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June 16, 2011

Have you ever?

So the other evening I was having a conversation with my boyfriend's mom and her friend. Casual late night chats at 2AM. It was all very interesting and for the most part I enjoyed it all. Then we started talking about natives (is that even the politically correct term?) and their perks just for having certain genetics. I guess it was a sore spot because the friend really got her back up about this topic.

I stated that if people wanted to be treated equally than they can't then complain when some unequal perks are taken away. If you want equal treatment, pay taxes. Get decent marks to acquire scholarships. Grow up and behave correctly. Move off the reservation. People seem to only want equality when we are giving them more things .. not taking away some of the nicer guilt presents. Nothing against natives. I get it. 200 years ago or something a white person stole your land and gave you white people diseases. It was sad. That was a long time ago ..why am I paying for your university education with my taxes again?!

So while having this discussion she was starting to get mean. I didn't really get it but whatever. To each their own. Until she leaned in really close to my face and said to me:

Yvonne, I grew up in foster homes. I know how hard it is. Can you name even one time you were victimized and got over it? Even one. These people have hundreds of these situations. Just admit you can't understand it. You have supportive parents and have never had to face true hardships.

I think I probably looked as appalled as I felt. My first reaction was (thankfully, managed to bite my tongue before these words left my mouth) "Bitch, please. You don't know me." My second reaction was to sit back, take a minute and then say basically the same thing in a less offensive manner. So I basically just said because I was white and my parents loved me didn't mean my life was perfect.

People come from 'perfect' homes all the time that aren't so perfect if you have a fly on the wall kind of view. Now, don't get me wrong. My life is pretty much as close to fabulous as you can get and my parents are amazing was more just this attitude of me being so privileged that how dare I suggest people get over themselves and behave like adults.

You're completely allowed to play the victim for as long as you want. I can't even pretend to care but you won't get any sympathy from me for doing it. Contrary to popular belief, there have been things in my world I've struggled with. Shocking when you consider than I'm a regular white girl who lived the 'perfect' life, isn't it? So, here's to you friend of boyfriend's mom. A toast to being completely inconsiderate and ridiculous*.

Quick crappy edit of my shoes for today.
Hey, it's day 2 and I've completed day 2 .. so I'm way ahead.
Hopefully this helps to perk up the downer post that I wrote for today!

*I apologize for the lack of generally fun upbeat content. Have been trying to let go of this since Friday when it happened. Obviously, I needed to yell about it via keyboard. Regular rant-free posting will be resumed tomorrow.


summer-claire said...

I'm impressed you managed to hold your tongue, I wouldn't have! Just because you were raised by two white parents does not mean you had a perfect life and in implying so, she was being more ignorant and close-minded than she was implying you were!

I agree with you that positive discrimination is just as undesirable as any form of discrimination, it's a shame that others feel differently. But as you said, each to their own.

J Hodd said...

Hmm... for a long time I felt this way too. And in some ways I still do. But I watched a really eye-opening video about residential schools (an injustice that happened not too long ago at all) and worked with a native woman during one of my placements for school. I still may not agree with the fact that it appears that many natives abuse what they are given now, but I try to be less judgemental because there is a lot more that goes on in other cultures that we don't directly see when we aren't a part of it.

The topic of native privileges is always a touchy one wherever you go, but I have to say from experience that it can be really interesting to sit down with one of the few people trying to preserve the native culture and listen to their stories.

I remember the woman I was working with telling me one story where she had the full traditional native attire on because she was going to a celebration on the reserve (she lives off the reserve). On her way there, she stopped to get gas, and when she went in to pay, the attendant would not acknowledge her or take her money. He waited on the white customer that came in after her, but then turned his back to her and she had to wait a while for the other worker to come in to take her money. This woman lives off the reserve, has a college education and a incredibly difficult and respectable job working with abusive men. For me, I simply didn't realize that that kind of thing still happened around here.

God, this is long... sorry!

J Hodd said...

Hard to believe I'm defending natives now after I just bashed beggars the other day LOL.

Allison said...

some people believe you have to feel the pain to understand the pain... not so... but to each their own beliefs... just stay true to yours! xo

Anonymous said...

So i guess you would have no problem with some1 taking your land and prevent you from continuing your way of life. If the government walked up tomorrow and told you that youve owned this land long enough and now its some1elses...i guess youd be ok with that? there is nothing more ignorant than ignorance. use your education to educate yourself on these issues, rather than blogging nonsense.

Yvonne said...

Well in all fairness ..we 'stole' their land in a pretty sweet deal for the white people. Not my fault. It's not nonsense, it's my opinion. You don't have to read it if that's how you feel.

PS in case you didn't notice this was more about the comment said to me rather than the natives. Why do people get SO hung up on the minor insignificant details of this blog?!