Neil Tambe

I'm a Detroiter who happens to enjoy writing, national parks, orange juice, the performing arts, and fanciful socks. More than anything though, I aspire to be a good husband, father, and citizen.

Privilege

Last week, I took a few days off work. I was on the be(a/n)ch, so I wanted to advance some personal projects. I did. I laid down a draft presentation of a potential project - developing open source life skills curriculum.

[note: still deciding on whether to pursue this, I don't know if I have the passion, time, resources, or team to do it successfully. I don't want to waste time on something that's not a winning idea. Thank you for teaching me that Keary and Lalendran]

Anyway, the motivation for developing this open source life-skills curriculum was because I've been given so much opportunity in my life. My parents did math with me and read books with me when I was little. They sent me to different classes and to play on sports teams. They talked to me and parented me. They had me explore and expose myself to things that they couldn't teach me. They cooked. They did all these things, and I was one of the lucky ones.

This enrichment, I think, was really important for my development and my ability to function as a normal human being, more or less. There are lots of people that probably didn't get the chance to develop the "life-skills" that I was able to, or they might not have ever had anyone to teach them.

So, I thought, why not develop a way for current, prospective adults to develop life-skills that they have never had the privilege to learn?

And that's precisely the point, I considered my upbrining privilege. And it was, of course. But as I was talking with some friends about privilege, upbringing and agent guilt...the privilege is precisely not the point.

Those things I had...a stable home life, the opportunity for enrichment and good parents, should not be considered privilege. Those things are the bare minimum that a kid needs to adjust reasonably well to adult life. Being blessed enough to have sound mind and body, going to a REALLY good school, living in a neighborhood that's really friendly and clean...maybe that's privilege.

Having someone to teach me math, reading and some of those other things...it's ludicrous to think that any kid should not have them. To think of them as privilege is an excuse to not provide them to others.

So, I am lucky, yes. Privileged? No. Those things are essentials. I find it mildly insulting to think of them as a privilege, because that implies that special people get those things. Everyone should get those things and needs to get those things. Really, it's an act of wrongdoing to allow anyone to go through life without some or all of those things that others would call privilege.