ramblings on privilege

I traded one form of insulation for another.

In school we would joke about living inside the “Cottey Bubble”. A term which referred to the sheltered, highly-progressive environment inside a women’s college that stemmed from our physical isolation in small-town Missouri from the rest of the world. This bubble made it easy to view the world through rose-colored glasses (as a consequence I still assume everyone I meet is queer, for example, or that they will share my progressive opinions on taxation) and be insulated from the harsh, often-physical realities of, well, Reality.

From college I moved to my hometown in Nevada, scored a job at a University, and still manage to find myself living in this state of protected privilege. I am a thousand miles away from the worst of the white-supremacist violence plaguing our country. I work in a policy-dictated Safe Space that lacks explicit violence toward marginalized groups. I’m a white, educated woman with a stable income whose biggest worry is having enough savings left over from student loans to order pizza. I am living in a dream world.

A friend asked me to help come up with ideas for spreading positivity in light of the current Presidential administration’s decision to rescind DACA and altogether ramp up its racist, violent policies. They ran into the same issue that I did when trying to think up how to organize others and combat white supremacist violence: nothing we came up with felt “good enough”. It’s a bullshit idea, that nothing I do will be “good enough”, something of a cop-out because the reality of what’s going on outside my bubble of privilege scares the shit out of me. Like many progressives, I find myself lost when there is a need to take action.

So I went back to what I know: Community Counseling Theory. This theory outlines some fairly basic ideas about how to work within a community to help it be its best self rather than acting as an outsider to determine the community’s needs and goals. That’s a really-wordy way of saying: doing helpful shit instead of waiting around for someone else (probably a black woman) to do it for me.

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