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Privilege - do you realize what you have?

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    #16
    Originally posted by kork13 View Post
    At the very least, military service is an outstanding way for almost anyone to rapidly escape one's circumstances.
    That's an interesting point. I admittedly know very little about the military as almost nobody close to me has ever been involved (another form of privilege, I suppose).

    Who can join? Can you join if you have a juvenile criminal record? Can you join if you have any sort of health problems or disabilities? How is the pay?

    Steve

    * Despite the high cost of living, it remains very popular.
    * Why should I pay for my daughter's education when she already knows everything?
    * There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.

    Comment


      #17
      Originally posted by disneysteve View Post
      I admittedly know very little about the military as almost nobody close to me has ever been involved (another form of privilege, I suppose).
      Disneysteve, why would not having someone close to you serve in the military be an example of privelage? This seems to imply it is disadvantageous or the opposite of privelage to serve in the military or be close to someone that serves in the military.

      While likely not your intent, it’s hard to read that statement and not take some offense. Serving in the military is an honorable profession. Being part of the military community through my husband’s service has been an educational, humbling, and rewarding experience. In many ways, it’s a privelage to know so many of the amazing men and women that serve or have served our country.

      Comment


        #18
        It is my opinion that "privilege" is a straw man. We are point at people who are successful and saying the only reason they are successful is because of their privilege over the under privileged. We take personal responsibility out of the equation. We push for dependence instead of independence and self sustainability.

        A handful of children's stories sum it up for me:

        In "The Grasshopper and The Ant" the ant toiled in the spring and summon, the grasshopper fiddled, then starved in the winter.

        In "The Tortoise and The Hare" the tortoise persisted and the hare slacked off.

        The story of the hen who cooked bread, and the one chick who didn't sew the seeds, water the crop, reap the wheat, or cook the bread and still expected to be feed while the others who had worked.

        Were the ant, the tortoise, and the chicks who worked privileged? Seems to me they worked.

        I will admit though there are those born with disadvantages.

        Originally posted by disneysteve View Post
        Privilege starts at birth. In fact, it really starts even earlier than that. Did your mother have access to good nutrition and prenatal healthcare? Did your mother smoke or use drugs?
        Two guys I work with, we'll say "John" and "Frank". John has complained on several occasions about having to work with Frank. "Frank screws up everything he touches, conversations are painful listening to him talk, for lack of a better work the guy is a moron". Though John is a little harsh, for the most part it is a relatively accurate assessment of Frank.

        I summed it all up to IQ, then I heard a radio advertisement discussing the harms of fetal alcohol syndrome. And we all think about the growth of the baby in the womb, and early childhood after being born, but we don't consider life 25 or 30 years down the road for that person.

        From some other source there was a discussion over the physical appearance of people who had fetal alcohol syndrome.

        And then the light bulb went off for me. Frank sure did have many of the facial traits associated with fetal alcohol syndrome and I suspect it would explain his cognitive ability as well.

        IQ is another point that people fail to take into account. If your IQ is 95, your probably less likely to obtain a degree in medicine, law, or engineering as opposed to someone who is 110+. And average IQ do vary along racial lines as well + / - a point or two. And while this slight shift doesn't affect the vast majority in the middle, it has a huge effect on those at the far ends of the bell curve. Jordan Peterson has a couple of excellent videos on such.

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          #19



          Getting help with 1st car, No
          1st home down payment, No
          a paid for wedding (or % help), No
          free trips, No
          college for your children, your own paid for college. No.


          Starts with your career options. I think this starts with career aspirations. This is something that comes from within the individual. For example, I have tried to encourage some people I know who are talented in math to become engineers or accountants (or some type of STEM degree). Usually, it is a hard, "No". I get it--it has to be the right fit for the individual, too.

          I've known some folks who did not have goals and aspirations and who made some less than optimal choices getting prepared for life. By mid life, they were struggling.

          Maybe your choice of parents has something to do with your success, initially. I had some really great parents. I was one of five children and we were strictly middle class where the financial help mentioned above was a non starter. I know the parents made plenty of sacrifices.

          I have to say that picking the right spouse is also very important. It becomes very difficult to raise children and run a household without having 2 parents in the picture. It is more expensive running 2 households. And, going though a divorce is very expensive. Everyone goes into marriage with the best of intentions, but sometimes it just doesn't work out--so I'm not sure how you mitigate this risk.

          Comment


            #20
            Originally posted by disneysteve View Post

            That's an interesting point. I admittedly know very little about the military as almost nobody close to me has ever been involved (another form of privilege, I suppose).

