This is a meme I found via yaramaz, a fellow Istanbul blogger. I found it interesting because of that quirk of growing up as a middle-class American which makes it uncomfortable for me to admit exactly how privileged we were, my brothers and I. But clearly we were. I still maintain, however, that we weren't spoiled, at least not in the sense of being taught to be bratty or undisciplined, and I don't think we have a sense of entitlement or of being better than others.
It's just that because of this meme I came out clearly privileged, so I feel I have to qualify or justify myself somehow. Sad.
Here it is:
The list is based on an exercise developed by Will Barratt, Meagan Cahill, Angie Carlen, Minnette Huck, Drew Lurker, Stacy Ploskonka at Illinois State University. The exercise developers ask that if you participate in this blog game, you acknowledge their copyright. Highlight in bold the sentences that are true for you:
Father went to college
Father finished college
Mother went to college
Mother finished college
Were the same or higher class than your high school teachers
Had more than 50 books in your childhood home
Had more than 500 books in your childhood home
Were read children’s books by a parent
Had lessons of any kind before you turned 18
Had more than two kinds of lessons before you turned 18
Had a credit card with your name on it before you turned 18
Your parents (or a trust) paid for the majority of your college costs
Your parents (or a trust) paid for all of your college costs
Went to a private high school
Went to summer camp
Had a private tutor before you turned 18
Family vacations involved staying at hotels
Your clothing was all bought new before you turned 18
Your parents bought you a car that was not a hand-me-down from them
There was original art in your house when you were a child
Had a phone in your room before you turned 18
You and your family lived in a single family house
Your parent(s) owned their own house or apartment before you left home
You had your own room as a child
Participated in an SAT/ACT prep course
Had your own TV in your room in High School
Owned a mutual fund or IRA in High School or College
Flew anywhere on a commercial airline before you turned 16
Went on a cruise with your family
Went on more than one cruise with your family
Your parents took you to museums and art galleries as you grew up
You were unaware of how much heating bills were for your family
So that's me. Then I got to thinking about privilege and what it means here in Turkey, since social class is much more rigid here, development has been rapid since 1973 (when I was born), and having access to a lot of things that are considered by Americans to be 'normal' (for example, having a computer/Internet in your home or having more than one car per family) is, even now, available to relatively few people, either because of geography or economic status.
So, finding myself with a bit of spare time, I whipped up this little list of questions about privilege in Turkey as I've come to understand it. I'm probably looking at privilege in two ways: one, from my perspective as an American and what we have there now, or had there 20 years ago compared to what there is and was here; and two, from what I've seen living here in terms of increasing development, the huge rift between the upper and lower class, and the differences in how people live depending on where they live. I'm also imagining the questions directed at someone more or less from my generation, anywhere from ten years older to ten years younger than I am. I don't intend this as a meme-- it's just something I'm putting out there because I was thinking about it:
Does your house have electricity and indoor plumbing?
If so, do you also have access to a backup source for when these utilities fail?
Did you have these utilities when you were growing up?
Does your house have telephone and/or Internet service?
Are you literate and numerate?
Are both of your parents literate and numerate?
Did you finish elementary school/high school?
Did your father finish elementary school/high school?
Did your mother finish elementary school/high school?
Were you allowed/encouraged to to finish high school?
Were your parents allowed/encouraged to finish high school?
Did you go to university?
Did your parents go to university?
Can you type well?
Does your family own a computer? If so, is it used by everyone in the home?
Did/does your mother work outside the home?
If your mother works outside the home, would there be enough money for the family to get by if she couldn't or didn't want to work?
Do you have private medical insurance?
Do you have a choice of which doctors or hospitals you can/are financially able to use?
Do the males in your family have life-or-death power over the females?
Do you have access to birth control?
If you have access to birth control, are you allowed to use it?
Do you have regular access to meat and milk?
Did you have regular access to meat and milk when you were growing up?
Did your family migrate to a big city for work?
Did your grandparents migrate to a big city for work?
Does your family own more a car? More than one car?
If so, is your family's car less than ten years old?
Are you in the same social class as your parents? As your grandparents?
Do you think your children will be in the same social class as you?
Do you have a passport?
Have you ever travelled abroad?
So that's it. I'm sure this list in is no way comprehensive, and there are probably things here that are inaccurate or of debatable importance in relation to privilege. But it was an interesting exercise nonetheless.