Friday, May 23, 2014


I was considering something I wrote earlier in the week last night, and it occurred to me that I was exercising my privilege to do so. In discussing matters as I do in the earlier post, I do so from a position of 1) marked freedom connoted by the (relatively) anonymous medium of online discourse and by my vocation as a scholar in the academic humanities; 2) knowing that my circumstances are temporary, as I have the assurance that I will be returning to work; 3) having avenues for release and retreat that are not and have not been available to many with whom I would claim to empathize, as my most excellent wife clamors to take up the care of Ms. 8 when she returns from work and I have my writing to divert me; and 4) assumed normative social conditioning. In failing to recall these things, I have erred, and I have to regard as suspect (at least) those conclusions drawn from the erroneous chain of reasoning.

For I do approach the issue from having had a fairly traditional upbringing as the son of working-class people from the American Midwest, and so I do at least initially regard the world through a particular lens that is, upon examination, formed (what is the right word for lens-making?) from assumptions casually and in many cases obliviously oppressive and repressive. (For I do not believe that those who taught me are deliberately racist and other -ist. I do think, however that "the way things are done" is as it is because it displaces the effects of doing things the way they are done. Out of sight, out of mind, after all.) And because I have been trained to look for and look at the systems in place that sustain such assumptions, I see problems in them and try to minimize my complicity with them (I have not the skill sets to eliminate it, and I cannot risk the cost to those most directly in my charge and care to develop them.); at the same time, I try to remain connected to the places and circumstances from which I come. Problematic as they may be, they inform who and what I am, and while I cannot say whether or not who and what I am are good, I cannot set them aside.

I do not mean to minimize the struggles of others by reporting my struggles; I know that my problems are small against the great problems of the world and the many problems many other people face. I do mean to say that I am working to improve upon myself. There are many ways in which I do not suffice, as I have noted, and I am trying to reduce their number and the extent of my insufficiency. And I do want to better understand what other people face, if for no other reason than to better understand where I fit into the world. How much of that can happen, though, is unclear to me. My position blinds me to certain things, and I know not how to see them all...

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