            Who can join? Can you join if you have a juvenile criminal record? Can you join if you have any sort of health problems or disabilities? How is the pay?
            I don't think DisneySteve meant to demean the military at all here.

            And yes, the officer core tends to be well educated. Even if the enlisted ranks have less formal education, high quality training is a constant feature of DoD life. Our military works very, very well all things considered.
            james.c.hendrickson@gmail.com
            202.468.6043

            Comment


              #21
              Originally posted by kork13 View Post
              I likely have an unpopular opinion among many...
              I don't think your opinion is unpopular at all. The military is one avenue where some people do succeed in permanently altering their trajectory. Two things: One, joining the military means receiving instant hero status and respect. It comes with free education, housing, food, healthcare, a full time job, stipends, a guaranteed retirement, and ongoing veterans benefits. The caveat is, those who join must be willing to put their life on the line for our country.

              Two, the number of people who exit the military and continue their original at-risk trajectory is quite astounding.

              I don't think anyone really disagrees that in America, the sky is the limit, and anyone "can" choose to significantly alter their trajectory from bad to good. The proof is in the number of people who are successful at doing so (look at the data across 325 million people), yet we continue to point to this idea of greatness and blame people for not achieving it. Rather than a lack of effort or discipline, I'm more willing to believe at this point in life that there are structural issues which are a hindrance to overcoming low-privilege. We can point to data in the last 100 years, right here in America, when achieving the American dream was set at a much, much lower bar.

              Comment


                #22
                Originally posted by jenn_jenn View Post

                Disneysteve, why would not having someone close to you serve in the military be an example of privelage? This seems to imply it is disadvantageous or the opposite of privelage to serve in the military or be close to someone that serves in the military.

                While likely not your intent, it’s hard to read that statement and not take some offense. Serving in the military is an honorable profession. Being part of the military community through my husband’s service has been an educational, humbling, and rewarding experience. In many ways, it’s a privelage to know so many of the amazing men and women that serve or have served our country.
                I certainly don't mean to offend anyone who currently or has previously served. My father was an Army vet who served in WWII. I'm sure many of my other relatives from that generation did as well. I will say that military service was never, ever discussed in our family. I know almost nothing about my dad's military experience or of any other older relatives.

                I can only think of one family member my age or younger who has served. My cousin graduated Annapolis and was in the Navy for years. Other than that, nobody I grew up with or went to high school or college with was ever in the military. There were a couple of people in my med school class who had served as I recall. There are 2 people I've worked with at my current job who were in the Army previously.

                So just from my own narrow point of view, the people I do know who were in the military at some point largely tend to be minorities and/or from lower socioeconomic families. It was their "leg up" to better their lot in life, and I absolutely 100% respect them for having done that. It surely got them to where they are today. I have many patients who serve as one of our offices is not far from a military base here in NJ and I never fail to thank each of them for their service. I definitely meant no disrespect to the military with my comment. It has just always been my personal experience that with very few exceptions, those who volunteer come from either "military families" where it's just what everyone does or from troubled situations as their ticket out of that.
                Steve

                * Despite the high cost of living, it remains very popular.
                * Why should I pay for my daughter's education when she already knows everything?
                * There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.

                Comment


                  #23
                  Originally posted by disneysteve View Post
                  Who can join? Can you join if you have a juvenile criminal record? Can you join if you have any sort of health problems or disabilities? How is the pay?
                  As is often the case, "it depends" ... But in many cases, otherwise disqualifying stuff like criminal records, health conditions, and even certain disabilities can be waived based upon circumstances & severity.

                  As for the pay... Yes, the pay for initial enlistees appears fairly low -- around $24k/yr, with pay raises every 1-2 years & with each promotion in rank. However, military service offers alot more than simply pay. All housing & food costs are provided (or paid in addition to base pay), plus free medical care. Career/skill/trade training, college tuition assistance while in the military & fully-paid college tuition & expenses (via the GI Bill), not to mention moving someone out of what may be a toxic, dangerous, or just negatively influencing situation, into a more healthy, supported, and driven environment.

