling. On rainy days the flat roof reverberated a symphony of sounds which drowned out small talk. As a boy everything I did revolved about the kitchen table which was free range staked out at great peril. School reports, reading for pleasure, or model plane building and homework were easily touched by another person or the next meal..On the day I left for the Air Force I dressed in the same 5 or 6 square feet I stood to practice the violin, rehearse school plays, imagined I was Joe DiMaggio or on occasion cupped the telephone close to whisper sweet thoughts to the butchers daughter. One way or the other I never thought much of it. My friends and relatives lived pretty much the same way. Winter became summer without any of us having to move a herd of polo ponies from the farm to the country club, or launch the sloop at the marina. We took life for what it was and didn’t complain. I felt as good about myself as did school mates living in large homes. I take umbrage with new wave interpretations and rapprochement defining ‘white privilege’. There’s no need to redefine words to feel better about ourselves. Work to better your life and that of your family. I trust we would become good neighbors and friends without undertaking a mutual boot camp to get along.

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