Today it's my 38ᵗʰ birthday. I was born into privilege. Other people aren't as lucky.
I’m privileged to have a wonderful wife and son, to have a family.
I’m privileged that I’m middle-class, that I have a comfortable and stable job, that I have more job security during a crisis; I’m privileged that my worries for tomorrow are superficial; I’m lucky not to have debt.
I’m privileged to have found my vocation; to have a profession that I would practice even if I’d win the lottery tomorrow.
I’m privileged to have enough to eat and enjoy anything I’d like, such as cooking with extra-virgin olive oil and Irish grass-fed butter. Privileged to eat turkey, pork, bream, or salmon on every meal; to have whatever dessert I want, and fresh fruits, even when out of season and expensive. I’m privileged to eat delicious home-cooked meals every day.
I’m privileged to afford to go on vacation, and that in this Covid-19 pandemic, my biggest problem was that I got bored while working from home and that I’ve got unspent vacation days left.
I’m privileged to have gone to school, attending the Romanian public school system, which for all its problems, it’s extraordinary. We can only see how an incredible privilege this is when looking at the issues faced by poor children in Romanian villages or the US. And I have no life long debt from that education.
I’m privileged to be a European heterosexual white male, born into an official religion. Everywhere I go, all doors are open for me. I’m not judged for where I was born. I don’t have have to keep the receipt when going to the store to prove that I haven’t stolen anything. If I am rejected, I’m not dismissed because of my skin color, sexual orientation, being a Jew, or a woman.
I’m privileged to wear a size M or L for my tee-shirt. Even though I tend to get fat, I gravitate between overweight and XL, but no more than that. I’m privileged not to be “morbidly obese” and couldn’t get blamed for having a flaw of character because of my body constitution. I’m not condemned for gluttony, which is what society does against fat people.
I’m privileged to be healthy. But even if I had a problem, I have access to a public healthcare system, which has its issues, but it’s available. I wouldn’t have to sell my apartment to pay for my medical bills. As a middle-class white male (with money for tips and an attitude), I am prioritized. And if I’m not in the mood for public institutions, for staying in lines, I can always go to that private clinic that I’m subscribed to.
I was born in privilege. Other people aren’t as lucky.
I’m not writing this to feel good, or grateful for what I have, due to other people being less fortunate, even though that’s a thing. It’s essential to be mindful that many of us have a social privilege that placed us at the front of the pack, which gave us an advantage. That as much as we’d like to believe that we’ve made it due to hard work, that opportunities at birth are equal, that’s not true. And this is unfair, it’s unjust.
We work hard for what we have, for sure. But in our society, hard work isn’t everything. And the privilege we’re born into matters more.
Systemic racism, misogyny, antisemitism, fatphobia, xenophobia—these are issues even in 2020. And when people end up hating other human beings, based on class or category, most often than not, it is privilege they are protecting, not their hard work.
My son is and will be privileged. I’m glad that he is because he won’t be discriminated against. It’s not shameful to be born into privilege, but it is dumb luck.
Therefore I’m raising my son not to hate or discriminate against other people based on social position, race, ethnicity, religion, body size, sex, or sexual orientation. It’s the least I could do. And you should too.