                  I don't mean this to be a recruiting ad, and I fully respect the choice not to serve in the military. I only highlight it as one (of many) good options that can enable people to improve their lives. My experience & observations are partly what also leads me to believe that a mandatory term of service in a federal public-service arm (which could take many forms) would be a great benefit to our country.
                  Last edited by kork13; 07-31-2020, 08:00 AM.
                  "Praestantia per minutus" ... "Acta non verba"

                  Comment


                    #24
                    Originally posted by disneysteve View Post
                    the people I do know who were in the military at some point largely tend to be minorities and/or from lower socioeconomic families. It was their "leg up" to better their lot in life, and I absolutely 100% respect them for having done that. It surely got them to where they are today. ......... It has just always been my personal experience that with very few exceptions, those who volunteer come from either "military families" where it's just what everyone does or from troubled situations as their ticket out of that.
                    That's basically my bottom line -- military service can enable someone to escape bad situations, improve their lives, and become successful. It's by no means the only way, but it tends to be a good one.
                    "Praestantia per minutus" ... "Acta non verba"

                    Comment


                      #25
                      Originally posted by myrdale View Post
                      IQ is another point that people fail to take into account. If your IQ is 95, your probably less likely to obtain a degree in medicine, law, or engineering as opposed to someone who is 110+.
                      This is something you don't often hear discussed. I worked in a very poor area for many years and I saw this first hand. Some people simply aren't that bright. They aren't cut out for college or professional school. They don't have the mental capacity to do any advanced work. They get along in life just fine but they are kind of consigned to jobs that are more dependent on physical labor, repetitive tasks, etc.

                      Why? A lot of it ties in to things that we've already mentioned. Pre-natal care. Nutrition. Primary education. Drugs. Alcohol. Air and water pollution. By the time many of these kids are 18, it's way too late to "fix" them. I can't tell you how many times a mom came into my office with an infant holding a bottle of bright blue or fluorescent green liquid. Not breast milk. Not formula. Not cow's milk. Nope. They fed their babies the crappy liquid sugar stuff that was 4 bottles for $1 at the corner store. That affects physical and neurological growth. Their brain development is impaired which has lifelong consequences. Then when they get to be 5, they enter the local schools which are overcrowded and underfunded, riddled with crime and drugs, and just get pushed along until maybe they graduate high school.
                      Steve

                      * Despite the high cost of living, it remains very popular.
                      * Why should I pay for my daughter's education when she already knows everything?
                      * There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.

                      Comment


                        #26
                        DS:

                        I agree most folks who serve come from military families or from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. There are some who join the military for a specific skill that would otherwise be prohibitively expensive to obtain training for (pilots or even doctors for example) but on the whole your assessment is accurate.

                        Why I took offense is because your previous statement was not stating this fact, but stating that it’s a form of privilege to not know those who serve. I can only assume you meant that the privelage was that you and others you knew did not need the military for a leg up. That’s not what you said but that’s fine. I still wouldn’t call that privilege because serving in the military, whether you do so because you come from a military family or come from a lower socioeconomic family and needed to find a way to pay for college, is not disadvantageous or the opposite of privelage - it’s opportunity that comes with hard work and sacrifice and can be very rewarding.

                        Comment


                          #27
                          Originally posted by jenn_jenn View Post
                          DS:

                          I can only assume you meant that the privelage was that you and others you knew did not need the military for a leg up.
                          That's exactly what I meant. Sorry if I didn't convey that well.
                          Steve

                          * Despite the high cost of living, it remains very popular.
                          * Why should I pay for my daughter's education when she already knows everything?
                          * There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.

                          Comment


                            #28
                            Try not to judge my drunken musings too hard

                            Part of the issue with moving up in class is that people think, act, and interact differently in different classes, and it's hard to break out of that mold. I've found that moving upwards in class from "rags to riches" can often be a multi-generational affair. Yes, there are exceptions to the rule, but it's rarer than people would think.

                            The middle class may see the very poor as making poor choices, as having poor opportunities for education, for networking, for good employment opportunities, for good investment opportunities, for good lifestyle choices, friends, etc etc. The rich think the same about the middle class. The poor think the same of the people starving in africa. And if one moves up in wealth somehow by accident such as winning the lottery or by inheritance, they truly aren't part of that class until the rest of their characteristics catch up. It's the reason why lottery winners, athletes, etc. often go broke quickly so quickly after attaining wealth. They still think and act as a poor person would. Its the reason why children of upper class or rich parents also are wealthy and become even more wealthy. It's the reason why professionals such as doctors or business owners tend to have kids that grow up to do the same or better and not end up gang banging or other nonsense.

                            In life, I've worked and observed with people that ran the gamut, mostly working poor to upper middle class, and have noticed all of this. If you have a single mother working fast food living in the ghettos, can you blame her for eating $1 fast food garbage every single meal or making other poor choices if that's all she knows, that's all she observes in family and friends around her? if you are in a position to give her life advice, you can do so and hope some sinks in, but you may as well be speaking a foreign language. A entire life spent with poor nutrition, poor parental support, drug use, lack of focus on education, etc doesn't go away with the flip of a switch or a pep talk. Same is true from the other spectrum of the ultra rich trying to give advice to or fit in with the middle class. Many rich people are modest about the wealth and don't like to flaunt it, instead trying to fit in. But if you observe them, you can tell that they do not have the same struggles as an ordinary person does, and their worldview is different, given their resources and upbringing.
                            Last edited by ~bs; 08-01-2020, 04:48 AM.

