Privilege or Persecution

Here’s a personal thought and observation.  As a person born in the United States of my generation who is of the dominant race, gender, sexual orientation, and associates himself with the majority religion I haven’t experienced anything that historically would be termed as ‘persecution’ firsthand.

Now I have been prematurely judged. I have been affirmative actioned. It has been necessary to prove myself on multiple occasions intellectually because I’m a product of public schools, southern universities, and have worked in community colleges. It has been necessary to defend myself physically on multiple occasions because I’m not among the biggest people around.  None of that, however, was or is persecution.

Some people know me but I’ll wager that someone who knows me just as well as you will describe me in a manner that you could never imagine.  I’m the same person but their description is based in a setting or time in which our paths did not or do not cross.  Regardless, though, of who offers the description most will say that I’m as simple as they come in terms of what I need and want.  Many will contend that one can label or stereotype me, but I can slice through that compartmentation as easily as a hot knife through butter.

I’ve felt my own blood spill which hurt irrespective of time or reason, and I’ve watched blood from others drip from my hands for which I will never undo no matter my desire. Still I haven’t been persecuted.

I’ve been criticized. I’ve been inconvenienced. That’s not fun, but it isn’t persecution.

As someone who is part of the majority even when I have been isolated as a majority of one surrounded by others who are different, I’ve still held a power which was given via birth and not earned at my own doing.  Perhaps in another country I could escape that but I haven’t discovered such a pathway in the United States.

I can fight giants, and I can also fight windmills.

I can dream, say, or pretend windmills are giants, but the reality is that they remain windmills no matter the description or juxtaposition.

Only when those windmills are not windmills but the demons who accosted, terrorized, victimized, generations here before me, people here today who are not of the dominant race, gender, sexual orientation, or religion, any persecution I combat is only defined within quixotic imagination.

Who am I?

I am nothing more or less than an American boy from the Hungarian Settlement of Louisiana who has been lucky.

That is my privilege.

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