Monday, May 28, 2012

Privilege and Pain

Headaches took up residence inside my skull during puberty. I remember taking aspirin just about every day of high school around noon. Occasionally, they slip away for a vacation that lasts a week or two, but they always come home at an inconvenient time.

Intermittent back pain waited until my 50th birthday to inhabit my body. It's more like a visitor than a permanent resident, thankfully -- at least so far.

All this is to say I have some familiarity with pain and the absence of it, which is why this line from Ani DiFranco's song "Shroud" has always resonated with me do much:

Privilege is a headache you don't know that you don't have.
I love John Scalzi's extended metaphor of straight/white/male as playing a video game on the lowest difficulty setting, but DiFranco's simple line gets the concept across so well and so quickly. Both are good tools to have handy when the need arises to make privilege visible.

2 comments:

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

Nice...both of them.

Gina said...

I like the one about with privilege comes obligations especially for public service. I think the Kennedy family has followed that one. Wealth can have so many problems and headaches connected with it -- people who win the lottery find that out fast. Sad that in our society money is revered so much.....