                            Comment


                              #29
                              Originally posted by kork13 View Post
                              I likely have an unpopular opinion among many... But I believe that there is sufficient opportunity for almost anyone to escape bad circumstances. It will certainly be easier for those facing fewer circumstantial challenges. But as Singuy captured very well, an individual's/family's choices, hard work, and sacrifice have the capacity to dramatically change/escape from negative (or even repressive) circumstances.

                              At the very least, military service is an outstanding way for almost anyone to rapidly escape one's circumstances. Over my career thus far, I've led hundreds of people and tried to learn the stories of as many of them as possible. Easily dozens of those men & women came from frankly horrifying circumstances. Drugs, slums, gangs, abuse, crime, foster care, abandonment, malnutrition, rape, ... I'm just getting started. A particularly shocking story came from a gal who grew up in Venezuela (under the extreme corruption of Hugo Chavez) was kidnapped and held captive for days, before finally getting released. Her parents found a way to the US within months of that incident, and she worked her way to become my peer.

                              In all cases, those men and women chose/worked hard to escape their circumstances. Almost without exception, they also drew great motivation from their difficult backgrounds, and worked very hard to succeed. "Your altitude is determined by your attitude." I fully acknowledge that I and many, many others around me have had opportunities less available to others. I/we also have challenges individual to our own lives. But people always have choices to make. To believe otherwise is an insult to our existence and humanity.

                              Different backgrounds, different opportunities, different challenges, different attitudes, different efforts, different requirements. Choose your own adventure.
                              Yeah, I would tend to disagree with you. For every one of your rags to rich stories, there is another thousand that likely ended up staying poor, dead, on drugs, or in jail, which you never heard about. For every thousand privileged upgringing, there is likely one that failed. For every person able to escape a 3rd world country to the US and scrape together a living with hard work, there are a thousand more still living in poverty in their home country. It is ironic, but in fact what you are seeing is PRIVILEGE, and it is a mark of your own privilege that you don't see it that way. Privilege for upper class in the US might be opportunity to name drop to get into Harvard vs a state college or a coveted job. Privilege for poor in a war torn 3rd world country might be the chance to escape to anywhere else with the clothes on your back. Those examples in your stories are the privileged few that had the opportunity to make something of themselves, and through hard work, they did. Many many others weren't as fortunate to have that chance.

                              I live in a state with a high minority rate, in fact the only state that has never had a white majority, and I see this all the time. In fact, despite being poor by US standards, people send money back to their even poorer family back in their home country. So "getting ahead" becomes even more difficult when supporting your family and multiple other families as well.

                              I would agree that the military is one avenue towards making something better of yourself, under the assumption that you qualify to join and aren't barred due to circumstances that commonly plague the common poor including felony arrests, drug usage, poor nutrition and obesity, low mental aptitude, illegal alien status, etc. Also under the assumption that you aren't killed or crippled by the demands of serving. From what I understand, nowadays the military is commonly made up of the middle class since they are the ones who would both fit the criteria and see enough benefit in joining. The poor would only get called up as cannon fodder when a national draft is in place, as it was during vietnam war.
                              Last edited by ~bs; 08-01-2020, 05:33 AM.

                              Comment


                                #30
                                Originally posted by ~bs View Post
                                For every person able to escape a 3rd world country to the US and scrape together a living with hard work, there are a thousand more still living in poverty in their home country. It is ironic, but in fact what you are seeing is PRIVILEGE, and it is a mark of your own privilege that you don't see it that way. Privilege for upper class in the US might be opportunity to name drop to get into Harvard vs a state college or a coveted job. Privilege for poor in a war torn 3rd world country might be the chance to escape to anywhere else with the clothes on your back. Those examples in your stories are the privileged few that had the opportunity to make something of themselves, and through hard work, they did. Many many others weren't as fortunate to have that chance.
                                That just leads me to question "what's the point"? Yes, everyone has opportunities not available to some group of others. Should we feel guilty about that fact? (Assuredly no.) It's impossible to wholesale transfer one's opportunities to someone(s) else. Trying to do so on an individual level merely creates more evil "privileged" people, and changing circumstances for a large group is essentially rewriting the fabric of a society and all but impossible (not to mention the human resistance to change).

                                In my opinion, people just need to recognize & be grateful for the good they have in life, then do something with it. Bemoaning the unchangeable is pointless.

                                Alot of this discussion feels like pissing in the wind....
                                "Praestantia per minutus" ... "Acta non verba"

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